The Joy of the Lord

cross

Good morning friends! It’s a beautiful Sabbath day here in San Diego. I hope wherever you are that you are experiencing a restful & rejuvenating Sabbath.

We are all in different seasons but I know so many of you, like me, are experiencing a hard season.

I was struck this morning by a dear friends text that God was directing her to be praying for joy for me today!

It may seem counter intuitive to be joyful in the midst of a journey through cancer. After all, who feels joyful as they walk thru the day with little energy and challenges with treatment sessions not to mention the the basic challenges of paying the bills, making meals and doing laundry  on top of the health challenges. Some of you are walking thru a different kind of hard while caring for young children or aging parents at the same time. I hear about it everyday and it hurts my heart to see what some of you are walking through.

I’ll assume that you desire {as I do}to experience joy  in the midst of our hard! The question is what is the fullest , deepest, most lasting joy that a human can experience and how can we find that?

According to John Piper…….The reference to “The Joy of the Lord” in Nehemiah 8:10 means at least the joy that the Lord himself gives. “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

And the joy referred to in Hebrews 12:2 is clearly the very joy that Jesus himself has today in heaven which sustained him through suffering. It says, “ . . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Both are great pointers to what God tells us about experiencing joy but I love that John Piper brings in another text….

John 15:11 where Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” The reason this text is so important is that Jesus refers to his own joy as being in us — not just giving us a joy, but his joy in whatever he is joyful in is in us. We are not just rejoicing over what we know about Jesus, we are rejoicing with the very joy of Jesus over what he knows about everything, especially what he knows about his Father.

So, let’s make sure we hear it again. Let me say it again. This is Jesus. I have given all these instructions to you, he says, about what it means to be in the vine. That is what John 15 is about. “I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5). I have given all these instructions to you so that you would enjoy my joy with me, so that my joy would be in you as your joy — now this is incredible, almost: “my joy may be in you, and . . . your joy may be full” (John 15:11). In other words, “The reason your joy can now be as full as it is and moving toward perfect fullness when all our battle with sin is over is because in union with me, the branch in the vine, you no longer enjoy merely your joy. You now have my joy in you and you enjoy what I enjoy as your joy, as you abide in me.”

Piper makes it clear that I {we} can’t conjure up joy,it isn’t dependent on what’s happening in our lives or  how happy we feel.

It’s not easy always to abide in Him…to remain,remain, remain in Him!

Sometimes we want want answers that won’t come, we want to understand and have clarity and the lack of these affects how we feel.

Some of us may be familiar with the phrase “Choose Joy”…….well those words don’t quite sit well with me! I can’t pick joy off the shelf and choose it!……I can choose to  think differently about something and not allow my circumstances to dictate how I feel in a negative way but ultimately…the joy that I want to experience is “The Joy of the Lord” and I know of no other way than to abide in Him…To fix my eyes on Him, to walk the steps He has set out before me,to experience His presence, to acknowledge His power, grace and love….to look to Him for wisdom and to desire for Him to be glorified in and through me.

Does this mean I am happy to have cancer and look forward to my treatments this week…no….but I do look forward with anticipation to see how His glory will displayed!

I hope you experience “The Joy of the Lord” this week and that you are witness to His glory!

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2 thoughts on “The Joy of the Lord

  1. Awesome! Thinking about you and all that you are going through. And you always have the joy of the Lord in your heart. I love that about you. I’m having a hard time with my recovery from knee replacement, and although I know the Lord is with me during this recovery, it’s been tough. But reading your message today, I am going to try harder to have the Joy of the Lord in my heart. 💛

    1. I’m sorry to hear that your recovery is still rough. I know that God has purpose is in the hard though and that trying harder isn’t necessary! It may sound counter intuitive but abiding in Him is the key and he will produce the joy!!!!!Praying for you and that each day you will lean into Him…trust Him and allow Him to work in you…It’s easier for me to do that if I have a good devotional to start each day with, some worship music and a plan to start the day with Him…I also find myself crying out to Him throughout the day!

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