November 20, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"Then will I go to the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy."
Paul exhibited an inexplicable joy to his enemies and contemporaries that staggered their imagination. As he faithfully proclaimed the gospel, established churches, and sought to teach the believers in the faith, he was continually assaulted by his adversaries. They stoned him, beat him with many stripes, imprisoned him, falsely accused him, and many other harmful acts to silence him. However, they could not contain his buoyant spirit because the stronghold of his faith was the joy of God.
Nothing of external circumstances altered the joy of God deeply embedded within his heart. God instills within us a joy that is "unspeakable and full of glory," that counters the trials and disappointments of life. He gives us an overcoming spirit amidst the struggles we encounter and proclaims to all the life of Christ within (1 Peter 1:8). Paul proclaimed, "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich: as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (2 Corinthians 6:10). Only the joy of God can so enrich and fill our life to affect such results.
God said, "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). His joy encompasses our hearts because our faith is deeply rooted in the efficacy of Christ and the validity of God's Word. We rejoice knowing He is the authority and sovereign of our life, "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever" (Romans 11:36). Jeremiah said, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them:and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart:for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16). When the joy of God fills our life, we will be like the "cedars of Lebanon," which have such super abounding vitality in their sap, they intoxicate to death any parasites that try to live on them.
How mighty are the words of Habakkuk amidst the most devastating conditions. Read them thoughtfully and let them impact your heart."Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines: the labor of the olive tree shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Nothing left but God, but that was all he needed!
I trust the words of this blessed hymn are a reality in your life...
"Who can cheer the heart like Jesus, by His presence all divine?
True and tender, pure and precious, O how blest to call Him mine!
Love of Christ so freely given, grace of God beyond degree,
Mercy higher than the heaven, deeper than the deepest sea!
Every need His hand supplying, Ev'ry good in Him I see;
On His strength divine relying, He is all in all to me.
All that thrills my soul is Jesus, He is more than life to me.
And the fairest of ten thousand, in my blessed Lord I see!
Open your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your heart to receive, and your spirit to respond to the joy of God He wants to implant in your life. Your life will never be the same when His joy permeates the whole of your being.
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15: 11).
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-11-20
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