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Dr. B. J. Stagner Jr. | Cardiff and Aberaman, Wales, UK
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toencourage 29 April 2017, Vol. 5 Issue 16
Posted by: Calvary Baptist Churches of GB | more..
1,580+ views | 220+ clicks
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Psalms 16:11

Last week we addressed how joy is (or at least can be) present in our life even during times of darkness, when suffering and trials are part of our daily life.  Now, please understand, this is in no way making light of trials and suffering, it is not easy to have joy in the midst of these situations.  However, it is a Biblical fact, in the presence of the Lord is where the “fulness of joy” is found, despite our surroundings.  
     During the reign of the Soviet regime, Alexander Merkulov was conscripted to serve in the military forces in the city of Fergana on October 30, 1982. Alex refused to take up oath and weapons, explaining that his love to God and people is incompatible with killing.  He told his officers he would pray for all governments in the world so peace may prevail over injustice and malice.  For this Alex was severely beaten.  Subsequently an officer of the KGB put a dagger to Alex’s throat and demanded he choose between God and weapons.  Alex chose God. The officer threw his dagger on the floor, exclaimed: “I knew it would happen!” and left the room.  The young Christian was not imprisoned but assigned to work in another military unit.  Obviously, these are harsh circumstances and dire situations, however, Alex remained steadfast and in the presence of the Lord, thus joy was prevalent in his life enabling him to become a massive testimony of encouragement to the surrounding believers.  Not only did Alex maintain joy, but his joy was contagious to others.
     So we have learned joy is not based on our circumstances, but is consistent as a result of our focus on God.  Remember, circumstances and situations constantly change, therefore they cannot be what holds us, the Lord is the anchor of our soul.  He steadies us in the midst of the crushing waves and crashing winds giving us the assurance that we do not have to waver in our joy. 
     One of the detriments of joy is refusing to take our hands off of the circumstances.  If the Lord is our anchor, He does not need our help through the storms.  As a matter of fact, He does not even want it.  Countless souls have given up and quit in the final hour of their trials simply because they are not willing to remove their hands from the helm allowing God to take the wheel completely.  How many times have you been without joy thinking “jumping ship” would be the answer only to discover the same storm of life, but in a different location?  If you are going through a hard time today, struggling to find joy, remind yourself of what God has done in your life.  When we let go and let God, we can then exercise gratitude by lifting up holy hands of thanksgiving to Him.  Yes, there will be weeping and heartache, but remember the words of the sweet Psalmist of Israel, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5).  Beloved, the season will not last forever.
     Those who rob themselves and others of joy are the most ungrateful souls.  James 1 teaches us sufferings produce maturity, only if we allow it.  Running away without being grateful for EVERYTHING in our life will refrain the presence of joy and promotion from trials.  Our suffering will produce steadfastness, developing us into the people we need to be.  Take joy in the fact that God is not finished with us and He especially has not forgotten us.  He sees so much value in us and wants to work in our lives.
     Exercise thanksgiving and embrace joy in the multiplicity of seasons in our life, trusting His word will never fail.  “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.”(Psalms 27:5-7).
     The key element to joy is gratitude, we are exhorted, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
     My friend joy is not based on circumstances and joy is not the same as happiness.  While happiness is momentary, joy is not affected by circumstances.  The things going on around us shouldn’t determine our joy.  In Psalm 27 David is in trouble. He says though an enemy may encamp around him, he will not fear. It requires a great amount of distress or discouragement to feel as if the world is against you.  While David might feel like he is in an impossible place, he offers up shouts of joy.

…in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Category:  Encouragement

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