December 12, Saturday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, is an updated version of his blog first posted on April 14, 2013.  He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend 

“Be Joyful Always” (1 Thess. 5:16)

Nehemiah 8:9-11

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.” 

When you think of spiritual disciplines, joy may not be one of the first disciplines to come to mind.  Joy seems like something that happens to us, rather than something we do.  And yet, the scriptures clearly command us to be joyful!  Paul writes in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

As C.S. Lewis once put it, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”  Why is joy so important?  First, joy is important because it reflects the heart of our master (Matthew 25:23).  God is the most joyful being in (and out of) this universe.  God is a supremely joyful God!  Second, true joy comes from the presence of God in our lives (Psalm 16:11).  When our joy comes from God, we are no longer seeking satisfaction from the world, and like Paul, we will be able to say, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12).  

How do we enter into this joy?  We can train ourselves to becoming more joyful!  The first step is to start today.  As the psalmist declares, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24).  Not yesterday.  Not tomorrow.  Today.  Celebrate every blessing you see from God.  Ask God to help you to be unshakably joyful even in the midst of adversity.  Take a page from Nehemiah and enjoy every meal you eat.  And share the joy with those who haven’t prepared for it (Nehemiah 8:10).  There is nothing like sharing joy to make it grow.

Rejoice in the Lord always!  I will say it again: rejoice!

Prayer: Father, please help us to have joy in You.  Help us to live lives full of your joy so that we may be part of your dispelling of hopelessness in this world.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Habakkuk 1-2

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