Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me;
O Lord, be my help.
You turned my wailing into dancing.
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever.
Psalm 30:10-12

The cross-stitched, framed word "JOY" pictured above was done by my mother-in-law, 'Dawie' in 1986. A few weeks ago, 'Pop' gave it to me. I remember it was often used as a decoration at Christmas time in their home. I have decided to hang it year-round in our home.

Joy. What is joy? A good definition of joy is this: "it's the flag that flies on the castle of the heart when the King is in residence. Only Christians can know true and lasting joy. A Christian's joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel, being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as they receive and obey the Word, being mixed with trials with a hope set on future glory." (John MacArthur)
I read a brief biography of the apostle Paul tonight. Paul's life was quite exciting! Originally he was a violent enemy of Christ. Paul later went on to not only put his faith in the risen Lord but to scribe thirteen letters of the New Testament--in the midst of being beaten, shipwrecked, snakebitten, imprisoned, and chased out of town. In all this Paul learned what it meant to be content and he found ultimate joy while he concentrated on getting to know Christ! Paul’s joy was due to the fact that he was rooted and grounded in his relationship with Jesus Christ!

The world feeds us continual lies about the source of happiness. If only we had a new house, a new car, a new wardrobe, perfect health, a perfect spouse, etc. Admittedly, we all want to be happy and comfortable. However, if happiness depends on our current state of affairs, where will we be when those things wear out, our health is threatened, and our spouse dies?

The nineteenth century preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, "Those old gnarlings on the root of the oak tree and those strange twistings of the branches all tell of the many storms that have swept over it, and they are also indicators of the depth to which the roots have forced their way. So the Christian is made strong, and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life." (Morning and Evening [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980], July 11, morning reading).

Here's something I wrote in my journal a few years ago. . . .

“In contrast to happiness stands joy! Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God’s love and work in our lives – that He will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings – but joy depends on Christ!”
(sorry - not sure of the source)

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