Wednesday, March 5, 2014

JOY ~ Part 3

Joy is medicine to the heart, to the soul, and to the body. Joy is a “spa” to the physical and spiritual entities of life. Joy brings health and healing.

My morning Bible study for some time has been in the Book of Philippians -- and what a medicine it has been! My prayer is that you might take time to grasp the principles of joy that this treasure book provides. “If you master the truths in Philippians, you should be filled with joy as you live the Christian life,” suggests Warren Wiersbe.

The greatest joy killer is unbelief in God, in His Word, and in His promises. Peter provides the remedy. “(Jesus Christ) Whom , having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable” (1Pet.1:8). Thomas believed after he touched Christ’s resurrected body (John 20:29). Peter heard those words and now repeats them. That depth of faith brings joy because it gives confidence and assurance.  Have you ever thought that it would be more real if you could see Jesus, could touch Him, could hear Him speak? Probably. That brings us to the present joy of anticipation. Someday, by God’s time table! Glory!

What should we do until that day arrives? God’s inexhaustible gold mine gives us simple but not easy answers. As I turned the pages of my Bible the answer came. It is one that has carried me through many years. After my husband, Robert, unexpectedly died at the age of 43, I spent every opportunity that I could, searching Scripture to find answers and direction. I had two young sons to rear, a Master’s degree to complete, the responsibility to support three of us, and I was grieving the loss of the one dearest to me. God always gives answers to those who diligently, expectantly, and humbly seek. Phil. 3:13-14 was that direction.

Paul, who had the horrible memory of persecuting countless Christians did not live in his dispiteous past. He said, “ this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press [on].” In order to victoriously move on, grief could not be my focus. Grief could not consume me. But how could I forget eighteen years of marriage to the one with whom two sons were born, with whom eleven years were spent on the mission field (the fulfillment of our heart’s desire), the one whom I helped support through seminary, and so much more?

This is how I put Phil. 3:13,14 to work for me. I did not want and I could not possibly forget numerous day-by-day precious memories. I would treat them like a book to be put high up on a  shelf. To know that book was there was a comfortable feeling; however, I would not take it down and open its pages. There were numerous books to be read and profited by and enjoyed. But only the Word of God, the will of God, and the purposes of God would lead me step by step into the then unknown future. I  opened my heart, my mind, my will, and my focus on Jesus. I would move onward and upward with Him and for Him.  He has not failed.

“Lord, disperse my sin and sadness. Speak salvation to my heart.      
 Then I’ll serve with joy and gladness. Then I’ll show how good Thou art.”