Monday, May 9, 2011

Be joyful in the Lord!

Philippians 4:4-7  Always be joyful in the Lord! I'll say it again: Be joyful!  (5)  Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near.  (6)  Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks.  (7)  Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.

It is hard to be joyful all the time. Sometimes you feel like you are being phony or untruthful. But it is the word of God. Correct?  Paul the apostle knew how to celebrate in the Lord even when times were hard. Remember the story of Paul and Silas while they were in prison?  Paul and Silas worshiped the Lord even though they had been beaten and locked up in  chains. Their worship and praise reached an all time high when the earth shook and freed them from their incarceration.

Believers should not worry or feel overwhelmed by circumstances which come our way. The Joy of the Lord is our strength for we have something to be joyful about.

Several years ago, while on a family vacation to the coastal regions of Georgia, my family and I visited an old 1700-1800's Methodist church which was a historic site. All around this church were graves dated back over 200 years. As we walked around one could feel the power of history rising up from the graves. This old time church was one of the churches that John Wesley helped to start and it had existed some 200 years later. John Wesley was the father and founder of Methodism.  John Wesley was a joyful man who loved to present the gospel to anyone who would hear. Although he went through trials and ridicule, he stayed focused on the Lord and never lost his joy.

John Wesley travelled generally on horseback, preaching two or three times each day. Stephen Tomkins writes that he "rode 250,000 miles, gave away 30,000 pounds, ... and preached more than 40,000 sermons. He did all of this because he put his whole trust in the Lord.

When I walked into this old church building one could still feel the power of God residing within it's walls. It was like being transported back in time and being in the services that John Wesley conducted. One could almost hear the walls speaking about the greatness of the Lord which was once present there. As I touched the old wooden pews and ran my hand along the old wooden walls; I felt the Spirit of God rise up within me. I could sense the Lord imparting something within me. He imparted His joy and strengthen. I could sense the Lord's excitement for His word to mankind.  It was an amazing experience to say the least.

 When Wesley died on 2 March 1791, in his eighty-seventh year. As he lay dying he was heard speaking the following. "Farewell, farewell." At the end, he said "The best of all is, God is with us", lifted his arms and raised his feeble voice again, repeating the words, "The best of all is, God is with us." Because of his charitable nature he died poor, leaving as the result of his life's work 135,000 members and 541 itinerant preachers under the name "Methodist". John Wesley lived a life full of joy in the Lord. He was not perfect but an example of how all believers should life. We have something to be joyful about. Truly the best of all of us is that God is with us.

The scripture says " Never worry about anything..." How can that be? Well we have a heavenly Father who desires to listen to our prayers.  He loves us so much and desires to answer those prayers which are woven together within his perfect will.

When we walk in joy and put our trust in the Lord then we have the assurance that our God will overcome . He promises His peace to rest upon us even in the midst of the storm. Being joyful in the Lord does not mean that we become emotionless beings. We are not Vulcans!!!! Lol!!!! However, it does mean that we don't let our emotions hinder us from praising the Lord even in the midst of trouble. He is right there with us. He is within us. His joy is rising up!!!  Be joyful in the Lord today. Walk in His joy and see what happens.



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