Today is my grandson Benjamin’s third birthday. It is hard to believe that little guy is three until you spend some time with him. He is all of three years old and then some. He is also a miracle in my life; part of the abundant joys the Lord provides in my life.
The miracle of joy I experienced on January 9, 2009 came 478 days after I spent one of my worse days on earth. That was the day I lost my only son. In between those days, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to me (and still is) in ways I could not imagine. He showed me how it was an act of mercy that He took Eddie home to be with Him. He also showed me that although I had lost my only son, through my son-in-law and grandson He had given me two more sons.
One of the reasons I love reading the Psalms is that we not only get a glimpse of the struggles of men, but also and more importantly, we see how God works in those times. Many of the Psalms juxtapose evil and righteousness and one of the better ones of doing that is Psalm 36 where David writes “an oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked” (v1). He writes of the focus the wicked have on themselves and plan and embrace evil. Then David turns his sights on our merciful God:
“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:7-9)
The abundant joys found in following and serving Jesus are too numerous to count. And yet I meet so many Christians who are not experiencing a life of spiritual abundance. A life of joy for the Christian should be perpetual; it should be happening always. Now do not confuse joy and happiness; always remember that happiness depends on what happens. Joy depends on you. Here’s what I mean. Better yet, let’s have Jesus’ half-brother James explain it:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-5)
When we go through trials our faith is tested no doubt. I know I don’t even have to ask for an amen on that one! But does it produce patience? Can you sit in the midst of a trial resting on the fact that God is still in control. Is He sovereign in the center of your world that seems to be upside down?
The main question I want to ask you is do you know that the LORD your God is with you when you are facing tough times? My life verse below Psalm 37:4 tells us to “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Boy that sounds like one of those “name it and claim it” prosperity verses. Ah, but go and read Psalm 37 in its entirety and you see that David gives sound advice for those who come up against tough times or even those living in evil and harsh times such as we are today. I read Facebook and see so many Christians posting comments hating on evil and bemoaning its victory. This should not be so, but it is because they are looking with their human eyes instead of spiritual eyes. David writes:
“The LORD knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the LORD, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.” (Psalm 37:18-20)
Imagine living your life with the foreknowledge of that passage? Would you not go through the day being abundantly satisfied because of the many joys your LORD God provides? I cannot see anyway you could live otherwise.
Beloved, start living a life of abundant joys, a life that is abundantly satisfied, then you will begin living the abundant life Jesus came to earth to bring.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers