La Moyne and I celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary this week.
She is the best part of 'the Joy' of the Journey.
So I thought that it might be nice to write a paper under the above title.
I gave some thought to this when I wrote "Getting Your Song Back"
(from Isaiah 12 on 3-12-05..#22 on my website)
1) The Source of our Song (Joy) is the Three in One...God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2) The Subject of our Song is Jesus.
3) The Silence of our Song is sin.
4) The Success of our Song is the Power of the Holy Spirit.
5) The Situation of our Song is 'we walk by faith and not fear'.
We must sing God's Song, no matter what the situation!
I said in that paper, "God bless you as you sing your song".
If you don't have one, Jesus is waiting to give you the greatest song (JOY) of your life.
The purpose of this paper, is for each one of you (guided by the Holy Spirit) to reach deep inside and bring out your testimony and continue the JOY of YOUR Journey. You CAN...by looking back, as we did this week and as we realized anew that the God of our Past is also the God of our Future (even at 77 and 72 yrs. of age).
1) SOME SCRIPTURES ON JOY:
Paul talks about 'finishing my course with JOY'. The context there is of repentance toward and faith in God and 'bound' by the Holy Spirit'. Because of this attitude, Paul was able to have great JOY. In fact, the book of Philippians which was written from prison, has JOY as it's major theme!
"The JOY of the Lord is my strength". Nehemiah returned from captivity to Jerusalem (which was in ruins) and led in the rebuilding of the wall.
What a task...but God's strength is always equal to anything that we face!
"In thy presence is fulness of JOY".
Many seek JOY only in fun, but the word 'fun' is not even in the Bible.
However, the word JOY is used hundreds of times!
Fulness of JOY must be in the Creator, not in the 'created'.
"That my JOY might remain in you and that your JOY might be full."
It costs a lot to fill up a gas tank these days.
It cost God His only Son, that you might be full of life, peace and JOY.
"Count it all JOY". Here is where we often fail.
We forget that the God of the Mountains is also God of the Valleys.
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times!
"Your heart shall rejoice and your JOY no one takes from you". Be careful here, for every day, you may meet someone who by their attitude or actions may take your JOY away.
Several years ago, a Deacon in our church had a service station just off the Interstate here in Norman. He said, "If I don't watch it, every morning someone may come in here with a bad attitude and set MY behavior pattern for the day in a negative way."
The JOY of Jesus kept Charlie York positive!
We likewise must allow God to do IN us, all that Jesus came to do FOR us!
2) SOME HIGHLIGHTS IN OUR LIVES: (MASTER, MATE, MISSIONS and MIRACLES)
MASTER: At 11 yrs. of age, it was no accident that I would find Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I saw Christ in my Grandparents, my parents and my older brother which helped point me to Jesus. Serving Christ with JOY has not been difficult, for progressively the more I learned about Him and His love, the more I wanted to KNOW Him and do His Will.
This involves DiscipleSHIP. Let me share here the 'SHIPS' of the Christian life:
WorthSHIP: You are valuable to Christ.
WorSHIP: Our God is worthy to be worshiped...and without private and public worship, you're not complete.
FellowSHIP: Without this, (with the Father and other Believers)
followSHIP will not follow. This must be daily (in prayer and devotion).
StewardSHIP: Your worth is seen in The Cross, but your value to mankind is how faithful you are as stewards of all that God places in your hands and life.
Paul's life and work were so effective because he did not allow anything, anywhere, anyhow (or 'anywho') to take his JOY from him!
MATE: "Can two walk together except that they be 'agreed'?" God knew that I would be a pastor before I did. Isn't that the way it is and why prayer is so important?
I've shared before how we met after I graduated from Oklahoma University and was drafted into the Army and sent to Ft. Carson near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
La Moyne and her family had moved there in 1948 and we met in church there in 1951.
Though we grew up 30 miles apart in Oklahoma, we never met.
But in the fulness of time, God brought fulness of JOY into our lives!
La Moyne's Grandfather Frederick told her when she moved to Colorado, "La Moyne, when the time comes for you to marry, make sure that he is a Christian, that he's from Oklahoma and that he is a farm boy!" I was all of those!
Thus, in the first year of marriage, God culminated His call on my life, to the preaching ministry, so we moved to Ft. Worth, Texas for Seminary training.
I've shared before how God opened doors for us during those 3 years. He gave us 2 precious sons while we were in Seminary and we learned quickly that the God Who called us, also cared for us!
There have been times when our faith faltered some, but we always knew that we serve a great and gracious God.
Donald Grey Barnhouse said, "People are always in difficulty with their faith because their God is too small. If they can once see the 'true God' and get their perspective what it should be, that He is a God Who fulfills all in all...then the difficulties of life will rapidly diminish to their proper proportions."
For La Moyne and me, it has been a life of 'shared beliefs' in a great and good God. We knew that He was God and we were not! It is not strange that Jesus started the Sermon on the Mount with "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven".
God knew that if we got this one right (Who's in control), we probably could handle other things. So we tried to place our absolute dependence on Him.
It was only a matter of time until God would lead us into Foreign Missions and Korea became our destination. We served for 4 years until we had to come home on a medical furlough.
God continued to guide us as He opened the door for me to serve as the BSU Director (Campus pastor) at the Univ. of Oklahoma and I was on the staff of First Baptist Church, Norman.
The pastor was the same pastor when I was in college, Dr. E.F. 'Preacher' Hallock.
For 3 years, I 'soaked up' his teachings on Bible Study, Prayer and Promises.
The Hand of God was on our ministry and though we were never able to return to Korea, God used us to help 'call out' many of those young people for missions and other avenues of ministry.
'Missions is one beggar telling another beggar, where to find bread' and it can be next door...or wherever He calls and leads.
Since then, He has led us to serve in California, 2 churches in Oklahoma, 1 in Texas and 1 in Hawaii. So please remember that whatever is happening in YOUR life, God is not through with you yet.
God, through modern medicine, has sustained La Moyne through Lupus since 1977 and me through cancer and two strokes. We have been able to serve Him in 10 Interim Pastorates.
Since returning to the Mainland, we have been blessed to live near some of our children and grandchildren and pray that we have made a difference in their lives.
It has been my privilege to baptize four of our grandchildren.
La Moyne said that if she ever wrote a book, she would entitle it 'How God Guided and Provided' (which is her theme).
After a family's tragedy, two teenagers came to live with us in 1976. One day we had 4 children and the next day, we had 6.....where is everyone going to sleep?!
(Through living out La Moyne's theme, we made it.)
God provided an addition to our house out back with a large bedroom. Our church, Bethel Baptist helped us some, but most had to be financed. I told the contractor, "No more than $15,000!" It ended up being over $30,000, so we had to finance that at 60 payments at $550 per month over 5 yrs.
It was very difficult to take on that added expense at the same time that we were trying to provide for a family of 8, but thanks to Jehovah Jireh, we never missed a payment.
Many times, we did not know WHERE that payment was going to come from, but it DID come...in many different forms (and many times at the LAST moment)!
I hope this 'Down Memory Lane' has helped you and that you will find JOY as YOUR journey continues.
So many (even some Christians) don't seem to have real JOY.
David recounts how JOY can be regained in Psalm 51.
Please study it for your own benefit.
I would be remiss in not sharing Hebrews 12:1-4:
"Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the JOY set before Him, endured the Cross, scorning it's shame, and is set down at the right hand of God." NIV
Do this and you will not lose heart....and go on and enJOY the JOY set before you!
Start where you are and you will find God ready to go with you, with much JOY.
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