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'The Joy of The Lord is My Strength'
by Travis Wiginton
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I had been planning to share a paper about JOY with you, then a trip to the Emergency Room on February 16th (plus a persistent cough/cold/allergies for over 3 wks. now) kinda dampened my enthusiasm.

Things turned out okay at the ER:
2 EKGs were good.....bloodwork was fine.....the CAT scan showed the 2 previous strokes, but no evidence of a new stroke. After receiving an IV (as well as oxygen) during the four hour stay, I was released.

For the past week, I've felt like I was 'climbing a mountain'....
(as well as having difficulty sleeping.)
Inside the rim of my favorite coffee cup are these words:
"I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me!" (Phil: 4:13).
I daily claim that Promise!!

If the JOY we have is not deep enough for the bad times....
then it is not the Bible (and Jesus') way of JOY.

I like the statement, "JOY is Jesus and you....with nothing in-between".

Even Job said, "God gives songs in the night".

Nehemiah, with the tremendous burden of rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem:
"The JOY of the Lord is my strength". (Nehemiah 8:10)

Esther who is important in Israel's history:
"Their sorrow was turned into JOY" (Esther 9:22)

The Psalms are full of the JOY that we can have in God....
with Psalms 23 being only one of many.

David prayed:
"Restore unto me Lord, the JOY of your salvation and keep a free spirit within me."
(Ps. 51:12)
Psalms 107:22 tells of God's work to be done with JOY and Thanksgiving.
Job 20:5: "The JOY of the hypocrite is but for a moment."

Ecclesiastes is a book about a man who was seeking JOY in all the wrong places.
He eventually came to the conclusion:
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
fear God and keep His commandments...for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecc. 12:13)

Isaiah 12:3: "With JOY draw water out of the wells of salvation".
This well will NEVER run dry!

Isaiah 51:11 speaks of everlasting JOY.
John 16:24: "Hitherto, you have asked nothing in my name.
Ask and you shall receive that your JOY may be full".
Jesus emphasized this in Matthew 7:7-8 when He said, "Ask, seek and knock".

Here are some statements that will help us to live lives of JOY:
1) If you have 'JESUS JOY', tell your face about it.....but if no JOY, tell God about it.

2) JOY is not the absence of sorrow and suffering, but the Presence of God.

3) The Christian life is not 'I have arrived', but it is the JOY of continual discovery.

4) The father of Pro Golfer Davis Love, told him, "Follow your dreams and enjoy the trip".

5) You can condemn life to failure...criticize life to frustration....
or you can celebrate life...to freedom and spiritual fortune.

6) God, the Three in One, can be trusted at all times, no matter what.
He relieves, He renews and He CAN restore us!

So....I can rejoice, relax and rest in Him. I've had to re-learn this lately!
We knew that I was allergic to penicillen, but didn't know that I was allergic to sulfa.
When other methods (vaporizer etc.) weren't helping to curb my cough/cold,
we were a bit concerned that it might go into pneumonia, so our Doctor
(who is also a good friend) prescribed an antibiotic...which contained sulfa.
It threw me into a tail-spin (HEAD-spin) and I ended up in the ER .

7) If you have trouble really enJOYing the Christian life, don't look at others.
Look to God and look in His Word...and trust.

Here are some examples:
a) The JOY of FAITH=Forsaking all I take Him....and For all I trust Him.

b) The JOY of FELLOWSHIP and FOLLOW-SHIP (I John 1:3-4)
The New Testament emphasis is on the word and work of disciples.
In fact, the word 'Christian' is only used 3 times...
but 'disciple' and related words are used many times.
To me, this means that God not only wants you to be a Christian...
but to be a Disciple (disciplined one).

c) The JOY of FREEDOM (John 8:32, 36)
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free".
Romans 8 is a tremendous chapter on the 'Freedoms' that we enjoy as Christians.

A big part of experiencing 'freedom' is the JOY of FORGIVENESS.
God forgives you and through you, he wants others to know this.
Someone has well said:
"Forgiveness is the scent that flowers give off when they're stepped on".

d) The JOY of FULFILLMENT (Galatians 2:20-21)
Fulfillment comes when God fills us full....and it is no longer 'we' who live...
but Christ living in and through us.

In II Timothy 4:7 Paul said:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course and I have kept the faith".

Anyone who walks close to God will leave no room for the devil to come between.

A chorus that we sang a lot in our youth groups is entitled:
'The JOY of The Lord is My Strength'

The JOY of the Lord is my strength,
The JOY of the Lord is my strength,
The JOY of the Lord is my strength,
The JOY of the Lord is my strength.

He heals the broken hearted and they cry no more,
He heals the broken hearted and they cry no more.
He heals the broken hearted and they cry no more,
The JOY of the Lord is my strength.

He gives me living water and I thirst no more,
He gives me living water and I thirst no more.
He gives me living water and I thirst no more,
The JOY of the Lord is my strength.

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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sharon McClean 24 Feb 2007
Dear Travis, this article is filled with encouragement! I love what you wrote here: "Joy is Jesus and you with nothing in-between. This is so true of both you and La Moyne. God bless you both. Love, Sharon
Phyllis Inniss 23 Feb 2007
Thanks Travis for your words of encouragement. It does more for us to read your articles when you are going through health problems and still fighting the good fight. This assures us that God is with you and giving you the strength. Thanks be to God.


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