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Finding joy in God’s precepts

May 18, 2007

I have been on an amazing journey the last few weeks. I came to a place of opening myself up to God in a new way, a way I had never known before, and that single act has changed me, changed how I view things, changed how I understand things, changed how I respond to things, changed my sense of humor about life, in fact it has changed my life.

In Nehemiah 8:10 it says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. There is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is an attitude and a response to our circumstances. It isn’t necessarily dependent on them, but is a response to them. Joy is the attitude of our spirit, our soul. Joy is not something that comes from us, but is a gift that comes from God if we are willing to receive it. Joy resides in our spirit while happiness is a part of our emotions and our physical being.

In our media driven and fast moving society we have been trained to expect neat and fast resolutions. We have become addicted to happy endings and to closure. We have been trained to manage disappointment by looking on to the next thing with an expectation that it will bring us greater happiness. Without a next thing to look forward to, resolutions, happy endings, and closure what does life hold? If we accept the gift it holds joy! That joy gives us the strength, encouragement, hope, and happiness to move forward, try again, manage our disappointments and look for resolutions, happy endings, and closure.

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. (Psalm 19:7-10)

Joy does not belong to us, it is the joy of the Lord, but he offers it freely. The Psalmist recognized the value of God’s ways, and how they give joy. Are you willing to receive all God offers and see the benefits the Psalmist presents? They are more than we can imagine.

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