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Our Source of Joy!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

1 Peter 4:12-14

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you."

I have previously shared that I feel we are a whimpering, whining generation. It is sad to say that not too many Christians have a radiant aura of joy. More often we go around with a cloud over our head, with only occasional sun breaks of joy. That forecast is a terrible witness of the power of God in our life. Christians should never allow their joy to be snatched away by the ordeals of life. Perhaps this E-Votional is for you at this very moment.

It is easy for us to lose our joy. If our focus is on the ground, we see the mire and mud, rather than the blue sky and sunshine. Wow! I am amazed at how profound and deep I can be at times! Deep or not, the truth is that we lose our joy by choice. Things go bad, so we react with dismay, get discouraged and the sparkle slips out of our walk with the Lord.

In today’s Scripture Peter gives us the formula and attitude for joy that will last into eternity. He starts by giving us the proper expectation. Are you ready for this? He says we are to expect painful trials and suffering. STOP! This is one of those areas that we can read over and over, without grasping the full meaning. In one sense we may read that and immediately feel that there is no hope---life is just a drag. This is wrong. Peter advises to expect the painful ordeals with rejoicing. That's right, he said rejoicing! Godly expectation is the spring board to joy.

I was watching one of the health channels not too long ago that showed a young family man who had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. It was the day he was to have his brain surgery. He arrived with such joy and enthusiasm, that it took the hospital staff by surprise. He was optimistic, joyous, and confident. Without his saying it, I knew he was a brother in the Lord. Sure enough, before long he was sharing the source of his joy. He told all who were in the room with him, that Jesus Christ was his Lord, and it was the Lord who was in control.

The doctors smiled in their bemused manner, thinking they knew the truth of the situation---the chances of his survival were very slim to none. They based this upon their experiences in similar cases. He did survive, and with far more brilliant success than anyone might have anticipated.

The doctors were amazed and said it was his faith that made the difference. Was this a testimony of the power of God in the midst of pain and trial? You bet it was! His joy had not been taken away because of the trial that he faced. His eyes were not focused on the diagnosis--- instead they were looking into the face of the Savior, who was with him all the way.

There were three young Hebrew men, far away from home in Babylon. Their God had delivered them before, but now they were confronted with a life or death situation. They either had to bow down to king Nebuchadnezzar, or be thrown into a fiery furnace. There was no indecision on their part. Their joy was in the Lord. They told the king that their Lord was able to deliver them, but even if He did not choose to deliver them, they would serve Him to the end. That really ticked the king off, and he ordered the furnace stoked up so hot, that the two guards, who threw them in, were killed by the heat.

The three young men did not let joy be taken away. They had a face to face encounter with the Son of God who made one of His Old Testament appearances, and comforted the three with His cool presence, so that they were not touched by the heat, their garments were not singed, and the smell of smoke was not on them. Wow! That was enough to make anybody happy! It also was a witness to the king, who immediately promoted them, and gave honor to their God.

I could go on even further, but it really is so very evident that the way we hold on to our joy, is to be consistently in God's Word, speak frequently with Him in prayer, and always trust Him to bring about the good in every situation. Only God knows the end from the beginning. The joy we have is in him and the new life that flows through these flawed bodies of ours. HE IS OUR JOY!

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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