Sent: Monday, December 17, 2001

Subject: Take Your “Joy” Temperature

Dear Ethan & Emily:

Living for the Lord certainly involves sacrifices and hardships as well as great blessings.  But at the bottom of all our living, we can experience a deep and settled sense of peace and “joy” in knowing that our sins are forgiven, that the Holy Spirit lives within us to be our helper and guide in a daily relationship, and that we have an eternal destiny with God in Heaven.

If you wonder what the status of your spiritual state is…take the “joy” test as mentioned by Paul in Philippians 1: 25:  “…I will continue with you so that you will grow and experience the joy of your faith.”

Does your faith and walk with the Lord bring you “joy”?  THAT is the question!

“Joy” is different from happiness which fluctuates with external events.  “Joy” is internal, and one can have “joy” even when sorely tested and persecuted.  True “joy” is something that only comes with a right relationship with the Lord.

The Psalmist had it right when, in a time of adversity and opposition, he declared in Ps. 4: 6 – 8:  “Many people say, ‘Who will show us better times?’  Let the smile of your face shine on us, Lord.  You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine.  I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”

“Joy” is such a mark of living victoriously, that Paul uses “joy” as a greeting and blessing:  “Whatever happens, dear friends, may the Lord give you joy.  I never get tired of telling you this.  I am doing this for you own good.” (Phil. 3:1)  If you want to do something good for a Christian friend…pray that they might experience “joy.”

And that is my prayer for you today:  “May the Lord give you joy!”

Have a wonderful day.  
All my love,