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"Joy of the Lord" by Tommy Steele Sr.
It was my privilege recently to sit under the ministry of a man of God who was a missionary in a foreign land for sixty-one years. During those three score years he swallowed the Bible by degrees.
It was obvious from his speaking that he was familiar with all sixty-six books! His years of meditating in the Word of God has fastened the glory of the Lord upon his countenance. Despite the fact of his more than eighty years, all who are acquainted with him are inspired by his exuberance. He has experienced trials like all the rest of us but nothing is permitted to rob him of his joy in the Lord. This verse of Scripture has liberally been fulfilled in his life,....
with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Why can't all of us wear unbroken testimony to the glory of the Lord as does this dear servant of the Lord? Instead of getting under the circumstances why don't we, with the Lord's help, stay on top of the circumstances? We need to remind our hearts of what Jesus said in John 16:33, In the world ye shall have tribulation: be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Since He has overcome the world for us, why should we permit the world to overcome us?
When tribulation comes, why give up our peace when our peace is in Him and He is our peace? For He is our peace... (Ephesians 2:14). Why do we go down in defeat before an already defeated foe? Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that has the power of death, that is, the devil (Hebrews 2:14). Why should we be victimized by the works of the devil when the Son of God, our Savior, has already destroyed his works?... For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
Really now, aren't we without excuse in permitting our joy to flee from us, or even in allowing it to subside in the least degree, regardless of what happens? We cannot put on and take off our garments of salvation - our robe of righteousness - so why remove our ornaments or our jewels?
Beloved, do not allow Satan to bankrupt your spiritual legacy. Make the determination stated in Isaiah 61:10, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom docket himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.
These goals I am setting forth are of tremendous stature. From my observations, victorious, cheerful Christians are in the minority, the sad minority. This lack of joy does not honor our Lord. It does not prove that He is as great as faithful as we declare Him to be. We are not demonstrating what He is doing for us - what we tell others He can do for them.
Believe me, I do not read Ann Lander's column. But when she and her husband separated a while back, I read in a news report that she said the advice she gave to others had not worked for her. God forbid that we ever have to make such a confession regarding our preaching and our witnessing concerning what our Lord Jesus Christ is able to do! The Apostle Paul gives us a picture of His almightiness, Now unto Him Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to His power that worketh in us (Ephesians 3:20).
A careful and prayerful reading of the book of Nehemiah would help us realize the possibility of victory in any kind of situation. Nehemiah heard of the distress of the remnant of the children of Israel in Jerusalem, and of the reproach of the broken - down wall of the Lord's chosen city. He became burdened about it. After praying about the matter, confessing his sins and the sins of the children of Israel, he sought the Lord's permission and help to do something about it.
God granted Nehemiah's request and he set out to correct an untenable situation. From the very beginning of the job to rebuild the wall to the Holy City, he met with opposition of every type. There was opposition by ridicule, conspiracy, and threats. Some of his teammates became discouraged, some became greedy. His enemies accused him of being personally ambitious. Nehemiah kept on praying and working and the wall was finished.
After the working on the wall was completed, Nehemiah directed the attention of the people to the law of God. So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading (Nehemiah 8:8). What a daily schedule! They stood and read the law of God for three hours and another three hours they confessed and worshipped the Lord, their God (Nehemiah 9:3). Their repentance for breaking the law brought restoration. The Word of God was a source of spiritual refreshment to the people of God. Nehemiah states it graphically, Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord. Neither be ye grieved; for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
The secret of Nehemiah's success was, I believe, his tremendous realization that THE JOY OF THE LORD is strength. It was Nehemiah's strength. It can be your strength. It can be my strength. God grant that it be so. The acceptance of this truth, acting upon faith, will change any forlorn Christian into a cheerful Christian, a defeated Christian into a victorious one, a gloomy countenance into a glowing countenance. The Holy Spirit will help you fi you will call Him in to furnish the wisdom and power you need to rejoice in the Lord.
Maintain the glow, beloved! The world needs to see radiant Christians. Let your light shine. Be an exhibit of the fruit of the Spirit- JOY. It has transforming power. The fragrance of joyful Christians is a wonderful therapy for a sick world.