Joy? What's That?
by Helen Dowd

Nehemiah 8:10(d) "The joy of the Lord is your strength."

Happiness has no bearing on joy. Happiness is a state of mind. Joy is a state of soul. My circumstances make me happy or unhappy. The fact that I belong to the Lord, gives me joy. This morning the sun is shining; the birds are singing; the fall flowers are brilliant in their splendor; there is a cool fall breeze blowing. I look out my window and see the splendor of Mt. Cheam, with a fresh skiff of snow on its peak. I am happy.

But as the day progresses circumstances start to clutter up my state of happiness. The cat throws up on the carpet; the dog won't stop barking; cars are blocking my driveway; my back is aching; the computer is acting up; I just got word that two good friends have died. These things do not make me very happy. But they have nothing to do with whether or not I have Joy. Christ's Spirit within me gives me JOY. Joy has to do with my inward condition. Happiness is gauged by outward circumstances....

** Your joy comes not at someone else's permission or by way of their generosity, or at their expense. Your joy comes from your ability to extract and refine it from the perfectly normal and abundant circumstances in which you're immersed."

Psalm 16:11: "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

David could say this because he had experienced it. Even though he was being pursued daily by Saul and his men, David put his trust in God to deliver him. He certainly wasn't happy with the circumstances he was in, having to fear every day for his life, and having to hide out in caves, but that did not take away the joy he had in his heart.

Corrie ten Boom, even while she was in the brutal, dehumanizing environment of the Nazi concentration camp, during the Second World War, glorified God. She said, "Yes, Jesus lives and He is Victor!" The joy she had in her soul enabled her to withstand the torture of the death camp, and to praise God for His spiritual lessons. Her motto was: Psalm 91: 1- 4: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.....He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.....He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust:"

During World War II, as the German armies rolled over most of Europe, Hitler ordered extermination of all Jews. Among the many who did their utmost to help the Dutch Jews, were Corrie ten Boom and her family.

In February 1944, Corrie, with her father and sister, were taken from their home in Haarlem, Holland, and led away to prison camp. Their only crime had been that they had hidden Dutch Jews from Hitler and his soldiers. Although Corrie and her family did not know what was ahead of them, Corrie reported that the one thing she was sure of was that Jesus would never leave them. Her circumstances from then on could not have been worse, but that could not take away her joy.

Even during the months of solitary confinement, which she had to undergo, she hugged the promise of Psalm 91, that God would deliver her and cover her with His feathers. She could find comfort under His wings. In time to come she, along with the other prisoners, was forced to stand for hours in the bitter cold. Physically cold to the bone, she remained warm and protected in her soul.

** "You can find joy in any moment, and you will be the richer for it. There's no need to wait for it. It is yours to embrace. Joy is not to be taken and hoarded. It is to be discovered and lived. Look for joy. Expect to find it. It is there. It is here. It is everywhere. It is yours to find, to built, to create and to live."

There was no happiness in Corrie ten Boom's circumstances, but she found joy. And she did not horde that joy. She helped all those around her, who were in the same circumstances, to endure that indescribable time.

Romans 15:13: Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

** "Find joy in your work, and that work will bring abundant riches. Find joy in the people around you, and they'll lift you to incredible heights. Find joy in disciplined effort, and your accomplishments will be stupendous. Find joy in learning; your wisdom will carry you far and wide."

Although circumstances may threaten your happiness, they cannot destroy your joy. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength today, despite your circumstances.

Galatians 5:22- 23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

Helen Dowd.

** Quotes from Ralph Marston's: Motivator

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