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From the Pastor's Desk

August 1, 2019

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This past week my wife, Jo, and I had the privilege of taking care of three of our grandchildren (we have 8 total) while their parents were celebrating another year of their marriage.

It was a week filled with laughter, tears, quiet, noise, demands and thank yous.  In other words just about like almost anyone's week.

The grandkids were good almost all of the time, with a few exceptions when grandpa had to raise the volume just a bit to get their attention or to break up a sibling brouhaha.  But things would quickly return to normal and a quiet enjoyment of being with them would once again reign. 

Although there was a little waywardness at times on the part of one or two or all three, we never dimmed in our being tickled that they were our grandkids.  Even when the volume was great, the noise was constant, the demands un-ending, there was an inner sense of delight in knowing they were part of our family.

I suspect that is somewhat similar to God's delight in us.  Call it a deep joy that He has in knowing we are His children.  I believe that His joy is not dimmed when we are a little loud, noisy, and yes, wayward even though He may have to raise His volume in our lives. 

The above quoted verse is easily taken to mean that our strength is in the joy God gives us. That is true. However, I believe it also reveals a characteristic of God that we often overlook.  His joy.  The joy which God possesses and experiences.

God gives us joy because He is joyful. He is the source of joy, just as He is the source of love, of truth, of mercy, and so on. Joy is both a description of God and a description of what He gives.

Next time you think of "the joy of the Lord", remember it is not only the joy he give us, but it is His joy as well. If we are God’s children, and we are in tune with the heart and character of God, we should thus be characterized by joy as well; His joy becomes our joy.

“The joy of the Lord” should characterize our service, our worship, and our lives. It is a joy that will be even greater in heaven, a purer joy than any we experience here.

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