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Saturday, April 23, 2011

JOY COMES IN THE MORNING

This is a ten minute sermon. I was told to do this would be breaking the holy blog code of ethics. I therefore stand before you guilty as charged. It is not funny or too serious. I would call it staying in touch with the New Covenant. I cannot escape my roots as a preacher, squeeze me hard enough and out will come a fresh thought of Christ. After all, it is Easter weekend. No cute story, but a reminder that in the cross is our life. Thanks for staying with me. Enjoy!

(Ps 30:5 KJV)  “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Clinging to a random verse of scripture can be as futile as the problem you’re grappling with. Too many times we pull from memory some promises we have heard preached about and hold on to them as if they will somehow automatically transform our  situation. Instead, many leave the table before being truly fed. I was doing this myself. The verse quoted above became my mantra for months when I was in the valley. Don’t get me wrong, quoting scripture is a great thing to do. It consoles the heart and brings peace and hope to troubled minds.

But I’m talking more about situations being transformed by the power of God. There is no formula for such spiritual transformation. It’s a work of the Spirit. Yes I would soothe myself with the thought; “my weeping will end and joy will return one of these mornings.” But I was missing the point completely. What kind of joy was I hoping for, asking for or expecting?

There are so many things learned in the valley I don’t know why we want to get out so quickly. If I for one minute add up the amazing lessons I have been vivified by in my dark days, my prayer would be; “Oh God don’t deliver me yet. I want more of what you are revealing.” Instead we cry to get out because we’re a pill popping generation, which have an incredible aversion to pain of any kind. Everything in life must have a quick solution or remedy. We take a pill for headaches, stomach aches, sinus infections, joint pain, and sore backs and just in case we miss anything we take a plethora of vitamins to catch everything in between.

How do you wait at the table to be fully fed? It’s not more reading, praying or more fasting that we need. We have all done that.  And in the process we have exhausted ourselves, and those who are closest to us. I am not sure there is an answer to this question. But what I am sure of is that God is leading and directing our lives. First, let’s get the focus off of ourselves for just a moment. This verse is clarifying the fact that God’s anger was directed toward His Son, while on the cross bearing the sin of the world. In the scope of eternity this anger would last but a moment. Then in His great mercy, or as the verse has it, His favor, which is to give life to the undeserving, God would extend this gift to Christ in the grave. The woman and disciples mourning, moreover weeping at the loss of their savior would also only last a short while. Joy, literally in the Hebrew, “a shout of triumph,” would return on resurrection morning.  Ah! Now, I am feeding at the table. This is good stuff.

It’s all about Him not us. Our joy or “shout” is in Him, His accomplishment, His atonement, His resurrection life. The disciples were grieving at the loss of their friend, their teacher, their Christ; His sudden return back into their lives from the grave produced an amazing “shout of triumph.” The kind only heard in 30,000 seat football stadium. So it became His presence with men and women in dire circumstance which gave them joy and not necessarily the deliverance from their trials. God has been with me all along. I shout and praise Him exuberantly. Now in Ukraine I see His mighty hand at work in lives all around me. Revival is knowing God is with you in the NOW. This is true joy, this is unspeakable, and this is full of glory. Happy and Joyous Easter my friends.

5 comments:

  1. I love this site. . . we don't have facebook and didn't know how to get in touch with you all. I can easily access this site. . . thank you, thank you, thank you. You are and have been in our hearts and prayers and Len and I love you both and greatly miss you. What a joy to have this blog (we are not really computer literate), but love this. May the presence, peace and joy of Jesus Christ our risen Savior fill your hearts minute by minute. Joan & Len Rock

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  2. Oh how I needed to hear that Brother Mine, thank you for your sermon it was greatly received.
    I love you both and miss you tons.
    I am now going to repeat what Joan & Len wrote "May the presence, peace and joy of Jesus Christ our risen Saviour fill your hearts minute by minute."

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  3. Thank you, Pastor Neil, I love your blog...bless you and Noline..I love the pictures and moment by moment sharing..praise God for his resurrected Son--in us!!!! That is our joy!!

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  4. Pastor Neil, You are a GEM, only you could have thought of preaching on your blog......, I think your a genius!!!
    Love your blog and your preaching and we miss you both TONS!
    Happy Easter to you and your family:>)
    BECAUSE HE LIVES WE CAN FACE TOMORROW.............

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  5. Hi - I see my photos on your blog posts. Am glad it's being put to good use.
    Blessed by your posts. Send more

    See you soon

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