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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Personal Joy!

I had kind of a weird experience this morning.  I got up around 7:00 AM to let the dog out.  When I opened the door to the patio I looked up into the sky and automatically began singing in my mind’:
“Oh what a beautiful mornin’

   Oh what a beautiful day

   I’ve got a wonderful feeling

   Every thing’s going my way *
After Mandie finished her business she came back in and I closed the door behind us and began to walk back to the bedroom.  Then it hit me and I stopped in step and thought… “Huh?  What’s going on here?  It’s NOT a beautiful morning out there!  It is rather dark, overcast, humid and dreary outside… It is far from a beautiful morning!”
That thought stuck with me for a moment or two, and when nothing else seemed to enter into my mind, I shrugged my shoulders, chuckled a bit and went back to bed.  Once my head hit the pillow I suddenly had a revelation concerning the importance of one’s PERSONAL JOY and a previous experience with that Christian characteristic.
Yesterday had been a rather tough day for us.  It actually began a couple of days ago when Piper was rather weak which required a lot more physical exertion on my behalf as I assisted her throughout the day.  Then she had some difficulties during that following night and I hadn’t got much sleep followed by another weak day.  So that day was difficult as she was needing me to steady and hold her up a lot more often and I was a bit sore in some of my joints from the previous day’s activities.  That combination did not add up to an easy day!
As I laid there in bed this morning, I thought about how my PERSONAL JOY got me through some of the tougher interactions, especially as I helped her get ready for dinner.  During the last experience I was attempting to help her walk back to her chair when she just couldn’t go any further.  At that moment I had a vital decision to make…  I was pooped!  My shoulder and wrists weren’t too happy and I was VERY tempted to throw in the towel on this whole faith thing!
But I looked into the bathroom mirror at Piper’s reflection, thought about the pictures of her that I have hanging just outside the bathroom door in our bedroom that depict her as a vibrant and vivacious twenty one year old in one shot and two others when she was in her forties and in the midst of her happy parenting adventures… and I just couldn’t say it!  In fact, I swallowed hard and spoke out loud declaring that “I won’t say it, I won’t say it!”
I was finally able to stretch out and pull the chair to her where she sat down rather limp like a Raggedy Ann Doll.  I didn’t say anything else, but I still wasn’t a happy camper!  I brought Piper back into the kitchen and set out to serve the food I had prepared for dinner.  Then it dawned on me.  I was NOT going to let the enemy of our souls have an inch of ground in our battle for my wife’s health! 
I was tired, more than just a bit disgusted and desperately needed the Lord’s assistance at that moment.  So what did I do?  Even though I didn’t feel like it, I began to praise the Lord and sing a simple joyful children’s song unto the Lord.  In fact it was a song that Piper had written so I knew that it would be very familiar to her.  Well, it didn’t happen right away but about an hour later I noticed that Piper seemed stronger and more alert. She was sitting up fairly straight on the couch and was partaking of her dinner.  That little miracle was enough to make me shout!
In John chapter fifteen, Jesus is teaching about His being the vine and we being the branches.  He talks about the importance of being connected and in unity with Him and the Father.  Then in verse eleven he states: “I have told you this so that you will be as joyful as I am, and your joy will be complete.” (God’s Word ©)  I think that He was referring to our PERSONAL JOY here.  Vincent’s Word Studies explains that this statement declares a “distinction between the absolute joy which is Christ’s, and the PROGRESSIVE, but finally consummated joy which is the disciple’s.”
In other words, our PERSONAL JOY is something that WE HAVE TO DEVELOP over time through the various experiences and situations in our lives…  Just like I did last night.  I had a choice to put up the white flag of surrender or to force myself to be joyful and thereby allow His power and ability into my immediate need. 
And you know… Not only did Piper get stronger and more alert last night… but so did I!  After I had helped her get ready for bed later in the evening and was confessing healing scriptures over her, I noticed that I was not exhausted like I usually am at that time each night!  Yielding to Him and forcing myself to stir up His Joy in me gave me strength! (See: Nehemiah 8:10)
There was no one else around at 7:00 last night when I was struggling to help my wife walk to her chair.  I was occupied in such a way that I couldn’t even get my phone to call someone.  So I had to do it myself.  I had to choose JOY or to whine and give up!  That’s when years of practice and lots of the Word in me kicked in.  Soldiers many times talk about how their training just sort of kicks in when they are in battle.  Well, that’s exactly what happened to me.  When I was squeezed, what was inside came out!  When I made myself begin to praise the Lord, the training took over and before I knew it things had turned around for the two of us!
Do you have that PERSONAL JOY inside of you?  Have you spent the time getting His Word in you and practicing His JOY?  I am sure glad that I have… and continue to do so!  There’s no better time than the present to start your training and practice!  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s JOY am I expecting to train for and practice today?”

PS:  Maybe I just need to MAKE IT be a beautiful morning today... no matter what the weather looks like!!!

*Oh What A Beautiful Morning” Songwriters:  GERSHWIN, GEORGE / GERSHWIN, IRA; Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., IMAGEM U.S. LLC

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