Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Joyful Attitude Adjustment by Rev. Lonnie C. Crowe

God is calling for a radical change in the Church, a change that goes deeply into the roots of our being.  He is calling for that transformation that can come only from a renewing of our minds.  (Romans 12:2).  God is calling for an attitude adjustment.  In spite of what is happening around on the world stage, God is calling His church into joy and even greater joy.  Greater joy will be the sign that we have undergone the radical change, the transformation by the renewing of our minds that God is calling forth in our lives.  

What makes Christian joy different from the worldly joy?

Worldly joy is fleeting because it rests in satisfying earthly desires.  Christian joy rests in our relationship with God which must include a greater acceptance of His love.   Walking in the love of God brings radical change in our lives.  We move out of pessimism and into hope.  We see the grandeur of our God in His creation.  Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and worship. We are encouraged, empowered and emboldened in our testimony  

              During the troubled times of rebuilding Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, Nehemiah encouraged the workers:  "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV).

  God is not desirous of a weak, sickly, fearful Bride.  We are strengthened by rejoicing but are weakened by fearful murmuring and complaining. Revelation 19:7 tells us the Bride must make herself ready for the coming of the Bridegroom.  That readiness means choosing to be joyful.

            Our joy is a testimony to the overcoming power of our God.  When asking for forgiveness for his grave sin, David sang unto the Lord: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You” (Psalm 51:12-13 NKJV).  Both David’s joy and his witness came from a renewed relationship with God.
            We cannot deny that we live in troubled times in a fallen world.  Many of God’s people are experiencing personal afflictions as well.  The apostle James wrote: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4 NKJV).
            Personally, I am trusting in Romans 8:28 (NKJV). “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I am asking God for discernment to see and understand the goodness that  God is bring forth from present difficult circumstances.

            As we walk through the valleys of life, we must remember the words of Solomon in Proverbs: 

▪ Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV)
13  A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

▪ Proverbs 15:15 (NKJV)
15  All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

▪ Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)
22  A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.

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