My brother and I spent hours out in the sandbox growing up. We loved the days and hours that we spent out there. I can’t tell you everything we did, as I don’t remember half of it, but it was fun. We swung from the tree like Tarzan. Once we knocked ourselves out. We even climbed a tree to get on the roof of our two story house. Just about gave our mom a heart attack.
I don’t remember having a troubling childhood. We had fun. I remember talking with my grandfather about the depression and his growing up. He told me the depression really didn’t affect his family. He grew up as a happy child running as hillbilly in the hills without a care in the world.
This leads me to believe, much of our joy is a mindset. Do we allow ourselves to be influenced by others who determine what should be joy and what isn’t? How much do we allow peer pressure to influence our lives?
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Philippians 1:12-20 NKJV
No matter what comes our way, God brings us our joy. He is the center of our salvation and His joy is what makes us whole.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God has plans for you. He is taking care of you and they are good plans. Knowing this brings us joy, knowing the Lord is taking care of us. This gives us the joy of the Lord.
Philip Lukens is the senior pastor of the Carr Community Church. To receive updates please enter your e-mail address below and click subscribe.
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