Monday, Third Week in Advent
Isaiah 29:17-24 (NRSV)
Shall not Lebanon in a very little while
become a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest?
On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a scroll,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant shall be no more,
and the scoffer shall cease to be;
all those alert to do evil shall be cut off
those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit,
who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate,
and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right.
Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
no longer shall his face grow pale.
For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
And those who err in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who grumble will accept instruction.
Ah! I am so excited about the promise that it is God who supplies "fresh JOY in the Lord!"
Yesterday, in our church, we lit the Candle of joy on our advent wreath.
The more I think about it, the more I realize what a precious gift joy truly is...
See, I have heard it said that happiness depends upon our circumstances, but joy is a gift from God that can never be taken away!
Joy endures in difficult circumstances. Joy perseveres even in hardship. Joy smiles when it wants to frown. Joy is a present that can be re-gifted time and time again during this CHRISTmas season! And joy never runs out! It is always renewed every morning!
Hallelujah! Isn't joy grand!
On this day, if you are suffering under the dark clouds of a negative and despairing spirit during this holy day season, I speak God's JOY into your life in the Name of Jesus!
You don't have to wait for your troubles to cease or your circumstance to change, you can CHOOSE JOY. You can smile in spite of it all. You can turn your face and heart to God who loves you, has made provision for your salvation, and has a good plan for your life to help and not harm you. You can sanctify God's Name, by putting Him first and foremost in your life!
As you look to God, who is the start and finish of our faith, God will renew your joy! Hallelujah!
Let us pray: Oh God, it's getting on towards CHRISTmas! I want to be joyful at your birthday party! Please renew my joy in you. Please help me to choose joy despite my circumstances. Please help me to put a smile on my face and my trust in you. Since you gave Jesus to live, die, and rise again to forgive my sin and gift me with eternal life, I know that I have a reason to choose joy. Please, help me to walk in joy today and always, in Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta