Don’t Lose Your Joy

Has the economy, the presidential race, or life in general have you kind of depressed?  Over the past couple of weeks I have had several opportunities to get mad at circumstances and people.  Lately it seems like people in general have an assignment to try to make me mad, so that I lose my joy.  Over the years, my biggest problem is with people, well, actually a person – to be more precise, the one in the mirror looking back at me.  
We all love Romans 8:28,  but verse 29 is the kicker, where part of the reason for all things working together for good is so that in vs. 29 we learn to be conformed to the image of Jesus.   The old TV show “The A Team” with the slogan, “I love it when a plan comes together,” is really a good definition of what God is telling us.  God’s plan is for all things to work together for good, as we conform to the image of Jesus.  While looking down from heaven, I can just hear the whole company of heaven looking at you and me,  and shouting in unison, ” We love it when a plan comes together.”  Can you hear them?  Keep your joy!
The Bible tells us that the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  I am determined to remain in the Holy Spirit and not venture out away from His presence, and then those mirror image problems will quickly fade.  I have also discovered that we lose those three things in reverse order.  First, we generally lose our joy, followed by our peace and finally our righteousness.  
When we lose our joy we also begin to lose our strength because the joy of the Lord is our strength, and we find it difficult to maintain our strong stance for the Lord.   As a result, our peace and righteousness generally disappear rapidly.  In order to regain our strength,  we must first deal with the Lord and get our righteousness back, which in turn results in great peace, followed by that wonderful joy.   You all know what I am talking about.
Stay in His presence – as Psalm 16:11 states, that’s where the fullness of Joy is located.  And you will remain strong in that joy filled position.

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