Friday, September 28, 2012

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As a vintage person, over the years through trial and error, I have come to realize that we must always look on the bright side. The Lord gives us joy, in one way or another, in everything we encounter. Today we are presented with many challenges, not the least being the end of this age. The end times can bring about two possibilities:

1. We can fear these times and be depressed about them.

2. We can believe that God is in control, and delight that His plan is for our eventual good.

All my life I have been accused of being ‘up’ all the time. Because of this, I have not suffered with many mental disease states brought on by being a pessimist. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I do my best to listen carefully to the voice of the Lord, so that ‘none of these diseases’ would be brought on me.

I have always done my best to present myself to others as ‘up’ and it usually is infectious. The Lord will give you joy if you seek it, and as you exude it, others around you will want it also. This is the secret of the prosperity gospel. Feeling good is contagious. Would you rather be, or be around, a sad pessimist or a happy optimist? Who would your friends rather be around? Put on a happy face. Laughter is the best medicine. A positive outlook can build you up and a negative attitude can bring you down. We should always look for the silver lining in every cloud. God doesn’t want you down; He wants you to be filled with His joy.

Your body will follow the direction of your attitude. Physical illness can be helped by a positive attitude. Emotional illness needs to, and can be overcome by a positive attitude. This can be a long process, but you have to take the first step. All things work together for good for those who trust in the Lord. Trusting in the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He didn’t design us to be Mr. or Mrs. Droopy. He designed us to have His peace and joy. God said He would never leave you of forsake you. Considering that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, are you delighting in Him, or are you dragging Him down to the point that it’s harder for Him to help you?

You don’t need to present a fake joy to others. If you trust in the Lord, and view life through God’s eyes you will exude it. It will be impossible to hide your joy from others. When you don’t feel your best, you have to tell yourself what the Bible says: ‘It came to pass’ and ‘all things work together for good for those who trust in the Lord’. How do you gain that trust? You get into the Word of God. Start with tiny steps and He will build up your stride. (But I, I can’t, I don’t see how, I can’t overlook : bull hockey.) Until you try, you will never see if it works or not.

I am not saying to fake your feelings to others – what I am saying is that you should display outwardly whatever good things you have, to others and yourself. A small positive attitude will grow if you dwell on the positive: not that you present yourself as ‘all is good and nothing can get me down’, simply that you convince yourself, or become convinced, that the Lord is on your side and nothing can overcome His love for you. Saint Paul and the boys had some really hard circumstances to overcome. They were jailed, beaten, scourged, stoned and suffered great rejection. Having the joy of the Lord in their hearts, they were able to survive these circumstances and even sing hymns while chained up in a dark prison. Some, at the point of their death, said the equivalent of ‘I am sorry that I only have one life to give for my Lord’. In order to act joyful, you must be joyful. If you have the joy of the Lord in your heart, nothing can overcome that joy. A solid foundation, gained from the word of God, will control your thoughts and actions; because of the joy you have gained through your knowledge of Him. The best way to show this inner joy to your friends is not to flaunt it, but rather to let them see it in your actions and attitude.

I have seen the difference between true Holy Laughter and the fake holy laughter, in the mind control of the evil one. True Holy Laughter brings joy, and comes from the joy of the Lord; not the ‘I want to go along with the crowd’ mentality.

Modern medicine has proven that laughter, and a joyful heart, bring about healing (proverbs 17:22 says: A merry heart does good like a medicine). God has designed our bodies to react physically to our emotions. He can help us to divert our negative emotions in a positive way. If you are filled with the joy of the Lord, you won’t be filled with sorrow and frustration. Some times, however, the Lord’s Spirit in us needs to be refilled, because we leak (be being filled). Seek His will for your life, by diligent study, and your spirit will be built up (refilled). Faith is the substance of things not seen, but rather that the Lord is in charge. There is a spiritual battle in each of us and in the world at large. We need to seek God and His will for our lives. If there is no seeking, everything is stagnant. We battle not with flesh and blood, but rather with principalities and powers. What we have on our side is that the Lord is ‘Lord of all’, which is stronger than what we are fighting.

What we need to keep foremost in our minds, is the Joy of the Lord.

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart!
Down in my heart!
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay!

The joy is always there. What we have to do, sometimes, is to find it and put it to use.

Rick Rahn


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