[CF Devotionals] 2019-07-17 - Seeing Joy

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Joy (n.) as defined by Weter’s (New 20th Century) Dictionary, Unabridged-second edition 1983 is from the Latin gaudia (gaudium), joy, a jewel. A very glad feeling; happiness; great pleasure; delight.

The expression of this feeling. In the verb tense, the dictionary uses the Habakkuk verses below as an example of what it means to rejoice and be full of joy. Notice, too, that the verses leading up to the expression of joy are unpleasantries. In fact, God promises to allow us to “tread on the heights” of the joy he has given us in times of drought. We will have to struggle. But he carries us through everything (believing on Him) and while times can be challenging, we should face them head-on knowing that he keeps His promises. “How do we manage through the times where we feel anything but joy?” you may ask. There is, in fact, a built-in plan, as the body was designed with endorphins. Endorphins (n.) are any number of peptides secreted in the brain that have a pain-relieving effect like that of morphine (same Webster’s used above). The word is a blend of the words endogenous and morphine, and the medications made known as opiates attach themselves to the peptides, to increase the effect in times such as injury recovery. In everyday living, the joyful experiences and moments we share naturally will literally and figuratively carry us through those alternate ones of anxiousness, concern, sadness, anger, and heavy heartedness. Not only did God promise to carry me through anything I faced spiritually, but He also made a way for the flesh I reside in now. to help me along. It gives me hope just in the realization that His design included a physical manner of relief in this temple. Since we live in a world that has fallen from grace, there are imperfections (chemical imbalances, allergies, heart defects, genetic malfunction, etc.) in us as a result, yet it does not change the idea that the original plan consisted of physically, spiritually, and emotionally having a source of relief, as we walk life’s path. Some days, we may feel more physically sound than others and can be encouraged spiritually and emotionally. Other days, we may feel more spiritually connected and can find comfort in having a physically or emotionally challenged day. And even better still, there can be days we feel fully in tune. And if we feel completely off the rails on another day, we can dive deep into prayer or His word, seeking relief that will manifest spiritually and often physically, as well.

God gave me a sense of humor that is sometimes on the highly quirky side. Some of the life experiences I have had were made more bearable by having such a sense of humor. Irony, or opposite of normal, has played out in overwhelming fashion at times, and without sarcasm to help, I have no idea what I would do. For instance, the pain-relieving system built into the human body of releasing endorphins for pain relief seems to be flawed in my body. Overactive nerves often confuse natural pain relief signals, and I end up with pain in places that have no true issue. The tricky part is that sometimes there is an actual nerve impingement, and consequentially, real pain exists - which further confuses me! Also, being allergic to medications that might temporarily relieve discomfort, like opiates, confines my options. Therefore, rest is difficult, and the cycle seems to spin me in circles. But I know His grace gives me access to His power, and more important than the physical pain is the spiritual health and clarity provided to me that others need. So I use the tools I have been given, to try again each day, and to trust in His perfect plan all the while. Recognizing the irony of overactive pain receptors and allergies to some medicines, and ineffective results of many I am not allergic to, amuses me more than anything, and allows me to realize I have the added gift of being addiction-free. too. Laughter, caring relationships, a rush of excitement, and even certain types of foods can all produce some of the same effects to relieve pain with natural hormone production, as well. (Why Laughter May Be the Best Pain Medicine: http://www.scientificamerican.com. So, having other ways to achieve the same goal of seeing joy while it is happening, and letting it carry me through tough times, is also part of His plan. The greatest eternal delight is yet to come, yet the Father wants us to enjoy the time we have been given in the meantime as He weaves it all together. I believe he also delights in the quirkiness he gave me to see the world. How many different ways have you seen joy? In likely and unlikely ways, perhaps? Let him “enable you to tread on the heights” with his strength.

Habakkuk 3:19NIV
“Though the fig tree does not bud
  and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
  and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
  and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
  I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
  he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
  he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV)

“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you. 20 Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18-20 ASV)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV)

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

“So, I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15 NIV)

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7 NIV)

“and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:12 NIV)

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:7-9 NIV)

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All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted


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