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Everyone wants to be happy and people are trying many different ways to achieve happiness.

For some having the vaccine will start to make them feel happy. Through it, they can see some light at the end of what has been and probably is still a very dark tunnel.

The joy I am talking about is a joy which I believe only God can give through His Holy Spirit and is a fruit of that Spirit. Therefore I conclude if that is true it is given by a divine God and therefore it is a spiritual rather than an earthly feeling. 

Remember the JOY we are talking about is not a feeling, but a fact. As Job said ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’. 

Yesterday we saw how Job faced his dark tunnel and came through it. Today a different scenario yet nevertheless real as two people are put in prison, beaten up and left to rot. 

Paul asks a great question in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 when he asks ‘For what is our hope, our joy?’ What indeed!

Followers of Jesus are people who are meant to glorify God in everything they do. Ok, if everything is pleasant but surely not in prison and bleeding. Yet that is what we read. Paul and Silas sang praise songs and rejoiced in God. 

Seem crazy to you? Well Paul’s perspective is summed up in a verse

But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy.

Psalm 68:3 (NLT)

When times are hard we still can have JOY. Paul’s reason to be joyful in any situation is I believe summed up in another Psalm, that of Psalm 30:5 (b)

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. 

Remember JOY is not a feelinga fact. As Job said ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’.

Back to the story found in Acts 16:24-25 Paul and Silas were thrust into the inner prison with their feet fast in the stocks. At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. The reason they sang praises to the Lord in spite of their circumstances was Paul did not rely on his feelings as I am sure that joy at that particular moment would not have been on his list. The reason is Paul trusted the Lord to take care of them (fact) and to help them get through the trials.

The outcome was remarkable for we are told an earthquake happened (not because their singing was that bad or good to cause it) and they did not escape out of the prison. They kept singing. The effect was the jailer who was in charge of them became a follower of Jesus, and not only him, but his family too. 

Another time Paul said ‘therefore my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong’

Trust me to say that those words have more to do with a fact of a relationship with God than any feeling Paul had.

They knew that God had a plan for their lives. They knew that people who follow Jesus will suffer as well as every other human being. They walked confidently trusting in the Lord.

I hope we can catch something of what JOY meant to Paul and I leave you with Paul’s own words on JOY:

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Stay safe and Blessed

Author Edward Lawrence

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