The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Joy
How do you define joy? I am a visual person so what helps me define JOY is by what I see. A few Sunday’s ago I was preaching in a church in Lesotho Africa and it was winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Yet, in this cinder block building with hard chairs, a chilling draft, and without heat people came in their Sunday best with smiles ready to encounter God in worship.
By the end of the service those of us who were shivering at the beginning of the service were plenty warm and removing our jackets as we were caught up in the worship service where heavens fire invaded our hearts. Now, for those of us from the western world this is hard to comprehend. Nothing in this particular external environment would typically bring us joy or pleasure. There was no heat; hard chairs, poor lighting, and the volume of the music broke all decimal rules.
And what about all the internal suffering these people brought into the worship service that morning. Extreme poverty, one of the highest death rates in the world because of HIV/Aids, and daily living under the injustice of a corrupt political system. Not to mention a host of other social issues like rape, a huge orphan population and lack of educational opportunities. Yet, somehow in spite of both external and internal battles these people face there was an overwhelming spirit of joy that flowed out of the hearts of these beautiful worshipers.
When I think about the joy I personally experienced that Sunday, surrounded by Besotho followers of Christ engaging in worship I know the source of their joy has to be rooted in God. How could one find joy based on the lack of external comfort in the building or the hardships and suffering in their lives? Yet, JOY invaded their hearts. JOY from a Father in heaven who is complete joy. This JOY is released through the Holy Spirit upon all His children who make Him their hope in the midst of what many of us would label a hopeless situation.
This joyful worship experience in Africa makes Nehemiah 8:10 come to life, “the joy of the LORD is my strength.” You can translate that, “the joy of the LORD is my everything.” Knowing the Father = Joy and His Joy becomes everything you need.
As I remember dancing before the Father with my brothers and sisters in Africa, I praise Him for how they have taught me that He is the source of TRUE JOY!
Tim, as always you ministered to my soul again! Although I do not comment on every blog I NEED to on this one. As we face many forms of challenges whether be in church and daily JOY should be always with us. I say “always” because our JOY comes from the LORD and what HE gives no one can take away. I have been really battling God here lately for many reasons but I came to the decision to practice what I preach and that is to remain JOYFUL!!! Here you are in Africa preaching to broken people with challenges beyond our own mind and yet they still come to worship and seek the JOY of the Lord. I want to be that, I want to always be in worship and burst in the JOY of my Abba Father. Thank you for this post and for always being obedient to where God leads you in His word. Even from Colorado you still remain my pastor and still minister to my soul! Love your brother! Blessings…………………………..Liz
Keep Dancing Liz because the Joy of the Lord is your strength!