Renewal of joy

  • Written by Craig Denison
  • Published in First 15
First 15: Renewal of joy

Weekly Overview:

One of the best aspects of spending time alone with God is being renewed daily by his word and presence. When we make space for God in our lives, especially at the beginning of the day, he is faithful to renew and prepare us for all we will face out in the world. Scripture says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23). Where do you need renewal? How greatly do you need God's mercies in your life? He has a plan this week to both teach and guide you into an encounter with him that will renew you with his overwhelming goodness and love. Make space for God. Make time to encounter him. And experience the refreshing spring rain he longs to bring to heal the dry and weary places of your heart.


Scripture:

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." Psalm 51:12

Worship:

This Is What You Do by Bethel Music featuring Matt Stinton




Devotional:

When I think of the word joy I often picture the unadulterated smile of a child's face. Children have this ability to have joy simply because they've found the delight of their parents. The joy of a child is unlike anything most of us experience as we grow up. For most of us, true joy has been crowded out by the pressures and cares of responsibility. Joy becomes contingent upon the circumstances of our life. Most of us feel the pressure of finances, work, relationships and even serving God consistently to the point that joy is a goal we've almost given up on. But God has a message and a plan for you, for a renewal of consistent and unshakable joy. Let's open our hearts and minds to dive into everything God has instore for us as we spend time encountering his desire to bring us joy.

Our joy is not to be of this world, but of God. Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." The fullness of joy will only be found in God's presence, and the Bible tells us that God's presence is everywhere! Psalm 139:7-10 says, "Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me." Because God is everywhere and in his presence is fullness of joy, joy is available to you 24/7. And Scripture teaches us in Romans 14:17 that "the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." God's lordship in our lives is all about "righteousness and peace and joy." Our heavenly Father desires to bring about those incredible fruits of the Spirit in you today. He has a plan to lead you to perfect, unshakable joy. But in order to receive the incredible gift your God wants to give you today, you will have to make a choice to place your hope and trust in him.

Scripture tells us that our joy is to be wholeheartedly found in God and not in the world. The joy our heavenly Father longs to bring us is meant to transcend anything this world could do ever do to us. But in order for God's desire to come to fruition in our lives, we have to place our hope and trust solely in him. Psalm 33:21 says, "our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name." Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." What we place our trust and belief in becomes the rudder that guides our emotions. If you place your trust in your job, people or finances you are building a foundation for your joy that can be crushed at a moment's notice. But if you will choose today to place your trust and hope in your Lord Jesus Christ, you will have a sure foundation unshakable by any trial or circumstance that comes your way. In fact, those very trials that had the power to destroy your joy will in God become yet another source of it. James 1:2-4 says, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." When you place your hope and trust in God, your eyes will be opened to see the incredible work he is doing in you through any and every circumstance. Whether you have success in this life or not, you will have joy because your life will be wholly lived with your relationship with God as first priority. When your goal is to see God's Kingdom come to earth, the circumstances of your job and relationships won't have the power to shake your joy and satisfaction any longer. You see, God's plan to is to redeem your life totally and completely. God's plan is to renew your joy every morning as you place your hope and trust in him alone.

Spend time today with your heavenly Father doing that very thing. Reflect on your life and see what has had the ability to shake your joy. May your joy become like that of a child's today, who simply delights in the love of the Father. "May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy," Colossians 1:11

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the joy God has instore for those who place their trust in him.

"For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name." Psalm 33:21

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11

2. Reflect on your own life. What has the power to steal your joy? Where have you been placing your trust and hope?

3. Place your hope and trust in your heavenly Father today. Choose to give him your heart instead of the world. Make your relationship with him first priority.

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

How incredible is the heart of our God that he would consistently and constantly bring us joy! Your God has such a love for you that he never wants you to go a day without it. He never wants you to have a moment without his unshakable joy. Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Experience the abundant life your God has in store for you as you live your life in a whole-hearted pursuit of him and his Kingdom today.

Extended Reading: Psalm 139