Better Than You Can Ever Imagine

Today is Friday, May 5, 2017.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 
  who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 

Psalm 66:8-9
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. 
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 17:7-8
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! 
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.

Psalm 118:25-26
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

(From Solid Joys)

In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. 
2 Corinthians 7:4

In today’s reading, John Piper gives us seven sources of joy.

1. It is taught by Jesus. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23) “Troubles for Jesus compound your interest in heaven–which lasts a lot longer than earth.”

2. It comes from the Holy Spirit, not from our own efforts, imagination, or even family influences. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

3. It comes from being a part of the Kingdom of God. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

4. It comes through faith, which is believing God. 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. (Romans 15:13) Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith. (Philippians 1:25)

5. It comes from “seeing and knowing Jesus as Lord.” Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

6. It comes when fellow believers work together to help us focus on joy, rather than “deceitful circumstances.” Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. (2 Corinthians 1:24)

7. It comes from tribulation. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Can we be like Paul, when he says, “I am overflowing with joy?” He calls for us to imitate him as he imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

In addition to this, Dallas Willard points out that, as we become disciples, or students, of Christ, we will, as Jesus said, know the truth, and that truth will set us free. “It will set you free because it will be the realization of how things really are. There’s a lot to smile about. Joy is the final word. ‘My joy I give you,’ Jesus said. Along with his peace and his love came joy. That is based on the reality that things are really better than you can ever imagine as you live in the kingdom of God.” (Living in Christ’s Presence, p. 81)

“Things are really better than you can ever imagine . . .” Think on that for a while!

Father, may I experience the joy of Jesus today as his truth sets me free.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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