I CAN’T STOP SMILING!

Challenging circumstance happen in our imperfect world to teach us one thing—One person is all you need and that One person is Jesus.  When all the things of this earth we hold tightly to slip through our fingers and fade away, Jesus stands waiting to take our hand and lead us to better thinking which leads to a higher, greater perspective of living.  This thinking and living produces a joy “unspeakable and full of glory” because the joy runs so deep, we just can’t explain it.  The smile on our glowing faces when we do realize it and find we have everything we really need and want, cannot be erased.  This joy is eternal.  This joy which drives us forward, trudging through circumstances we never dream we would have to face or walk through, is all we need and all we want. 

This powerful, eternal, unending deep joy is Jesus.  And I can’t stop smiling!

In the background of our reading and praising, childhood choruses flood my mind—

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full, in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

The joy of the Lord is my strength, the joy of the Lord is my strength, the joy of the Lord is my strength, the JOY of the Lord is my strength!

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart (where?)

Down in my heart (where?) Down in my heart! 

(I can sing this one in Creole, too!)

This theology of Joy in Jesus, because of Jesus, settled deep in my heart long ago.  This Jesus Joy has lifted me out of scary pits of despair, saw me through challenging times that forced me to grow and mature more and more.  Jesus Joy and has taught me to say, “It is well, it is well, with my soul”!

So Paul, I see you there, sitting your jail cell, with your apprentice, penning these words of Jesus Joy as quickly as he can.  I see you kneeling in prayer and then standing in grateful praise to the heavens, telling Jesus, the One and Only Savior and Lord, that HE is all you need in this particular circumstance.  I hear you shouting, “Jesus, you are my strength and my song in the night.”  “Jesus, I can make through anything this world throws at me, because I know You!”  “And, I want to know you more!” 

Paul, you have learned your lessons well and now you are teaching us that Jesus is all we need and want in a life that is lived joyfully, expectantly, knowing that Jesus is coming back some day to claim His own.  Thank you for forgetting you are in jail, it doesn’t seem to even faze you!  What an example you are to us!  You continue to obey God, loving Jesus as Your Master, while being used by God as a mentor then and to generations of believers to come!  Wow!

He Who Began a Good Work in You (By Steve Green)

He who began a good work in you
He who began a good work in you
Will be faithful to complete it
He’ll be faithful to complete it
He who started the work
Will be faithful to complete it in you

If the struggle you’re facing
Is slowly replacing
Your hope with despair
Or the process is long
And you’re losing your song
In the night

You can be sure
That the Lord has His hand on you
Safe and secure
He will never abandon you
You are His treasure
And He finds His pleasure in you

He who began a good work in you
He who began a good work in you
Will be faithful to complete it
He’ll be faithful to complete it
He who started the work
Will be faithful to complete it in you…

PHILIPPIANS—PURE JOY!

Philippians 4:10-23, The Message

Content Whatever the Circumstances

10-14 I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.

15-17 You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I’ll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you helped out—and not only once, but twice. Not that I’m looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity.

18-20 And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God to no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.

21-22 Give our regards to every follower of Jesus you meet. Our friends here say hello. All the Christians here, especially the believers who work in the palace of Caesar, want to be remembered to you.

23 Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.

Savior and Lord,

What a way to end our reading of Paul’s letter to the Philippians!  You ARE the joy of my life.  You are everything I need and want.  You are my hope.  You are Hope.  You are my Life.  You are Life.  And you are my Joy.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Continue to grow me in all ways.  I know you are not finished with me, yet, and you are working to complete your work in me.  To YOU be all glory!

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen!

I still can’t stop smiling!

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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