The Joy Crushers

Life has been different since moving to Missouri. The political climate in Minnesota is dark, which to be honest, made it easier when we felt God calling us to, “Go,” to go. We made the move January first, and as we look back on what has been happening in the MN, it sometimes feels like we got out just in time. The lawmakers are taking steps to try to tighten up government control and make following God’s principles harder. Morals, family, and sanctity of life are under attack.

The climate where we are in Missouri is lighter. The politics are more conservative, the church has a greater presence, and the “woke” culture has not dug in as far. I don’t have internet at home yet (but I will soon), so not seeing the news on a regular basis relieves a lot of the pressure. In the absence of worry, I have been hearing God’s voice more loudly and He has been teaching me things that I am so excited to learn and looking forward to sharing.

I pulled this post out of my drafts. I started it before the move, and have given it a bit of a make-over. I wrote it on a day that I was pushing back against the negativity I encountered so often when I went to town and in casual conversations. Fear has been a very real sentiment for many people since Covid and the elections. It makes me sad because there are many areas of life that fear can creep in. God knows that, so scripture repeatedly tells us to choose to give thanks on a regular basis. Worry does nothing to change the future. What it does do is crush our joy. When we become focused on complaining about today and worrying about tomorrow, we are missing the blessings embedded in every moment of our lives.

When we fixate on what the enemy is doing, we miss what God is doing.

That is the truth.

Joy isn’t dependent on our circumstances. It transcends them. Why? Because joy is dependent on our restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Joy knows that when we encounter trouble in this life, Jesus has overcome the world and our home is in heaven.

Joy is what Paul had discovered when he said he could be content whether he was rich or poor (in prison for the gospel or free)…he said he had learned the secret, and that secret was that he could do all things through Christ. He could let joy rule because Christ made it possible.

So can you and I.

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught that even when we are persecuted for His sake, we should rejoice and be glad because our reward is great and the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to us. That is our home. That is where our treasure is supposed to be.

If we spend our time focusing on the negative consequences of the moral failures around us and grumble to others, we are experiencing some moral failure of our own, and we are blind to the blessings that belong to us… like unopened gifts under the tree. Then we are not shining the light for others to capture the hope that we really do have. That is what we are called to do—hold out the light of the gospel. It is the absence of the truth that has brought us to such a dark place in history. And yet, in this darkness we have the greatest opportunity to shine. At no other time have we had so much opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God and rescue the lost.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Do we believe what God’s word tells us? Will we let it shape our thought lives, feelings, and responses?

Noah, Joseph, Daniel, Esther, Gideon, and Paul… they all show us how God can raise up one person to shape an entire generation. They turned their focus from the problem to the solution. Under pressure, they turned into glittering diamonds that pushed back the darkness and brought hope to others.

I really want to encourage you that God will use you to do the same. We can disregard the joy crushers and partner with God to give the world a reason to want the Word of Life.

Are you ready?

Image by Joe and from Pixabay

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