Saturday March 13 – Day 25 – IN HOPE: JOY

 In Lenten Devotional

Saturday March 13 – Day 25 – IN HOPE: JOY

“ 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. “ – Romans 12:12 (NIV)

“11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fuelled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.” – Romans 12:11-13 (MSG)

Over the last five days, if you hadn’t noticed, the theme of our devotions have focused on an aspect of hope. During Lent, this season is a period filled with hope and expectation.  Even though we are well aware of how the story will develop, we wait IN HOPE for God’s one-time deal of the century for humankind.

And in accepting this deal, we can be joyful in the hope we have.

Think of one of the greatest deals you have ever had on an item that you were so desperately wanting to purchase.  How did you feel knowing that you were purchasing something that was worth so much more, but you got it for a steal?  It made the item purchasing worth more than what you paid for it.

God’s deal of the century in allowing Jesus to pay the price for our own sins is great cause for the deepest joy we could ever experience.

Because of Jesus, we will never have to know what it would be like to be separated from God for eternity.

Because of Jesus, we can live in joy knowing that our debt has been paid in full.

I love how the Message translates “Be joyful in hope””:  “Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.”  We do need to be alert and awake, but cheerfully expectant of whatever situations we face in life.

Jesus’ sacrifice allows us the opportunity to experience joy and to share it with others.  This is the Good News.

We are also encouraged not to give up when the hard times come, and they always do.  Like living through COVID-19 and various lockdowns, right?

We are then called to “pray all the harder”.  Sounds like good advice.

Heard this before?  Yep, in almost every devotional in this series!

When you experience joy from your relationship with Jesus, how do you share that joy with others?  For me it is an easy method: I simply write a song that captures where I am at in my walk with Jesus.  This weekend, your challenge is to find a practical way to share the joy you are feeling today with others.  It doesn’t have to be showy.  It could be an anonymous random act of kindness made for a stranger.  It could be simply putting out energy that resonates with God’s grace and love.

For those of you who spend time driving around the city, someone has taken it upon themselves to write these very positive messages at intersections for people to read and be encouraged.  Rose-Frances and I have really enjoyed them and been encouraged as well.  Here are some of the signs, on white signs with blue lettering:

“Love who you are. You’re so lovable and kind”

“Feel the love in your soul”

“Believe in you”

“You will be just fine my love”

“You inspire me, to be so much kinder”

In one of the signs, one of the “T”’s was subtly painted in the shape of a cross (“You will be just fine my love”). I KNEW IT! Here was a believer, sharing her or his love for Jesus by encouraging others by God honouring invitations and encouragements. What a great way to share the joy we experience having been saved by Jesus’ sacrificial gift!

Your challenge does NOT have to be glamorous or over the top. It could be doing something for your neighbour like picking up the garbage on the street left by students and people who work at the hospital. My neighbour John does whenever he can and it makes the neighbourhood more beautiful. Over a period when he was healing from surgery you could tell that he hadn’t been picking up the garbage: the street was beginning to look like an abandoned alleyway downtown. His act of kindness brought me and others on our street joy.

In hope of Jesus, we celebrate that hope with others so that they can experience more joy.

Church, be joyful in the journey of Lent. Be patient as you deal with all of the afflictions around you, and don’t stop praying because you think God can’t hear you. He can, and He is there.

Our community love singing the song “Joy” by Rend Collective and the one meme that was taken from the band says, “seriousness isn’t a fruit of the spirit, but joy is!”.

May you share your joy extravagantly this weekend with the world you come into contact with, and may your joy overflow all the days of your life!

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