Monday, October 8, 2012

Joy in His Presence


“Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.”
1 Chronicles 16:27
 I was so excited to hear that joy is the topic of conversation this month. This seems like a perfect transition in light of what I shared last month. After a season of limping to seek God in my brokenness, I finally had a joyous breakthrough (even though my circumstances haven’t changed), and I’m ready to share the praise report because I whole-heartedly believe that God desires joyous breakthroughs for all of us!

The other day I was spending some worship time alone, which is kind of the norm for me. I’m a sing in the shower type of gal, and a belt-it-out-when-stopped-at-a-red-light sort of driver. But I’ll tell you what was different about this particular time of worship; I consciously, whole-heartedly submitted myself to the Spirit, in a dying to the flesh and relinquishing control kind of way. […Not easy to do, especially when you’re still recovering from an offended heart.]

All of a sudden I felt the Spirit surround me like a thick blanket. Peace that passes understanding filled my heart and mind. Then, joy overwhelmed my heart in the sweetest way.  All of my brokenness—all of my wanderings—felt so dim in light of His presence.  I don’t know how else to describe it. The ache of my earthly afflictions literally felt far away in the distance. It reminded me of the Lyrics to “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band:

Then all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by gloryAnd I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me. 
Y’all, I have never, in all of life’s most precious moments, felt the kind of joy I have felt in God's presence [I pray you can truly relate]. It's a joy filled with hope that surpasses any earthly trouble weighing heavy on my heart.  It's a joy that spills over into the next day and the next and makes me we want to go back to His presence for more! This particular time, the Spirit reminded me of a verse:

“In your presence, there is complete joy” – (Acts 2:28; Psalm 16:11)

Wow. That God even makes His presence available to us is pretty incredible. Some might say this type of experience is few and far between, or one that is not meant for everyone to experience. But here’s where I get excited about God’s joy for you too!

Jesus Has Prayed for Your Joy.
It has always seemed amazing to me that Jesus intercedes for us (Heb. 7:25). There is a beautiful passage of John 17, in which we get a glimpse of how Jesus prays for the children of God. In his prayer he asks God that we might have His full measure of joy within us. (John 17:9-13)  Elsewhere in John 15, Jesus teaches about remaining in Him, The Vine, and remaining in His love, "so that your joy may be complete".

You see it is the Lord’s will that our joy be complete. Therefore, it is His pleasure to grow the fruit of joy in our lives. 

So How Do I get This Joy?
I believe it starts by submitting to God fully, and remaining in Him. Isn't it so easy to slowly drift into relying on our own  strength, even in good things like ministry? Let's reassess our hearts and let His joy be our strength. Operating out of His source of joy as our strength will make the load so much lighter.

Next, pray in agreement with Jesus. In His powerful name, "ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete" (John 16:24). Then practice His presence through regular worship and thanksgiving [not just corporately, individually]. Your joyous breakthrough may not come immediately, but do not give up. He does inhabit [dwell in] the praises of his people and “…strength and joy are in his dwelling place” (1 Chron. 16:27). Joy is available for all of us! 

Dare I ask? What if He’s just been waiting for you to enter in?  :) 

“Holy Spirit, since joy is one of the fruit you grow in the lives of the children of God, please weed, prune, and fertilize my heart for a fresh crop.” – Pastor Scotty Smith**

May His joy abound in you,

Monique Zackery

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Monique is a Northern California Pastor's wife. When she isn't glueing her fingers together in a D.I.Y. project, you can find her worshiping God through music and everyday life.  Above all, she desires to be an arrow, pointing others to Jesus. To learn more about Monique, you can visit her family ministry blog at www.TheZackerys.blogspot.com


2 comments:

  1. So powerful Monique... "All of my brokenness -- all of my wanderings -- felt so dim in light of His presence." God is huger than your pain or my pain. Thanks for this reminder, Sister.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, Carla. He is WAY BIGGER than we can even imagine. Love you, sister.

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