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Pastor’s Sipes Message for Summer 2018 – An Ode to Joy

"And Nehemiah continued, ‘Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people … This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH!’”
– Nehemiah 8:10

“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and MY HEART IS FILLED WITH JOY. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” – Psalm 28:7

Joy – what a wonderful, strengthening and fulfilling gift! Lately, much of what I see on T.V. or hear on the news is full of judgmental and hateful speech. Somehow, everybody has the right to judge what you are doing and thinking. They feel they have the right to condemn you and attack for what you believe – some are even becoming violent. Too many take their cause, idea or political opinion so seriously that they forget the value of each human life. They attack, criticize and even threaten you if you don’t agree with them and do what they think you should do.
In the midst of all this hate and threats, Jesus calls us away from fear, anger and hate to JOY and GODLY STRENGTH that give us PEACE.
The other day, I was listening to Beethoven’s 9th symphony that is sometimes called
“Ode to Joy.” The song “Jesus, Joy of Man’ Desiring” is also based on Beethoven’s music. Anyway, as I was listening, many Scriptural thoughts began to come into my head and so,
I decided to look up to see how many Scriptures encourage us to find God’s strength and comfort in celebrating the JOY He has given to us by becoming a man and suffering and dying for us. There were hundreds of Scriptures that encouraged, spoke about and taught about the importance of JOY in our lives.
May you take some time this summer to find your strength and to refresh your life with JOY-FILLED music and Bible passages. May you find your JOY in the Lord and not in this world. May our Heavenly Father bless you with great JOY as you consider all that He has done for you and all the promises He has given to protect you and to take care of you.
If you know the tune to “Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” following are some of the words to that song that you can sing right now and some Scriptures to read:
 
Jesu, joy of man’s desiring
Holy wisdom, love most bright
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light
Word of God, our flesh that fashioned
With the fire of life impassioned
Striving still to truth unknown
Soaring, dying round Thy throne

Jude 1:24
“God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in his glorious presence without fault.”

 

Romans 14:17
“God’s kingdom does not consist of what a person eats or drinks. Rather, God’s kingdom consists of God’s approval and peace, as well as the joy that the Holy Spirit gives.”

 

Romans 15:13
“May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Habakkuk 3:18
“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

 

Colossians 1:11
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy….”
 
JOY in Christ,

Pastor Phil