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"Joyfully Yours," 1 Thessalonians 5: 16--24, Pastor Richard Strode Sr

This Advent season preceding Christmas is delightful, happy, filled with good times for most. But for others this time of year, it is a depressing, disappointing and sad season because of the loss of loved ones, financial uncertainty, and thoughts of mortality due to the Covid--19 epidemic. If we focus on the things that make us happy, we discover that those things only gladden our hearts for a season and never completely satisfy us. We always want more--newer and increasingly valuable things. All those things can be lost or taken away: Career--layoffs, unrealized promotion; Home--destroyed or foreclosed; Finances-- garnished or used up; Relationships-- separated by death, divorce or family disowns. But there is one thing--one thing only which no one, even family, no government, courts or disaster can take away from you and I--the Lord's Joy. It comes from the Lord and inspires us to remain confident in our sure hope in God.

When the shepherds gathered around Jesus in the manger, they were joyful to see God's promise fulfilled. They rejoiced and shared the Good News with anyone who would listen as they returned to their livelihood as shepherds with joy! This joy is available to us today if we open our hearts to receive the Lord's promises as stated in the Scriptures. If you are missing joy in your life, what are you doing to claim spiritual joyfulness? Need help? Pray for a Believer to share their experience with Lord's joy with you.

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