Devotional for Wednesday July 22nd

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Fresh wind, fresh fire”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, ‘The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Choose hope and joy”
 
I’m a morning person. I especially love the early morning, before the dawn. It’s quiet and peaceful and serene. Yesterday morning I had an encounter with the Lord during which He reminded me of an important truth that was helpful for me, and which I believe will be helpful for some of you as well. I was standing at the front door of our house as the dawn was breaking, holding one of our little dogs (she loves the early morning too), and looking outside. We were just standing there, gazing out into the peaceful early morning. It had rained the night before. The air was cool, the birds were singing, the neighborhood was still, and it was … peaceful … and calming.
 
As I stood there soaking it in, I started to think about how all the events in our nation of recent months had been weighing heavily on me. The pandemic; the economy; the politics; the racial tensions; concerns for sick family members; disagreements in the church regarding policies and procedures for the pandemic; my responsibility as a pastor to help our people through these tough times; and more; all on top of regular life. Then, as my sissy-dog and I stood there enjoying the early morning, I realized I was starting to give-in to that sense of heaviness again.
 
Just then, the Lord reminded me of Lamentations 3:22-24. “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, ‘The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”
 
What a beautiful promise! Every day is new and there is hope and joy to be found in the Lord. We just have to choose to find it and focus on it. Then He reminded me of Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.”
 
Real joy isn’t derived from and doesn’t depend on circumstances. Circumstances may influence your happiness in a particular moment and for a short time, but true joy comes from the Lord. It comes from the inside and works its way out, not from the outside working its way in.
 
My situation is not unique. We’ve all been dealing with the same things and we’re all worn out by them. But we can choose joy over despair. We can rejoice rather than brood. We can focus more on God and less on the issues and events of the day. In Romans 15:13 Paul wrote, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
 
We do have a choice regarding what we will allow our minds to dwell on. I encourage you to focus on the truths of God. I encourage you to choose hope and joy.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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