29 Jul Summer Joy Week 3
The Joy Cafè was filled with chatter, manna, and merriment. I was graced to sit at the table with Cathy and others who were excited to discuss the book, “Be Joyful”. The facilitators at my table had indeed studied the Word of the Lord and led us in some thought-provoking questions which further enhanced our understanding of the lesson from the previous week. I glanced around the room and it was a pleasure to see how everyone was so engaged in the discussions and they just permeated so much joy.
The sound of melodies disseminated into the atmosphere and we quickly gathered our things and headed toward the chapel. I had such a spirit of expectation and I was not disappointed. As I crossed the threshold of the chapel, my feet stepped into the freedom and joy of the Lord. Please be patient with me as I attempt to articulate a moment in time where the mantle of creativity interlocked with a prophetic sound that shifted the atmosphere and all weights and shackles were dismantled and broken. Indeed, the mighty man of valor has been through the crucible of life. You see when you are drenched with that much anointing; a price is paid. I want to personally thank you, Jermaine, for pressing, pushing, and staying before the Lord. Jermaine Morgan opened his mouth to sing, “I Am Not Afraid” and we were privileged and honored to hear the sound of heaven.
The next voice that we heard came from a vessel that is packed with power. She is a woman of the cloth who exudes joy and walks worthy of the calling on her life. She stood before us and taught us a lesson that she has exemplified time and time again. She is trained and equipped to pray, preach, and teach. My space is limited so I will stop here and let you know that we were graced to receive wisdom from our Executive Pastor, Dr. Carla A. Stokes.
In this life, we will have trial and tribulation, but we must learn how to count it all joy. We have to set up that contingency plan to help us stay in a posture of positivity and glee. What brings you joy? Perhaps it is being around family and friends, a movie, or doing something that makes you laugh. We cannot allow our joy to be stifled by the cares of this world, but we must surround ourselves with people and things that cause us to portray the joy of the Lord. Pastor Stokes shared with us how a well has water in it, but you have to prime the pump for the water to come out. We also have water on inside of us, that living water that refreshes and restores, the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit lives on the inside of us, we are replete with joy. It is our responsibility and obligation to prime the pump, speak words that are seasoned, and extend the joy that rejuvenates.
Pastor Stokes taught us how to restore others through scriptures such as Philippians 2:9-11; Philippians 2:19-23; and Luke 22:24-27. As we travel this journey called life, it is our mandate to be a reflection of the Kingdom of God. We must reflect a light of joy. What is joy? It is putting Jesus first, others second, and then yourself. Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus were great examples of unconditional joy and restoring others. Paul was an apostle who had a mindset and heart to serve. Although he was in prison, he kept a positive outlook. We must make sure that our hearts and minds are aligned with the will of God. As we look at Timothy, he showed us how to be selfless and how we can mature through our experiences in life. Some of the best training comes from the lessons of life. Epaphroditus was different and impactful. He was willing to go the extra mile and stretch. Sometimes in life, the maturation process can be arduous, but we must not stop, but keep going so that others can be restored and empowered. Now, let us apply the Word of the Lord and change a neighborhood, a school, and a nation through the act of humility, love, and service. I hope you are willing to make the sacrifice.
Thoughts to ponder:
1-Leaders can either surrender to their circumstances, or they can surrender to a cause so great, their circumstances don’t matter. (John Maxwell)
2-Smile, speak and share.
We are powerful beings who were created to share the joy of the Lord. May we start each day with an objective to restore others and to give generously.