Unleashing the Joy of the Lord


Philippians Chapter 4, starting with verse 2. As you’re searching the word you’ve noticed that Pastor Roberto is not here, and he’s not here for good reasons. He is in Spain. I don’t know what time it is in Spain, he could be in the middle of lunch or in the middle of the siesta, which is a legal requirement in Spain, or he could be preparing for a talk in… about to cast out 16 demons from somebody up there. Whatever it is, could you all agree with me right now to bless Pastor Roberto in the name of Jesus.

Heavenly Father, I just thank you for having opened this door. You love that country. You have a purpose for that country. Lord, Father we affirm Pastor Roberto’s apostolic calling. We affirm that you have opened this door, you’ve sent him there. We affirm that greater is he who is in him than he who’s in the world and we ask you Lord God that you just deliver Spain to the Kingdom of God, that you strengthen and affirm pastors, that you bring people under the conviction of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and that you may use our pastor as a wedge to open up the gates of hell, that they may never be closed again to your gospel. Use him in the name of Jesus.

Philippians, chapter 4, we’ll start with verse 2. As we go through the scripture shouldn’t be any surprise if you had any exposure to Philippians, chapter 4. You get a good guess, we’re going to talk about joy tonight and there are some things that I need to confess to you. First of all, I need to confess that I was actually quite reluctant to bring this word, in fact I struggled with the Holy Spirit, I had something else in mind. I kept coming back to this, the Holy Spirit kept bringing it back to my face, first in my own, but also in a series of conversations and encounters that I’ve had with different people throughout this week, most recently this morning.

As we were pulling up to the parking lot for this morning’s men’s group, we have a 10:30 recovery group for men who God has delivered and continues to deliver from life controlling addictions, this man who pulled in, who has been free from his addiction for better than a decade. God has done wonderful things in his life, just examples of so much triumph that God has done in his life, we pulled in practically together. He walks over to me and the first thing he says, you know, not even a ‘God bless you’. The first thing he said is, ‘Pastor Sam, I don’t really even want to be here. I’m here out of duly and obligation today because I felt that I really needed to be here, but I feel terrible. I mean, I feel miserable about who I am, about the way things are, and he shared a couple of issues. And then in the group he said something that I regard as profound and given what the Lord has charged me with tonight, I regard as prophetic. He said, ‘God has not called me to the life of Christ to be miserable. God, he says this, he didn’t call me to be miserable.’

Now, I’ve got a confession to make: there have been many times where in my own walk with Christ, as I have served the Lord, as I’ve come and I’ve worshiped and I’ve done different things in the name of Jesus, a lot of those times, a lot of those times where I’ve shared or done, or been active in some way, there’s been an internal limp in my heart and a lot of that has been out of pain. And I’ve got to confess to you: I have not always identified with the joy of the Lord. It has often alluded me. And one of the things that I love about the word of God and why I believe the word of God is true, is that scripture does not run from those realities and in fact, facing them, is where scripture gathers its power and its strength and its credibility.

And in this, like Beethoven wrote his greatest piece was known as ‘Ode to joy’, and Paul’s ‘ode to joy’ in Philippians chapter 4, it actually begins with a slap down argument, face to face, bru ja ja…. Between these two servants of God. That’s how this passage begins. Could you imagine. Paul is in prison. What kind of a fight must this have been to get his attention and force him to write a letter to the Philippians and intervene in this conflict between these two sisters. It had to be some tiff for it to get his attention or these two people had to be so powerful, whatever it was, it had to have had some thread of destabilizing the harmony in the church in Philippi for him to cast his two cents on this.

So he begins this passage that tells us so much about the joy of the Lord describing a reality, that if we are going to be honest, you and I know all too well. And it’s this: it’s absolutely possible, and this is precisely what the Lord is going to teach us to escape tonight in the name of Jesus, but it’s absolutely possible to live the Christian life without ever knowing the joy of the Lord. It’s absolutely possible to live out your days as a Christian on this planet without experiencing the joy of the life of Christ.

So, he writes, he says, you know, “…Philippians, I love you, I long for you, you’re my crown, my joy, I ask that you stand firm in the faith but, I plead with Eudoias and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Can you imagine him writing this out in prison to… of all things that got to do or, I’ve actually got to put my two sensing on this. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, the pastor of Philippi, please help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”

There are three things that just from that passage we can learn about who these ladies are: Eudoias and Syntyche. First, they’re saved. They’re saved. We know that because Paul says specifically, ‘your names are in the book of life’. They’re saved.

Second, they are useful. They’re powerful, they’re anointed, they’re hard workers. Paul says ‘these women, they’ve contended with me. They’ve been in the front line with me. They’ve done remarkable things with me. God has used them.’

And the third thing that we can learn about these folks is that despite the fact that they’re saved, despite the fact they’re busy in the kingdom, despite the fact that they’re useful, despite the fact that they’re anointed, they’re unhappy. They’re saved, they’re useful, they’re busy, they’re respected and they’re profoundly unhappy. They have conflicts with each other and Paul is beginning to circle in on this reality in those conflicts.

Just like James says, “From whence come wars and fighting among you?” James asks in James, chapter 4. And he answers his own question “Don’t they come from your passions, your unfulfilled desires? Doesn’t it come from inside you some place?”

And that’s exactly the case here. There is something profoundly missing wrong inside them that produces the warring and the conflicts around them. And Paul is about to diagnose this and the diagnosis is ‘joylessness’.

He goes on, in verse 4 in this declaration that we should all know by heart. “Rejoice in the Lord always.” I will say it again: “Rejoice”.

I don’t know if this is the first time you’ve ever read those words: rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice. But I’ve been reading those words, whether in Spanish or in English, since childhood. And my response up until very recently, the way I’ve read them has always been kind of, well, now I kind of admit, kind of weird.

I’d always read them as this: a command. In a way it is, the Lord is saying through Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always”.

Now, how do you respond to that? If you’re like me, you’re going to go home and say, ‘Ok, I don’t feel terrific, so now, I’m going to rejoice. Now, I really mean it, I’m going to really rejoice. I’m going to rejoice.’ And the more you try to rejoice, the more frustrated you feel, the mad you get, you know.

It’s like somebody walking up to you when you’ve just had you worst day, your car just gets blocked in the ice for the last 20 minutes. Your boss, a very loving, understanding soul, points out the fact that you should have been in the meeting 45 minutes ago. Of course, you’re soaking wet from trying to extricate your car, and on top of that the check that you wrote last week bounced. And then someone walks up to you and says, ‘Praise God, it’s all going to clear up. Put on a happy face.’ What do you? You want to slap this guy. ‘Rejoice!’ Rejoice in the Lord always.

Lesson one: You can’t manufacture the joy of the Lord. You can’t just make this up. It’s not something that you just will into existence that way. Then what is this? What is he saying? You know, what this is? The Holy Spirit finally reveals to me. You know what this is? This is a diagnosis. Sisters, brothers in Christ, rejoice in the Lord. You need a healthy dose of joy. This is the same as you going to the doctor and the doctor saying, ‘Mr. Acevedo, you need to lower your cholesterol and loose 10 pounds’. Or you going to your school counselor and your counselor says, you go to someone like Dave or myself, ok, and we’re looking at your grades and say ‘You really…. You want to go to that college, you really have to pull up your science grades’.

Now, it doesn’t make any more sense to say, ‘Ok, cholesterol, I command you to fall’, you know. And it doesn’t make any more sense to say, you know, ‘Science grade, rise’, you know. That doesn’t make sense.

What does make sense is this. And isn’t this what the doctor is trying to say. The doctor is saying, ‘If you adopt a certain lifestyle, if you put into practice certain habits, a natural byproduct of living a certain way is going to produce the result you want. A natural byproduct….. You want to lower cholesterol? What do you do? You know, you skip the eggs, you get on the treadmill a little bit. You know, you want your science grade to go up, what, maybe you want to study a couple of more hours?

And as a natural byproduct of these habits, of this lifestyle, of living a new and different way, the results respond. And what Paul is saying is, ‘there’s a lifestyle in Christ that if you learn it, there are practices in Christ, that if you adopt them. The natural byproduct of you living the lifestyle of the life in Christ, is joy. You don’t have to work on it. You don’t have to work on joy. You work on these practices, this lifestyle that the Bible maps out for you. And the natural byproduct is going to be the joy of the Lord.

So, we’ve got two questions that we’re going to deal with tonight and then we’re out of here. Question number 1: What does the joy of the Lord look like? For many of us, and this is the saddest thing, I have known people who have been in Christ for years, people that I have known, not since college, not since high school, since Sunday School, people I’ve know for 30, 35 years, who I’m convinced have never lived a normal life in Christ, have never experienced, never drank from the joy of the Lord. It’s the saddest most tragic thing.

So, we have to perhaps even begin with an idea of what that is, what is the joy of the Lord. And then, how does one achieve the joy of the Lord?

Now, first, what does it look like? And Paul gives us an inkling in the next verse, verse 5. He says: “… let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near….”

Now, the first thing that this should tell you is this: whatever the joy of the Lord is, it’s not external. Whatever the joy of the Lord is, it’s not something that you can buy, it’s not a position that you can ascend to; it’s not some degree that you could obtain. There is no one that can give you anything or say anything, or do anything for you, on your behalf that will provoke the joy of the Lord. It isn’t that it comes from outside. The joy of the Lord, whatever it is, one of the evidences of it is gentleness.

Now, what does Paul mean by gentleness? Let’s put it this way: what we’re after is to become the kind of person that people mean when they say, ‘Gosh!, what’s up with that guy? What’s up with this sister?’ Nothing seems to faze her. She seems to just take everything in strive. Did you hear her testimony last week: she’s been through hell, and yet, look at that smile. Look at that attitude. It’s a joy just to talk to them. It’s what pastor Roberto was talking about last week, where the life of Christ in you just oozes. It’s evident.

The word that Paul uses is, it’s evident. That’s a good word. That’s a good word because what that means is that your very life without speaking another word, gives evidence that Christ is alive and well in you. And things roll off your back, huge things, disastrous things, painful things roll off your back like a duck. Nothing seems to faze you. It’s incredible! You know people like this. there is this aura of peace, of equanimity, of clear-headedness. I mean, this is the primary way that people know that you’re a child of God, because of the evidence that they see, the gentleness, you’re living life gently.

And this is so important, in this very letter, in chapter 2 of this letter, after describing how the Lord himself just emptied himself for us. And served humbly, Paul writes, you know, do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you, and this is the phrase that I just… this is something you can just repeat in your own prayers, and say, ‘Lord, I want you to turn me into this’, “….in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life….”.

You shine like stars. What does that imply? What do stars shine? Stars shine because way deep within the stars, like our sun, that can contain ten thousand earths, way deep in there, there is a combustive process where basic elements, like hydrogen and helium are converted to pure energy, in heat, in light. So they’re literally, the power from a star comes from within, and the more pressure you apply to a star, gravity, or whatever else cosmologists want to invent, but the more forces are applied to the star, the brighter it shines, the more luminous it is. And that’s the idea.

Whatever else the joy of the Lord is, it’s becoming a walking star. The goal is to be luminous in Christ. The goal is for the Christ likeness to flow out of you, to radiate from you, to shine around you, to light the darkness around you. That is what God wants to turn you into. And instead of helium and hydrogen, the thing that makes you glow is the joy of the Lord.

Nehemiah says it. Nehemiah, chapter 8, passage you all know: “…. It is the joy of the Lord that is your strength for….”, and he says, “… let your gentleness be known….,” let your gentleness be known, be evident to all others because the Lord is near. And see, that’s the point. That’s where the energy comes from. That’s the fuel source: the nearness, the awareness of the presence of God in your life.

Now, most of us have had, you wouldn’t be here if you had not had a brush with the divine at one point or another. If at some point or another you have not been acutely aware of God’s presence and of your role in God. Jacob had a famous…. It’s one of my favorite passages in Genesis where he’s sleeping on a field, gets a vision of angels ascending and descending, wakes up and he says, ‘Oh, my gosh! The Lord was here and I did not know that. This place is the house of God. The house of God did not look like this lovely, lovely, lovely temple. It was a rock in the middle of a field: that was Bethel, that was the house of God. And you’ve had your Bethel. You are here because at one time or another, you’ve had a brush with the presence of God. You know it.

It could have even been 15, 20 minutes ago in the middle of our worship time when the Holy Spirit ministered to your spirit with what Romans calls, “… groaning that cannot be other…” You felt the presence of the Lord, you responded to the presence of the from deep within you came music and song and love phrases for the God of your life and then 2 hours later you’re home and you leave and you’re out of here and the presence vanishes. And what Paul is saying is, the Lord is always near, but it takes someone who is able to adapt, able to what brother Lawrence, five, six hundred years ago, I don’t know, writes: able to practice the presence of the Lord, able to at will enter into the presence of the Lord, able to create to Bethel out of whatever situation, whatever place they’re in. Those are the people who shine like stars and achieve the joy of the Lord.

It’s a beautiful ode this psalm, psalm 16, but it’s also a hard as a rock truth of the gospel “… in his presence, David writes, is fullness of joy”. The trick, the trick is to turn those moments of glory into a lifestyle. The trick is to remain, to live out your days in his presence. How do you do that?

You know, praise God, it’s not that hard. It’s not hard in the sense of …. I mean, we’re not going to make you go to the Himalayas like some other folks would be… you know, carry your pennants and boom,….. This is something you could do at home, something that you could do…. These are things you could do daily.

The problem is, be ready because this may require yet another conversion. I don’t believe that Christians are capable of just one conversion. Tonight I may be inviting you, not just to convert to Christ but to convert to the life of joy in the Lord. You need to convert to a whole other lifestyle, just literally, change the way we think, the way we live, the way we talk. That’s all, if you could do that, great. But, praise the Lord that there’s some disciplines that we can adopt that help us with that.

For instance, the next verse, chapter 6 begins with this: “…. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…”

Discipline number one: prayer. Prayer. All right, Sam, I pray. Pastor Sam, you know, I pray. I’m here at Wednesday night prayer service. I’m here all the time. You know, I pray. Every morning I have my time with God. I pray. You know, I believe you, but I know a lot of people who pray and remain miserable. I know a lot of people who pray but aren’t necessarily good at it, aren’t necessarily affected. I’m sorry if I broke your heart. But, you can actually learn to pray affectively. You can. What do I mean? You know, we eat, we’ve been eating since we were kids, but only, you know, once you get pass 40, you have to learn to eat healthy. Maybe you know, chicharrón every Saturday night isn’t such a good idea, my cardiologist says. You have to learn to eat healthy. There are therapists who teach their patients how to swallow. There’re patients that have been swallowing since the womb, but apparently there’s a right way and a wrong way to swallow. And there’s a right way, if your ambition is to live the joy of the Lord, to live a successful life in Christ, there is a way to pray to gear your life towards that.

For instance, the goal should be purging your anxiety. If you’re still as uptight after a time of prayer, if you’re still as messed up, mangled, uptight, confused and angry as you were before you pray, or worse, you have some more praying to do or you’ve got to pray a different way? Really. Unfortunately there are patterns for this. There’re guys, one of my favorite, he says here, I know that the King James reads “with all prayers in groaning…”, there’s varieties of ways to pray in bringing our petitions to God.

One of my favorites is something that Christians have been practicing for centuries called centered prayer or centering prayer. If I don’t do this every morning, I can’t even read my Bible. I can’t even come into God’s presence, I can’t give God the prayer of petition, my request, until I’ve engaged in some sort of centering prayer. And you don’t need to do necessarily this, but with me it’s something like this: it’s early in the morning, before I’ve opened my emails, before I’ve had any interaction with any human being as much as possible, there are I, with my cup of tea, the word on my lap, which I’m not even reading yet, and I come before the Lord and incidentally, I didn’t make this up, I actually picked this up out of Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, go home, go to Amazon, pick up that word, in case I can’t get through this on the sermon, ok? Celebration of Discipline, you want to do this.

But, you go in there….. you breathe and you’re silent, with a palms down in a symbol of release, you say ‘Lord, I surrender my fears, I surrender my anger at what I heard last night, I surrender my shame over how I reacted, I surrender my guilt, I surrender my weariness. It’s 6.30 you know, Lord, I’d rather be in bed. I surrender my confusion, I surrender my acts…..’ You flip the palm up and you say, ‘Lord, I receive your grace, I receive your presence. I receive your forgiveness. I receive your capacity to forgive. I receive your joy.’

You do that, if that’s too much to remember just sit there and say, ‘Jesus, like 15 thousand times until your head is clear. But bring your anxieties and bring them before the Kingdom of God, trade them for his joy, for his grace, for his peace, for his presence.

Brings us to the next practice: he says, “….with thanksgiving present your request to God…”

Now, for the sake of tonight I’m defining thanksgiving, the practice of thanksgiving is this: the reviewing, comprehending and celebrating of what has gone right. the reviewing, the comprehending and the celebrating of whatever has gone right, whatever evidence there is of God’s favor of your life, his grace on your life, his protection over your life, his provision over your life. In that morning as you do that, make sure that that’s part of your worship, ‘Lord, thank you, that I have a job to go to. Thank you that that person is my brother in Christ, my sister in Christ, thank you for that congregation. Thank you for my mom, my dad. Thank you for my wife. Thank you, dear Lord God, that I can fit in my pants a little better than I did two months ago. Thank you Lord.’

You should start thanking him for it, but even more important than doing it in the morning, I really, really recommend that you end your day with thanksgiving. Because we’re really good of reviewing everything that’s gone wrong in our lives. We’re really, really good at reviewing everything, gosh! My tire went flat. That project killed me. Half of the things on my to-do list I didn’t get to. My goodness, look at what’s ahead tomorrow. You’re going to go to bed in that condition and you’ve wondered what’s happened to the joy of the Lord, what you experience joy? But in that moment it’s, God you were with me today. You were with me at 93 when those icy conditions. Thank you, for the wisdom that you gave me in responding the way I did to that question that that kid gave today in class. Thank you, dear Lord God, that you’ve provided our daily bread.

If that’s too hard start with thanking God for finding a parking space in Boston. I do that. I do that and you know what? I’ve been finding better parking spaces. Pastor Roberto incidentally, I can say this because he’s half way around the world: this man, among the all the other anointing he possesses, he possesses, I guarantee you, a parking anointing. He parks places, he has no business parking. It’s incredible. Like in front of the Fleet Center. How do you do that? I’m sort of trying, ‘no problem, I’ll just back my car and there it is…. There it is. Why? But the guy lives thanking the Lord for this stuff. Hey, aren’t you trying to teach your kids this at 6 years old?

Say grace. Proclaim aloud. Good, if that’s good for the goose, that’s good for the gander. Say grace. Say grace over your food. Say grace over your job. Say grace over your children. Say grace. Say grace and it’s the most amazing thing it’s going to happen.

Like Paul is saying here “…. The peace of God that transcends understanding will come over you and the Lord is going to guard your heart….”

Now, I don’t know about you but that’s not a drug. It’s not like taking of drugs. You’re aware of what’s going on. You know exactly what you’re going through, you know exactly what you’re experiencing, but despite that there’s peace in your heart.

Now, if you want to sustain that feeling there’s a practice that God is requiring of us and I’m calling it this: study the life in Christ, or the other phrase that I have for it is this: study what I call the beautiful life. And that’s what is evident in this next verse.

“…Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things” Right?

Brothers and sisters in Christ we signed on for a whole new way of living, that’s alien to the way that we lived before. And when we talk about whatever is true or noble, or pure, etc., etc. these could easily be adjectives for the character of God. So what God is calling us to do and yes, the hook is up, so don’t worry, we’re going to get through…

This is what God is calling us to do. Know that this is going to take practice. Know that the Lord, the life of the Lord is something that you’re going to have to learn for the rest of your life. And you begin with this, you begin with studying this word, or studying anything that reflects the beauty of God.

There are great books out there. But, constantly have these questions: what does God say about how I should treat my wife, my children, my brothers in Christ, my friends? What does God say about how I should manage my money and my time? What does God say about how I should manage crisis? What does God say about how I should face frustration and fear? What does God say about how I should face my failures? What does God say about these things?

And you know what? You become, you start thinking of these things. What does God think of this? What is God’s way of living my life? And, you’re going to discover that overtime as you focus the Holy Spirit is going to focus on different areas of your life that need to be showing up. You’re going to be an eternal student of the beautiful life and you’re going to say, ‘dear God, how can I be a better friend? How can I be a better worshipper? How could I be a better thinker? How could I be a better son, a better employer, a better employee, a better husband, a better father? How can I be a better representative of the Kingdom of God? Study the life of Christ. Think of these things. Think of these things. It may cost you a thousand hours of pro wrestling, you may never get another change to watch American Idol, you know, you may have to turn off the Internet for about three hours a night. It may cost you a little sacrifice, an entire re-gearing of your life, but think of these things. Think of these things. Be a student of the beautiful life, of the life of Christ.

But your life is not going to change, actually turn around, perfect. Your life is not going to turn around until you implement this last one, this last discipline and this is the toughest and this is the one that most people walk away with and this is why we end up on this curve, wondering why we’re still miserable and why things don’t change.

It’s not enough just to study the beautiful life. God has called us to practice, to practice the beautiful life. We got to practice what we’ve been studying. Discipleship, those of you signing up tomorrow here, guys, the goal is not to make us theologians, the goal is to make us practitioners of the beautiful life.

Paul says, “whatever you’ve learned, or received, or heard from me or seen in me, put into practice and the God of peace will be with you”.

Now, what had the Philippians, you know, this just dawned on me, I’m ashamed to say. 43 years old in the gospel all this time, but it just dawned to me. What is he saying? I just heard the Holy Spirit say this, just this afternoon, you know what the Philippians saw Paul do? And this is what God is calling us to do, they saw Paul singing in prison. It was in Philippi and Silas, beaten up, flogged with this barbed lash, locked up in this dungeon, dark, clammy, nasty, up at midnight and it just dawned to me: they were singing hymns and praying at midnight locked up in this jail cell.

You know why? The pain from their wounds, they couldn’t go to sleep anyway. So what did they do? They start singing, they start worshipping. They filled that jail house with song. And you know what is God calling you to do? You want to practice the beautiful life? My brother, my sister, then God is calling you, is calling me to learn to sing in prison.

And this is the thing, most times I don’t feel like singing in prison. Most of the time you’re not going to feel like singing in prison, but you know what? It’s those times that, that’s the final exam, that’s the final exam. That is the doorway to joy. That is the doorway to joy. You know, it is in betrayal that we practice forgiveness. It is in our bankruptcy and divorce and cancer diagnosis that we practice faith. It is when we are stressed and angry and confused that we practice patience and hope.

Practice the beautiful life. The only way to joy is to commit ourselves to sing in prison. And the same thing that happened with Paul will happen with us: in the middle of his song, at midnight, that place just rocks and it’s filled with the glory of the Lord and the chains come off and not only are Paul and Silas free, but everyone within sound of his song was free, everyone within the sound of their song was free, including the people who locked up and whipped them.

And this is what’s going to happen, the God of peace will be with you. Go home. Practice this. you’re going to find, you’re going to find that as you practice the beautiful life in Christ, from deep within you all of a sudden is going to come like this explosion of joy that you can’t explain, you don’t know where it came from, you don’t know what you did to provoke it. You’re driving down 93, you’re not necessarily praying, but all of a sudden you get this overwhelming sense of the nearness of God and his presence and his approval, and his love and his praise. It’s as if the Lord himself just kissed you on the cheek and your mind, and your heart is awash with the joy of the Lord.

The God of peace will be with you. and if you’ve never experienced that in your life, my prayer tonight is that you do. My prayer tonight is that you gear your life in that direction.

Let me pray over you. We’ll invite God’s presence. You know what? Do that. Lord, we know you are near, we know that you are around us. We know that you fill this house, we know what the Bible says, we know what we’ve preached, but God, we want you within us, through us, on mind, on heart, the undiscovered continent of our being, I want you to dwell there, invade, and never leave, and never leave, and never leave.

God just embrace me forever and let me embrace you in my heart forever, that no matter where I am, it could be boardroom, it could be the exam, it could be holding my child, it could be in bed, Father, that I may always turn my eye and see your face and fell your embrace, because your presence gives me joy. Your existence gives me joy. Your love for me, often unrequited and unrecognized, gives me joy. Lord, fill me. Ask him that, fill me with you joy. Tonight give me the sleep of the laborer. Tonight, God, send into your big arms and sleep like a baby and wake up in the morning and just welcome the dawn and dance a little jig because I know that you’re there.

Master, that I may walk the halls of whatever place you have called me to and people just stop and say, ‘what’s with you? where have you been? What are you on? God that I may have an opportunity to give them the reason for my joy and it’s you. It’s you. It’s you. It’s you. You’re the reason. You’re the reason. You’re the reason, Jesus. Fill me, not just the house, but fill my life with the joy of your presence. We pray in Jesus’ name.