“Restore the Joy!”

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
Psalm 51:12

        Whenever there is trouble in our lives or in our relationships, the first thing that seems to go out of the window is joy. This was certainly true of David. Many times in the Psalms we find him crying out to God in his trouble, asking for a recovery of the joy he once knew. We see this in Psalm 51, which as you may remember is a song of repentance. David had sinned. His sin had created a distance between him and the God he once worshiped so freely. And now with a broken heart, he turns in repentance, crying out for God to restore the joy.

      “Restore the joy!” That phrase has been on my mind a lot lately. It has seemed to me that this past year and a half, though filled with many good gifts from God, has also been stewn with many troubles. Some of these have stolen our sense of joy. The result has been that the glad passion for Christ and for making His name known among the nations that once characterized our congregation has been muted in some ways. Perhaps that’s just my perception, and yet it’s something that has continued to press against my mind.

With that in mind, it is my intention, starting  September 15th, to begin a ten part series focused on our need to “Restore the Joy!” We’ll be looking at what we need to do and believe in order to recover a grace-centered vision for the whole of our life together as a church. The topics we’ll focus on are the following

1) Getting a clear view of the glory of God in all things.  Real joy springs from a genuine knowledge of God and a longing for his glory.

2) Holding firmly to justification by faith alone, as the true ground of our joy.  It is only when we know that we are truly forgiven based on what Christ has done (not what we do) that we are able to serve him with confidence.

3) Resting in God’s sovereignty over all things, especially our troubles.  The Christian is not exempt from sorrows, but he or she is strengthened in sorrow by the assurance of God’s all-ruling hand.

4) Celebrative worship fixed on the accomplishment of Christ.   The redeemed will rejoice as they keep their focus on His faithful finished work of salvation.

5) Encouragement expressed freely to one another in the body of Christ.God has not only given us Himself, but also one another to encourage and help each one finish the race.

6) Our joy is spread as we engage in missions broadly, globally and persistently.  This faith is meant to be shared freely.  And our joy is increased as we do so.

7) Our joy grows brighter as we join together in a generous fellowship with other believers in Christ.  Faith in Christ does not turn us inward on ourselves.  It drives us outward to engage and love our brother for Christ’s sake.

8) Our joy is deepened by an open-handed generosity that willingly uses material things for the good of others.   Why has God blessed us?  So that we might be a blessing to others.  And there is joy in that!

9) Joy goes deeper still through united, God-focused prayer.  The greater we grow in dependence upon Him and learn to see His faithful hand at work for our good, the deeper grows our joy.

10) Our families ought to be the seedbed where we bring up children who hope in the Lord and are ready to declare the glories of his name to the next generation.

This is just a sketch of where we’re going over the next few months.  My prayer is that it will be an encouragement to you to “restore the joy” of your life by regaining a Gospel-centered confidence in Christ.

I am gratefully yours in Christ!

Pastor Scott