Abraham Lincoln had a very difficult life. He was born into poverty, and his mother died when he was nine years old. He ran for congress twice but was defeated by Stephan Douglas over the issue of abolition. He married Mary Todd who frequently suffered from great bouts of depression. Three of their children died before adulthood. As president of the United States, he presided over America’s awful Civil War. Some observers believed he carried the weight of the nation on his shoulders. Nonetheless, an astounding statement is often attributed to Lincoln: “…folks will be about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Have you made up your mind to be happy? Believers in every dispensation have been implored by the Lord to choose to be joyful. Old Testament saints were told, “…be glad and rejoice with all the heart…” (Zephaniah 3:14), “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (Psalm 32:11). When Christ taught Kingdom saints who would undergo severe persecution, He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). Paul reminds the Body of Christ, “For the kingdom of God is…righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). Quite simply, it is the will of God for believers to live in a consistent state of joy. What do we have to be joyful about? David said, “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation” (Psalm 35:9). He also said, “…in Thy presence is fullness of joy…” (Psalm 16:11). Isaiah looked ahead, with focus on a time of future victory from God’s hand saying, “…the ransomed…shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy…they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10). Jeremiah said, “…Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart…” (Jeremiah 15:16). When teaching His disciples on prayer, Christ said, “…ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). If you have eternal salvation, the presence of God within, past and future victories from the Lord, the availability of God’s Word, and answered prayer, then you too have much for which to be joyful.
Remember, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Today, choose to be joyful and demonstrate it to others.
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