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The Jewel of Joy

By Pete Macinta

The most joyous experience I ever had occurred in January 1970 when I committed my life to Christ. It seemed like I could sense the joys the angels were sharing in heaven (Luke 15:10 -... there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.). However, satan (1) hates when someone comes to Christ, and makes an effort to draw the person away from his Savior.

One of the ploys he used against me was my inclination to clinical depression. There were many days the sinister grip of depression was upon me affecting every facet of my life.

However, while pastoring in the early 1980's I began to listen to God for what I should in conquering depression. I also tried some things of my own, like watching comedy like shows with Bill Cosby and later with Tim Allen. Guys like that could really get me laughing and, indeed, I would feel good -- but only for a time. While as a Christian I had always known there was a difference between happiness and joy, I began to learn by experience there was difference between the two.

Good, wholesome comedy can be outright funny, and it is good for you physically. But that happiness can quickly fade as one's mind again dwells upon things that would sadden us to the point where one returns to a valley of deep depression.

It would get real bad at times when I prayed, but then God reminded me to praise Him, to worship Him. I can distinctly remember there were a number of times depression weighed heavily upon me, but following the commands in God's Word, I insisted to my entire being that we were going to worship and praise the Lord. As I did so, I noticed if I persevered, strength grew inside of me and an unexplainable peace came to my mind. My problems would still be there, but I now I had the strength to carry on. Why? Because through worship and praise I came into the very throne room of the King of the Universe.

In Psalm 16:11, we read, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

The joy that Christ gives is an enduring joy, and enables us to endure what comes our way. The very first step to receive this joy is committing unreservedly to Christ, and inviting Him within to rule our lives.

(1) I know satan should be capitalized, but I avoid doing so for certain personal reasons.

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