How to Have Joy in a Joyless Land
II Corinthians 5:14-17
One spring, sometime before the Civil War, a boy in search of work came to Worthy Taylor's prosperous Ohio farm. The farmer knew nothing much about the boy except that his name was Jim, but he gave him a job. Jim spent the winter cutting stove wood, bringing in the cows and becoming generally useful. He ate in the kitchen and slept in the hay loft.
Before the summer was over, Jim had fallen in love with Taylor's daughter. The father refused to let him marry her because he had no money, no well-to-do name, and a very poor future. Even though Jim was disappointed, he put his belongings in his old carpetbag and disappeared.
Thirty-five years passed before Taylor one day tore down his barn to make room for a new one. On the rafters above the hayloft he discovered that Jim had carved his full name--James A. Garfield. He was then the president of the United States.
You see, one of the great truths of Scripture is that when God looks at us, He does not see us for what we are, but for what we can become as He works in our lives.
God is in the business of taking weak, insignificant people and transforming them by His power.
You know people may look at us and think there's not much hope--no money, no name, very poor prospects.
But Jesus comes along and sees a diamond in the rough. He sees possibilities for all who will submit to Him. Christ saw the potential of the flawed life of Levi the tax collector, and Peter, the fisherman.
Paul learned how to have joy in a joyless land. When we look at his life his whole life was joy in a joyless land.
In acts 21 he was locked away in the Jerusalem jail.
In acts 23 he was speared away because of a plot to take his life and they had to take him to Caesarea by sea two hundred soldiers, fifty horsemen and two hundred spearmen.
In Acts 24 he became a political prisoner and for two and half years he had to stay in that Caesarean ja ...
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