North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    A group of tourists were visiting the British capital while the changing of the guard was taking place at Buckingham Palace. A British man remarked, “I don’t see the Royal Standard flying today.”     “Royal Standard, what does that mean?” inquired one of the tourists.

    “Don’t you know lad?” was the surprised answer. “The flag shows if the Majesty is in residence!”

    Joy is like that. True joy in the heart is the flag which announces that the King of Kings has taken residence in the hearts and lives of a Christian. Jesus himself will banish all gloom and despair from our lives due to his abiding presence in each of us.

    Problems and pain are everywhere. But that’s not the completed story for anyone who trusts in God. For the Christian, problems and pain, while real and serious, are ultimately incidental. The truest of all facts is that God loves you and me and our biggest problem, sin, has been dealt with and accounted for through the Cross of Christ. So, there’s reason to rejoice no matter what. Philippians 4:4 tells us, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again, rejoice!”

    It can be incredibly hard at times to parade joy in our outward expressions. In the course of your day and the duties you perform, there come experiences that will leave you far from joyful. God understands why we struggle with 24/7 positivity. Truthfully, there are many times when we feel the stronger urge to complain instead. God understands this. The psalms are full of these expressions. But you and I can guard against a joyless life by working the formulas Jesus Christ gives to us: “Ask, using my name and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy” (John 16:24). All the joy you can possibly need is available for the asking. There’s no need to drag through another gloomy day.

    Sometimes amid the inevitable busy lifestyles we lead, we may forfeit the joy God intends for us to experience and to share. A Christian once said, “When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine!” We must hang on to life with a tenacious faith that says God is good no matter what things look like on the outside. God is faithful, good, trustworthy, loyal, and loving. The time to rejoice in God is always now! Even on life’s most difficult days, you may rest assured that God is in Heaven and He still cares.

    The way faith works is that we don’t feel our way into action. But because of what we believe and know to be true, we act. Your belief should dictate your actions. So, if you believe Jesus when he said, “I have told you these things so that you’ll be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”—you know you’re capable of rejoicing in God. It takes practice and a complete giving over to the mind of Christ to recite who God is and what He’s done for you. Let nothing stop you. Think about what He’s planned for you. God’s plan includes blessings of joy, but you must believe His promises and claim them as your own. Only in God can true happiness and contentment be found. Your joyful spirit can serve as a powerful example to your friends and family. Not everything in your life is how you would like it to be. The Bible says a bad attitude or broken spirit drains a person’s strength, but a joyful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). So, rejoice anyway and your mind and spirit will work in tandem.

    The key to joy is your prayer life. Prayer will keep the “Royal Standard” flying. It’ll make you a joyous Christian and joy is contagious. It spills over to bless your family, church, and friends. Eventually, it’ll make people ask you, “What keeps you so cheerful all the time?” Cultivate your spiritual experiences with God so that you’ll be able to share why you have hope and joy. In this way, you’ll help them be stronger to effectively meet their own life challenges.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:

Posted by on Oct 29 2017. Filed under Churches, Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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