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In Your Presence Is Fullness Of Joy
Psalms 16:11 Being a Christian should create a sense of indescribable joy in all of us!
Original photo © 2023, Steven Sande
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
Psalms 16:11 NASB1995
For many years, our only daily contact with the Bible was through the wonderful Bible In One Year program by Nicky Gumbel in the Bible app. I can recall as I was slowly inching through my first year of Bible study that I found Vicar Gumbel’s story of becoming a Christian in college to be fascinating. I don’t recall the exact wording, but he said something like “I was really worried that I was going to have to give up a lot of fun things in my life, but didn’t realize they would be replaced with immense joy”.
That’s what is different in this second experience with “religion” in my life. When I started off as a kid in the Catholic church attending Saturday catechism classes and Sunday masses, I saw very little — if any — joy experienced by the parishioners. As an impressionable child, I saw the entire religious experience to be very dark, foreboding, and full of rules and dire warnings. That early religious training was also quite limited — I never studied the Bible, instead being given rote lists of the commandments, mortal, and venial sins to remember. The rest of catechism seemed to be targeting how to go through the motions of confession and communion, and of course mumbling the repeated prayers given by the priest as penance for my sins.
Never was the word joy uttered, and I honestly do not recall ever feeling God’s love, nor hearing it discussed in church. Since there was really no detailed explanation of what all the ceremony and process was for, nor encouragement to read the Bible, I found it somewhat of a relief to leave the church and its trappings behind as I moved into my later teen years. The rest of my adult life, until 2007, was spent as an outwardly happy but internally miserable non-believer.
In 2007 Barb and I started attending a local church after accepting Pascal’s Wager when the first of our parents had a stroke and passed away, and we were — for the first real time in our lives — faced with death. That church was much better about teaching scripture (albeit in very small, digestible servings seasoned with political correctness), and I found joy in being able to sing with the worship team and later helping to lead the services as an assistant minister.
But the real change has happened over the past four years in a new church with a pastoral team that has no problem with long sermons, 24/7 intercessory prayer and worship, and a Bible In One Year program that actually requires research and work instead of just reading scripture. The intercessory prayer led to the call for us to start using our God-given talents for writing and teaching to start this online ministry, and we’re about to embark on the more difficult (but ultimately more rewarding) task of evangelizing.
As my faith grows stronger, I feel God’s love in my heart and soul intensifying as well! Being a Christian should create a sense of indescribable joy in all of us! We have a God who loves us, who sent His son to suffer and die on the cross to save us from sin, and who gives us a sense of purpose to live better lives and seek out others for His Kingdom.
This psalm of David shows that he knew that the path of life as demonstrated by scripture is something to be joyful about! David also recognized the eternal nature of God and of those joys — not only could he be overjoyed in the here and now, but even more so when he made it into the immediate presence of God for eternity.
Peter quoted this psalm in Acts 2:25 on the Day of Pentecost, showing that Jesus was rewarded for His work on the cross. I’ll conclude today’s look at the joy of being a follower of Christ with these words from The Enduring Word Commentary by David Guzik.
…we remember that this life of gladness and rejoicing and fullness of joy is not a problem-free life. It is a life that may be challenged and face attack on many levels. Yet in that a life commitment to God has been made and is enjoyed, it is a secure, happy, blessed life.
Used with permission of the author.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father in Heaven, I praise You with unending thanks for Your goodness toward me and the profusion of blessings You lavish upon me daily. Thank You for everything You have given me for life and godliness, and I pray that I may continue to grow in the fullness of joy we have all received in Christ. Thank You for making known to me the path of life in Jesus Christ my Savior, in Whose name I pray. I am so thankful that in Your presence is fullness of joy and pleasures for eternity. AMEN.