Fairview Baptist Tabernacle
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Staying Connected
January 17-January 23
Scripture Passage: “For the joy of the Lord is your strength.”     Nehemiah 8:10 
Dear Friends,
     There are many Scriptures that I revisit on an annual basis. This is one that I have preached expositional breaking apart every word and dissecting it until there is nothing left. That is what I do with almost every verse I read. I am always having to plan for the next sermon, so there is never any downtime. A good friend of mine has a saying that is pertinent to the conviction that is in my heart today. He often says, “I just enjoyed the Lord out of it.” When a person takes something simple and tries to make it complex there is something that is lost. My papaw was good at taking whatever was placed on the table before him and eating it like it was the best thing he ever tasted. Having raised a large family through the Great Depression, I am sure he understood the value of the simplest things.  He had well-water. When we would work in the garden and get tired, Papaw and I would let the water run until it got “ice-cold” and then get a dipper full and sit under the tree while relinquishing every last drop. Every time Papaw would say, “That is the best water I ever tasted.” Looking back in my mind that is still the best water I ever tasted. Patty’s Granny Emily was the same way. Whatever the day was like, Granny found good in it and a reason why it was exactly what we needed. When the garden started coming in we ate some of the same things over and over again until it was finally gone. Granny would say the same thing about turnips that Papaw said about the water. “I believe those turnips are the best I ever tasted.” (Turnips – You have got to be kidding me!) The funny thing is now when turnips come in late fall, I find myself saying the same thing. 
     Life has changed a lot in my short fifty-four years. It has become so complicated that I feel as if nothing is simple anymore. Many days I eat in the car traveling from one place to the other. I get up tired and go to bed tired. It used to be if you were not sitting near a telephone you were not responsible until the other party was able to contact you. Now I carry a cell-phone twenty-four hours a day. The set meal times I grew up observing have been replaced with eating whenever we get the chance. My trips to visit family turn out to be marathons of endurance so that everyone gets a little piece of me and no one is slighted. Everyone tells me to slow down, but no one wants me to stop what I do for them. The Lord has been so good to me financially. The church supports me very well and I make more money than I ever dreamed of having. It seems that it also has to go to more places than ever before. Patty and I do not owe a lot of money, but it seems to take a lot to live. The more “stuff” I have complicates matters because I have to keep it maintained and working. To take a trip to rest takes weeks of planning and when I come back I have to deal with everything that happened while I was gone. And so goes the circle of life. 
     How do we make sense of it all and live a life of balance? Is it possible to address the complicated while still enjoying the simple? I believe the answer is found in our Scripture focus for the day. The joy of the Lord is my strength. There is a thief on the prowl and the one thing he desires to steal the most is my joy. Joy is not something you work to acquire, it is a state of mind that is experienced. You do not need to read the latest book published by the “feel good” guru. You do not need a six week course on how to live life to the fullest while balancing a hectic schedule. You do not need to attend a conference with the foremost motivation speaker available. You need to walk each day with the Lord and just enjoy his presence and strength. When I am able to have joy in the Lord, even the most hectic of days are a pleasure and the drudgery of mundane task turn into nuggets of happiness.   So live your life today and just “Enjoy the Lord out of it.” 
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny