The Joy Of Christ

Meredith Palicte, Worship & Internationals Minister
PSALM 146:5-10
Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in them.
He remains faithful forever,
executing justice for the exploited
and giving food to the hungry.
The Lord frees prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord raises up those who are oppressed. The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord protects resident aliens
and helps the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever;
Zion, your God reigns for all generations. Hallelujah!
Through the years of working with international students, it has been a joy to see people from all over the world come to know Jesus. As I read Psalm 146:9 “The Lord watches over the foreigner…” I was reminded of a story.
Several years ago, a young man from the Middle East was getting his master’s degree at UH. He talked about the restrictive government in his home country and how he was never given the freedom to explore other religions. Just a few weeks after moving to Hawaii, he started coming to Bible study and asking lots of questions about Jesus. A couple months later, he made the life-changing decision to give his life to Christ! This decision did not come without risk- he knew that if the government learned of his decision he (or his family) could be severely persecuted. Even knowing the risk, the joy of Christ was undeniable in him. We had a private baptism for him at UABC and I’ll never forget his smile when he came out of the water. He said he felt so different and couldn’t get over the fact that he could have a direct, personal relationship with Jesus.
In Psalm 146 we see that God fights for the oppressed, feeds the hungry and sets prisoners free. He lifts up the lowly and watches over the foreigner, the orphan and the widow. During Advent, we take time to reflect and to look forward to the coming of Christ. Knowing that God takes care of us and that He will reign forever should cause great joy!
Like my friend from the Middle East, I want to live a changed life because of the work Jesus has done in me. Think of someone you know who radiates with the joy of Christ. Pray for that person today and thank God for them. Let them know you are encouraged by them by writing a note or sending a text. As you spend time with God today, read over Psalm 146 several times and write down the things that stand out to you.