Resist fear, go with joy
By Bob Docter –
To the Joyful Intercessors, the 2017 session of graduating Salvation Army cadets in the Western Territory:
Soon, you will be leaving the most beautiful accommodations anywhere. You have lived at Crestmont for the past two years. You’ll be told by territorial leaders Commissioners Kenneth G. and Jolene K. Hodder the location of your first appointment. Chances are, you’ll discover the accommodations somewhat different, and your responsibilities a genuine challenge.
You’ve got a great session name. That word, “intercessors,” has tremendous power and demands from you a willingness to intercede in the lives of those you touch, and to do it lovingly, with joy.
New associations with unknown people almost force some kind of judgment. Avoid it.
There’s a wide range of appointments available. Some have a gym, some have wonderful sound systems and soft seats. Others have a single room that will hold only 20 people. Start looking for a larger space—with permission from your superiors. Have courage. Read some professional literature.
How much courage can you reach, in your mind, in your soul, and mostly in your behavior? Above all, you must be non-judgmental of your fellow worshippers. People will be “reading” you, seeing those with whom you associate, how you dress when out of uniform, how you relate, your willingness to take time. Therefore, you must include everyone in the corps.
Don’t go around making judgments about the quality of people. Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Are you able to relate? People make judgments of you, mostly, from a distance. Have you read any books on how to help others? (Remember, the Army’s motto is “Others.”)
Recognize that you must build relationships carefully. Fit in. Participate. Volunteer. You are not getting paid by the hour, and you aren’t doing this for the money. Don’t be afraid to ask advice from more experienced officers. Make time daily, including prayer and Scripture reading. Don’t let your eyes move around looking for your lunch appointment while someone is standing with you sharing a problem. Don’t “beg off.” Clear your mind. Know what issues you can explore and what needs referral to others.
Samuel Brengle wrote: “If we candidly and impartially judge ourselves we may, thereby do ourselves and others great good, and so escape the judgment of God.”
So far, I’ve been commenting on “intercessor-ing,” which is the word mostly used to describe your session. It’s an action word, while “joyful” comes along for the ride as a descriptive adjective. It describes your mood. I know you’ve become more and more joyful as the days to commissioning became shorter.
Joy, stimulated by an impending event, usually brings along some anxieties about the future. I’m certain that is or will be the case with you. In looking forward, you’re full of joy, but sadness breaks in because of the anxieties of anticipatory separation. Each emotion arrives due to thinking. Parents feel it when their youngest son or daughter goes off to college in a different state.
William Shakespeare said: “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
You control your own thoughts. If you wish to stay in moodyville, that’s your choice. But if you wish to break out, that’s your choice, too. Know how to control your thoughts. Similarly, that goes along with preaching a sermon. If you don’t feel what your words imply, the listener receives only words.
If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy;
Let Jesus come into your heart.
Your sins He’ll wash away,
Your night He’ll turn to day,
Your life He’ll make it over anew;
(Joseph D. Carlson)
And so, as you leave here to joyfully intercede on behalf of others, know you are in my prayers.
Your friend, Bob