During this Christmas season, I have been learning a lesson about true joy.
The world, things, and people around us sometimes bring us sadness and hurt, but they also bring us happiness.
Did you know, that all of those things fail to give us true joy?
Happiness is a feeling,
but joy is something that you carry with you
regardless of things or circumstances.
As I have read through the Christmas story numerous times in the last few weeks, I cannot help wondering what feelings and emotions
Mary and Joseph carried with them on that journey to Bethlehem.
Why would God plan to have them travel so far
during Mary's 9th month of pregnancy?
When they arrived, there was no welcoming committee,
not even a bed to lay thier heads on.
Why would God not have planned a better welcoming
for this virgin to miraculously give birth to the King of Kings?
Mary might have even wondered what she had done wrong
to deserve such a lowly time in labor - no midwife to help,
no family or friends to encourage her on,
just some smelly animals in a crowded stable.
Things happen in our lives that are out of our control.
We find ourselves in circumstances where there seems to be no hope,
but yet God has a plan!
How can I be happy amidst a time where circumstances
seem to have turned my world upside-down?
The truth is, I can't be happy.
BUT I can have JOY!!!
True joy comes from knowing and walking with the Lord.
|"Joy to the World" the Savior has come!!!|
The other day, I spent some time doing a word study on "joy/rejoicing".
Below are some of the highlights from my study.
There is joy in Salvation-
"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."
~ noone can steal the joy that we receive when trusting Christ as Savior. That joy is constant because we have tasted of the Lord's grace and mercy in not being worthy of Him.
"But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation."
Psalm 33:21 "For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name."
It is good for me to be joyful -
"Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all [ye that are] upright in heart."
"Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: [for] praise is comely for the upright."
~ i like that thought! "praise is comely for the upright". No matter what happens to me in life, I am not alone. I am His and He is mine! I can praise God regardless of hardships, because He loves me, He knows, and He cares!
My daily walk with Him brings joy -
1Chronicles 16:10 "Glory ye in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD."
"Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: let such as love Thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified."
Nehemiah 8:10 "...for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
~ This verse is so helpful, because I find that if I put on joy, I have the strength to carry my through the day. Where does that joy come from? It comes from the remembering of all that the Lord has done for me, reading His word to remind me, and being faithful where He has placed me.
Witnessing & bearing fruit brings joy -
"And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together."
His provision makes me rejoice -
"And thou shalt rejoice in every good [thing] which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that [is] among you."
~ He gives me all good things! What else can I do, but rejoice!!!
Trusing He will be there with me brings me joy -
"But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy name be joyful in
~If I trust Him, He promises to defend and care for me. The verse says it wil cause me to shout for joy!
"Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things."
~ I can claim the truth that He will do great things in my life!
"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [Him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:"
~ My joy & rejoicing is evidence of my faith in His love and care for me.
Joy during trials and adversities-
"I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy: for Thou hast considered my trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities;"
~ What s precious verse! He considers my troubles and knows how my soul hurts during adversities. How comforting to know that he cares for me so personally. When noone else may know the deep hurt of a situtation, my Loving Heavenly Father knows it ALL!
"Make me to hear joy and gladness; [that] the bones [which] Thou hast broken may rejoice."
~ What a plea, to ask to be made to hear joy and gladness. I have experienced some deep hurt already in my lifetime. Some hurt is so deep that you do feel that your bones are broken. your body feels so sick and weak, you sometimes just wish to give up. Your hope is like the Psalmist's. You long to hear the sound of joy again. When that sounds hit your ears, it lifts your spirit. God sometimes brings joy into our lives to life our heavy hearts and to relieve our brokeness.
"Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice."
~ His protection makes me rejoice. Like a bird sheltering her young with strong, protective wings, God is our help and shelter int he time of storm!
"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels."
Matthew 5:12 "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
~ Persecution or trials may come, but we can rejoicing in knowing that we have a great reward awaiting us!
1Peter 4:13 "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
~ Our own sufferings for the cause of Christ, make us fellow partakers in Christ's sufferings. I have found that trials and sufferings draw me closer to my precious Lord.
Maybe, you are experiencing some things in your life
right now that seem to steal your joy.
It is your happiness that is gone,
but you must remember where true joy comes from.
True Joy comes from God!
When I am feeling weak in joy,
I try to take some extra time to study His Word
and rest on His promises.
Very soon, you will find that even amidst your trial
God has given you true joy.
"The Joy of the Lord is My Strength"!!!