Important dates of note:
--Christmas Program this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Dinner to follow
--The following Saturday: Christmas Eve Service 4:00 p.m.
--Salvation Army Adopt-a-family: Sign up sheet on the information table.
A mom was preparing pancakes for her young sons. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their Mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, "Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait." The oldest boy turned to his younger brother and said, "You be Jesus."
Joy (According to Webster): A feeling of great pleasure or happiness.
There is a certain measure of this… There are events for which people in the Bible express joy. Marriage, birth of children, gathering of a harvest, military victory, deliverance from Egypt, return from exile, the restoration of Jerusalem, happiness associated with salvation and life in Heaven.
There are a variety of words to convey the same thought. Joy, gladness, mirth, rejoice, rejoice and be exceedingly glad. In the Old Testament there is the idea of being bright, shining that carries this idea of joy. When you see someone with Joy, what do you see.
• Amazing Grace: When we’ve been there 10,000 years
• Be Thou My Vision: High King of Heaven, When Victory’s won, May I reach Heaven’s joys
• Great is Thy Faithfulness: Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
• How Great Thou Art: When Christ shall come, with shout of acclimation and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
• It Is Well: Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so it is well with my soul.
Along with many other qualities we associate with God, Joy is one of those qualities.
How do I know that? The Fruit of the Spirit. When you and I are attached to this vine of Jesus, we will bear fruit. Those fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
These are qualities that God grows in us. They are His qualities, not a random selection of qualities separate from Him.
One of those qualities is joy. Now for some of us this seems problematic. I know people for whom an expression of Joy seems pretty easy. For me I was shocked that being a cynic wasn’t on the list of spiritual gifts. For me, I’ve been gifted by God with an ability to see things as they are, and to see where things need to be. If you’re a developer personality like me, joy seems to be harder to come by, because I can never be satisfied where I am, I want to get to some place I’m not, at some point you begin to lose, a sense of contentment, a sense, of thankfulness, you can begin to lose hope, and then peace, and joy seems like a distant memory as well.
Pastor White then read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. It’s hard to mention a character in those two chapters without hearing about joy, rejoicing or good tiding s of great joy. Joy has gone viral in the Christmas story, it’s contagious, it’s infectious, by the end of the Christmas passage joy has been on the lips, in the ears, or caused a physical reaction to almost everyone in the story, There shall be good tidings of great JOY for all the people. Luke is conveying a message that stands in stark contrast to the way his world sees things. This is a story of Joy and it is rooted in the story of Jesus.
To me it’s a lot like Pilate in the Easter story. Pilate is a footnote in the story of Jesus. If Jesus came to a different place or time, none of us would know anything about Pilate, we know him because we know Jesus.
Pilate is known because Jesus is on the scene. In the same way Joy in known because Jesus is on the scene.Here’s a lesson we learn about joy verses happiness.The joy in the lives of these people all falls under the category of being connected to Jesus. Happiness is fleeting, happiness is genuine, there is nothing better than a good enjoyable emotional response.
But joy, hope, love, peace these waters run deep in us. They are to be unshaken by circumstance. In moments when they are shaken, it’s a reminder to trust God more, know God more, yield to God more.
A couple of years ago we started singing a song with these words.”I’ve let my hope fail.” Those words really struck me as I was considering where I was at. I have some responsibility to choose hope, choose joy, choose peace, it all has to do with having Christ at the center of our hearts to gain his perspective about life rather than our own.
Increase your Joy
1. Count your many blessings. Choose how you see things. We live in a day where we love the dramatic tale of woe. Critic is actually a job title. If you got together with your friends, families or fellow church members and shared your joys how would that get received?
2. Find joy in other peoples’ joy!! Rejoice with those who rejoice.
3. Joy is found in the challenge of God’s Kingdom.
Hebrews 12:2 New International Version (NIV)
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
4. Joy is linked to obedience. John 15:9-13 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You know that moment in your life when you know all is well and you’ve done the right thing in the eyes of God. This is a place where joy is born. All is well between God and I, reconciled, one, nothing between us.
What is a Biblical definition? To be honest, I haven’t really found a very good working definition. I think it looks a lot like happiness, I think there is a physical expression. A deadpan robotic statement of my joy in not convincing. But a real deep abiding sense of joy is a heart confident in God, satisfied in God, thankful to God, recognizes the blessings of God, lives in an unwavering trust of God, willing to do/go/say what God asks of me and has a deep sense that regardless of the circumstances of my life that all is well with my soul.
When Peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Don’t be afraid of laughter, it’s good medicine.
Standing on the Promises of God, not Standing on the falleness of News.
Where does happiness end and joy begin? Joy begins when the circumstances of our life can’t shake this internal quality.