Oops! I was so busy yesterday that I completely forgot to post Christmas Blog #18! Since today's subject is JOY, we'll let it count for two days. 'Cuz JOY is such a BIG part of Christmas, it deserves two days. =)
JOY is defined as "Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness."
Yes, intense. Definitely, ecstatic. Absolutely, exultant happiness!! To be filled with joy is very different than simple happiness, IMHO. Joy is in your heart even when things around you aren't going so well. Unlike happiness, which pretty much depends on outward situations, joy goes deeper.
The Bible is filled with the word "joy." If you have a Bible concordance I encourage you to look up many of the verses listed there. It's very inspiring and hopeful to me that JOY has been such a big part of the lives of God-fearing, God-loving people through the centuries.
Today our Pastor spoke on JOY in his "RE-Gifting" series. He reminded us that the unborn John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother's womb when he heard Mary's voice. (Luke 1:44) The angels declared they brought "good news of great joy" to the shepherds. (Luke 2:10)
But the verse that struck me the most isn't part of the Christmas story. It's found in John 15:9-11:
"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
Jesus loves us soooooo much that he will even share his JOY with us! "My joy" can be our joy! And not just a little bit of joy, but complete joy! God's joy doesn't come from worldly things. It will not come into your life through another person. It will not come from material things. It won't even come into your life through your bank account or your job.
JOY COMES FROM LOVING AND OBEYING JESUS!!!!!!
A few days ago I wished PEACE over you. Today, I wish you JOY!