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the face of joy

when you think “JOY” what comes to your mind?
a smile? a beaming expression? a happy person?
is it elusive, hidden, impossible to find and have? or is it bubbling up in you like a spring?
Joy is an emotion and when we express it we call it rejoicing. Joy can be seen in people, especially their faces, and through their words and actions as well.
Some of us witnessed joy last night as we sang carols through the neighborhood to over 20 families. once in a while during the song, I would look up and catch a glimpse of the family we were singing to, and it was joy, for them ............and me! if you were there, I bet you experienced it too!
let’s look at joy today,
who can have it, why and how you and I can receive more of it.
first, looking in scripture, some pretty interesting characters have joy.
Psalm 96:11–13 ESV
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
it’s a common occurence in scripture for us to see the personification of God’s creation. the trees singing for joy! what a picture! Let the heavens be glad, the earth rejoice. sometime take a look at a tree and you can see the branches and limbs reaching to the heavens.
scripture shows us how the earth is connected to the Creator and it is glad that the Great Creator is coming to judge the world in righteousness.
such a forward thinking view, looking to a future promise and experiencing joy because of it. beautiful really. what we can learn from that, amen?
we find this in scripture to see how creation waits on the Lord but also I wonder if this picture of when creation is having joy in the Lord, if that causes anyone to be provoked to joy? it makes me think of this verse....
Luke 19:37-40
Luke 19:37–40 ESV
As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Gods creation praises Him.
Let’s rejoice in the Lord, amen!
what else can we find having joy?
in that verse we see God’s people having joy....
1 Samuel
1 Samuel 2:1 ESV
And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.
through deliverance and restoration.
there are verses we could read throughout all scripture where we see joy.....
we could create a list of times that joy comes into our lives. just some of them would be:
things that occur in life like
children, friends, marriage, encouragement, fellowship, love, repentance, forgiveness, provision,
and in direct connection with God we have joy in His goodness, His power, His sovereignty, His care, His timing, His presence.
We can have joy because we know our God.
Do we see God having joy?
Jeremiah 9:24 ESV
but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah 9:2
So our Father has joy in what He does, in His works. also we see His joy in His people.
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Psalm 149:4–9 ESV
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the Lord!
God loves His people and experiences joy for them.
He also showed His joy over Jesus.
Matthew 3:17 ESV
and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Matt 3
God speaking into creation letting people who this Jesus was and how He felt about His Son.
We often hear Jesus being called a man of sorrows, but we also see the joy that He had, even in the face of suffering. Hebrews tells of the way Jesus went through the cross and teaches us something important.
Hebrews 12:1–2 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Do we understand? do we see how Jesus could go through the suffering, the shame with such victory? with joy?
there was a joy set before Him. certainly for Jesus to return back to His heavenly throne and to not be down here on earth
came from the throne
lived in a body as us, starting as a baby,
this is God the Son, living here and where He was mistreated and disrespected by His own creation!
where He was mistreated and disrespected by His own creation would have been joy enough I imagine.
leaving this place and going back to the throne would have been joy enough I imagine.
but there was more joy. the joy of knowing the work He would accomplish and the multitudes that would be saved through Him. He was the founder and perfecter of our faith!
He knew what He was about to do and the fruit of His actions. My guess is that Jesus is why you are here today.
Jesus had incredible joy going through such misery because He could look to the result. the process and the outcome.
you and I can do the same, can’t we?
knowing that as we live out our lives, walking in the Spirit, living out the will of God.......
what do we think that is producing?
we are all a part of the kingdom growing, and what we do that affects another, ends up affecting even others through that person. It carries on through people just like it did 2000 years ago from Jesus, then through the disciples.
you and I can know that our lives are purposeful and fruit bearing which can easily bring about a joy in the heart that none can take away. because it is in the heart as a treasure that moth will not eat and rust will not destroy.
We also find joy in the list of the fruit of the Spirit. makes sense to be there, right? the fruit of the Spirit comes from walking in the Spirit...... and that is simply from following our Lord.
And how do we learn to follow Him more? read His word. learn from Him. In His word we are in His presence.
Psalm 16:11 ESV
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
no matter what is going on in your life right now
the struggle
the hurt
the blessing
...... find Jesus, be with Him, and there is where you will find joy!
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