Friday, December 30, 2016

The Source of Joy


I think we could probably all answer this question without studying, but I wanted to study it anyway.  Joy comes from God.  But how do we access that joy?

In John 16:17-24 and 33, Jesus is trying to tell His disciples that He is leaving (referring to His death).  But He promised them that their sorrow would be turned to joy, and fullness of joy.  They would see Him again after His resurrection, and then they would receive His indwelling Holy Spirit.

Joy is this passage is a comfort.  But because the disciples were trying to conform His words to their expectations of a physical kingdom set up on earth, their disappointment blinded them to truth.  Jesus told them that “in that day” (when they would see Him again) they would ask Him nothing.  Why?  Because they would understand what He had meant. 

But then He instructed them to ask of the Father in His name, and they would receive it.  Jesus even went on to explain that the asking and receiving through prayer would lead to fullness of joy.  We are directed to ask for all that we need and all that He has promised.  And we are assured to receive it.  The blessed effect of the prayer of faith is that it fills us with joy.

“Would we have our joy full, as full as it is capable of being in this world, we must be much in prayer.  When we are told to rejoice evermore, it follows immediately, pray without ceasing” – Matthew Henry (referencing 1 Thess. 5:16 ff)

God’s gifts, through Christ, fill the treasures of the soul, they fill its joy.  So what is the source of joy?  The presence of the Savior, and God’s spiritual blessings accessed in prayer.  Nothing physical, for the disciples were sorrowful and the world would be trying to steal joy away from them.  But Jesus promised that their joy would remain full as they remained connected to the Father in prayer.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What is Joy?

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines it this way:

joy noun \ˈjȯi\ -

  1. a :  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight
    :  the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety

  2. a state of happiness or felicity : bliss

  3. a source or cause of delight

joy verb -

  1. :  to experience great pleasure or delight : rejoice

  2. archaic : gladden

  3. archaic : enjoy

The Bible speaks of both joy and happiness.  Many times we are told to rejoice, and Jesus teaches on having fullness of joy.  Yet Jesus also taught in the sermon on the mount many ways to be blessed, or happy.  Joy is usually described as something which cannot be taken away when circumstances change, while happiness is based on circumstances entirely.  One site describes it this way: 

Happiness is an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure. Joy is a stronger, less common feeling than happiness{source – not necessarily recommended}

I think the difference between the two will be more clearly seen as we continue to study where joy comes from, and how and when God instructs us to have joy.

“Our joys on earth we are liable to be robbed of by a thousand accidents, but heavenly joys are everlasting.” 
--Matthew Henry

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Study on Joy

Recently the Lord has led me to do a topical study on joy in my quiet time. I want to document some of that journey here, as I have time to express in writing what God is teaching me.

It has been wonderful to be home from deputation and on a mostly “normal” wake-up schedule.  We implemented an “okay to get up” signal for the kids to ensure that we could get a measure of time with the Lord before the kids converge on the day.  This has been amazing to my devotions, which suffered greatly over the last couple of years while we traveled!

My study is utilizing an inductive Bible Study method which I am learning through the Busy Mama Bible Studies several times a year from Doorposts.  These have radically changed my quiet time, and allowed me to go deep even in just a few minutes while I walk through the Little Years with my kiddos.  I am enjoying using these Moleskine Cahier notebooks for each study, and my Prismacolor pencils are never far away.  (I even got Ben hooked on using them in his quiet time!)

The reason I began this study is because my pastor preached through several of the words we typically see around at Christmastime – words that the world uses, but doesn’t really understand (like love, joy, peace).  I realized that I have been struggling to have joy in my walk with God, because I have been disappointed at His choices for my path, and frustrated that His timing is not my timing.  I want to show joy and contentment to my kids and my husband, not selfishness and frustration.

To kick off my study, I created a pretty reminder to help me choose joy each day.

Phil 4 4 jpg

You can download it here, in JPG or PDF format.