Monday, December 19, 2011

Advent Season - Part 4 - Joy

The fourth week of Advent is traditionally associated with the JOY that the birth of Jesus brings.

"Joy" is defined as "a feeling of great pleasure & happiness. This time of year, when i hear the word "joy" i think of "Good tidings of great joy".  As Christians, we know that God is a God of joy & He wants His people to be joyful also. He wants His people to have HIS joy. Sadly, it's estimated that only 20% of Americans are happy or joyful. Do you have a sense of joy in your life? An evangelist once said, "The trouble with many is that they have got just  enough religion to make them miserable. If there is not joy in your religion, you've got a leak in your religion."

One thing that is contagious in life is attitude. The only thing more contagious that a good attitude is a bad attitude. People always project on the outside how they feel on the inside. I have met many people who i could tell right at first that they were Christians. The joyful glow of the Holy Spirit just reflected in them.

Joy is found in obedience.
"The shepherds returned, glorifying & praising God for all the things they had heard & seen, which were just as they had been told."
Luke 2:20 (NIV)

Joy is found in fellowship. When the believers gather God appears in our midst through His Holy Spirit.
"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good new of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.' "
Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)

Joy is found in the church, in worship when Christians gather & grow in faithfulness to God.
"It gave me great joy to have some brothers come & tell about your faithfulness to the truth & how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
III John 3-4 (NIV)

Joy is found when we accept Christ as our Savior, & are able to share it with others.
"We proclaim to you what we have seen & heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father & with His son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from Him & declare to you; God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all."
I John 1:3-5 (NIV)

Joy is experienced whenever we give thanks in the midst of ALL circumstances.
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
I Thessalonians 5:16
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."
Psalm 92:19

Advent Week 4 Challenge:
Make a list of your prayers for joy - for yourself, for those who don't know Christ, people you don't know, your local area, in world situations, etc.

Jesus, who brings joy where there is sorrow, & happiness where there is despair. Thank You for Your great mission of joy, which we particularly remember at Christmas.

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