By Valerie Garner
JOY- The word means different things to different people. Is it simply an emotion or feeling? Do we only feel joy when life seems to be going good, when our circumstances are favorable? Or is there something more? I'd like to explore what the Word of God says about this topic.
Psalm 16:11 says "Thou will show me the path of life, in Thy presence is fullness of joy, at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
Psalm 43:4 says "Then will I go to the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy...."
Nehemiah 8:10 says ...."the joy of the Lord is my strength".
What these scriptures say is that God Himself is the source of our joy. And that joy gives us strength. Have you ever noticed when you're feeling blue, that you tend to feel weak and tired too?
Here are some promises God offers us concerning joy:
Psalm 30:5...."weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."
Isaiah 35:10 "And the ransomed of the Lord (His children) shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
Isaiah 61:3 says "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."
Joy is also one of the fruits of the Spirit. He WANTS to give us joy! Sometimes we think of God as heavy handed wanting to give us a hard time anytime we mess up, but that's not His heart at all, He wants to give us joy. But will we receive Him in order to receive the joy He offers us?
Isaiah 12:3 says "therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."
Psalm 51:12: "Restore unto me, the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit."
In salvation (the term used when we ask Jesus to be our God, our savior) there is joy. I found this true as well.
As soon as I prayed and gave my life to Him, I felt real joy for the first time in my life. It was like coming home. It is beyond description!
Hebrews 12:2 says "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
This one blows my mind! Jesus had joy in the midst of facing being crucified, one of the most painful deaths one could endure. His crucifixion was right ahead, he knew it, and he was joyful! Why? Because He saw beyond the cross, what it would accomplish. It would accomplish the right for ANY person to be His child and go to heaven if they want.
He did it for us because He loved us so much and wants to give us so much, if only we will receive Him.
Here's some other really awesome thoughts of how God views us: Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The Lord thy God, in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."
God sings joyfully over us?! That's what He says. Have you ever thought that we could make Him happy? All He wants is our Love, because He loved us first.
In closing one more view of God, Luke 15:4-7 says, "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lost one of them, would not leave the 99 in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. I (Jesus) say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over the 99 which need no repentance."
Jesus cares so much He seeks out to find the ones who are lost, and it gives Him great joy when He finds that one. Even all of heaven throws a party! If you don't know this loving, kind and joyful Jesus of Nazareth, I'd encourage you to simply ask Him into your heart. Receive everything He so wants to give you. Eternal life, joy, and the peace of knowing you're right with God. Just a simple prayer to Him anywhere of what's on your heart will do, and watch the joy flood your soul! And know also that you've given Him great joy too.
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