Monday, January 28, 2013

Time for Joy - Part 1

Recently I have been thinking allot about joy.  Seems to me that the understanding of joy has escaped us.  The world around us has so many things that weigh us down that we have forgotten what it means to be joyful.

I think it's not just time to find a little bit of joy....... NO, it's time that we found a whole lotta joy!  A whole lotta joy that we can hold onto for a whole lotta time.  The kind of joy that stays even when circumstances are hard.  The kind of joy that puts a heart at peace even when the ground is shaking and the walls are falling in.

There is that kind of joy out there and I plan to find it! I plan to not just find it but to begin to live in it! So join me if you need a whole lotta joy too.

I thought....where do I begin.  And my spirit inside cried out "scripture" "Look in the scripture!" 

YES! YES! Look in scripture.  I've learned if you want go to the Word.  Seems the same should apply.  If it's joy that I want....I should look to the Word. 

So to the book of wisdom we will go.  It's full of life changing information. Alive and always speaking truth.

But first I thought I would look up the meaning of joy. It would be good to know what good old Webster's says about the topic.   
JOY - to rejoice, 1)a very glad feeling; happiness; great pleasure; delight; 2)anything causing such feeling 3)the expression or showing of such feelings - to be full of joy; rejoice. SYN - Pleasure.  

Curious that Webster's Dictionary would think of joy as mostly a feeling when I have always been taught that happiness and joy are separate and different from one another.    Okay, so it can be a emotional feeling.  What else can we find out?  

Time to whisk you off into a time long ago....not sure exactly how many years ago, but to the Old Testament.  What did God show those people so long ago about joy?   

Deuteronomy 28:47-48  Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything.......  

Ewww....this looks bad..... Moses is telling the Israelites they will receive blessing if they are obedient to the laws of God and curses will come if they are disobedient.  If they don't serve God with JOY in their heart......  what?...what?  

therefore you will serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.  
WHOA! Because they didn't choose to joyfully serve, having a heart that was glad to be doing it, they would find themselves enslaved by their enemies with a yoke of iron.  They would be serving their enemies in greater hardship than they could ever have with God.  

The prediction came true....Rome under Titus, which was known as the iron kingdom, did enslave them and was a brutal master.  Their disobedience and ungratefulness of heart caused there own freedom to be taken.  

Matthew Henry's Commentary says this...  

The more God gives us the more cheerfully we should serve Him, our abundance should be oil to the wheels of our obedience.  God is a Master that will be served with gladness, and delights to hear us sing at our work.   

In other words...when we complain without real cause, we deserve to have a cause to complain about.  

As my mother said.... "Stop complaining or I'll really give you something to cry about!"  

What this led me to think on today was GRATEFULNESS.   I believe it may be a key point to having a joyful heart.  When we are grateful we have nowhere else to go but feeling joyful.   


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