Monday, October 31, 2016

Restoring the Joy

From the Spiritual Profile - "In my Christian walk I wish I felt more ___J O Y________.

Neh. 8:1-3, 5-12 - Israel exiles back in homeland for around 100 years at this time.  Temple partially rebuilt, walls started.- been working long and hard, were exhausted, needed time off.   ie:  Sacred celebration- if you lose your joy, can lose your strength.

Psm.  51:1-3,7-12 - (followup of David's story, and his state of mind.)

"JOY" - definition, description.
Webster:  Joy - the emotion excited by the acquisition of, or expectation of good!  A feeling we get when we've experienced something good or anticipate good.

Synonyms:  delight, pleasure, happiness, gladness.  Maybe excitement, thrill.  Maybe gaiety, gladness, cheer/cheerfulness.  Maybe peace/peacefulness, tranquility, quiet contentment

1)  Mountain top joy - exhilaration, jubilation, ecstasy

2) Valley joy - ie:  joy experienced in the midst of trouble, sorrow.  Peace, serenity, quietness of the soul.  A sense of well being in spite of circumstances.

3)  Everyday joy - the pleasant sensation you get from a cool fall morning, good cup of coffee, child's smile, a friendly greeting, etc.

ADD to that with "The Joy of the Lord" - the sense of well-being that comes from:
     A)  knowledge of Him
     B)  Faith, confidence in Him
     C)  an experience or encounter with Him

Joy of the Lord supersedes ordinary joy.  Has elements of the unchanging, the absolute, the eternal, therefore is more substantial, stable, has more depth, more influence, impact.
Examples:  David fleeing Saul - wrote many of the praise songs found in Psalms   Paul in Roman prison. wrote letters to Ephesians, and other churches.  John Bunyan in Bedford jail   wrote Pilgrim's Progress.  Corrie ten-Boom - in Nazi prison camp.

So, when deprived of things generally associated with joy, comfort, satisfaction, they were OK, because they couldn't be deprived of:
    1)  their knowledge of God
    2)  their faith and confidence in God  (His Word, His promises) or
    3)  occasional experiences, encounters with Him.

Quote: - Joy of the Lord = "An inexplicable bouyancy of the heart and soul"

Use of joy in Scripture = extensive!!!
joy/ful/rejoice/enjoy/ (glad/ness) - over 600 times
Add celebrate, delight, etc. - have another 400+ times.

Psalm 100:1-5, 98:4-6   1 Thess. 5:16   Phil. 4:4

Clearly God wants His people to be joyous people!!!  We should have that hope & confidence that comes from Him.  Rom. 12:12

This "Joy of the Lord" is:
   1)  close kin to hope - in the Greek, "hope" is joyous expectation!!
   2)  one of the fruits of the Spirit - Gal. 5:22
   3)  Should have depth or transcendence    James 1:2-4   Rom. 5:3
Song - "It Is Well With My Soul" - written by Horatio Spafford - who lost all 4 daughters in a ship accident in 1873.
Song - "Now Thank We All Our God" - written by Martin Rinkart - pastor in Germany in 1600 hundreds.  In the midst of the 30 year war the plague hit - all other pastors died or fled - he was the only one left.  In 1637 presided over 4500 burials!  - wrote this hymn to teach people to praise!  This is more than superficial joy!!!  This has depth, strength, power

How did they find such joy"?
Focus on Eternal God - not temporal goods.  This is more than the joy of life = the Joy of the Lord.


#1.  the Joy of the Lord is a sense of well-being as a result of your Christian faith.
"sense" is better than "feeling" because we can feel grief, sorrow, loss, pain and still sense God's presence, comfort, promises.
There's joy often amidst mixed emotions!

#2.  The Joy of the Lord is available to all believers.  (= fruit of the Spirit, akin to hope, clearly Gods will for us!!)

I suspect we experience it more than we realize DUE to our definition of Joy!!!  WE often mean "happy" which may be God's will but it is not His priority!  Example:  your kids - is it your first priority to give them anything and everything they want so they will be happy, or is it your first priority to raise them properly, discipline when necessary, and help them grow into healthy mature people.

#3. Scripture (mostly) says "Rejoice".  (not "have joy")
Compare:  "be thankful"  vs.  "give thanks"
Note:  giving thanks often leads to thankfulness!!  So  "Rejoice" - often leads to joy
The real issue is not if we feel joyful, feel thankful, but if we give joy (rejoice), give thanks.

Nehemiah - people's loss of joy due to stress, fatigue.
                  Remedy = SACRED CELEBRATION!!!

David - loss of joy due to sin (gross sin)
            Remedy = Repent, Return

Others - loss due to busyness, lagging, drifting
            Remedy??   Psalm 37:4

Joy of marriage not found in marriage but in MATE!!
Joy of parenting (grandparenting) not found in the institution but in the CHILD!
Joy of the Lord is not found in JOY but in the Lord!!  Deut. 4:29 - seeking Him, not joy

Sometimes we are so focused on the feeling, we miss being focused on Him!!

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