joy-to-the-world

Isaiah 9
You have multiplied the nation and increased the joy; they rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the bar of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor as in the day of Midian’s defeat.

And hope comes where it is most potent…
When we allow God to have reign in our lives, he expands his influence. God’s expanding influence can be called his Kingdom. Here we see “joy” takes center stage once again in God’s Word. Four times in one sentence is a lot of joy!
Here is what God is saying to us. When you look for God in life, you discover him where there is gladness. This is where his Kingdom is expanding. When you look for the things that are not of God, you discover either dull lifelessness or rage. Going through the motions or being filled with anger leading to contempt.
Where do you experience gladness right now? Stay there. Let the gladness of being with god and being with others penetrate any gloom that remains.
God will break whatever is binding us up and keep us from giving in to the hopelessness that comes from everything that tries to work against God. Nothing can overcome his power.

ME
Where do you see gladness in the world today?

week3_13-nativity

John 15

I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.

The reason God has come to us in Jesus is to let us know how glad he is to be with us. How glad he is to be our God. Our adoring Father in heaven. This is a definition for joy. Gladness. Joy is about relationship. Glad to be with God relationship. Glad to be with each other in relationships.

When we are glad to be together we share joy.

 

How do I know “joy” is the reason God sent Jesus? Because God says so. Or at least the angel he sends says so.

Christmas Eve. Middle of the night. An angel from the heavenly dimension appears to the shepherds. The veil between heaven and earth is lifted. God’s light shines on the shepherds and weighs them down with his power. The angel speaks…

“Don’t be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people…” (Luke 2)

The good news is that great joy has come. God is glad to be with us and is choosing to live with us as one of us. Jesus is here!

“… Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is the Messiah, the Lord.”

How else do we know the reason Jesus comes to us is to bring joy?

Because Jesus says so. He gives joy as the reason he teaches.

I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy (John 15).

But wait…Joy is the reason God comes as Jesus? I thought it is for forgiveness of sin. It is. Are you glad your sins are forgiven? I sure am. But, joy is so much more than simply forgiveness of sin. Joy is why we are created in the first place and why we live and why we will live with God forever.

For God so loved the world…

We are created to have the same joy Jesus is experiencing right now seated on the throne of heaven.

How do I know this? Because the Bible says we are with Jesus right now.

Your old sinful self has died, and your new life is kept with Christ in God (Colossians 3).

ME

If we are glad God is with us and if Jesus wants us to be filled with gladness, how did Christians get stereotyped as so somber?