Real & Lasting JOY

When we joined our church body, I looked forward to serving the Lord through one of the many ongoing ministries. My gifted husband, immediately, stepped in as substitute teacher for an Adult Bible Fellowship Class (Sunday School). But I waited, not sure where I could shine my light best. A few months passed, and eventually the e-bulletin popped up with help needed in our greeting ministry. This ministry was relatively new but was growing rapidly. Gleefully, the director gave me my assignment, and I stepped behind this large desk.Greeting at Colonia

This is not one of the main thoroughfare greeting positions, but non-the-less there are ample opportunities to encourage passersby. It so happened, my first day on the job spouting “Good Mornings,” someone retorted, “What’s good about it?” Being speechless, I further heard, “That’s what I thought!” My light was not appreciated and my slow recovery lost the chance to respond, . . . and he was gone!

To be sure, this life can smother our joy. And it will if our joy is centered on our circumstances instead of the ONE in which true Joy resides. Have you ever been so excited for Christmas to arrive, and then when it was over you felt depressed, depleted, joyless? That’s having joy in the excitement of the Christmas Season but not the Savior.

Last month, I read Jill Briscoe’s article on “Practicing Joy.” She said that joy dies when we do not practice it. Joy is produced by praise. But she said it requires perseverance to deliberately joy in the journey. And finally, she added that joy is presence-His precious presence.

It’s impossible to have “real” joy without His presence. Like she goes on to say, “Joy is something only God can give.”

God gives Joy; It’s a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Now that’s my kind of joy! Thanks to blogger, Meg Marie, for also reminding me. Her post on “Celebrating Advent” was designed to promote “What we really want.” What we really want this holiday season is JOY! Jesus tells us in John 15 to abide in Him; If we keep His commandments, we are abiding in His love. He goes on to say

11 I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your cup of joy will overflow! (TLB)

Full and complete JOY is waiting!

So, to find the “REAL” thing this holiday season, and every day after it ends, practice by being in the presence of the King. Obediently honoring His commandments. Lift your voice in praise and worship, and purposely “joy in the journey.” Persevere until you arrive at “the destination” provided by the ONE born in the manger, to die on a cross. A life of Praise brings joy to “the heart and soul” of the matter!

Practice praising, perseveringly, the King Eternal and Joy will be one of the many blessings!

Someone has said, “Joy is the flag over the castle of the heart announcing that the King is in residence.”

So, let’s wave our flags on behalf of “GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY” (Luke 2:10, NASB) throughout the Christmas season and clear on into 2018!

Merry Christmas!


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