Friday, August 2, 2013

Rejoice and just keep Rejoicing!

   Rejoice, and again I say rejoice is exactly what we will look at here. We are going to take a look at another two roles of joy in our life. On Wednesday we took a quick glance at how our joy of the Lord is our strength. You know, Satan is a miserable creature and he is so because He wants to be God, the Most High. Since that did not work out for him he tries his best to make all the rest of God’s creation miserable. His plan is to rob, kill and destroy those of us that do love Go, and worship Him. So it only stands to reason, and there are supporting scriptures, that he absolutely hates it when we find joy in the Lord. He just does not stick around for the joy fest when God is the festival Honoree.

   Throughout Deuteronomy, Moses is preparing the Israelites to enter Canann, the land God promised them. He repeatedly exhorts them to obey God. Let’s face it, they had done 400 years of slavery in captivity. Disobedience, particularly grumbling and complaining ~lack of joy, got them there and would put them right back in bondage. Not to mention it had just taken them 40 years to make this eleven day journey to Canaan because of grumbling, complaining and disobedience.

   In Deuteronomy 12 Moses begins to talk to the Israelites about obeying God in regard to where and how God would have them worship Him. God has things he wants them to do like destroy all of the idols and places of pagan idol worship when they get to Canaan. God wants His people to be set apart and enjoy the blessings that only He can give. In 12:7 it says, And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. For that, all they had to do was obey and do so with a joyful heart.

   Wednesday we talked about how our joy of the Lord is our strength. We looked at these verses.
Deuteronomy 28:47-48     47 “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall 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.

   We are going to dive a little deeper here today and grab some pearls. The next role joy plays in the life of a believer is that it will produce all things needed for living the life of abundance Jesus promised. Take a look at verse 47. So what about that abundance of everything?  Let’s start by refreshing out memory on this verse.

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."  John 10:10  

   God created the earth and when finished He said, "it was very good." He created earth and all in it for man to have dominion over and to enjoy. We handed that all over to Satan for a snack. From that moment on God had Jesus on the way to earth to get it all back to us. Jesus declares that in the verse above. Jesus did not come so we could eek through this life with meager means and poor health and emotional anguish. NO! 

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. 
Isaiah 53:4-5 AMP

   Jesus took everything that came with the curse and paid for it, for us, in full! If we accept Jesus as our Savior that is our inheritance ~ ALL of it and in abundance. It breaks my heart when people think God just meagerly hands out some things for some people and when He holds back it is to "teach" us something. That is such a lie from the pit of Hell, and completely contrary to our covenant and what Jesus said in John 10:10. Trials are one of the enemy's strategies to steal from us, kill and if not that at least destroy us, and keep us from those good things God intended for us. How we handle those trials determine the outcome. So let’s wrap this up with some wisdom from the book of James.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

   In those verses we have three powerful promises. When we allow that patience to be fully developed in us we will 1. be fully developed, mature, perfect. 2. we will be complete and 3. we will lack nothing. There is a catch though. Our attitude while in trials must be joy! I am sure you have heard it said that when are we are tested our faith gets stronger. That is nonsense. Our faith is built up by the taking in of God’s Word. When we face trials without joy, we are ultimately defeated like we saw in Deuteronomy 28:47-48. When our faith is tested in the trials we face, and we walk through them with joy, patience is produced in us.  That word patience in verse three means; cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy ~ enduring, patient continuance (waiting).Patience is cheerful endurance. That simply means we behave the same in a trial as we do when everything is going well. Walking in joy while we face trials will develop that cheerful endurance, patience, in us. When we walk in joy we are operating in faith because to have joy regardless of circumstances means we are trusting and believing God. Hebrews 6:11-12 says, And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. There it is. When we have joy, which is birthed out of faith in God and His promises, we develop patience in the trials and that is the way we inherit the promises. That developed patience gives us the spiritual maturity to never lack anything we believe God and Word for.

   I will just briefly mention the second role of joy I referred to. In Deuteronomy 28:48 we see where bondage is result of not having the joy of the Lord. That is precisely what got the Israelites in slavery and bondage. The joy of the the Lord will free you from anything that tries to discourage, dissuade or depress you. Look at how God brought the Israelites out of bondage and blessed them, and their oppressors were glad they were leaving!

He also brought them out with silver and gold,
And there was none feeble among His tribes.
Egypt was glad when they departed,
For the fear of them had fallen upon them.
He spread a cloud for a covering,
And fire to give light in the night.
The people asked, and He brought quail,
And satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
It ran in the dry places like a river.
For He remembered His holy promise,
And Abraham His servant.
He brought out His people with joy,
His chosen ones with gladness.
He gave them the lands of the Gentiles,
And they inherited the labor of the nations,
That they might observe His statutes
And keep His laws.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 105 :37-45

   There are other important roles joy has in our life but I think next time we will move on to that little nugget that came up in this post. Guess what it is? Yep! Patience. 

   Later we will explore how to develop these fruit in our lives. Spending time with God and developing our relationship with Him around His Word is where it all starts. What do you enjoy when you are spending time with our Father?

1Strong, J. (1986). Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible  (p. 75 Greek Dictionary).   Peabody: Hendrickson.
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