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By Mary Craig

Joy is an emotion. It rises within the core of our being when we receive something we value greatly and when we give something we value greatly. Joy can come to us regardless of our circumstances, even in spite of our circumstances when our hope, our expectation, is in God.

God is love, and it is Loveís joy to give. God gave to the cosmos, to His creation, His most treasured, most valued, unique Son because it gave Him great pleasure, the utmost delight, to do.

For God so loved the world (cosmos) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(John 3.16)

Jesus Christ, Godís Incarnate Son, came from heaven willingly. With His heart full of joy, He lived daily obeying the will of His Father, even dying the death that sin, our sin, required. (Philippians 2, Hebrews 12.1, 2) The Holy Spirit, who conceived Jesus, had so much pleasure, so much delight, in Jesus that the bond of love could not be broken, even with Jesusí death. That love, that joy, brought dominion over death and generated the power, the energy that raised Jesus from the dead. (Romans 8.1-11)

Jesus is alive, living in an unbreakable bond of love emoting fullness of joy. (Psalm 16) We are called to enter into the joy of our Lord (Matthew 25.21). We are commanded to rejoice in the Lord (Psalm 33.1, Psalm 68.3, Romans 12.15, Philippians 4.4, 1 Thessalonians 5.16, e.g.) We have been commissioned to take the message of reconciliation with the Creator God, to take the message of peace and righteousness through the Blood of Jesus, to the world to whom the Father sent the Son. (2 Corinthians 5.18-21)

With the glory of the Lord shining all around them so that they feared in the face of this awesome spectacle, some shepherds encountered an angel of the Lord, saying to them:

Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the LordÖ(Luke 2.10, 11)

Good tidings. Great joy. A Savior has come. Christ the Lord. At this good news our hearts are to be filled with great joy. This joy is promised to us. It is the emotion of the celebration of life, the emotion of intense satisfaction, delight, gladness, pleasure, merriment, cheerfulness. Our redemption comes, indeed today it has come, and we are to rejoice.

Godís delight in Jesus and those abiding in Jesus spills over into our spirits, penetrating our souls, permeating our bodies until the love of the Spirit shed abroad in our hearts brings us to the reality of Zephaniah 3.14-17:

Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your judgments. He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst.You shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ĎDo not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty Hero who Saves; He will; rejoice over you with gladness. He will be quiet in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.í

Now I know the other sideódespair, depression, demonic oppression. I have been there, done that, put the T-shirts in the drawer. I have "soap opera" days in my history, but God has given me a revelation of the anointing of dominion, and it is joy. We were created to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. And we can enjoy God by looking in the right direction, in the proper place, to Godís appointed end.

      1. Look forward. The prophets of God looked forward to the time of Jesusí appearing. They rejoiced as their redemption drew nigh. They rejoiced in knowing that the goodness of God would overcome evil. (Luke 24.25, 44-48; Acts 10.43) Look forward to Jesusí appearing. (2 Timothy 4.8)
      2. Look to Jesus. People were filled with "good cheer" as they perceived God forgave sins. (Matthew 9.2) That God has solved the problem of the sin which separates us from Him, the Source and Sustainer of Life, should fill us with joy. Mary, the mother of Jesus, rejoiced in the revelation of the Savior to be born of her (Luke 1). This joy in the Lord for our salvation motivates love, loyalty, and obedience to the Father. (Isaiah 61, John 15) Jesus is with us, a reason to rejoice. Jesus has overcome the world, a reason to be filled with peace, a sense of well-being, with the shalom of God, with joy. (John 16.33)
      3. Look with hope. Hope in God, for you will yet praise Him who is the health of your countenance. (Psalm 43) Justified by faith, you have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also you have access by faith into the grace in which you stand, and you can rejoice in hope of the glory of God with a hope that does not disappoint, because the love of God is poured out in your heart by the Holy Spirit who is given to all believers. (Romans 5) It is the God of hope who fills us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15.13)
      4. Look for future grace. The God of all grace who graciously forgave your sin, redeemed you, reconciled you to Himself through Christ, and accepted Jesus as satisfaction for divine justice, is an ever-flowing spring of grace. (1 Peter 5.10, 11) His grace extends from the goodness of His heart. Rejoice. (Psalm 103, Psalm 33)
      5. Look for answered prayer. God remains true to His character, and when we ask in accord with His heart, mind, and will, He delights to respond. Jesus tells us to ask that our joy may be full. (John 16.24)
      6. Look up. Rejoice, for our God reigns. He sits in the heavens and laughs at the foolish plots of the wicked. (Psalm 2) The nations can be glad, the trees can clap their hands, the mountains can rejoice because the Creator is good, kind, loving, benevolent, protecting and preserving life, promoting justice. Jesus sits enthroned, exalted, worthy of all honor and power, dominion, and praise. Rejoice! (Psalm 96, Psalm 48, Psalm 97, Revelation 5)
      7. Look to the end. As the end of all things draws nigh, rejoice in the victory of the triumph of Jesus Christ over devils, over disease, and death. Rejoice in the great harvest of souls coming to Christ. Enjoy God and the works of His hands. Enjoy the pleasures and join with the desires of His heart. Enter into the delights of His Spirit, the beauty of holiness, the glories of Christ. (1 Peter 1.8, James 1, Isaiah 35, Revelation)

Rejoice! Be joyful. Celebrate the coming of the Savior, your Savior, my Savior, and let there be joy to the world!

© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.


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