Finding Joy in Christ

The Apostle Paul’s prescription to both issues was for Christians to focus on Christ. Paul taught them from his example. He also spoke about self-centeredness in the congregation and its effect on the church’s unity there (2:1-4).

As Paul draws his epistle to a close, he shares about his friendship and offers thanksgiving. He also reasserts his call to courage and unity in the church, summoning every Christian to stand firm in the Lord. Further, he urges reconciliation among two influential people in the church (Phil. 4:1-3). In Philippians 4:4-9, Paul continues sharing a last-minute list of things he wants to focus on with the Philippians: Rejoice, be gentle, don’t worry, pray, think biblical thoughts, and do good deeds.

Two Ways to Deal with Life

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Living Joyfully


“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”1

Vance Havner used to say that, “Worry, like sitting in a rocking chair, will keep you busy but won’t get you anywhere.”

This reminds me of the “famous story of Jean Henri Fabre, the French naturalist, and his processional caterpillars. He encountered some of these interesting creatures one day while walking in the woods. They were marching in a long unbroken line front to back, front to back. What fun it would be, Fabre thought, to make a complete ring with these worms and let them march in a circle.

“So, Fabre captured enough caterpillars to encircle the rim of a flowerpot. He linked them nose to posterior and started them walking in the closed circle. For days they turned like a perpetual merry-go-round. Although food was near at hand and accessible, the caterpillars starved to death on an endless march to nowhere.”2

There are lots of people like this. They worry themselves sick over unfounded fears which all but paralyze them, not realizing that 95 percent of things they fear never happen, and the other five percent probably won’t happen either.

Other people wander aimlessly through life without a purpose and without any meaningful and worthwhile goals. Even more tragic are the millions who go through life without ever having made plans and preparation for life after death.

Similar to the processional caterpillars, these people not only spend their life going in circles, but go in ever decreasing circles until their life diminishes into nothing. A terrible way to live. A tragic way to die.

But for those who discover their God-given life-purpose and plan and live accordingly as well as living in harmony with the will of God, when they come to the end of life’s journey, they have the assurance of meeting God face to face and hearing his welcoming words at the entrance of heaven. “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” A joyous way to live. A triumphant way to die!

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank you that you do have a divine purpose for my life. Please help me to discover what it is and, with your help, start working on it today. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV).
2. From King Duncan

From Actsweb

Andy Stanley: This Is What James Meant by ‘consider it pure joy’

Andy Stanley: This Is What James Meant by ‘consider it pure joy’
Why does James tell us to “consider it pure joy” when we face trials of any kind? Andy Stanley contends it’s because these trials will show us something about ourselves that nothing else can.
Watch Video »

Restore Our Joy

Psalm 51:12

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

I preached once on being rescued – restoring the joy of our salvation. I mentioned how God rescued us from sin and death. I asked folks to remember times when they had been rescued – like how I was rescued by the stranger at the beach (from drowning as the waves took my young body for a tumble). I asked people to remember their salvation – the moment God rescued them from sin and death. Do you remember the day you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

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Psalm 67: Joy Loves Company

Have you ever encountered the guilt mongers, those people who want to make you feel guilty for enjoying something while someone else in the world is deprived of it? If your family is able to enjoy exchanging nice gifts and a feast at Christmas, the guilt-monger pounces, “How could you do such a thing when there are children around the world who don’t have but two grains of rice to eat per day?” In recent years this has happened around Mothers’ Day quite a bit. People publicly express love for their mothers and celebrate their relationship only to be reminded that all of their celebrations are hurting those women who can’t have children. If there is one person in the world who is miserable because of some sort of deprivation, then you have no right to be joyful and celebrate. You must be miserable.

Since there is never a time in which someone will not be deprived of something that he thinks or others think he should have, the world must live in misery. This type of guilt is not just about interpersonal relationships. It is used politically to create class envy, to foment racial tensions, and to manipulate the rich into playing the proper political games. This guilt is used in geo-political relations as well. Any country that has prospered should not be allowed to enjoy prosperity but must feel guilty and send money to irresponsible governments of countries whose policies and general culture have kept the citizens or subjects poor.

In contrast to these guilt manipulators stand the Scriptures. God chooses one family and nation out of the entire world, blesses them beyond measure, commands them to construct an ornate house for his name, and demands that they celebrate with feasts eighty days (at least) out of the year. God commands that his people indulge in the richness of his blessings, enjoying them to the fullest, while sharing with those who are less fortunate, not because of guilt but because of joy and gratitude.

God’s people are instructed and taught to pray for these blessings in Psalm 67. With echoes from the Aaronic benediction in Numbers 6, the Psalm begins with the refrain that will be peppered throughout at every Selah: “God be merciful to us and bless us and cause his face to shine upon us.” From what we sing toward the end of the Psalm, these blessings for which they were praying were material things; the blessing of the Lord was the produce of the land.



“Joy” is a word often heard during this holiday season.

Google “Christmas joy” and you will get 624,000,000 hits. You will learn that there is a movie, a novel, and a project all entitled “Christmas joy.”

Hallmark bills its many holiday movies as spreading “the joy of Christmas.” You will receive Christmas cards with a cheerful message of “joy.” Then, of course, there is the popular 18th-century song by Isaac Watts, “Joy to the World.”

Joy, however, should not to be relegated to one season, one month, or one day of the year.

God’s people ought to be joyful people. Year-round. In fact, the spirit of joy is one of the great qualities that define disciples of Christ. Joy is among the nine traits identified as “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22).

“There is no virtue in the Christian life which is not made radiant with joy,” wrote William Barclay. “There is no circumstance and no occasion which is not illuminated with joy. A joyless life is not a Christian life, for joy is the one constant in the recipe of Christian living.”

When Jesus was born the angel exclaimed, “I bring you good tidings of great joy that will be to all people” (Lk. 2:10).

In John 15:11 Jesus said, “these things I have spoken that My joy may remain in you.”

Following Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, Mary and Mary Magdalene ran “with great joy” to tell the disciples.

After the ascension, the disciples went back to Jerusalem with “great joy” (Lk.24:52).

When Jesus was preached in Samaria and people obeyed the gospel, there was “great joy in that city” (Ac. 8:8)

It’s little wonder that 18 times in the little book of Philippians Paul speaks of joy or rejoicing, a disposition predicated on the“joy of faith” (1:25).

There is a common thread in the Christian’s joy. Jesus! Jesus brings joy. The religion of Jesus is a joyful religion. Salvation gives birth to Joy. Receiving God’s grace produces joy. In fact, there is a connection between grace and joy.

The Greek word for joy is “chara.” It means gladness, calm, delight, or joy. Closely related is the word for grace–“charis.” Charis is “that which bestows on occasion pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard.”

When grace and truth came in the person of Jesus, so did joy. True joy. Real joy. Genuine joy. Not superficial feelings of happiness. While we may use the words interchangeably, there is a difference between joy and happiness.

Happiness is based on circumstances, but joy is rooted in substance. Happiness may be about things. Joy is about Jesus.

Happiness is external, but joy is internal. Physical and material things may make us happy, but joy comes from the heart. The soul. The inner person.

Happiness is based on chance, but joy on choice. The word “happy” comes from an old English word “hap” which means luck, chance or accident. Joy is a decision. A determination of the will.

Christians are too often guilty of allowing “joy killers” to rob life of its radiance. Worry. Unresolved guilt. Selfishness. Resentment. Fear. These sap our spiritual strength. Drain our spirits. Diminish our joy. Instead, replace these negative emotions with faith. Forgiveness. Unselfishness. Acceptance. And courage.

Even during this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s possible for us to find joy. Feel joy. And extend joy to others. In fact, the Bible admonishes us to “count it all joy…when you meet trials of various kinds” (Jas. 1:2). How? And why? Because problems produce patience. Build our endurance. Mold our character. And provide an eternal perspective on life. No wonder, C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”

Jesus came to give us an abundant life. A meaningful life. A purpose-driven life. A joyful life. Even when we must endure pain, problems, or persecution. So, regardless of what happens, we can echo the words of the apostle Peter:
“…Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Pet 4:13-14).

“Joy” opined Carlos Santana, “is the cure to the sickness of the soul.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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Good Tidings, Great Joy 

We are all missing out when we don’t experience the joy of the incarnation.
From David Jeremiah
Then the angel said to [the shepherds], “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
Luke 2:10 
In Luke 2:10, the angel’s words, “I bring you good tidings of great joy” contains the Greek word for evangelism—the announcing of good news. The shepherds were no doubt anxious when the angel of the Lord appeared. But they were soon put at ease by the angel’s words. Dread and fear were replaced by “great joy” at the announcement of the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem. And that is true of us as well. We may fear much in life, but the Good News of Christ can alleviate every worry.

This Christmas let the reminder of Christ’s birth and life be a source of great joy for you.

‘consider it pure joy’

Andy Stanley: This Is What James Meant by ‘consider it pure joy’
Why does James tell us to “consider it pure joy” when we face trials of any kind? Andy Stanley contends it’s because these trials will show us something about ourselves that nothing else can.
Watch Video »

The Joy of Salvation 

by David Jeremiah
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Psalm 51:12 
We all know this well-known proverb: “You never miss the water till the well runs dry”—and some of us have experienced it. We never realized what a great friend a person was until they moved away. We never realized the blessings of our church home until a relocation took us to a new city. And, it’s possible, we never realized the joy of our salvation until we found ourselves without that joy.
That’s what happened to David, the king of Israel. We know of his sins: adultery with Bathsheba and complicity in the murder of her husband, Uriah (2 Samuel 11–12). It was not until Bathsheba bore David a son that he repented of his sins. For almost a year, he lived without the joy of his salvation—possibly described in Psalm 32. In Psalm 51, we have David’s heartfelt prayer of confession to God. And in verse 12 we have his request for what he had lost: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.”

It’s easy to take salvation for granted. But when sins, attitudes, and behaviors lead us into darkness, we suddenly realize what we have lost: joy. Fortunately, joy is only a prayer away.

This Is What James Meant by ‘consider it pure joy’