Joy
Posted By Nan

Isaiah 16

The stilling of joy.

That is the way joy is mentioned in this chapter.

Moab has been arrogant and prideful and its fall is coming.

Once that comes all joy will be stilled.

But there is a silver lining.

A time will come when God will place a saviour on David’s throne. Someone who will rule and will return Joy to the people.

As we journey through Advent during this year of COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption it has caused and continues to cause.

As many arrogant nations have been brought to their feet by a devastating death toll.

As the world economy struggles to remain healthy.

Let us not forget that joy may have been stilled for many, but we have a hope. The saviour who was born, lived, died and was resurrected. The saviour who sits at God’s right hand.

He is alive.

He is watching over us.

God’s purpose through Him is still on track.

Let us find joy in that wonderful news and let us have a fresh perspective on this wonderful news as we look forward to Jesus return.

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Isaiah 12

After despair comes comfort from God.

In this chapter of Isaiah despair has been replaced by the unfathomable joy of the Messiah’s birth. There is not greater joy than that.

God’s timing at me coming to these verses as we walk through Advent is a wonderful example of His greatness and His presence in our lives.

We do things that make God angry with us. We do things that make God sad. The Old Testament is a history of the Jewish people doing terrible things and God punishing them.

All these things we do. Nothing makes us worthy of God’s love and grace.

But here in this verse we have our salvation. 

Here is the joy and true thanksgiving of the birth of Jesus.

As we move into the busyness of Christmas, with parties, greetings, presents, shopping, cooking, decorations and the myriad things we do at Christmas to get busy. Let us not forget the Joy of Jesus’ birth.

I love the way The Message has interpreted verse 2 “Yes, indeed – God is my salvation. I trust, I won’t be afraid. God – yes God! – is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation.

As well as your salvation, may God be your strength and song as you move through your days.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Isaiah 9:1-7

This is a fitting section to cover a month out from Christmas, during our time of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ coming to earth.

“The people who walk in [spiritual] darkness will see a great Light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Amplified

This is a verse I read over and over, and meditate on. The power in those simple statements!
Jesus came to be a Light to those living in spiritual darkness.
When I ponder the meaning of that darkness I see two aspects to it.
The first aspect is the obvious one. Those who do not know God, who have never met Jesus, or anticipated meeting Him. Who struggle through the difficulties of life without help. losing themselves in the darkness, they are desperate for a way out but cannot find it.
My heart goes out to those people. I so want them to see that wonderful Light. 
The second aspect is those of us who love and follow Jesus. We get stuck in the hard things in life and cannot see the way through to Jesus. He came for us too. We sometimes need a fresh glimpse of that great Light.
The relief for the person who finds the Light and follows it out into the sunshine. Who follow it into the glory of Jesus’s presence! 
What wonderful Joy. 
What blessed relief.

“you repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.” The Message

How powerful. 
God restores us. 
He can restore communities. 
He can restore nations. 
People can rejoice in Jesus among us, in all He has done. 
And here is the celebration of Christmas. The celebration of a festival of joy. The sharing of gifts and warm greetings. That is the heart of Christmas.

“The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants all their whips and cudgels and curses is gone, done away with, a deliverance as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.” The Message

For those struggling under the oppression of bullying or abuse. 
For those struggling with an oppressive government.
For those who are being racially vilified.
For those trapped in slavery.
For all those experiencing cruelty, unfair treatment and injustice there is hope.
Just as in the book of Judges God gave Gideon victory over the Midianites, God will give us victory over those who harm us. It may not come today, or tomorrow. It may not even come next year. Throughout Biblical history, the Israelites suffered for a long time waiting for God’s deliverance. It always comes at the right time. Not before. Not after.
Jesus came at exactly the right time. 
He will return at exactly the right time.
In the meantime he promises a time of deliverance will come and for now He will comfort.

“The boots of all those invading troops, along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood, will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days!” The Message

When Jesus delivers us, those who have sinned against us will be judged. That is His promise. It may seem that the evil in this world have all the money and power. But it will not last. Their time for judgement will come. It may come in their life, or after their death. Pity them if it comes after death. 

”For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
“Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. 
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” NIV

And this is what our joy is all about.
Jesus came as a child. His destiny was to grow and minister to us before dying in our place.
No matter how hard life gets. And we all know how hard it can be.
No matter how hard life gets. Jesus is still there. He still came. He is still with us. 
There will be a time of great eternal Joy. We have glimpses now. But later we will see the perfect Joy of being eternally in His presence.

To the people stumbling in darkness a great light will come.

I pray that you will see that great light today and always. And that when you find yourself in darkness, His light will shine out for you.

 

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Ecclesiastes 11

This chapter of Ecclesiastes is a lovely description of how we should live our lives.

We are to live with a spirit of generosity. We are to give willingly and without hoarding what we earn. God favours the blessing we are to others more than He favours the earning of money.

We are to make thoughtful decisions in our life. We are to step out in faith to do our work. We are not to waste time wondering if it will be successful or not. We are not to wait for the perfect moment. We are to do. We don’t know if what we start will succeed or not. 

There will be dark times in our lives. But there will also be times for great joy. 
God encourages us to experience the joy of life. To experience the sun when it shines. To experience joy at each day of life He gives you. He also asks us be mindful that God will judge us for the way we live our lives.

He will not judge us harshly for the Godly joy we experience. He will judge us for the times we lacked generosity.

So live a life of courage. Step out in faith and do the things you need to do. If you fail, that is okay. Lean on God, follow Him, and step out where He directs you to go. If you succeed, that is okay too. Share with others and be generous in your love.

Most of all, be thankful to God for everything He gives you. Rejoice when things are good. When things are bad, rejoice when you can. Remember there is a time for everything and rejoice in that. The good times will not last forever, but neither will the bad.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Ecclesiastes 8

Here in this chapter of Ecclesiastes, Joy is linked with wisdom. The wise person carries out God’s commands. They don’t argue, or try to work out why, they just do.

Often, following God’s commands seems nonsensical. We are obedient, but our lives just get harder. We see those who hate God, those who’s God is themselves, those who are greedy. We see them do well while we struggle. Justice is so long coming for the evil person.

In Ecclesiastes it is suggested that this long wait for justice emboldens wrong doing in people.

In this life we do see those who are good suffering the way the evil should suffer. We see the evil prosper and do well. 

The truth is, we will never understand what God is doing. His actions defy human wisdom and knowledge. We can only trust that God has a plan and it is working out for our good. 

So what are we exhorted to do in Ecclesiastes? 

We are encouraged to find enjoyment in our lives. To look for the things to be grateful for. I am not condoning enforced finding of things to be grateful for, which is often done through gritted teeth. I am suggesting we look with an attitude of God’s greatness and blessing of joy. We look expecting to see the good things to be grateful for. 

I have been working at finding the silver lining in each dark cloud and have found that, even in the darkest events, there is a cause for gratitude.

And as I have searched for gratitude, I have found my eyes opened to the Joy that is all around me.

Over the past few days the verse from Genesis 50:20 has been running through my head. It is where Joseph tells his brothers that they meant their actions for evil against him, but God meant it for good. I have found that as I have applied that verse to some of the dark clouds that have been hanging over my head, all I have been able to see has been the silver lining. 

I don’t like the bad things that have been happening to me, but I am able to see the things in them that I can be grateful for. And that has brought me God’s Joy.

Making a simple choice to hand over your hurts to God, to be willing to see the silver lining, opens the way for God to show you what He has been doing for you. Instead of seeing the horror, you see the good. And that good is cause for great Joy.

 

 

 

 

 
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