“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water (John 4:10). . . Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become to him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (v. 13-14).
In Leviticus 9, Aaron and his sons had just made atonement for the sins of the Israelites, the fire of God’s spiritual blessing falls, “[a]nd when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown” (Leviticus 9:24). Jesus Christ’s atonement for our sins should bring unspeakable joy to our hearts so that we say with the psalmist: “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95:1).
Long ago the heavenly angels rejoiced at the announcement of Jesus’ birth and the shepherds glorified and praised God (Luke 2:13, 20).
The good tidings of great joy the angels proclaimed that day was much more than Jesus’ birth. It looked ahead to God’s perfect plan—His sinless life, which qualified Him to be God’s sacrificial Lamb, and anticipated His crucifixion to atone for all our sins.
Celebrate His abundant goodness and joyfully sing of His righteous salvation (Psalm 145:7).
Have you thanked the Lord today for your salvation? (Psalm 35:9). God goes into the depths of our inner being and provides His peace and joy that the world cannot give us or take away—that’s eternal security! What inexpressible joy!
“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18). We lack nothing when He is our all.
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2, NKJ).
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child, and forever I am.—Fanny J. Crosby
“The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart” (Psalm 19:8).
The Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to create joy in our hearts. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty” (Jeremiah 15:16).
“Sing them over again to me, Wonderful words of life.”—Philip P. Bliss.
In “The Book of Joy,” Sherwood Wirt says, “If the Bible gives us the wonderful words of life, joy supplies the music.” We need the joy of the Lord and the uplifting power of His Word. The joy of the Lord is our strength!
The Bible is a compass—always pointing us in the right direction. Enduring through the ages, it is filled with knowledge, assurance, promises, and challenges. It gives freedom when we feel guilt; comfort and encouragement when we are lonely or stressed; peace and assurance when we are doubtful and afraid. Our hearts are relieved, warmed, and strengthened when we fill them with His Word.
“I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word” (Psalm 119:16). Jesus pointed out that God’s blessings come not from just knowing the truth, but obeying it: “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:17). We will know the fullest expressions of His joy when we allow God to train us so that reading and obeying His Word becomes our greatest passion.
God promises in Psalm 32:8, that He will instruct and teach us—are we willing to be taught and do we have a teachable spirit? As we grow in obedience and godliness, we will require less reproof and correction. Thankfulness and praise will be our joyful song!
From the Scriptures, we receive spiritual vitality because God’s Word never returns void but accomplishes His purposes (Isaiah 55:10-11). When it encounters a receptive heart, His Word brings nourishment, refreshment, and new life because it is to a thirsty soul what water is to a barren land.
Although we might rephrase its truths from time to time, may we never try to align the Bible to satisfy ourselves—to our own way of thinking.
“Open my eyes that I may see wondrous truths in Your Word” (Psalm 119:18). Every word in the Bible is placed with a purpose, and the part we haven’t read is our buried treasure just waiting to be discovered!
The unfolding of His words gives joy and light (Psalm 119:130). May we soak in the full measure of the Spirit as His Word touches our hearts.
O Word of God incarnate, O wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O Light of our dark sky;
We praise Thee for the radiance That from the hallowed page,
A lantern to our footsteps, Shines on from age to age.—William W. How
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
In Kay Warren’s book, “Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough,” she condenses personality types down to the “Winnie the Pooh School of Personalities:”
- Tiggers: Tiggers are bouncy, flouncy, trouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! They bounce through life with a spring in their step. They laugh loudly at parties . . . they tell jokes, and they think everyone is their best friend. Even if they can’t remember your name, you’re their best friend. Of course, joy comes easily to them — right?
- Winnie the Poohs: These gentle folks never get too excited about anything, but they usually have a pleasant look on their faces. They tend to have a hard time making up their minds about anything. They are usually happy to let someone else make the decisions. You ask them about going to lunch, and they respond with, “Oh, you decide.”
- Rabbits: Rabbits are the task-masters of this world. Get it done, get it done right, and get it done now! Rabbits have a to-do list the size of Montana, and they don’t let much get in their way. They’re usually not the people you want to talk to if you’re having a rough day. They’re likely to tell you to “just deal with it.” Not so sure that rabbits experience much joy. If they do, it’s usually related to the completion of a task!
- Eeyores: This is my favorite personality type. Eeyores are intense, serious people. They have their own personal, little rain cloud over their heads all the time. They feel things deeply and express things deeply. They get quite annoyed at all those stupid Tiggers who won’t stop smiling! Joy seems pretty elusive for the Eeyores of this world.
But that’s not what Scripture teaches us! Joy is for everyone, including Tiggers, Rabbits, Winnie the Poohs, and even gloomy old guys like Eeyore.
God’s Spirit is the Spirit of joy—His spontaneous work in us. If Christ came that we might have fullness of joy; if the Holy Spirit is working in us to produce joy, then it is contrary to God’s purpose for us when we’re not joyful. To be joyless dishonors God and denies His love and sovereign control over us.
If we want this fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must know Christ, and remain in His love by walking in obedience to Him (John 15:10). “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (v. 11). Jesus reigns in the deepest depths of our being, His joy waiting to be tapped!
The God-shaped void within our heart
Cannot be filled by treasure;
It’s only God who satisfies
In ways we cannot measure.–Sper
”For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing God and approved by men”
Walter Knight said, “Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of the heart, announcing that the king is in residence here.” We are royal subjects of the King! His ambassadors!
Jesus Christ came to give us Himself—not only to give us the kingdom, but to give us our King, not only to give us salvation but to be our Savior. We need to examine our hearts to see if we have submitted to His reign in our lives.
His Kingdom is the Kingdom of joy! What if we sought His kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33), would not there be changes in our priorities? “Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).
“Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:11). According to Jesus, our greatest reason for rejoicing is because our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Eternal life is not the future life; it is NOW, and life eternally with God.
The greatest blessedness is to know God in the clear light of eternal life—seeing Him truly, experiencing Him tenderly, possessing Him completely in the fullness of joy.
. . . I hope that by His Grace He will continue to draw our outward appearance more and more into conformity with our inward gladness, making us all one with Him and with each other in the true and eternal joy which is Jesus. –Julian of Norwich.
His “kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and [His] dominion endures throughout all generations” (Psalm 145:13). J. B. Phillips has written, “This short, earthly life, important and significant though it may be in its setting, is no more than a prelude to a share in the timeless Life of God.”
While we pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), it’s not so much a longing to be lifted up into heaven, as it is a desire that heaven may be brought to us. It is a plea for the subjugation of earth’s kingdoms—the extension of God’s power over this world.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.
He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love.—Isaac Watts
“Surely You have granted [me] eternal blessings and made [me] glad with the joy of Your presence” (Psalm 21:6, NIV).
The joy of the Lord is powerful. Not only is it described as “complete” (John 15:11), but we are “filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3); it is our “delight” (Psalm 43:4), and overwhelming in Psalm 35:9-10: “My whole being will exclaim, ‘Who is like You, O Lord?”
Roy Lessin, in his blog, 7-28-10, wrote this about the fullness of joy we can have in Christ:
Sharing a meal with a close friend brings great enjoyment, having Jesus sup with you brings fullness of joy;
having a cooling wind blow across your face on a warm summer’s day brings enjoyment, to have the refreshing wind of the Holy Spirit move upon your heart brings fullness of joy;
walking through a flower garden brings enjoyment, to walk through a flower garden with the One who created the flowers, brings fullness of joy;
to relax by a quiet flowing stream brings enjoyment, to be joined to the restful yoke of Jesus Christ brings fullness of joy.
It is as though God is saying to us, “The joys that come from the blessings I give you can only go so far, for they are from Me, but they are not Me. I want you to enjoy what I give you, but even more, I want you to have Me—My life, My love, My presence. It is with Me, in Me, and from Me alone that you will know the fullness of joy I want you to have.”
King David told God, “You make [me] most blessed forever; You make [me] glad with the joy of Your presence” (Psalm 21:6, ESV).
However, we cannot live a joyful life of faith and obedience unless we abide in Christ. When we abide in Him, joy also abides. Just as Christ’s joy flowed from obedience to His Father’s will, so too, our joy flows from obedience to our Lord’s commands (John 15:10).
The joy that Jesus had was the absolute surrender and sacrifice of Himself to His Father—the joy of doing His will—which was completing that which the Father sent Him to do (John 17:4). He prayed that the full measure of His joy would be in us (John 17:13).
To know the fullness of such joy,
There is no other way—
But completely surrender,
Abide in Him, and obey. –Ruby Morris
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11, KJV).
Jesus describes our relationship with Him as branches connected to the true Vine (Christ). We have only one function: to bear fruit, and the only one way to do this is by abiding in the Vine. As His life-giving Spirit flows through us, luscious spiritual fruit will develop.
This gift—this fruit—is produced within every believer and exists independently of our circumstances. It is found in the unchanging character and promises of Jesus. We may find happiness in “happenings,” but joy comes only through Jesus!
The Gardener prunes the branches so that they will bear even more fruit. Each branch is cleansed by the Word and bears fruit simply by abiding in the Vine. Christ tells us to remain in Him (to abide, dwell) so that His joy may be in us and that our joy may be full (v. 11).
The key to abiding (remaining, dwelling) in Christ is God’s Word which propels us. His Word is our Cling Wrap, adhering us to His presence. We “glorify” the Father by bearing much fruit, thus proving to be His disciples. And we abide in Christ’s love by keeping His commandments (v. 8).
Whatever we enjoy doing— a day at the beach, a bike ride, gardening, golf, baking cookies—is usually more enjoyable to have the companionship of a friend or loved one alongside us. He or she can share our moments of joy and comfort us in times of pain and sorrow.
Yet the joy that Jesus gives is even deeper. In His presence is FULLNESS OF JOY (Psalm 16:11).
Paul tells us that God gives us richly all things to enjoy (I Timothy 6:17). In addition, He wants us to experience joy in its fullest measure (John 15:11). To have the blessings given by God brings enjoyment, but to have God Himself, brings more than enjoyment, it brings fullness of joy.
What do our daily choices say about how we want God to produce joy and Christ-likeness in us? His joy brings us joy and makes us joyful. Drink deep from His fountain; delight in His presence (Psalm 36:8-9).
Joy comes from the joyous One!
And this we need to know—
If we drank of the Spirit’s fullness,
Would not our cups overflow? –Ruby Morris
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 NKJV).
Julie Ackerman Link, Our Daily Bread, 9-20-10, entitled “Dogged Devotion,” wrote:
Maggie doesn’t care much for television. She would rather look out the window than stare at a small screen. Reading doesn’t thrill her either. She has been known to “chew” on books, but only in the strictly literal sense. Nevertheless, when Jay and I read or watch TV, Maggie participates. Even though she doesn’t enjoy what we’re doing, she enjoys being with us. Maggie is our beloved dog. More than anything (well, just about anything) Maggie wants to be with us.
The word dogged means “determined and persistent.” These words describe Maggie. They should also describe us. When we are devoted to God, we want to be with Him even when He’s doing something that makes no sense to us. We ask, “Why, Lord?” when He seems angry (Ps. 88:14) or when He seems to be napping (44:23), or when the wicked prosper (Jer. 12:1). But when we remain devoted to God despite our questions, we find fullness of joy in His presence (Ps. 16:11).
In the Old Testament, Ruth clung to Naomi and vowed that her people would be her people and Israel’s God her God (Ruth 1:14-16). Her decision to remain with Naomi should also be our choice to remain in Christ—to cling to Him—to be crucified with Him in His death (Galatians 2:20).
David had found the secret of joy—his heart was glad. “I am blessed forever. He makes me glad with joy in His presence” (Psalm 21:6). When we remain “doggedly” devoted to Jesus, we will find joy by abiding, or remaining, in His love. In His presence is fullness of joy.
We can be joyful in His presence, secure and content in His love, delighted by His surprises, awed by His greatness.
Someone has said, “Joy is the result of discovering the person, power, and plan of God in our multitude of circumstances.” Oh, that His presence may make us a fruitful tree of joy and holiness!
Even the grave cannot rob us of life and the eternal joy of His presence!
To be in His presence! A glorious thought
So awesome I cannot conceive;
I’ll bow down and worship the Lord on His throne
And add to the praise He’ll receive. –Sper
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples” (Matthew 28:8).
Each of the following verses has a common denominator: it describes being surprised by the Joy of discovering the perfect treasure—Jesus Christ.
- A man discovered a hidden treasure: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought the field.” (Matthew 13:44).
- Mary Magdalene and the other Mary discovered an empty tomb: “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples” (Matthew 28:8).
- From his mother’s womb, John the Baptist discovered the Messiah: As soon as the sound of Mary’s greeting reached Elizabeth’s ears, the baby in her womb leaped for joy (Luke 1:44).
- The shepherds were startled as they discovered the good news: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people’” (Luke 2:10).
- The little children discovered truths: “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure’” (Luke 10:21).
- The disciples discovered and worshiped the resurrected Lord: “While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:51-52).
If we keep our focus on Christ, we’ll see Him transfigured before us. We will find Him in the midst of every circumstance—underneath the surface, just waiting to be discovered.
–Adapted from “Living Beyond Yourself,” Beth Moore, p. 73.
Discovering daily how real life can be
When I’m living in Christ and He’s living in me.
Discovering daily a song in my heart
With anticipation for each day to start.—Bonnie Hain
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”
Do you struggle with knowing the depths of God’s love for you? Roy Lessin says His love “extends to the breadth, descends to the depths, ascends to the heights, and transcends all that all our hearts can ever imagine.” Let the Holy Spirit reveal to you the greatness, the fullness and completeness of God’s love.
The width of God’s love extends across His whole creation and beyond. “The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made” (Psalm 145:17). This includes all people, everywhere. He loves the whole world and sent His beloved Son because we need a Savior (John 3:16).
God’s love is not only wide enough to include every one, it is also long enough to last forever. “I know that your love stands firm forever, that You established Your faithfulness in heaven itself” (Psalm 89:2).
God will never love us more than he does at this very moment, and He will never love us less. He loves us on our “good” days and He loves us on our “not so good” days. Furthermore, His love is not conditioned by our responses. His love cannot be earned; it is given freely, yet we are so undeserving. His love is far too vast, long, high and deep to comprehend. He longs for us to accept His love in all its fullness and worship him wholeheartedly.
His love is also deep enough to meet all our needs. “The Lord reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of the deep waters” (Psalm 18:16). No matter how desperate we feel we are, God’s love can reach down and pull us out of the deepest waters. His love is deeper than any problem. He is our eternal God, our “refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
“He loves you from the breadth of Christ’s obedience, from the length of Christ’s mercies, from the depths of Christ’s sacrifice, and from the heights of Christ’s resurrection and ascension. Could a God who loves you this much, fail you in any way?” (Roy Lessin).
I searched with all my heart to know
If God was really there;
He graciously revealed Himself,
His mercy, love, and care. –Cetas
“Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
Freedom is the connection between God’s love and man’s sin. When He gave Adam and Eve the freedom to choose—to obey or disobey, His love was so great that He did not want them, or us, to be robots, incapable of making our own choices. He gave mankind freedom to do right or wrong, even if it meant saying no to the God who created us.
Paul quoted the words of Christ in Acts 20:35 when he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” but we seem to forget that receiving is just as essential as giving. Yes, love is about giving, but as someone has said, “You cannot give what you do not have.” Jesus says in Matthew 10:8 that freely we have received, therefore we are to “freely give.”
Paul also made it clear to the Philippians that “in the matter of giving and receiving” he was not looking for a gift, but he saw their giving as spiritual dividends they would receive (Philippians 4:15, 17). By giving, they were also receiving.
The cycle of love begins with God’s giving and our receiving. Then, as we give to others from what we have received, He receives it as a gift to Himself—we do it as unto Him (Matthew 25:40). Then miraculously, He credits it to our heavenly account and meets all our needs “according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
After all, what do we have that we did not receive from God? Absolutely nothing! Moreover, everything we have we received from Him. Here are just a few: compassion and comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3); eternal life (1Timothy 1:16); forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43); grace (Romans 1:5); the Holy Spirit (John 20:22); mercy (2 Corinthians 4:1); and strength (Colossians 1:11).
In God’s equation of love—as we understand His perfect love for us and begin to see that our own cup is not only full, but overflowing, then we can look beyond ourselves to the needs of others. We find it much easier to give when we begin to see all that God has freely given to us.
Freedom is the God-given ability to love
Without being loved in return,
To give and not receive,
To be cheerful when all hope is gone,
To serve those who hate you most,
To care when all tenderness is gone,
To be kind when revenge is tearing your heart,
To be peaceful when storms arise,
To be honest when there is injustice,
To love with the wonderful love of Jesus.
–Paula Toman (13), Ontario, Canada