Saturday, January 31, 2009

JOY is Love Celebrating

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy...." (Galatians 5:22).

JOY is one of the distinguishing characteristics of those who experience God's presence and power in their lives. How could it be any other way!

"In Your presence is fullness of joy," the Psalmist wrote. And you can discover this to be true for yourself. How? By being filled with the Spirit, and walking in love.

Love celebrates the good in that which is true, and the truth in that which is good. Love works no ill to its neighbor, and rejoices always when that which is right and good prevails. When God's love floods our lives, our hearts overflow with joy. It is both the joy of being loved, and the joy that comes from showing love towards others by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

Before He was crucified Jesus held a final dinner with His disciples and promised them that, though He would no longer be with them, they would not be left alone. For Another would be there with them, even as He had been. He was speaking about the Holy Spirit. And He concluded His discourse by saying, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11).

A few weeks later, after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus -- that promise was fulfilled in one historic moment on the Day of Pentecost. And the Bible tells us repeatedly in the days and weeks that followed -- "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 13:52).

Paul would later add his apostolic blessing to this growing experience -- "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Romans 15:13).

This JOY is never more resplendent than when it emerges in the face of great difficulty and challenge.

The first step to power in perilous times is to be filled with the love of God, which expresses itself through us in a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory -- especially in the face of gloom and doom.

Tomorrow we will chart the course for step two.


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