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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 12/14/16

Be Glad—You Who Are Joyful

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STORY: Be Glad for Music!

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without carols. One of my favorites is “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts. Let’s look at the lyrics and see how those words from 1719 are still relevant today.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Can you imagine the reward of expectation for the Jewish people, awaiting their Messiah? We can have a similar joy, because of the birth of the Savior.

Let earth receive her King.

Even those who don’t believe He is King will one day bow. He came for the whole world!

Let every heart prepare Him room.

The innkeeper said there was no room, but today we can make room for Jesus in our lives. It’s up to us to make Him a priority by giving Him our hearts.

And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Creation in heaven and here on earth all sang their hearts out at the birth of the Savior!

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

We get to join in the heavenly chorus because of the joy Jesus delivered to us when we met Him, not as a baby, but as a Savior.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.

We need a Savior because of sin and we need a Redeemer because of the curse. Jesus came to bless us at our greatest need—our need for Him.

He rules the world with truth and grace,

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Our world could use a little more (no—a lot more) truth and grace. May we shine the Light this Christmas as we wonder at the wonder of His love. May our celebration splash joy on others so they too can be glad this season of Christ’s earthly birth.

STUDY: The Siblinghood of Gladness and Joy

Joy and gladness go together. Let’s look at what the Bible says.

A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13 NLT)

  • What is it you like about gladness?
  • Where does it originate?
  • Where does it show up?
  • How do you move from having a broken heart and crushed spirit, to truly being glad?

Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. (Isaiah 65:18 NLT)

  • What is one way to be glad?
  • In what can you always rejoice?
  • Do others consider you a source of joy?

You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. (Luke 1:14 NLT)

  • The angel told Zechariah that Elizabeth would give birth to a son—John the Baptist. Can you imagine their joy, after so many years of not being able to bear children? They were going to have a son very important in God’s plan for mankind. They were given more than they ever expected, with this news. When is a time God gave you reason to have great joy and gladness?
  • What is something you’re waiting for right now? Maybe God is working out the timing to do something big. Or maybe He’s working out something even better. You can be glad while you wait. Why? Because the more difficult the wait, the greater the opportunity for BIG joy.

Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad. (John 8:56 NLT)

  • Jesus spoke to the crowds and to the Pharisees who questioned him. What did He say Abraham did as he anticipated the Messiah?
  • What are you doing this Christmas season as you celebrate His coming? It is a time to be glad!

STEPS: Be filled with Joy

  1. Worship. The act of worship leads to joy. “So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy.” (Luke 24:52 NLT)
  2. Confidently anticipate the good still to come when we reach heaven. “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Romans 5:2 NLT)
  3. Listen to the teachings of Jesus and possess His joy. Jesus prayed to the Father prior to being arrested and sent to the cross. He desired for His followers to be filled with the same joy He experienced. He told them as much as He could to prepare them to experience joy even though He knew the terrible circumstances about to come. He wanted them to know the type of joy that doesn’t depend on good events but is based on the best news of all, His gospel. One way we can have that same joy is to read all of the many things Jesus told the disciples. “I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.” (John 17:13b NLT)

Copyright © 2016 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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