Hello Friends, welcome to Sunday2Monday.
The place where we say it again!
As my pastor says: Repetition brings revelation!
The final message of Rhythms of Grace was delivered by James Richardson. James is a part of our Anamosa campus. James and Karen Richardson are some of the sweetest people we know. While Pastor Lynn preached at the campus this past week, James opened the scriptures and walked us through the Bible, revealing the true reason for joy!
In the Bible, James said that joy is described so many ways, one of which is rejoicing. Rejoice means to frolic, to play, to jest, and to joke. God has infused words with meaning and from the beginning of the Bible, God spoke to us about a place, the perfect place, that He has created for us to live in. It is called the garden of Eden. James told us that “Eden means pleasure” and since the beginning, God has been on a mission to restore His children from the effects of the fall. The entire Bible is God’s history. The Old Testament is a picture of who God is but it is incomplete. Its purpose was to give us snapshots and types of Christ, meaning that God created word pictures for us of who Christ is so that when He showed up we would know Him. But you and I know that when He did the Israelite leadership did not know who He was. So understanding the Word is important.
Nehemiah 8:8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
When the people of this world feel condemnation when they read the Bible it is because they do not understand the truth of the Bible. The Bible is meant to be something sweet to our souls.
Psalm 36:8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from the river of delight.
The promise of God is that gladness and joy shall overtake us. Being overtaken by joy looks like laughter. Have you ever laughed yourself to tears? I have experienced that many times with my sister Joy. Whenever we get together we laugh until we cry and our sides ache. It is as if no time has passed and we have always been together even though we live several hundred miles apart.
James pressed us saying that “some of us Christians have been duped into thinking that only the world is allowed to have fun.” It’s simply not true. All of heaven is one big rejoicing party every time a sinner repents. Heaven is all about joy! James quoted the great C.S.Lewis saying “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” Why? Joy is a weapon. It is a resource of heaven but we let circumstances dictate if we will be joyful or not.
What happens when life gets hard? What happens when trouble comes? We have to choose joy! We have to count it all joy. Now this part of James message I really enjoyed! James said, quoting scripture from James chapter 1 that, “we need to count it all joy.” How can we do that? The phrase “count it” has a particular meaning. It is a military term, it is an aggressive mindset that we need to have to grab hold of joy because as James said, “You are not much stronger than your joy.” – Tweet This!
We have got to wrap our minds around the fact that God has given us joy as a weapon. It is one of the greatest weapons we have against the enemy because rejoicing is worship, and worship attracts God’s presence. When God shows up, the enemy falls back! This is the kind of joy that sustained Christ. This is the kind of joy that Jesus set before Him that caused Him to endure the cross. In a moment of humor, James said that he would love to “sprinkle some pixy dust on all of us” to give us this joy. In Christ, we have the DNA of God, and God has planted the seeds of joy. Seeds come from fruit but more fruit only comes from the seed dying.
John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
We were not meant to be lone rangers. Are you willing to die to self? To become a person who does not complain but rather one who rejoices in the trials and gives joy away? Will you be like a wrung-out sponge, when the world squeezes you, joy come out?
Meet me over at the Watering Hole on Wednesday as we look at how to rejoice in trials.
Thanks for Listening,