One of my daily prayer requests to God is that we as a church family will experience a Holy Spirit joy in our journey together.
Here's what I know: When God's spirit moves - God's people are filled with joy.
A sense of God's peace arrives. A sense of godly encouragement fills our hearts.
We no longer focus on the minors - but focus on Jesus.
We leave the petty things behind and become obsessed with the purpose that God has for us.
The Bible is very direct about this: Deuteronomy 28:47-48 tells us that "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things: therefore you shall serve your enemies."
The children of Israel went into captivity because they did not serve God joyfully.
The people of God were submitted to many yokes of bondage because they did not cultivate a joyful heart in serving God.
Joy is the antidote to both legalism and license (Legalism meaning an obsession with rules; license meaning an irresponsible use of freedom).
God longs for us to serve him with joy!
Jesus said that we are to experience his joy (John 15:11) and joy more abundantly.
God's joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is based on "happenings" in my life. God's joy looks not at my circumstances but at Jesus. Our bondages are broken. We are set free.
As God moves in the next few months and years - let's let a heavenly joy overtake our spirits. Let's rejoice together in worship; let's encourage one another with the consistent truth that God is in control.
In short: Let's as God for a baptism of joy!
BTW - it's okay to laugh in church!
Can I get an "amen" with this thought: We have lived a sour Christianity long enough. When God moves upon us with a fresh touch, my prayer is that we are going to be so happy that we will draw people in - who are looking for joy.
Just a thought for a Thursday.