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Joy to You and Me

In a recent blog Rick Warren wrote these words: “You have a fundamental need for joy in your life. Life without joy is overwhelming, overburdened, and oppressive. Studies have actually shown that the more joy we have in our lives, the more productive we are. I read an article in "US News and World Report" that said that corporations hire "joy consultants" to build up the joy in peoples’ lives so that employees can be more productive.”

I don’t know how these “joy consultants” create joy in people’s lives but Jesus talked about a kind of joy that can be ours whether our circumstances are good or not. He called it “my joy” just hours before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Paul knew this joy. In the short letter to the Philippians, nicknamed “the letter of joy”, Paul uses the word “joy” 16 times. As Warren also stated, “The amazing thing is, Paul didn’t write this book when he was on vacation in the Caribbean. He was in prison in Rome, waiting to be executed. In the darkest days of his life, he wrote the most positive book in the Bible.” Would you like to have this kind of joy?

We experience the joy Jesus gives when our lives center on him and what he has said to us. He said, “I say these things… so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13). In other words, it is possible to have his joy in any circumstance on any day if we are thinking about and remembering what he has told us -- that our sins are forgiven through his death and we are not condemned, God is our Father and loves us, He is with us always, we are the children of God, that our ultimate victory is certain, and so on. A daily quiet time for Bible reading and prayer is the way to sustain our joy. Millions have proved this to be true in their experience. Have you? Will you?

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