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RADICAL JOY
Christianity Oasis Ministry
has provided you with this Radical Joy book with Radical Joy lesson. This Radical Joy lesson looks at the Radical Joy message and asks what does Radical Joy mean, what is the Radical Joy purpose, why is the Radical Joy message important, what is the Radical Joy message and how does the Radical Joy message affect your life. Understanding the Radical Joy message is very important and learning about the Radical Joy significance can help you to overcome the worldly whirlwinds. Let us delve into this Radical Joy lesson with Radical Joy message in this Radical Joy book, shall we?


 

CHRISTIANITY OASIS

PRESENTS

PURITY PUBLICATIONS
 


Radical Joy

Instrument Of Praise
And Weapon Of Warfare

By Diane Jurino
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

About The Author
Disclaimer

Dedication
Preface
Introduction

Chapter 1 – What Is Joy?
Chapter 2 – The Joy Of The Lord
Chapter 3 – Christ As Our Source Of Joy
Chapter 4 – Praise Is Joy In Action
Chapter 5 – Commanded To Praise
Chapter 6 – Types Of Praise And Worship
Chapter 7 – Joy And Praise As Weapons Of Warfare
Chapter 8 – Joy Unspeakable

 

About The Author

Diane Jurino is a Spirit-filled Christian who resides in Erie, Pennsylvania. She is the mother of three grown children, and four grandchildren. Her professional background is in Copywriting, Sales, Advertising, and Marketing. She has developed and conducted custom training courses in Human Relations, Communications, Personal and Professional Development.

 

Disclaimer:

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in this volume are from the King James Version of the Bible. 

 

Dedication:

1John 1:4 “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”

As we approach the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, may our lives be filled with awe and joy in the Lord!

 

Preface

I used to have a small crystal heart that had a carved ivory angel inside of it. It was a gift from a friend many years ago, and it had the word “joy” etched on its reverse side. Although not costly, it was truly precious to me since it reminded me of my friend, who has great joy herself. That quality attracted me to her initially, and it has sustained our friendship over the years.

This “Joy Heart,” as I call it, was one of my most treasured possessions. It served as a tangible reminder to me to strive for joy no matter what happened in my life. I often clutched it as I cried myself to sleep at night, wanting desperately to regain the joy I had temporarily lost in my daily struggles, frustrations and disappointments. Always, by morning, I would awake with a renewed peace, my joy restored.

As desirable as it is to acquire for yourself, joy is more meaningful when you share it. When my mother went into a nursing home several years ago, I gave the Joy Heart to her. At the time, I knew how very sad she was to be incapacitated and forced to leave the independence of her own home. I wanted simply to comfort and remind her that we can have joy under any circumstances.

Mom went to be with the Lord this past summer. When we were cleaning her room after she passed away, I was delighted to see that she had kept the Joy Heart throughout her period of confinement, last illness and death experience. It pleased me that she had a reminder of joy in her later years.

I would like to think that the original joy in the gift itself never diminished, but was somehow enhanced as it was passed on from my friend, to me, and to my mother. I guess I never really missed having it, because I had freely given it away to Mom. When I got it back, however, the Joy Heart took on new significance for me.

When a friend of mine lost her husband this past year, I didn’t know what to do to comfort her. So once again, I gave the Joy Heart away to her to help ease her burden. And while I sincerely miss having it myself, I realize that we cannot truly have joy ourselves unless we share it with others!

 

Introduction

Man is a walking, talking spirit that has a soul and lives in a body. Our fleshly body houses both our spirit and our soul. Our spirit man is our connector to God while our soul is our human personality, comprised of mind, will and emotions. Just as the human personality has certain traits and attributes, the recreated spirit also has distinct characteristics – joy is one of them.

When we made Jesus Christ Lord of our lives, we became new creatures in Him. All of the attributes of the Holy Spirit became available to us. They are termed the “fruit of the Spirit”, or simply spiritual fruit. They include good traits that are necessary for us to lead successful lives. However, they need to be cultivated and grown to maturity, in order for us to function optimally in the spirit realm as the Lord intends for us.

Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Our human spirit is constantly at war with our soul and our flesh, and some of the greatest ongoing battles we experience are in our bodies, minds and emotions. Emotions are only sporadic and fleeting. If they are negative, they often interfere with our minds and bodies functioning properly. If carried to excess, they cause us to become out of balance and they can interfere with our relationships with God and others.

Spiritual fruit, on the other hand, is given to us for our ultimate well-being. It includes, joy, peace, love, faith, gentleness and long suffering, to name but a few. These attributes stimulate health and wellness in every area of our lives. They are also more enduring than emotionality. When we cultivate and develop spiritual fruit, it helps us to grow in our fellowship with the Lord and manifests in all of our human relationships, as well.

Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”

In this book, we will examine joy as a spiritual attribute, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We will research its source, examine its manifestations and see how it is developed. We will see how joy interacts with other spiritual fruit, and with our minds, emotions and bodies. We will discover that there is extreme joy available in the presence of the Lord, and it will show us the path to life.

We will examine joy in action and see how it can be used as an instrument of praise and as a weapon for spiritual warfare. Finally, we will focus on the future and discover the essence of what I call radical joy or “joy unspeakable,” as the Scriptures call it. Our joy will be at its fullest as we enter into the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Job 8:19 “Behold, this [is] the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.”

It is my sincere hope to share with you what I have learned about joy from the Word and from my own personal experience. I may not be an expert on the topic, but I believe that my research in this area has given me some fresh insight worth sharing. I am a more joyous individual since I have written this book, and I know that it has strengthened me to become a better person.

Joy is something that we cannot live without. It fuels us spiritually and emotionally and leads to a zeal for abundant living. My prayer for you is that you would develop all the gifts of the Spirit, especially joy. I hope that you share it generously with those around you, and that it brings you strength and optimism in your spiritual journey. 

 

Chapter 1 – What Is Joy?

 

Joy is extraordinary energy that exudes from us, that colors our entire outlook and influences all that we do. It is a supernatural trait that permeates our very being and gives us a positive, can-do attitude. Joy radiates optimism and the very essence of life. It is exceeding gladness and vitality. It is happiness taken to the next level and turned up a notch.

A unique gift from God Himself, joy is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives that affects our bodies, as well as our souls and spirits. While joy enhances our spiritual and mental functioning and influences us emotionally, it also improves our physical well-being. It stimulates good hormone production and strengthens our immune systems to help fight off disease.

However, joy will also enable us to walk in the Holy Spirit instead of our flesh. It is a spiritual fruit and it serves as our connector to the supernatural, and our path to the divine life of God Himself. Joy reflects the very character of God and distinguishes us as His children. The Lord wants us to have every good thing in our lives, and joy is a trait that has lasting value for us.

Characteristics Of Joy

Habbakuk 3:18 “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Joy comes to us straight from the Lord; it is a divine attribute that we see in God Himself. We are created in His image and likeness, and He gave His joy to us as a special gift. It’s an impartation of His very own nature in our lives. Joy connects us to Him spiritually and enhances our human nature and all of our relationships, as well.

It is a marvelous trait that need never dissipate. We can have it every minute of every day of our lives. It can sustain us regardless of what we encounter in the world. Joy can be seen on our faces, in our body postures and in our actions. It is heard in our voices and in our laughter; it has a soothing effect on all others with whom we come in contact.

While it has many spiritual benefits, joy also makes us more attractive on a human level. It is characterized by exceeding gladness, positive exuberance and supernatural optimism. It is expressed in our eyes, our smiles, in our words and gestures towards others. Joyful people are like magnets, drawing others to them, rather than repelling them.

Attractive and contagious, joy spills over into the lives of others, promoting camaraderie and unity. It inspires people and encourages others to emulate our optimism. Joy produces a quiet confidence that gives us a can-do air about us. It is characteristic of a Spirit led life that has power and meaning, direction and purpose.

Joyful people seem to have their lives more together than the average person does. They are positive and outgoing, charismatic and persuasive. They serve as role models for others and

as godly examples of right living. While they may not be extraordinary in any other way, joyful people definitely stand out from the norm because of their overwhelmingly positive attitude. They exude hope and confidence and see life as limitless and exciting potential.

Joy is a gift from God.

Jeremiah 15:16” Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.”

Joy is a gift from God, a manifestation of His very Spirit. It stems from our faith in God and in His promises to us. Joy is a spiritual attribute given for our strength and comfort. It is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that should be present in our lives at all times as born-again believers. Joy stimulates love for God and others, brings peace and confidence to us, causes hope for the future, and propels faith into action.

When we are joyful, we can expect to attract the very life of God to us, so that we appear unique and special to others. We must guard our joy at all costs and cultivate it so that it grows into a fully developed, radical joy that permeates our very being. I define “radical joy” as the fullness of joy that can be used as an instrument of praise to the Lord, as well as a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare.

It characterizes those who are mature in the Lord and give Him full sway over their lives. Radical joy affects our entire outlook on life, and motivates us to do great things for the Lord and for His people. It defines our very existence and launches us into the supernatural realm even as we walk in the natural.

Radical joy will be that type of total and complete joy that we experience when heaven itself is ushered in on the earth. This truly will be cause for what the Bible calls “joy unspeakable,” joy so extreme that we cannot even express it with words. Radical joy will flow from us as a steady stream when we enter into the presence of God in His Kingdom on the earth.

Fruit Of The Spirit

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

When we made Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives and were baptized in the Holy Spirit, God’s very own Spirit took up residence in us. All of the attributes of the Holy Spirit – including joy – became available to us. We call these “spiritual fruit.”

We activate spiritual fruit by studying and believing God’s Word, and by applying what we learn in our daily lives and in our relationships with others. We must overcome our fleshly desires and lay down our souls in order to walk effectively in the Spirit realm.

Romans 8:1 “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

As we practice walking in the Holy Spirit rather than the flesh, spiritual fruit grow, develop and manifest in our lives. They help our spirits take ascendancy over our souls and our flesh. Spiritual fruit empower us to partake of the divine, and to walk in supernatural realms even as we walk in the natural world. They will produce extraordinary results in otherwise ordinary people.

Spiritual fruit interact with one another to make us whole, mature Christians. They are inter-connected, and as we develop one fruit, it spills over into the next. As we purposely refine one attribute and it becomes incorporated into our behavior, the others seem to gather momentum and emerge in us as well. They have a cumulative effect and cause us to always be righteous and above reproach.

For example, if I work on developing faith and love in my life, I almost always will experience joy and peace as byproducts. If I exercise my patience and long suffering, that causes me to grow in gentleness and goodness as well. If I walk in goodness and gentleness, I will develop a temperate lifestyle and be meek and humble in my service to others.

Ephesians 5:9 “For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;”

So it is with all the fruit of the Holy Spirit, they are intrinsically related to one another. In cultivating and perfecting one attribute, we become inclined to develop more of them. Our goal is to crucify our flesh and lay down our soul lives, and be overtaken by good spiritual fruit that lead us into all goodness and righteousness and truth.

We should fully cultivate the spiritual fruit in our lives, so that we walk in total spiritual maturity as Jesus Christ Himself walked while He was on the earth. Our goal should be to become holy and perfect, just as Jesus was in His earthly walk. While this may seem impossible in the natural, through the fruit of the Spirit, we can strive for divine characteristics and enhance our relationship with the Lord and with others.

Walking In The Spirit

Galatians 5:16 “[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

We are spirit beings having a human experience in a world filled with darkness, chaos and confusion. It is important that we have our spirits in ascendancy to our flesh and souls if we would be effective in our daily lives. We need to develop our spirit man and exercise him, to remain healthy and well balanced. We require spiritual bolstering for success in every area.

We should try to walk in the Holy Spirit and not in our flesh. In fact, we should crucify the desires of the flesh and lay down our soul’s agendas, and control our minds, wills and emotions. If we can be successful in this, we will please God and avoid much unnecessary pain and turmoil in our lives. And we will always subdue our human nature that is subject to temptation and sin.

Joy Is Our Reward

Matthew 25:23 “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Joy is our reward for righteousness and service to God and others. It comes straight from the Lord Himself. Joy is a divine attribute that can permeate our spirit if we give it free rein; it is an impartation of the Lord’s own divine nature. Spiritual joy is the pivotal point for all the other spiritual qualities that manifest in our lives. It motivates and energizes us to grow and develop in godliness, so that we reach full spiritual maturity.

Joy sparks hope, ignites our faith, fuels peace, and fires our love for God and others. If we cultivate all the other fruit of the Spirit, we will become good, gentle, patient, long suffering, temperate and meek, as well. These qualities will manifest in us as we strive for more and more spiritual maturity, until we literally walk in heaven on the earth, and overcome the world, the flesh and the devil.

Inherited Joy

Psalm 105:43 “And he brought forth his people with joy, [and] his chosen with gladness:”

Joy is our inheritance in the Lord. He has called and chosen us from the foundation of the world to be part of His very own family. He wants nothing more than to have a strong intimate fellowship with us for all eternity. The Lord has created us to be joyous and optimistic in our everyday lives. He wants us to mirror His own divine joy in all that we think, say and do.

We are His chosen, His beloved, and He wants us satisfied with all good things. Jesus came so that we might have life in abundance and He wants our joy to be full and permanent. So too, the Kingdom of God will provide for our every need when it manifests on the earth. No care or concern will mar our peace or erode our joy for all eternity.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 “For [God] giveth to a man that [is] good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to [him that is] good before God. This also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.”

The Lord lays up all good things for the righteous man. Wisdom, knowledge and joy are only a few of the Lord’s gifts to us, and they are indispensable in our Christian walk. We cannot be effective without them. They are rewards for our righteousness and incredible benefits to all who possess them.

We need the wisdom of the Lord to discern all things and to judge righteously. We require knowledge and insight to know the Lord’s will and plan for us. We need joy to motivate us in all that we do, and to sustain us in all that we experience.

Righteousness brings joy, while sin yields the very opposite – sorrow and vexation of spirit. These will immobilize us and give us negative attitudes. They may even destroy us if they remain unchecked, and progress into depression of spirits. That’s why it is critical that we remain sin free and in right standing with the Lord at all times. We need the joy of the Lord to empower us, and fortify us against all attacks of the enemy.

The Enemy Hates Joy

Joy is so important to our spiritual welfare and our walk with the Lord that the enemy makes it his primary goal to steal it from us whenever and wherever he can. He tries very hard to disturb our peace and arrest our joy. He wants to bring fear, anxiety and depression on us. He wants us to feel alone and isolated so that he can totally overcome us and paralyze us from doing the Lord’s will. This is his primary goal for the people of God, and we should resist all of his overtures.

He may send negative individuals our way that irritate and annoy us. The devil often brings subtle circumstances into our lives to discourage and upset us. He oppresses us with hindering spirits that cause us to be stricken with disease, mental stress or financial hardship. His goal is to get us to abandon our joy and become fearful and depressed. We don’t have to receive anything that he throws at us, however. We can resist him in all his efforts.

Proverbs 10:28 “The hope of the righteous [shall be] gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.”

We should counter those demonic attacks with spiritual warfare of our own. We have to bind all efforts to disturb our peace and steal our joy. We then loose joy and blessings in our lives by voice-activating God’s promises to us. We must forcibly take back our joy, knowing that it sustains and strengthens us in all that we encounter.

God’s people should openly rejoice in the devil’s every attempt to get us off track and into sorrow and depression of spirits. If it were not critical to our welfare, he would never try to steal our joy. He will not succeed in destroying it, because joy is a gift from God Himself. No matter how hard he tries, Satan cannot thwart the Lord’s efforts to share His very own supernatural joy with us.

We have to purposely set our minds and hearts to remain joyful at all times and under all circumstances, if we would maintain solid ground. Joy must be an actual way of life for us. We must search out the promises of God for our individual situations and cling joyfully to them. We should actually speak words of peace and joy over ourselves, and unleash dynamic power for all good things to manifest in our lives.

Psalm 105:43 “And he brought forth his people with joy, [and] his chosen with gladness:”

The Blood and the Name of Jesus are our surety that we can maintain our joy regardless of what efforts are made to rob us of it. The Lord redeemed us from the curse of pain and sorrow and replaced it with His own supernatural joy. But we have to know our rights and privileges. We can invoke Christ’s power of attorney in His Name, plead His Blood and unleash His very resurrection power to sustain our joy on a continuous, ongoing basis.

There is no reason that we should ever relinquish our joy to the enemy. We are of great importance to the Lord, and we should perceive Satan’s attacks as compliments rather than annoyances. If we were not joyously strong, he would not bother to attack us. We should proactively resist and thwart all of his efforts to steal our joy from us and preserve it at all costs.

Joy vs. Happiness

Hebrews 1:9 “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, [even] thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

Supernatural joy and gladness is reward from God for our righteousness in Him. It is not contingent upon our mood or circumstances. Its source is not found in our immediate environment, nor do we obtain joy by looking to other people for it. Joy comes straight from the Lord and often defies logic as it elevates us into the supernatural realm. While it imitates joy, happiness differs greatly from it. It’s only a cheap facsimile of real joy and it never lasts for long.

Happiness is a short-lived, transitory human emotion. It’s in the soul realm, and it is often dependent on people, things and experiences that give us only temporary satisfaction. It is fleeting and sporadic, not nearly as enduring as real joy. Happiness is a counterfeit emotion that mimics the real spiritual attribute, and it never has the ability to overcome our circumstances.

For example, our friends and loved ones make us happy, but they also make us angry, frustrated and sad. Our homes, jobs, cars, clothes, and other possessions bring us intermittent happiness, but they also require hard work and maintenance. Sporting events, parties, hobbies and vacations are other sources of happiness, but they often lose their allure.

Happiness comes and goes, fades with each passing experience, and leaves us constantly wanting more. It never seems to fill the void in us. Real joy comes from the Lord and is our basis for fellowship with Him. It sustains us in the hard times, and brings us through the ups and downs of life with little or no repercussions from the temporary situations we experience.

Joy is vital to our well-being and will fortify us to be victorious in every area of our lives. While happiness will never last for long, true joy radiates from within our spirit man and is sustained over the duration of our lives. It gives us an optimistic outlook in all situations, and provides us with stamina and endurance for anything we encounter. It is not dependant upon people, things or circumstances. True joy is a quality of the heart.

Depression Is The Opposite Of Joy

Proverbs 15:13 “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”

The opposite of joy is depression of spirits. Depression is a spiritual as well as a mental condition. It starts with a spirit of worry, sorrow or heaviness, or perhaps a combination of all of these. It is subtle in the beginning, but it slyly progresses to full-blown anxiety, fear and despondency if it remains unchecked. Defiling spirits such as these team up in spiritual strongholds that are difficult but not impossible to overcome.

Different from occasional sadness and weariness, depression is excessive emotional heaviness, and it charges the spiritual atmosphere negatively. It is a pervasive state of mind, epidemic in the world today, and it attracts darkness and negativity of all types to our lives. It opens the door for the enemy to mercilessly attack us, and leads to a never-ending vicious circle of despair.

Our perceptions become distorted and our emotional and spiritual balance is disturbed. We are off kilter in every area of our lives, and vulnerable to physical attack on our bodies, as well. Depression is demonic and requires prompt and aggressive treatment in both spiritual and natural realms before it leads to total destruction.

Far too many people require ongoing psychiatric help and medication for this insidious condition. Depression immobilizes us and destroys our level of mental functioning to one degree of incapacity or another. It can also adversely affect our physical health and well-being. It affects our immune system and lowers our body’s ability to fight off physical disease. It shatters our self-confidence and colors our whole attitude towards life in a negative light.

Without a doubt, depression also causes spiritual woundedness to come on us, and it should be avoided wherever possible. We are spirit beings and when we experience spiritual brokenness of any type, we become vulnerable to demonic attacks on our spirit man. Our endurance is fragile at that point, and we may succumb to the temptation to self-pity when we are depressed. Temptation can evolve into more blatant sin such as isolating and ignoring or blaming others.

When we are depressed, we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare just to maintain equilibrium. We must remember that the enemy’s goal is to utterly destroy us; we cannot afford to have depression come on us and overtake us at any time. Its effects are cumulative and they build in intensity to catastrophic proportion. Depression can totally destroy us, if we permit it to get a foothold in our lives.

Depression Escalates Into Fear

When we are depressed, life seems dull and flat to us. That influences our whole outlook and it interferes with our relationships – with God and with men. Depression is the enemy’s main line of attack in our mental and emotional lives, and it impairs us spiritually, as well. We should never permit sadness and heaviness of sprits to remain unchecked.

If the enemy can cause us to be downcast and sad, it’s only a matter of time and degree before he makes us depressed in spirit. He can then use that very depression as an open door for more evil to attack us. Evil spirits always seem to team up to do the most damage in our lives. Spirits of heaviness, depression and fear are evil spirits that go hand in hand.

When we are depressed, we invite fear in. Fear tends to paralyze us and produce all sorts of diffuse anxiety. We can even become paranoid so that everything and everyone frightens us. Fear can actually immobilize us altogether. It attacks our minds, emotions and our bodies. It can prevent us from leading normal lives and interfere with our service to the Lord.

Fear is an unclean mind-blinding spirit that causes doubt and unbelief to erode our faith. It literally threatens to take us out, if we give it ground. The good news is that we have not been given a spirit of fear; we have been given spirits of power, love and a sound mind. The Bible tells us that God loves us with an everlasting love, and His perfect love casts out all fear in our lives.

Depression Causes Suffering

Psalm 107:39 “Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.”

When we are depressed, we feel isolated; it seems like we are all alone in our feelings. We may become angry and frustrated in our relationships with others. Our confidence is shaken; even the simplest things become difficult for us. Our peace is disturbed; we become anxious; and we no longer see things optimistically. Our hope is diminished; the future seems uncertain and frightening to us. And our faith is weakened; we can even wonder if life is worth living at all.

Depression afflicts our spirit, mind, emotions and our body’s immune system. It can even bring on physical disease symptoms, which in turn, make us even more worried and afraid. Spirits of depression and fear can confuse and paralyze us, rendering us powerless to withstand additional attacks of the enemy, and ineffective in our service to God and others.

We suffer miserably when we experience depression. The key to prevent all of that lies in our total submission to the Lord’s will and plan for our lives. He wants us to stay connected to Him so that He can provide all good things for us. We should purposely focus on His love and promises in the Word. When we study what the Bible says God has planned for us, particularly when He ushers in His Kingdom on the earth, then our peace and joy will be restored to us.

Sorrow and depression of spirits will then be a thing of the past. If they should ever attempt to come on us again, we can resist them in Jesus’ Name and by His Blood, and they will flee far from us. Our peace and joy are easier to maintain consistently, than they are to restore after we have lost them. We ought to be diligent to remain joyful despite occasional attacks of heaviness and anxiety; we should remember that these conditions are only temporary.

1Peter 4:13 “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

Jesus was human as well as divine. He laid down His deity when He came to the earth, and took on all the potential infirmities and afflictions of human beings. It is certain that He also suffered occasionally with heaviness and depressive spirits. These are part of the human condition that we all must combat from time to time.

His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane was oppressive and real. Because he was both God and man, Jesus suffered in the flesh and the emotions just as we do. I am certain that He was tempted to abdicate His role in the Lord’s eternal redemption plan for mankind, because of the sorrow and depression that He experienced.

Jesus probably felt alone and abandoned because His disciples could not even stay awake and pray for Him in His time of need. He surely felt heaviness and down-heartedness. The Bible tells us that He agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane and actually sweat drops of blood, in His efforts to overcome the despair that He experienced with the revelation of His coming death.

But the good news is that Jesus overcame depression through His faith and obedience to the Lord’s will. He chose to be cooperative despite His awesome responsibility in the plan of salvation. He willingly suffered, died and was glorified in His resurrection. He laid down His life of His own volition so that our joy would be full.

Depression is oppressive at best and sinful at worst because it can actually destroy us if we permit it. While we may occasionally suffer from heaviness in our spirit man and even a touch of depression, we can overcome it just as Christ did. No matter how much we suffer, we will never have to experience the pain and sorrow that He did. We can rejoice in His victory over depression and enjoy life abundantly.

Joy Cures Depression

Isaiah 35:10 “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

We were bought with a dear price; our redemption should be a source of overwhelming joy to us! Jesus died to give us salvation from our sins, and to restore us to right standing with the Father. His victory over sin, death and the grave vanquished Satan once and for all time; he no longer can accuse us of sin or intimidate us in any way. As a byproduct, we were made righteous and joint-heirs with Christ to all that heaven has to offer.

Baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit as born-again believers, we can be assured that the joy of the Lord resides deep within us as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It simply needs to be brought to the surface and cultivated in every aspect of our lives. Radical joy is a potential for each and every one of us. Depression cannot co-exist with the radical joy we have as believers in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Knowledge of who we are in Christ and what our promises are in Him, eliminates depression and drives out fear and anxiety. The awareness that we are actually seated with Him in heavenly places gives us a sense of confidence in our relationship with Him. It should yield genuine joy and gladness in our spirits. That joy is part of God’s perfect love for us. He wants us filled with joy to the overflow, and we ought to cooperate with Him in developing it to its full potential.

We can purposely work on cultivating joy as a constant and continuous way of life. We can choose optimism and gladness over any feelings of negativity. Being forewarned and forearmed that joy is precious and subject to loss, we can be vigilant to preserve it at all costs. Whenever depression threatens to come at us, we can bind it and cast it out, then loose joy and peace in our lives by focusing on our precious promises in Christ.

Joy, Faith And Hope Interacting

Romans 15:13 “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.”

When we think of the Lord’s nature, we ascribe various spiritual attributes to His Holy Spirit love, peace, goodness, mercy and joy to name only a few. We know Him by these traits, and we can be sure that He will always manifest them in His relationship with us. He is constant and unchanging, and never exhibits negative traits.

Created in His image and likeness, it is not only possible, but also necessary that we exhibit the Lord’s own spiritual attributes in our lives. Like attracts like, and these form the bases for our communion with His divine nature. We can have the Lord’s stability and balance in our lives by cultivating joy, faith and hope.

The Lord will fill us with all His joy and peace so that we may have faith, hope and confidence for the future through the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants these attributes developed in us, because they strengthen and empower us to do His will in all things. They add to our sense of well-being and promote good health and long life for us.

Our faith is developed by trusting God and by believing what He tells us in His Word. We can rely on Him to always supply our needs and to have our best interest at heart. The Word of God holds many promises for us that will benefit us in every area of our lives. If we believe that what the Lord says is true our joy, confidence and hope for the future will be strong.

2Corinthians 1:24 “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.”

Our faith should sustain us in every area of our lives. Scripture reminds us that we have the very mind of Christ, because He lives in us. It is a foregone conclusion that we can also have the joy of Christ. We need to take a stand in faith to obtain joy and preserve it at all costs. It will elevate us to the supernatural realm, enhance all of our relationships and facilitate our accomplishments for the Lord.

Joy was one of Christ’s strongest attributes as a man; we should pattern our lives after His own. He exuded joy in all that He did, whether it was preaching and teaching or healing and setting captives free. Jesus enjoyed preaching the gospel and experienced joy and victory in His dialogues and debates with the Jewish leaders of His day. I am certain that He took particular delight in coming against all attacks of the devil to injure others and hold them in bondage.

Christ should serve as our role model for walking in the joy of the Lord. He wants us to be full of joy because it promotes inner peace and hope regardless of our situation and circumstances. By faith we can take a stand to be joyous and remain that way, no matter what comes at us in the world. As we go deeper in our relationship with God, our joy ever increases. The more intimate we become with God, the more our joy is stimulated.

That very joy serves as spiritual armor to protect and surround us with the presence of the Lord when trials and tribulations come at us. The enemy doesn’t stand a chance of getting us off track or stealing our peace, as long as we cultivate and preserve our joy. The Lord’s very presence in our lives will serve as a hedge of protection around us to deliver us from all evil. Joy will supernaturally protect and defend us, as we serve the Lord in optimism and gladness.

Exceeding Gladness

Psalm 16:9 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.”

When we remember the Lord’s goodness to us and focus on His blessings rather than our temporary circumstances, our joy is increased tremendously. As we pray and meditate on His promises, we can concentrate on all the positive things that the Lord provides in our lives. So too, we can praise and worship the Lord both publicly and in private, which stimulates joy into action and takes our minds off of our problems.

Joy influences how we perceive the world and our part in it. Supernatural optimism in times of stress is vitally important to how we view life. It gives us strength for the present and hope for the future. Joy causes endorphins – good hormones – to be released in our bodies so that we may have more stamina and endurance, and improve our overall physical health.

It promotes a sense of contentment and well-being in us and positively impacts all of our relationships. Joy fuels us during the hard times when we need to have patience and perseverance to wait for our breakthroughs and promised rewards. It always makes waiting more pleasant for us, as it evolves into excited anticipation of the Lord’s blessings for us.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Define Joy

2. Characteristics Of Joy

3. Joy As A Fruit Of The Spirit

4. How Joy Differs From Happiness

5. Joy Cures Depression

6. Joy, Faith And Hope

7. Exceeding Gladness

 

Chapter 2 – The Joy Of The Lord

 

Isaiah 29:19 “The meek also shall increase [their] joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”

The joy of the Lord is a divine attribute that mirrors the very joy of God Himself. We should embrace it in all meekness and humility and prize it more highly than any other gift from God. It marks us as His very own child, and sustains us in our body, soul and spirit. It is characterized by exceeding gladness and it influences our every thought and action to do the will of God. It will attract unbelievers to us like a magnet, and improve our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ so that we can walk in total love and unity.

The joy of the Lord is a great and awesome gift that comes straight from the throne of grace to every believer. It is an inheritance from the Lord for our righteousness and good standing with Him. It should radiate from us in everything that we say and do. It is supernatural optimism for performing outstanding feats in the name of the Lord, and it will be our secret weapon for annihilating the enemy as we usher in the Kingdom of God.

The word “joy” occurs 165 times in 155 verses in the King James Version of the Bible.

That tells me that the Lord attaches great significance to joy in His Word. I am convinced that the joy of the Lord is the secret to entering in and remaining in the manifest presence of God for all eternity. The Lord wants us to value joy and protect it over every other gift that He has granted us. It will be our fuel for performing awesome feats on His behalf.

So too, our joy will grow and become radical in the days ahead as we help to usher in God’s Kingdom on the earth. We will serve Him almost effortlessly as we go about our work with joy and gladness in our hearts. He will take great pleasure in our willingness and zeal to serve Him and His people, and reward us generously for our attitude and performance.

Our supernatural joy in the Lord will serve as inspiration to men who are lost in darkness and despair. They will wonder how we can be so upbeat and positive. We will be living testimonies of God’s love and power. We will attract many believers to the Gospel of the Kingdom, and persuade them to repent and be baptized in Christ, so that their joy might be complete for all eternity.

We will work miraculous healings through the anointing power of God Himself, and men’s lives will be forever changed. We will enthusiastically take control over all attempts of the enemy to destroy God’s people and set captives free of demonic oppression. We will have overwhelming joy as we raise the dead and permit them to live again.

Our joy will know no bounds as we all dwell together with the Lord Himself for all eternity. It will be an all out radical joy that totally delights the Lord. He will be our God and we will be His people that fellowship with Him on an intimate basis. Love, peace and joy will prevail In God’s Kingdom. We will have all our needs met and rejoice in His presence forever more.

God, My Exceeding Joy

Psalm 43:3-4 “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy.”

God’s Kingdom will soon be ushered in on the earth. The Lord is our exceeding joy! Life in His presence will be an awesome privilege and an eternal reward. It is more important than ever that we repent of all known sin, and sanctify ourselves in the truth of God’s Word. We must strive for spiritual maturity and increased righteousness, as He is holy and perfect.

We should remember that we enjoy a place of special privilege with the Lord. We are seated with Christ at the right hand of God. Our joy in the Lord is a great benefit and our inroad to His power and glory. We should joyfully approach the throne of grace with every concern and need. We are assured that we will always be acknowledged and that every petition will be granted us.

The Lord will reveal His secrets to us, so that we can be fully prepared for all that we encounter in the days ahead. He will give us increased wisdom and revelation to handle all aspects of His eternal redemption plan. He will imbue us with a full anointing of His power and glory so that we are able to do everything that He requires. Our service to Him will cause Him great joy.

Righteousness brings joy. Fellowship with the Lord and with each other brings joy. Searching for the truth brings joy. Seeking the Lord’s will brings joy. Serving the Lord brings joy. Praising God brings joy. Knowing our promises and privileges in Christ, gives us radical joy and provides us with the necessary motivation to accomplish all that the Lord assigns us to do in ushering in His Kingdom on the earth.

Joy In Our Savior, Jesus Christ

Romans 5:11 “And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

Christ died to bring us total redemption, not just forgiveness of sins. When we were born again, we renewed our covenant with the Lord that was present at creation, but forfeited by Adam’s sin. We experienced the benefits from His atoning act of obedience in every area of our lives. All our rights and privileges were restored to us. We passed from death to life again. We were delivered from the curse, because Jesus was made a curse for us.

The divine exchange of sin for pardon, darkness for light, and sorrow for joy, took place. We were restored to right standing and close fellowship with God. In fact, we enjoy actual sonship rights. We should rejoice in the fact that Christ has not only redeemed us, but called us to be part of His very own family. We have a new and improved covenant now, with better promises than ever before. We are actually joint-heirs with Christ, and we will share in His glory for all eternity.

Christ Himself came to take up residence in us as part of the Messianic Covenant. Per the terms of that covenant, all that He has became ours. All that He is – glorious and powerful – became available to us. Our dominion over the earth has been restored once and for all. As believers, the joy of the Lord and His power to overcome should permeate our very being.

Joy Breakers

Whenever we sin we break covenant with the Lord and interrupt our fellowship with Him. We become estranged from our Creator Father. Sin and unrighteousness of any type replace our joy with feelings of guilt. We feel separated, alone, discouraged, and become sorrowful and ashamed. We may become fearful and our relationship with God and others is impaired. Only repentance and confession of our sins rekindles our right relationship with God, and restores us to our original joy and peace in Him.

So too, an exaggerated concern about the things of this world erodes our joy. The Bible tells us not to give any thought to what we should eat or drink, nor what we should wear. We cannot make material things our focus, nor can we walk in the flesh and hope to sustain our joy in the Lord. The world is currently filled with darkness and gloom. We must purposely walk after the Holy Spirit and disregard what is happening in the natural, if we would be joyful and optimistic in our service to the Lord in the days ahead.

Sin Destroys Joy

Isaiah 65:14 “Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.”

Sin and disobedience erode our joy. We trade peace and joy for sorrow, fear, guilt and condemnation every time we miss the mark and sin against God. We are immobilized and our service to Him and others reaches an impasse. The only thing that will renew our joy is repentance and restoration of our right relationship with Him. We must earnestly strive for righteousness at all times, and be careful to walk in love for the Lord and with one another.

Righteousness and joy are interconnected. We cannot experience genuine joy unless we are in right standing with God and with one another. Supernatural joy characterizes the faithful servants of the Lord in all that they do. The best way to preserve that joy is to be willing and obedient to live according to the Lord’s direction, plan and purpose for our lives. Obedience has its own rewards and joy is just one of them.

Job 33:26 “He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.”

It’s all about intimate fellowship. No matter how many times we sin, the Lord is quick to restore us when we repent from the heart and turn towards righteousness again. All we need do is seek His face, confess our sin and ask for forgiveness. As we turn from all known unrighteousness, our relationship with Him is restored, together with our joy in the Lord. We experience renewed intimacy and we grow emotionally and spiritually.

We are repeatedly blessed with God’s mercy and loving kindness towards us, and He is quick to renew our joy with His total forgiveness. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to be sensitive to His lead, and walk in such a way that we will never again miss the mark and lose our righteousness in Him. We should strive for holiness and spiritual maturity, so that our joy remains constant and overflowing.

Habakkuk 3:18 “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

It is possible to become so close to the Lord that His joy remains in us continuously. It will actually overtake us and permeate our very being. It will become joy unspeakable, or radical joy, as I term it. This type of joy is what we will require as we struggle with a world filled with sin and darkness in the days ahead. We are overcomers, and we battle darkness with light, love and joy.

Our very lives will reflect the joy of the Lord as we usher in His Kingdom on the earth. We will attract countless numbers of new believers as we preach the good news of Jesus Christ. We will minister to the sick and rejoice in their healing. We will set captives free from enemy oppression, and yes, even raise the dead as Christ did. All this will bring us radical joy and cause the Lord to be extremely pleased with us.

Cares Of The World Erode Joy

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The cares of this world interfere with our joy. If we are focused on other people and our situations and circumstances, we subject ourselves to the daily seesaw of our emotions while our joy and peace suffer. In fact, worry and anxiety of any type can even rob us of our joy and our peace altogether. They are foolish and sinful wastes of our time. Worry and anxiety produce fear, which ultimately causes us mental anguish and even physical breakdown.

The remedy is to guard our joy at all costs, as it balances us and motivates us in our service to the Lord. We should have trust in God for every situation we face. He should be our focal point; only He offers the solution to all of our problems. We must not worry or be anxious regarding temporal or spiritual matters. We should never be afraid; the Lord promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will be our continuous source of all that we need.

God has a plan for every perplexity that comes on us; He knows our needs even before we ask Him. All we must do is pray confidently for the answers to our prayers, then thank Him for His love and generosity even before we see the manifestation. We will always receive what we request. The Lord is ever faithful to hear us and respond positively. That should be cause for exceeding joy and confidence in us, and will produce peace in our lives.

Rebellion Kills Joy

The Jewish people had repeatedly rebelled against God, and they were exiled as a result. They were discouraged and faint-hearted from their long period of captivity, until Nehemiah stepped in to be their governor. They had been released to return home, but their joy subsided when the city experienced a fire. Jerusalem was left unfortified because the city walls and gates had been destroyed. Fear and confusion set in, and the restoration of Jerusalem looked doubtful.

Nehemiah was a future type and shadow of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to his people at that time. He was in deep agony for their plight. He fasted and prayed; he found them timber to rebuild the city walls and gates; and he organized them for the labor. They completed the restoration in less than two months, despite opposition so strong, that they were forced to wear swords at their sides and defend their lives during the rebuilding process.

But Nehemiah didn’t stop there. He knew that the Jews were paying high taxes and excessive tributes, and he helped to abolish their exacting servitude. He challenged their morality, made a concerted effort to purify the bloodline, and cleaned up their spiritual defilement by abolishing mixed marriages. But most important of all, he prayed and interceded for his people and turned them back to a personal relationship with their God.

He had Ezra the Scribe read to them from the book of the Law of Moses in remembrance of all they had experienced as a nation of God’s chosen people. This reminded them of God’s mercy and grace to meet all their needs. Then they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles to help restore them to their original covenant with the God of Israel, and to praise Him for His glory.

Nehemiah knew that his people needed encouragement, that they needed righteousness once again. The key to that was in repentance and renewing their joy in the Lord. Total restoration – of their city and their covenant with the Lord – followed this celebration, as the people of God worshipped the Lord in total joy.

The Joy Of The Lord Is Your Strength

Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

This should be a timely reminder to the Body of Christ on the earth today. The joy of the Lord is our strength too. When we sin and repent, our joy is restored. Although we may experience some battle fatigue in our efforts to circumvent the enemy and usher in the Kingdom of God in the days ahead, the joy of the Lord will sustain us through every trial and tribulation we face. It will protect us and motivate us to accomplish all that we are called to do.

Joy will cause us to serve the Lord and one another with exceeding gladness and lightness of heart. It has a magnetic-like quality; we will spread our joy to those around us. God’s people will attract many new believers to the Lord, as we joyously share the good news of the Kingdom with them. We will perform miraculous healings and set captives free of enemy oppression. We will bring light and love to others, so that they can overcome the darkness in their own lives.

Joy In The Heat Of Battle

Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

With the global revival and restoration that are promised us as we usher in the Kingdom of God on the earth, we can expect even more resistance from the enemy. After all, his days are numbered; his power and authority are quickly waning, and that outrages him. He will do everything possible to impede the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth.

The more confident and joyful we become, the more determined he is to steal that peace and joy from us because it is our strength. We must resist all his efforts to rob us of our joy. It will sustain us through all sorts of hardship and temptation as the days progress. We can maintain our joy regardless of the situations and circumstances that surround us.

We know that the spiritual battles we face will only escalate until the coming of the Lord Jesus. Yet we can have peace in the midst of the storm, radical joy in the coming season, to help us usher in the Kingdom of God. We can use that joy as an instrument of praise to the Lord and as an effective weapon of warfare to overcome the enemy’s every attack.

We must simply push through, as Christ directs us, in total joy, peace and confidence that the Lord’s plan for the full redemption of mankind will be fulfilled, despite how things look in the natural world around us. We must give action to our joy, and praise the Lord in all that we encounter, with full knowledge that He empowers us for all that we are called upon to do.

Joy As We Usher In The Kingdom

Joy is not something we should take lightly; it’s not something we ought to just think about. It’s a gift of God that we should earnestly desire to receive and maintain. We must actively pursue it, as it provides us with a supernatural push when the going gets tough. It will help spur us forward so that we can easily overcome all obstacles in our path. It is the impetus we require to accomplish great feats for the Lord, and it connects us to His power and glory.

We must earnestly strive for spiritual joy as we do for peace, love and faith. We must practice being joyful on purpose, regardless of our circumstances. And once we develop joy to its full potential, we must zealously guard it. It will enhance our warfare, and fortify our lives for the challenging days that lie ahead before Christ returns. It will cause us to have hope and confidence for our future.

Celebrating life with joy will add meaning and satisfaction to all our efforts. It will help us to usher in the Kingdom of God with zeal and optimism. Our service will seem effortless and personally gratifying. So too, joy will give us endurance and stamina and keep us connected to the Lord, so that we have supernatural protection and extraordinary success in all that we must accomplish.

Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

We will actually enter into the Kingdom of God even before it manifests on the earth, as we walk in right standing with the Lord and in love and peace with one another. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit are our inheritance in Christ. They are rewards for our obedience and characteristics of the Kingdom of God.

Righteousness, peace and joy cause the Kingdom to operate and take pre-eminence in each and every one of us, even before it is actually ushered in on the earth. They reside deep within every one of us who have been born-again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. They are manifested as we walk in love and service to others.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The joy we experience is as important to our spiritual well-being, as the air we breathe and the food we eat are important to our physical well-being. In fact, as born-again believers we should earnestly seek that which is from above, rather than that which is of the world. The Lord provides all our needs, both spiritual and temporal – joy is one of His greatest gifts to us. It is a reward for our righteousness and sustains us in all that we do.

The Bible tells us to seek God’s Kingdom above all other things, and everything else that we need will be added to us. Spiritual gifts are more valuable and lasting than material gifts. They only improve with the using and never grow old and decay, as do material things. Joy grows until it permeates our very being and provides us with a supernatural motivation to love and serve.

The joy of the Lord is a spiritual fruit we ought to covet more than material things. It fills us with enthusiasm and fuels us to do the Lord’s will in every area of our lives. It radiates from deep within our spirit man and dramatically impacts the world around us, and it positively influences all the people with whom we come in contact. When we have the joy of the Lord, we attract all other good things to our lives.

Spiritual joy produces zeal and optimism in us, and it yields power and stamina, strength and endurance to achieve all that the Lord calls us to do. It also gives us a common ground for communing with Him and with each other in true fellowship.

The joy of the Lord is a spiritual magnet that will help us attract many new believers to the Kingdom of God, as we spread the gospel message and gather in the full end-time harvest of souls. We will experience radical joy as millions turn to the truth and repent of their sins and are baptized into the Kingdom way of life.

Joy And Gladness

Isaiah 35:10 “For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”

Zion is a type and shadow of the church. For our former shame and sorrow, the Lord promises the church joy and gladness now and for the future. We are promised total redemption and restoration in the Kingdom of God. We will rejoice and give thanks for all that He has done for us, as we dwell in safety and security, peace and prosperity, for all eternity.

The Lord will boast of us as His Bride to all creation. He will show us off for all men to see. We will rule and reign with Him for all eternity. This will be our greatest hour. That should be a tremendous source of joy to us, that encourages us in our efforts to do His will as the Kingdom of God is ushered in to the earth realm.

Ecclesiastes 5:20 “For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth [him] in the joy of his heart.”

Our pain and sorrow is a thing of the past as we embrace the joy of the Lord in our lives. It revitalizes and gives us renewed energy to serve Him in all that we do. It is our strength and comfort, as well as our hope for the future. Through faith we can be eternally joyful in all that the Lord has provided for us, both spiritually and temporally. He meets all of our needs generously and abundantly.

Very soon there will be no sorrow in the Kingdom of God. The Lord Himself will take up residence with His people. Every tear will be wiped away and blotted from our memory. No one will suffer pain, disease or death. No evil will reside there, and Jesus Christ will take vengeance on all our enemies. There will be no lack, as the Lord meets all of our needs fairly and equitably. There will be love, peace, and unity – a cause for never ending joy for all who dwell there!

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Joy In Christ’s Sacrifice

2. Joy Breakers

3. Sin Destroys Joy

4. The Cares Of This World Erode Joy

5. Nehemiah And The Temple

6. Joy In Warfare

7. Joy In The Kingdom

 

Chapter 3 – Christ As Our Source Of Joy

 

Luke 1:14 “And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.”

The Lord is, and always should be, our source of joy. He knew us from the foundation of the world and anticipated that we would be rebellious, lost in sin and require rescue. He formulated a perfect plan to save mankind from destruction and reconcile us back to Him again. That involved sending His very own Son to the earth to serve as a preacher and teacher, mediator and redeemer, a pattern and role model for righteous living.

Christ’s birth brought supernatural joy to the earth realm thousands of years ago, and that same degree of joy is available to us today. News of His coming echoed throughout the universe. All creation rejoiced at His birth. Jesus’ coming was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, a vital part of the Lord’s redemption plan for all mankind. Heaven itself touched down on the earth. The Word of God became man and dwelt among us. Jesus Christ was Emmanuel – God with us!

Luke 2:10-11 “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

The angel’s tidings at Christ’s birth were indeed good news. We must remember that God’s chosen people had long been oppressed due to their disobedience. They were estranged from God; they had broken covenant relationship with their Creator. They consequently suffered under several human governments, endured slavery and exile, and experienced horrific losses at the hands of their enemies.

They knew only pain and sorrow. They were under the curse for their disobedience. They were worried and afraid; they were oppressed and depressed. They were weak and vulnerable. To top it off, their country was occupied by Rome, one of the most formidable tyrants they had ever seen. God’s chosen people desperately needed their joy restored, and they needed His manifest presence in their lives once again.

Sorrow Turned To Joy

Psalm 126:5 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

Israel needed hope for the future; they needed a Savior – their promised Messiah – to restore what had been taken from them and reconcile them back to their God. They needed joy instead of pain and sorrow. That joy came as God Himself in human form, destined to change their lives forever because of His unselfish dedication to their needs.

Christ came to set them free not only from emotional and physical bondage, but also from spiritual decadence. He came to destroy sin and unrighteousness and to redeem them from its curse. Jesus’ life was a joyful demonstration of love, obedience and service. He preached the good news of the Kingdom to the poor, healed the sick, set captives free of enemy oppression, and even raised the dead back to life again.

Although His suffering and death on the cross caused many of His followers to experience temporary sorrow, it ultimately resulted in the fulfillment of the Lord’s redemption plan for men. His victory over sin, death and the grave vanquished the enemy and restored dominion on the earth back to men. The divine exchange of sin for righteousness and sorrow for joy took place.

Isaiah 61:3 “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

Isaiah speaks prophetically of the anointing on Jesus Christ before He was ever born. The impartation of joy was part of the divine exchange that occurred during Christ’s life, death and resurrection. His followers’ sorrow was turned to joy supernaturally. Their heaviness turned to praise, as He unleashed all the bounty of the universe for their benefit.

We praise and glorify God for all that Jesus did for us. His Blood sacrifice served as a total atonement for all our sin and disobedience. He restored us to right standing with the Father. He turned our captivity by redeeming us from the curse of the law, through which no man could be made perfect. He made an open show of the devil and stripped him of his power to harm us.

Jesus Christ overcame sin, death and the grave, so that we could have eternal life. We know that His obedience has brought us life in abundance; we are now entitled to total redemption of our bodies and souls, as well as our spirits. We have become joint-heirs with Him to the promises of the Kingdom of God. All of this is cause for true, everlasting joy in our lives!

John 16:20 “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

Jesus may have experienced momentary sadness and frustration in His time on earth, but nothing robbed Him of the ultimate joy of knowing that He was the Father’s beloved Son called to be the first-born of many. Knowledge of His relationship to the Father and His role in our lives constantly stimulated Christ to serve men with joy and gladness.

He laid down His deity and walked as a mere man, sinless and perfect. He joyfully preached the good news of the Kingdom of God, enthusiastically healed all who were sick and set the captives free from demonic oppression. His greatest joy came when He was able to raise the dead back to life, and comfort their families.

When explaining that He must suffer and die, Jesus promised His disciples they would ultimately have joy regardless of the sorrowful circumstances they were to endure. He made good on His promise. They forgot all of their pain and sorrow at His death, once they beheld Him again in all of His glory after the resurrection.

We too should rejoice in all that the Lord has accomplished on our behalf. He made an open show of the devil and stripped him of his power. He served as the expiation for all of our sin. He bore our infirmities and carried our diseases, so that we would enjoy healing and long life. Jesus restored us to right relationship with the Father so that would be joint-heirs with Him to all the promises of God.

As if all of that were not enough, Christ also gave us the promise of His Kingdom. We have a blessed hope for the future when He returns to consummate His redemption plan. He will put all enemies under His feet to include death, and we will be given our new glorious resurrection bodies that will live on the earth forever with Him and the Father.

Evil will be eradicated from the earth as the Kingdom of God is ushered in. The Lord will take vengeance on all our enemies. All of creation will be restored to its original beauty. We will enjoy prosperity and have all of our needs met. There will be safety and security, fairness and equality for all. Christ will boast of us to the entire world as we rule and reign with Him in joy, peace and love for all eternity.

Joy was Christ’s strength.

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus knew who He was. He fully understood His role and purpose in our redemption. He also knew the details of his agonizing destiny. That never altered the fact that He was joyful throughout His earthly experiences. Despite the heavy burden He carried in teaching, healing and battling demons during His ministry, Jesus never lost His joy. He radiated hope, zeal and optimism to His followers, and He attracted multitudes to hear the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Joy sustained Jesus during His temptations. It spurred Him along during His ministry; He always took time to praise the Father and celebrate life. Joy enabled Him to deal with the frustrations He experienced in teaching His disciples and taking His message to the people. He experienced great joy and satisfaction in healing the sick and delivering the oppressed. The joy of the Lord was His strength and it stimulated the full anointing power and glory of God to operate in His life.

Christ’s Supernatural Joy

Although Christ suffered sadness and depression of spirits before His agonizing passion and death, His sorrow was turned to joy supernaturally as He willingly and obediently accepted His role in our redemption. The joy of the Lord strengthened Christ to deal with betrayal by a friend, and the treachery of the traditional Jewish leaders. And while He may have not been pleased about every aspect of His destiny, Jesus never lost His confident, peaceful composure even during His suffering and death.

He was tremendously successful in His earthly ministry and this caused both Christ and the Father exceeding gladness. His victory over sin, death and the grave was a cause for tremendous joy as Jesus fulfilled the Father’s plan of salvation for all mankind. His conquest over Satan, all powers and principalities, released mankind from demonic oppression for all time, and certainly gave Him the greatest joy imaginable.

Jesus made plans and preparations for transferring His supernatural joy to His followers. While they were sad and despondent over His crucifixion, that sorrow turned to joy in His resurrection from the dead. They were overjoyed as He walked with them in the newness of life, and continued to teach them many more things before He ascended to be with the Father. He was proud of their love and faith, and they were a continuous source of joy to Him, as well.

Transfer of Joy

John 17:13 “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”

Jesus was a joyful, contented person of boundless zeal and energy, who attracted thousands and thousands to his ministry. His charismatic words were inspiring and persuasive, filled with hope and encouragement. His motives were always loving and unselfish, as He went about doing good everywhere that He went. He laid down His deity and walked as a perfect man with a joyful, optimistic attitude during His time on the earth.

As our High Priest, Jesus prayed for His followers before He went to the cross. He wanted them not to be taken out of the world, but kept from evil while remaining in it. He wanted to supernaturally transfer His joy to them to sustain them in the days that were to follow, as they waited for the coming of His Kingdom, and went about doing the works that He had done.

Exceeding joy came to Christ’s followers with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It fueled and energized them to walk in His power and perform many signs and wonders for the benefit of the people. They were zealous and passionate for the gospel to be preached and for all men to be healed and set free. Today that joy is imparted to all of us who believe in Him.

When we accepted Jesus as Our Lord and Savior and became baptized with the Holy Spirit, His joy transferred to us in all its fullness. It is deep within our spirits and it enables us to walk as Jesus walked, in full power and authority. We can now serve the Lord with supernatural optimism and exceeding gladness, in all that He asks of us. We can have hope and confidence for the future as we help usher in His Kingdom, and preach the gospel with attending signs and wonders.

Fullness of Joy

John 15:10-11: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.”

Joy was so important to Jesus that He taught all of His followers His secret. If they kept His commandments as He had kept the Father’s, they could experience the radical joy He had. Jesus took joy in the obedience of His followers, and He commanded them to abide in love with Him and with one another, which fulfilled the entire law.

He told them that His joy would remain in them if they did what He did, and that their joy would be full. Jesus expects us to continuously walk in love for God and for one another. His joy is complete when He sees our obedience to Him and our humble service to all men. He desires that we walk as He walked on the earth, doing the works that He did. He will be our strength and our empowerment. Together we will usher in His Kingdom for all eternity.

John 16:24 “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father. He has elevated us to share in that position of power and glory with Him. We should be overjoyed in what He did for us, and for the promises of a better covenant than we had before. We enjoy sonship rights and are actual members of the family of God because He paid the ultimate price for us. We can approach the throne of grace with every concern and need that we have.

Christ promised to act as our Mediator with the Father to provide us with all that we need to remain joyful and contented. Whatever we ask in His Name, we can be assured we will receive. We do not have to plead or grovel to have our needs met. We are seated at His side in heavenly places; we make our needs known as mature sons and daughters of the living God.

We have Christ’s power of attorney, the right to use His Name to obtain all that we require in our lives. He has promised us this, so that our joy in Him may be full, lacking nothing. It is His express desire to bring us life in abundance, to the overflow. He wants to bless us richly. This should truly be cause for radical joy in us!

The Lord’s Joy In Us

Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

The Lord is not only our source of joy, but we are His reason for rejoicing when we walk in His ways. We have been saved from sin and corruption, bought with the Blood of His only Son. As we walk as Christ walked on the earth, we will experience even more of Christ-like joy in service to all of mankind. The Lord will be extremely pleased, and rejoice in us as He did in Jesus.

Whenever we minister healing, cast out demons and set captives free, and preach the good news of the Kingdom, our joy is enhanced. We have confidence that we are doing God’s will, and the hope of a future reward. And His joy in us knows no measure when we are walking in this close fellowship with Him and His purpose for our lives.

It is up to us to cultivate and develop high-level radical joy in our own lives through perfect obedience. We must lay down our own agendas and walk in the Spirit. We should seek God’s will in all our situations and circumstances. We must focus on our blessings and promises, and disregard all hindrances in our lives that would tend to discourage us and steal our joy.

Jude 1:24 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,”

The Lord has provided His people with all the ammunition we need to be victorious in both natural and spiritual realms. He loves us with an everlasting love, and sent His Son to redeem us when we were lost in sin and afraid of its repercussions. We have the Word of God; we have prayer and praise; we have glorious promises. We have hope for the future in the Kingdom of God.

Through Jesus Christ, we are kept strong and righteous, and in close relationship with Him. He is the author and the finisher of our faith. Christ is able to keep us from falling despite our temptations and tribulations, and He will present us to the Father with exceeding joy of His own. He will glory in us as we walk the way He walked on the earth. He will boast of us to all creation, as He reveals the sons and daughters of God in His Kingdom.

1Thessalonians 2:19-20 “For what [is] our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.”

We should continuously walk in the Spirit instead of our flesh. It will give us supernatural empowerment for everything we do. We must lay down our souls – our minds, wills and emotions. We have to crucify our flesh and all its lusts. We must submit ourselves to God, and forego our personal goals, desires and plans in favor of His will for our lives. We ought to walk in love and peace, and cultivate joy in our lives so that the Lord is pleased with us.

Paul told His followers that they were a source of glory and joy to Jesus Christ. Their very righteousness and love were exactly what the Lord expects and commands of us. When we walk according to Christ’s law of love and are obedient to His lead, we give Him great joy. He will return one day soon for a perfect, mature and unblemished Bride that will rule and reign with Him. We will share in His joy and His glory for all eternity.

Joy In Christ’s Second Coming

The message of the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached on the earth during His first advent, was filled with promises of joy and peace for all men. The people received it hungrily, as their lives had been filled with sorrow and loss. They had known untold oppression, and the Kingdom promised them safety and security, blessings and prosperity, health and long life for all eternity. They were eager to receive the good news and anxious to participate in Christ’s Kingdom. But they were not to know the full joy of their redemption at that time.

Christ’s victory over sin, death and the grave was the turning point in history, the key that unlocked our future. It restored our right standing with God and promised us great blessings. It empowered believers of every age to do what He did – walk in full power and authority in the earth again.

As contemporary followers of Jesus, we are to walk in the light and revelation that we now have. We are obligated to share our faith and spiritual resources with a world that has been deceived and grossly darkened by sin. We should provide them with tangible love and comfort, hope and confidence for the future.

We must spread the good news of the Kingdom of God and tell others of Christ’s second coming to the earth to set up His eternal reign. As we do so, we offer joy, peace and hope for all men in a world that so desperately needs it. As we go about doing Christ’s works, we must encourage others to trust the Lord and His total redemption plan for their lives.

When we heal the sick, raise the dead and set captives free from enemy domination, we demonstrate the very power and glory of God and release the joy of the Lord into the natural realm. We set godly examples of a people that walk in total joy, peace and confidence. As we reach out to others, our optimistic attitudes become contagious, enveloping all those with whom we come in contact.

Matthew 25:23 “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

The church will do the works of Jesus in the days ahead, as the Body of Christ ushers in the Kingdom of God on the earth. We will preach the gospel to the unsaved and baptize them with water and the Holy Spirit. We will heal the sick, raise the dead and set all captives of the enemy’s oppression free to enjoy life.

If we are willing and obedient to the Lord’s lead, He will reward us generously in His Kingdom.

We will be given the heathen for our inheritance. We will rule and reign with Christ forever and be just rulers and capable teachers of men. He will boast of us to all creation and take vengeance on all our enemies. We will have glory and honor instead of our former shame.

The Kingdom of God promises joy, peace, love and unity for all who dwell there. We will put on incorruptible, resurrection bodies that are impervious to disease and death. All of nature, to include the plant and animal kingdoms, will be subject to us. All men will enjoy prosperity and have every need met. Pain and sadness will be forgotten; our tears will be turned to exceeding gladness and praise, as we dwell in the presence of the Lord for all eternity.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. How Christ’s Birth Brought Joy

2. The Anointing On Christ For Joy

3. Joy In The Atonement

4. How Joy Makes Us Strong

5. Define Fullness Of Joy

6. The Lord’s Joy In Us

7. Joy In Christ’s Second Coming

 

Chapter 4 – Praise Is Joy In Action

 

Psalm 67:3-7 “Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. [Then] shall the earth yield her increase; [and] God, [even] our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Praise is joy in action. It proactively brings us into God’s presence, opens the heavens above us so that our prayers are heard, and yields a harvest of blessings in our lives. It earmarks us as the very children of God and facilitates the release of His power and glory in the earth. Just as faith without works is dead, so is joy without corresponding action. That action reaches its consummation in praise and worship!

There will be much praising and rejoicing as the Kingdom of God is ushered in on the earth. The Lord’s power and glory will manifest as never before in the days ahead, and we ought to be quick and ready to join the angelic hosts to praise and thank Him for His love and mercy. We should joyfully anticipate His promises, even before we see His miraculous signs and wonders occurring all over the earth.

There will be mass healings and the dead will be raised. There will be creative restorative miracles of all kinds – people will be given lost limbs and replacement body parts. A multitude of new believers will flock to hear the Gospel of the Kingdom and be baptized, as a result of all of these signs and wonders. World governments will be shaken, reorganized according to Kingdom principles and peace will be restored to the earth.

Jesus Christ will Himself return to judge with all righteousness. He will punish all iniquity and forever ban it from entering in to His Kingdom. We will help Him restore all of creation to its original beauty. He will provide all our needs; we will dwell in peace and safety for all eternity. The Lord will be our God and we will be His people, who fellowship with Him in total joy as we once did in the Garden of Eden.

Corporate Praise

Psalm 22:25 “My praise [shall be] of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.”

As the church and Bride of Christ, we are to follow the example of Christ Himself. He considered reverential praise as His vow to be paid to the Father. In this prophetic Messianic psalm, it is implied that Jesus reflected on His suffering death, and yet still He praised God in the midst of the people. He showed us by example that God is worthy of all praise despite the difficulties we may encounter in this world.

Jesus rejoiced that the Lord was with Him in His earthly ministry and especially in all of His suffering and travail. His thankfulness manifested in praise and was a great joy to the Father. The main reason that Christ carried such a strong anointing to do good wherever He went was due to the fact that the Lord dwelt in His praises. Praise gave Him incomprehensible power, strength and endurance for all that He encountered in His time on the earth.

1Chronicles 29:13 “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”

No matter how much darkness seems to enshroud us, regardless of our individual situations and circumstances, we should also praise and worship the Lord. We should give Him thanks and praise in all things we experience. When we praise, we get our minds and emotions off of problems and focus on the Lord as our source. We enhance our fellowship with God and with one another. We develop our faith and renew our hope for the future.

Praise gets God’s attention, waters the ground for our prayers to be heard, and generates joy, peace and contentment in our spirits. It improves our outlook on life, helps us to deal effectively with our challenges, and stimulates zeal and enthusiasm in us. We promote love and unity through group praise, and we renew our strength and optimism to serve God and others.

There is a cumulative effect in corporate praise and worship. Love and unity please the Lord and He takes special notice of it. The more who are gathered together, the greater the likelihood of the Lord manifesting His presence in our midst. The awesome power and glory of God seem to descend on a praising church. The anointing is tangible and strong, and exponentially increased in all who are present.

There can be awesome healings and miraculous outpourings of the Holy Spirit in our gatherings when we enthusiastically praise and worship God as a group. The Lord quickly makes His presence known and shows Himself strong. Our prayers are more effective and we receive immediate results. We have an awesome God that is worthy of all our reverential praise, and He delights in the joyful praises of His people.

Psalm 42:4 “When I remember these [things], I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.”

Praise and worship don’t just benefit God; they have positive effects in our lives too. When we praise from hearts that overflow with the love of God, we forget our troubles and disappointments. We forget our differences with one another. Praise stimulates our joy. We elevate our spirit man to be in ascendancy to our flesh and our soul, so that we can serve the Lord with a fresh zeal and enthusiasm.

Our service is seemingly effortless as we go about our days praising the Lord in everything that we do. We are fueled and fortified with praise in our spirits and our joy knows no bounds. We enter into His sabbath rest as we praise Him, with the confidence that He is in control over all the details of our lives. Every day becomes a holy day – a special celebration of life – as we lift our hearts and spirits to Him in all out praise and worship.

Private Praise

Psalm 50:23 “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth [his] conversation [aright] will I shew the salvation of God.”

Prayer without praise and joyful thanksgiving falls short of what God expects of us as heirs to salvation, and may even render our prayer ineffectual. When we praise the Lord we glorify Him and acknowledge His goodness, power and might. We honor Him with our praises and we unleash all of heaven’s blessings in our lives.

That assures us that our prayers are heard and our petitions are granted. We should praise first, then thank Him for His goodness, them mention our petitions. He is not slow to hear when we precede all our supplication with praise and thanksgiving, even before the answers to our prayers manifest in the natural realm.

We need not be in a specific place, or with a group of people present, to praise God. We can praise the Lord privately with our very lives. Everything that we say and do can be a sweet aroma of praise to Him. He is glorified in all our words and actions, when we consecrate them to His holy purpose, and offer them up in a spirit of praise.

It’s true that we must sometimes make a “sacrifice of praise,” and purposefully praise when we least feel like rejoicing. We may be sad or discouraged. It may be that our lives are filled with the cares of this world. This is the very time when we ought to praise God the most. He will always respond with increased joy and peace for us.

We unleash unlimited radical joy as a result of our continuous, ongoing praises to Him. Praise stimulates our faith, hope and confidence for the future. It will improve our attitudes and strengthen us to overcome our situations and circumstances. Praise will promote spiritual, emotional and physical well-being, and encourage us to serve the Lord with joy and gladness.

Praise Without Ceasing

Psalm 71:8 “Let my mouth be filled [with] thy praise [and with] thy honour all the day.”

This passage suggests that we should maintain an ongoing attitude of praise in our personal communication with the Lord. Scripture tells us to “pray without ceasing,” but we should take that exhortation a step further and praise without ceasing! This life-style of praise glorifies God and gets His attention in a huge way. He will generously provide all that we need and release endless joy in our spirits.

The Lord is worthy of all praise and we must remember that all of creation is expected to show forth His praises. The least we can do – created in His very own image and likeness – is to maintain attitudes of gratitude, and glorify His Name enthusiastically and continuously as we go about our daily lives. He will abide closely with us and provide us with the power to do all things if we praise Him in everything that we say and do.

Hebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.”

Through the Blood of Jesus we were made righteous and acceptable to our God. Our praise is our sacrificial offering to Him in thanks for all that He has done for us. The joy itself that we experience in praising God will produce positive results in our lives, and promote more praising and joy in return.

The resulting effects of continual praise are phenomenal. We will be spiritually strong, mentally balanced and feel refreshed and revitalized. As all our needs are met, our spirits will rejoice even more. We definitely walk in the supernatural realm of unlimited possibilities when we praise and worship the Lord as an ongoing way of life.

Fight Depression With Praise

Isaiah 61:3 “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

We can effectively fight off sorrow and depression, fear and anxiety, if we take the time to energetically praise and worship the Lord. This will stimulate our joy as we trade spirits of heaviness for spirits of praise. We will find our faith increased, and our resolve to serve the Lord enhanced with every word of praise we offer Him. The Lord is generous in rewarding those who are diligent, and He responds most favorably to a praising people that put their trust in Him.

So too, our general health and well-being improves as we offer up our praises. It elevates our moods through increased hormone production in our bodies. Our self-confidence is bolstered; our hope and confidence is renewed; and our ability to relate with others is enhanced. Our joy and peace increase tremendously with every word of praise we voice.

Praise will defend us against every attack of the enemy that would bring negativity and depression, worry, anxiety and fear on us. The devil hates a praising Christian because He knows that we are not passive. When we praise God, we are on alert and proactive in preventing all enemy oppression. So too, praise takes us into the very presence of God, where no enemy can penetrate.

Radical Praise

Revelation 19:5 “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.”

Continuous, enthusiastic praise and heart-felt thanksgiving will always bring the Lord on the scene rapidly and dramatically. His anointing power rests on a praising people. We will require a full impartation of God’s power and authority to usher in His Kingdom on the earth. Now more than ever, we must give ourselves to passionate heart-felt prayer and all out praises to His Name.

We will require power, strength and endurance to bring in the full end-time harvest of souls that is necessary. We will need an extraordinary amount of revelation and wisdom to minister to men’s needs in a darkened world. We will require unlimited joy and optimism to persuade them to be baptized and repent of their sins.

A fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit will help us to be patient in trials and tribulations. It will cause us to be most effective in healing and working miracles that demonstrate the actual power and glory of God on the earth. So too, we will need the anointing of Christ to destroy demonic strongholds that hold men in captivity.

Prayer, meditation and praise will all need to take first place in our lives despite how busy and active our schedules become. We are to be humble and obedient and praise God constantly and enthusiastically, as we go about performing our individual roles in His eternal redemption plan. This way we will have his ongoing attention and active participation in all that we do to usher in His Kingdom on the earth.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Describe Joy In Action

2. How Does Praise Relate To Joy?

3. Corporate Praise

4. Private Praise

5. Praise Without Ceasing

6. Fight Depression With Praise

7. Radical Praise

 

Chapter 5 – Commanded To Praise

 

Psalm 96:11-12 “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that [is] therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice.”

The Bible doesn’t simply “suggest” that we praise, but rather “commands” it of all creation! The earth and the heavens are to show forth God’s praise and give Him glory with their very essence. The hills and the mountains, the rivers, streams and oceans all give God praise in their own way. Plants and animals acknowledge His greatness; angels in heaven sing His praises continuously; and man pays Him the ultimate compliment in praise, worship and prayer.

Praise isn’t an option; God is worthy to be praised and He expects it of us. We are created to fellowship with Him, and our praise is the culmination of that intimacy. If we want all that the Lord promises us, we should praise and thank Him before making our needs known. So too, we ought to thank and praise Him again even before our prayers are answered.

Praise is good for us and pleasing to God; it is a positive celebration of life itself. Praise enhances our relationship with the Lord and with one another. It stimulates our joy and takes it to a higher level. It improves our spiritual, mental and physical functioning. Is it any wonder that the Lord commands us to praise? He always has our best interests at heart, and His commands are never burdensome.

Psalm 98:4-8 “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap [their] hands: let the hills be joyful together.”

The Psalmist encourages us to praise the Lord loudly and exuberantly. He encourages us to add music to our praise. The entire universe is urged to praise God with its very existence. To approach the throne of God, to enter into His presence in an intimate fashion, requires our enthusiastic praise, thanksgiving and worship.

That is perhaps why there are legions of angels in heaven that do nothing but praise and worship the Lord continuously. All the earth reflects the glory of God and is commanded to sound His praises, each creature in its own way. All creation should echo with the praises of the Lord, and will definitely do so for all eternity, when He completes His redemption plan and ushers heaven in to the earth realm.

Praise And Thanksgiving

Psalm 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.”

The Lord comes on the scene when we praise. In fact, I have heard it said, that the Lord “inhabits the praises” of His people. He actually comes into our presence and reveals Himself to us, when we praise and thank Him, whether we are in the church congregation or worshipping Him in private. His power and glory manifest even stronger as we go deeper into our praise and worship. He empowers us from on high to perform supernatural feats in His Name.

The awesome majesty of our Creator requires and deserves thanksgiving, praise and worship. If we will praise and worship the Lord continuously, we will see His glory manifested in miraculous signs and wonders more and more in the days to come. In fact, it is vital that we praise, so that He does in fact come on the scene, and intervene on our behalf.

Collosians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Praise need not be ostentatious and showy, but can be as simple as humming our favorites hymns and worship songs, or speaking thankful, affirmative words that glorify God in all His majesty. Praise is an attitude that can pervade in all our actions. It elevates us from the mundane to the supernatural realm from start to finish.

We can offer a continuous praise to the Lord as we go deeper in our relationship with Him. That will trigger revelation from heaven and a sense of powerful peace, joy and contentment in us. Our lives can be a constant and fitting tribute of praise to the Lord, with all our words and actions lifted up for His honor and glory.

Praise And Reverence

1Chronicles 16:25-29 “For great [is] the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also [is] to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people [are] idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Glory and honour [are] in his presence; strength and gladness [are] in his place. Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory [due] unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”

We need to remember that the Lord is to be reverenced and feared above all others. He demands that we show deference and respect to His mighty Name. Our praise should never be haphazard or insincere. Praise should be our purposeful sacrificial offering, an exuberant and respectful overflow of our love for God. Nothing brings us into His presence quicker than giving Him reverential praise and worship.

We can combine our praise with prayer, meditation and reading the Word, which only pleases the Lord all the more. He is a God of relationship, and wants to continually fellowship with us. He is interested in the minutest aspects of our lives, and when we share these with Him, that gives added praise and glory to Him as our Creator and the provider of all our needs.

Psalm 89:7 “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all [them that are] about him.”

We are commanded to show reverential praise to the Lord in our public worship. That does not mean that we cannot show spontaneous joy in praising Him. It simply means that everything we do should be a fitting tribute and appropriate to His holiness. He is a mighty and powerful God as well as a loving one, and we must always show Him deference and respect.

Everything ought to be done decently and orderly in the congregation. Praise cannot be so enthusiastic that it becomes careless and slipshod. It is not meant to be an ostentatious show of emotionalism and theatrics. It should be in good taste and well balanced with other forms of worship, perhaps music and song.

We are able to structure our praise and worship time to include a healthy balance of reading the Word, meditation and prayer also. We should continually seek the Lord’s face, that is to say, desire deeper intimacy with Him. In whatever we do, we ought to reverentially fear the Lord and give Him respect and honor.

Hebrews 12:28 “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:”

We are to serve the Lord with reverence in all that we do. He is a great and fearsome God, and worthy of all praise and honor. Yet He demands that we show deference and respect to Him, as well. We are about to receive the Kingdom of God right here on the earth, and in it we will show ongoing reverential praise and worship for the Lord for all eternity.

We will actually dwell in His holy presence forever. That means that we need to learn how to interact with the Lord appropriately. While He loves our joy and praise, He is not impressed with pretended piety or sanctimonious showmanship. He wants us to be genuine and real in how we interact with Him and with one another. While praise is His heart’s desire, the Lord also values prayer and study of His Word. All of these enhance our relationship with Him.

The Psalms

Webster’s Dictionary defines a “psalm” as a “sacred song or poem”. Psalms were created to acknowledge God’s love and goodness, to show reverence and praise to the Lord. The Hebrew name for the Book of Psalms is “The Book Of Praises,” and there are one hundred fifty different songs/poems included in the Bible.

David, Solomon, Moses and others who remain anonymous all authored the psalms. They deal with God and His creation, sin and rebellion, praise and worship. There are psalms of praise, penitential psalms, prayers for safety and victory in battle, and even revelatory Messianic psalms. Each one of the psalms has a basic theme, but the undercurrent is always to give praise to the Lord for all that He is and all that He has done for us.

The psalms are filled with the mandate that all of creation must acknowledge the Lord’s greatness. Psalms 145 through 150 are all praise psalms in which the nation of Israel, all of mankind, nature, and even the heavenly hosts are urged to praise God with their very essence.

King David praised the Lord continuously.

We all know the importance that the psalms played in King David’s life. He loved the Lord deeply, and was in constant communication with Him. He either authored or sang the majority of the psalms in praise and worship to the Lord. Psalm 51 is perhaps one of David’s better known and most beautiful of the prayers for forgiveness.

Psalms 51:9-12 “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit. “

This may have been written after David committed adultery with Bathsheba and ordered the death of her husband. His relationship with the Lord had been interrupted due to his transgressions. In it, he cries out in total repentance to the Lord for mercy, refreshing and restoration of his joy. He wants always to remain in God’s presence where all blessings reside. The Lord not only forgave King David, but strengthened him and restored his righteousness.

Psalm 63:7 “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”

David knew that He could always count on the Lord for mercy and strength for his warfare. The Lord saw him through many great battles and he always came through unscathed and emerged stronger as a king. David had a truly intimate relationship with the Lord; he literally dwelled in the “shadow of His wings” in total protection.

Psalm 91:1-2 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shaows of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord , He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

Psalm 91 is known as the warrior’s psalm; it is often invoked by men going into battle. It is a prayer of petition for the Lord’s supernatural protection and victory over the enemy. It gives Him praise and honor for protecting His people in combat situations.

King David’s entire relationship with the Lord was built on praise and worship. He praised the Lord in hard times as well as in success. He called on other men and all of creation to sound praises to the Lord for all eternity. One reason that the Lord loved David and overlooked so many of His personal flaws, is that he truly loved God and demonstrated that love in his praising lifestyle.

We should imitate David’s zeal and enthusiasm for praising the Lord, as we prepare to usher in the Kingdom of God on the earth. We will need supernatural protection as we go about doing the works that Jesus did. We will require an unending source of joy to remain well balanced and confident in our service to God and others. Praise will unleash unlimited resources in our lives, as the Lord Himself intervenes and advocates for our success.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Why The Command To Praise

2. Praise And Thanksgiving

3. Why Praise Without Ceasing?

4. Reverence And Fear Of The Lord

5. Psalms – Topics And Purposes

6. King David And Praise

7. Review The 91st Psalm

 

Chapter 6 – Types Of Praise And Worship

 

Psalm 9:2 “I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.”

There are many types of praise and worship; all are acceptable and desirable to the Lord. Singing, dancing, prayers of praise and thanksgiving, flag waving, shouting and clapping are all pleasing to God. Any form of reverential praise and worship that comes from the heart should be encouraged and welcome both in the church, and in private devotions.

A simple “Hallelujah” is an exclamation of reverence or a shout of praise to God, used to express joy or thanksgiving. It is a positive affirmation that we not only acknowledge the Lord, but rejoice in His holy Name. Praise can be as simple as that, or as elaborate as we would want it to be.

Living our daily lives joyfully is another form of ongoing praise to God. Being both loving and obedient is a high form of praise to the Lord that speaks of our righteousness. We should praise the Lord continuously and enthusiastically with our very lives. Let’s see what the Scriptures say about the many methods of praise used to express our spiritual joy and reverence for God.

Singing

Psalm 100:2 “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”

Temple singers were an important part of the worship team that accompanied the Old Testament priests in their sacrificial ceremonies; they paved the way for prayer to be heard. The psalms were spiritual poems often set to music by King David and other authors. Song was considered an integral part of the people’s worship in the days before Christ, and since His advent.

We aren’t certain that Jesus praised the Lord in song, but it may very well be that He approved of it as fitting tribute to His heavenly Father. He probably chanted in the synagogue in prayer, praise and thanksgiving. The early Christian church often greeted each other with hymns and holy songs. This got the Lord’s attention and kept their joy at a high level.

Cantors are still important in Jewish synagogue worship as they lead the congregation in prayer that is set to music in a chant. The Catholic Church has engaged in song and prayer chants for centuries as a normal part of its liturgy. Many Protestant sects start their praise and worship with both traditional hymns and modern songs that set the mood for deeper worship.

Ephesians 5:18-20: says: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul urged the early Christians to give thanksgiving and praise to the Lord in song as evidence that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. He advised that we sing privately to ourselves, to elevate our spirits and strengthen us in the inner man. He encouraged his followers to always give thanksgiving and make melody in their hearts.

Today we should strive to glorify the Lord both in public and private worship, through singing, praise and prayers of thanksgiving of our own. God is pleased with all types of songs. There is contemporary praise and worship music, country rock or chorales. Hymns and choruses are great vehicles for group participation. We can make up our own songs or follow more traditional paths. It doesn’t matter to Him if we sing on key or off key; the Lord is simply delighted in our efforts.

Some of the most beautiful hymns of all time were written as a form of praise to the Lord, and if nothing else, we can hum along with them reverently full of praise and worship. We can sing during times of private praise, as well. Singing is a demonstration of joy and gladness in the Lord, and good for our spirits, souls and bodies.

Dancing

Psalm 149:3” Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.”

When we praise the Lord, we should do so unashamedly, without regard for other people’s opinions. Anything and everything done tastefully and reverentially is acceptable tribute to Him. Our very enthusiasm and expectancy helps to create an atmosphere of praise and worship conducive to bringing Him on the scene.

To dance before the Lord is not only appropriate but a dramatic, kinetic way to demonstrate our joy and praise. It is very special to see spiritual dance accompany singing and musical instrumentation in honor of the Lord. It turns the most mundane of worship services into a festival of celebration. Some countries have public processions on church feast days in which several participants will dance before God.

King David danced exuberantly before the Lord as a spontaneous show of joy and worship, when the Ark of the Covenant – signifying the presence of God with His people – was brought to Jerusalem early in his reign. He was scantily clad in nothing more than a loincloth, the Scriptures tell us, yet his praise was acceptable and pleasing to God.

2Samuel 6:14 “And David danced before the LORD with all [his] might; and David [was] girded with a linen ephod.”

Although his wife, Michal, disapproved and mocked him for making a spectacle out of himself, David defended his action as fitting and proper. He was grateful that the Lord had called him as king and he loved the Lord with total abandon. He expressed his praise and thanksgiving in poetry, song and dance. The king had a radical, playful joy that delights the Lord.

2Samuel 6:21: “And David said unto Michal, [It was] before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD.”

David was grateful to the Lord for his many blessings and for his kingship. Michal was Saul’s daughter; her own father had been King of Israel, yet never worshipped the Lord like her husband, David, did. She felt he was showing off, but David was sincere in His praise and the Lord rewarded him freely and generously.

Flag Waving And Banners

Psalm 20:5 “We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up [our] banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.”

Many churches combine dancing with flag and banner waving, which is also a fitting tribute of praise and worship. This type of pageantry goes back to medieval days, but often has a very modern twist to it in today’s praise and worship sessions. It may be an integral part of the liturgy where some church services start with processions of banner waving.

Flag and banner waving is often accompanied by song and orchestration, and not only looks beautiful, but sets the praise mood for a tremendous outpouring of the anointing. It is reminiscent of the palm fronds that were waved at Jesus by the cheering crowds, when He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem prior to His death.

Musical Instruments

Psalm 100:1 “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.”

I am convinced that the Lord loves the sound of musical instruments. We’re told in Scriptures that the Israelites used the shofar, a ram’s horn trumpet, to call solemn assemblies of the people. There are references to trumpets that will sound when Christ returns. The harp and lyre were used to set the psalms to music. Musical instruments pave the way for great and glorious moves of God, and they are beautiful tools for praise and worship.

The Lord is not particular when it comes to musical instruments. He loves percussion as much as the strings. He delights in horns as well as keyboards. The most important instrument to use in praising God is the one that helps you spontaneously show your love and admiration to Him.

Psalm 43:4 “Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.”

The Bible speaks of harps, lyres, cymbals and other stringed instruments being used to praise God. We use tambourines in our worship today, as well as many traditional musical instruments. All forms of music give glory to the Lord, from liturgical music to Christian jazz and rock. Even children can be taught to praise the Lord with small musical instruments of their own.

Psalm 92:1-4 says: “[It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High. To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.”

Song and orchestration in praise and worship create an awesome environment for high praise to the Lord. This is an atmosphere in which we can naturally and easily bring God on the scene. He manifests His glorious presence whenever and wherever there is wide participation in a variety of praise and worship in the congregation.

Shouting and Clapping

When it comes to praise and worship, the more noise, the better. The Lord loves a party thrown in His honor. Singing and dancing, shouting and clapping all give glory to the Lord if done enthusiastically and reverentially.

Each is fitting and acceptable praise in God’s sight. He is not so concerned with how we praise, but that we do it from pure hearts and sincere spirits that reach out to Him. We are never disappointed in praise and worship, as it always calls the Lord on the scene in closer fellowship with us. He wants His people to be fully alive and joyous in His presence.

Psalm 47:1 “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.”

We applaud secular entertainers routinely, without giving it a second thought. The Lord is all mighty and powerful, and eminently worthy of our grateful clapping and reverent shouting. This is a form of praise that we all can and should engage in. The more exuberant the applause, the better it is. Our services need not be lifeless and somber. We are the children of God and our joy should have no limits.

Psalm 35:27 “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.”

Marching, shouting and the sound of a trumpet brought the victory in battle for Joshua at Jericho. Joshua and his army had the city surrounded and isolated. What remained of their conquest was for them to actually penetrate the city walls and take the king and the residents captive.

Joshua organized a procession of men bearing the Ark of the Covenant, together with priest trumpeters, to march around the city with his army once a day for six days, as the Lord directed him. On the seventh day, the troupe marched around Jericho seven times and then shouted for victory until the walls fell down.

Joshua 6:20 “So the people shouted when [the priests] blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. “

It’s important to remember that the Lord Himself ordered the marching, trumpeting and shouting to bring the victory without violence and bloodshed. As Zechariah 4:6 reminds us, the battle is not won by a show of physical might and power, but by His Holy Spirit. Obedient praise definitely caused the Lord to show up on the scene to vindicate His people.

Thanksgiving

Prayers of thanksgiving always get God’s attention. We should thank Him even before we recite our petitions and receive the answers to our prayers. Thanksgiving ought to be a constant part of our fellowship with Him, since He provides for all of our needs. We should be eminently grateful that He thinks of us and responds generously to all we require.

It’s impossible to give the Lord thanks and not remember His goodness to us. He is an all loving, generous God, ever ready and willing to provide for all our needs spiritually and temporally. He is worthy of all praise and thanksgiving, not just because He meets our needs, but because of all that He is to us.

Psalms 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.”

We must always maintain an attitude of gratitude towards the Lord. Praise and thanksgiving should be spontaneous outpourings of joy, fragrant offerings to the Lord. They buoy our human spirits. They help us to enter in, and remain in, His presence. They bring us into intimate fellowship with Him and assure us that our prayers are heard from heaven.

Praise improves our moods and enhances our physical well-being. It stimulates peace and joy in our lives, and gives us hope and confidence for the future. So too, the enemy cannot penetrate our praises. While he may hate a praising Christian, he also respects that praise takes us into God’s very presence where we are safe from all of his oppression.

Psalms 50:14-15 “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”

Praise and thanksgiving are not only for times of public worship, but should be an integral part of our private prayer life, as well. Praise takes us into the presence of God quickly, as nothing else can. It waters the ground for our prayers to be heard and answered.

Coupled with praying in the Holy Spirit and thanksgiving, praise generates a manifestation of the glorious anointing power of God. It is not unusual to see dramatic healings or other miraculous signs and wonders follow an exuberant praise and worship session.

Psalm 119:62 “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.”

For our moments of overwhelming heaviness in spirit, when we need most to restore our joy, we must remember to give thanks regardless of the circumstances. Praise will alleviate all fear, anxiety and depression. It will stimulate joy and peace, and give us confidence to overcome our situation and circumstances.

The Lord often wakes and speaks to us in the middle of the night, particularly if we are intercessors or burden bearers. It’s always beneficial to give Him thanks and praise when we are approaching the throne of grace in petition or supplication, regardless of what time of the night or day it happens to be.

Psalms 30:4-5 “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

We should give the Lord thanks and praise, not just for what He does for us, but for everything He is – holy, righteous, loving, kind, and merciful in all His ways. And while we ought to have a reverential fear of the Lord, He is equally concerned with establishing close fellowship with us. He wants intimacy with His sons and daughters, as He will be spending all eternity with us.

Thanksgiving and praise, in combination with prayer and meditation will rapidly bring us into the Lord’s presence and stimulate our joy. We can present our needs at the throne of grace, and be assured that our prayers are not only heard, but quickly answered as well. While we may temporarily experience pain and sorrow, joy always follows our praising!

Rejoicing In The Lord

Psalm 68:3 “But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.”

The Lord wants us to dwell in supernatural joy and gladness at all times. He wants us in right standing with Him, and immediately rewarded for our righteousness. It is His desire that we would be continuously rejoicing in Him. We can do that easily, if we will focus on Him instead of our situations and circumstances. We should consider the joy that our relationship with the Lord brings us as the most important part of our lives.

Rejoicing in the Lord can become almost automatic and a joyful way of life to us. It will give us an optimistic outlook and strengthen us for anything and everything we may be called to endure. It will fuel us for all forms of opposition with the enemy, and protect us from pain and suffering in all trials and tribulations.

Psalm 105:3 “Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.”

As we seek the Lord and His way of doing things, we are never disappointed. He always answers our prayers and fulfills our longing for truth. He shares revelation with us into the deeper things of God, and provides us with insight into the mysteries of the faith. We should rejoice with all of our being that we do not have a God that is distant and forbidding, but rather, loving, kind and generous to meet all of our needs.

The Lord wants to fellowship intimately with His people. The Bible promises us that in the fullness of days, when Christ’s Kingdom is ushered into the earth, the Father will actually take up residence with us on terra firma. We will be His people and He will be our God forever and ever.

This should be cause for exceeding joy and ongoing praise in those who love Him and seek His presence.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Types Of Praise

2. Singing And Music

3. Dancing And Flag Waving

4. Shouting And Clapping

5. Thanksgiving

6. Rejoicing In The Lord

 

Chapter 7 – Joy And Praise As Weapons Of Warfare

 

Joy and praise are significant weapons of spiritual warfare. They arm us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They fortify our inner man, eliminate oppression and protect us from any attacks of the enemy. Joyful praise bolsters our hope and confidence, strengthening us beyond our human capacity. It will help us walk in the supernatural realm of victory over all our situations and circumstances.

Scripture tells us that Jesus stripped the devil of his power and vanquished him forever at Calvary. However, until Christ returns, he will harass and torment the Body of Christ on the earth. We must all become more skillful in the use of joy and praise as weapons of spiritual warfare. That way we will defeat the enemy before he even has an opportunity to come at us.

2Corinthians 10:3-4 tells us “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”

We do not war in our flesh, but rather in the spirit realm. There are defensive weapons and offensive weapons of spiritual warfare; “radical joy” serves as both. While it may not seem to be a conventional weapon for warfare, joyful praise is mighty for destroying demonic strongholds, and for fortifying us against all enemy attack.

Joy as a defensive weapon

1Chronicles 16:10 “Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.”

As a spiritual fruit, the joy of the Lord helps us remain on an even keel emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. It stabilizes our moods and keeps our bodies healthy. It helps us stay at peace during times of trial and tribulation.

Joy keeps us in the presence of God, so that we can be continually filled with the Holy Spirit and receive the Lord’s guidance and direction. Together with love and obedience, joy helps us tap directly into God’s anointing power and glory, so that we can take dominion over all our situations and circumstances. It defends us against attacks of the enemy on many fronts.

If we have joy, our immune systems function better, preventing disease. Attacked by depression or fear, joy helps us regain our confidence. It combats feelings of sorrow and isolation, low self-esteem and guilt. It gives us hope and confidence for the future. Joy draws people to us, so that we do not have to face the trials of life all alone.

Psalm 51:12 “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.”

The joy of the Lord is our strength. When we lose our joy we become spiritually vulnerable and subject to enemy oppression and open attack. We should always ask the Lord to restore our joy in the midst of warfare. Joy protects our peace during times of chaos and confusion, and increases our stamina and endurance to contend with all overt and covert attacks of the enemy.

Similar to the other components of our Ephesians 6 “spiritual armor,” joy serves as a spiritual cloak to cover and protect us from the heat of the battle. It keeps us in the Lord’s presence where the ultimate protection and victory lie.

Joy as an offensive weapon

Joy becomes an offensive spiritual weapon, expressed in praise, thanksgiving and worship. We should experience joy in the middle of all our battles, because the Lord Himself fights with us. Jesus said He would never leave us or forsake us. If we trust in Him and His promises, our joy will be full and powerful for tearing down strongholds.

Christ defeated the devil at Calvary with His victory over sin, death and the grave. He gave us joy for sorrow, strength for weakness and restored our dominion over everything in the earth. The devil hates a praising Christian, because we know who we are in Christ. We cannot be vulnerable, weak or passive when we praise and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Satan cannot oppress and defeat us if we resist him in any way. He will flee far from us if we have joy and express it in our praises. So too, the Lord Himself shows up to bring us the victory when we praise and worship. The enemy doesn’t have a chance to harm us, when we are covered by the Lord Himself. Our hedge of protection comes as a direct result of our joyful praise.

King David As Our Role Model In Battle

Psalm 9:1-3 “I will praise [thee], O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.”

King David expressed his confidence in the Lord for strength and victory in warfare. He sang praises to His name continuously in the psalms. Expressing joy was an effective way for David to bolster his strength and to enter into and remain in the Lord’s presence. It gave him great power and might over natural and spiritual enemies.

Joy and praise will work on our behalf in our spiritual battles as well. It will take us into the Lord’s presence as nothing else can. It will increase our energy to ward off all attacks of the enemy. It will stimulate our endorphins and improve our mood and stamina. It will give us the extra boost we need to bind the devil in all his efforts and motivate us to loose blessing instead.

Psalm 27:6 “And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.”

David continually used joy and praise as spiritual weapons, as He fellowshipped with the Lord. He actually sang the Lord’s praises. Joy and praise were his sacrificial offerings to God. And joy motivated him to serve God will all his mind, heart, soul and strength. He was a mighty warrior and a righteous king to his people because of his joy in the Lord.

The joy of the Lord is our strength too. We are joint-heirs with Christ; His powerful anointing will come on the scene to assist us when we give the Lord all the praise and glory due Him. We will overcome the devil and the world as we joyfully give praise to God for His intervention in our all our affairs.

Scriptural Examples Of Joy Used As A Weapon Of Warfare

Acts, Chapter 16 describes an episode where Paul and Silas were imprisoned for delivering a young woman from a spirit of divination, depriving her slave owners of potential income from her sorcery. They were locked in the innermost area of the prison with no hope of release until they began praying and singing hymns to God.

Their joyful praise brought the Lord on the scene. A tremendous earthquake occurred that shook the prison foundations and loosened everyone’s chains. The anointing fell, and they even managed to convert the jailer and his entire family – all as a result of their praise and worship.

Judges 7:20 “And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow [withal]: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.”

Gideon and his army of Judges 7 defeated the Midianites with aggressive, joyful praise. The Lord wanted to prove that it was His might alone that would defeat the enemy. No hand of the flesh would bring His people victory. He permitted Gideon to take only three hundred unarmed men with him into battle, together with trumpets and jars with torches in them to light the way.

At the Lord’s command, they sounded their trumpets, broke the torch jars and gave a yell of praise. The victory was theirs, just as the Lord had promised them. God loves to partner with a joyous, praising people. He is always in our midst when we walk in supernatural joy.

Balance, Zeal and Optimism

Isaiah 59:17 “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance [for] clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.”

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that promotes a sense of balance in us that impacts our general good health – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It combats heaviness of spirit and eliminates depression. It bolsters self-confidence in our life situation and circumstances. Joy also stimulates health and wellness in our bodies, and prevents premature aging.

As a spiritual attribute, joy changes the atmosphere around us to one charged with enthusiasm and zeal. It gives us inner strength and endurance for whatever we are called upon to experience in life. It is confirmation from the Lord that we are in right standing and fellowship with Him. It signifies personal stability and balance, and is evidence that we have our spirit man in dominance over our flesh and emotions.

Spiritual joy is characterized by an overwhelming optimism that can be present regardless of our situation and circumstances. It is super-abundant well-being and happiness, but even more than that. It gives us a positive outlook and affects all our actions and relationships. Plus, it is supernatural protection for the human spirit to persist and endure any hardship or demonic oppression that comes along.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Spiritual Warfare And Joy

2. How Joy Is Used Defensively

3. How Joy Is Used Offensively

4. King David And Praise In Battle

5. Biblical Examples Of Joy Used In Warfare

6. Balance, Zeal And Optimism

 

Chapter 8 – Joy Unspeakable

 

1Peter 1:7-8 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

Peter talks about the return of Jesus Christ as our ultimate joy. It has been a trial of our faith to believe in Him and the power of salvation. We have been scorned and ridiculed by many, who scoff and say that He never existed and will never return. We have not seen Him as of yet, yet we sincerely believe and rejoice in all that He is, in all that He accomplished on our behalf, and in all that He promises us for the future.

Our faith in Christ causes us to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, because of all that He did for us. He took on all our sins and gave us righteousness instead. He bore our diseases and carried our infirmities, so that we might be made whole. He traded our pain and sorrow for joy and gladness. He defeated Satan so that we might live without oppression, and take back the authority that we once had over the earth.

All of these things produce joy in us that is literally above and beyond expression in mere words, yet it touches our very hearts and spirits. It is exceeding gladness – incomprehensible, supernatural, radical joy!

Radical joy energizes and ignites our faith, stimulates our gratitude, and motivates us to do great things for the Lord and His eternal salvation plan. It causes us to look like Christ, act like Him and walk as He walked. It will encourage and strengthen us to embrace our eternal destinies with enthusiasm, hope and confidence.

In the days ahead, as we usher in the Kingdom of God, we will wait with excited anticipation for the coming of our King. We will serve Him in joy and gladness as we evangelize all the world and bring in the end-time harvest of souls. We will rejoice in the power of His anointing to heal the sick and set captives free of enemy domination. We will experience radical joy in raising the dead and putting all enemies under Christ’s feet, as He has promised us we will do.

Acts 2:28 “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.”

Because of Christ’s atoning death on the cross, we have the promise of salvation through forgiveness of our sin. We have right relationship restored with Him and the Father. We have Christ’s very own resurrection power to accomplish all that He asks of us in the days to come. We can actually walk as He walked and do what He did, if we will be quick to hear His voice and obedient to follow in His footsteps.

We have better promises in Christ. We have hope of a present and future reward for all our efforts on His behalf. We have the good news of the Kingdom of God that will come on the earth even prior to His return. We will know righteousness, peace and joy for all eternity. There will be safety and security, no fear and oppression in the Kingdom. We will long enjoy the works of our hands, and be glorified among the nations.

God is taking back His people and all of His creation. He is restoring all that the enemy stole from us. Satan will be banished for all eternity; death and destruction will have no hold over us.

We will rule and reign with Christ, and enjoy the heathen for our inheritance. We will raise our families in peace and joy. We will dwell with our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His heavenly Father in close intimate relationship for all eternity. These facts are all cause for what I call radical joy!

Joy In The Kingdom

1Chronicles 16:31 “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let [men] say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.”

We will one day see our Redeemer face-to-face. We can only imagine what that will be like. His return will indeed be cause for joy, as His glory and power are poured out for all the earth to see. We will help Him banish evil for all eternity, as we usher in the Kingdom of God. We have the promise of Christ’s return to reorganize all the nations of the world, and He will rule and reign with us in righteousness and peace forever.

The heavens and the earth will rejoice as the entire universe is restored to its original condition. Heaven will literally come to the earth realm and impact it for all eternity. The destruction and decay that’s occurred in all of nature over the years will be reversed. The entire planet will be re-created as a beautiful harmonious whole. It will be a new and improved version of the Garden of Eden itself – a perfect habitat for both God and men.

Isaiah 25:8-9: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken [it]. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Death will be swallowed up thanks to Jesus’ victory over sin, death and the grave. Our mortal bodies will be changed in their very essence, and we will put on immortal, glorious, resurrection bodies. The dead saints will be raised to walk in glory with us. There will be no more disease and death, as both will be forever abolished. We will live out our days in supernatural wellness and joy for all eternity.

There will be no more pain and sorrow in the Kingdom of God. Our tears will be turned in to joy and gladness. There will be no usury or oppression of any kind. Our peace, safety and security will be ensured, as no evil will enter into the Kingdom. Our redemption will be complete, as we join Christ in the millennial reign as kings and priests. For our former shame, we will enjoy praise, honor and glory.

Israel will be restored.

Psalm 65:18-19 “But be ye glad and rejoice for ever [in that] which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.”

We are told to pray for the salvation of Israel and the restoration of God’s chosen people. We have been grafted in and made righteous due to their temporary disobedience. However, a righteous remnant of the Jewish people will be converted and saved in the days to come. They will accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and be baptized in His Name. The Messiah will rule and reign over Israel as promised. The Jewish people will be vindicated and redeemed; the Lord Himself will rejoice in their return to Him.

Once a lost and oppressed people, despised and feared throughout the world, the nation of Israel will become a praise on the earth. Their sadness will be a thing of the past and their joy will be immeasurable, as they enjoy complete reconciliation with the Lord. They will dwell in love, peace and unity with all other believers in the very presence of God forever and ever.

Psalm 126:1-5 “When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; [whereof] we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

We should all rejoice that the nation of Israel will not be destroyed off the face of the earth as the enemy has planned over the years. It will be a sure sign to the church and the Body of Christ that Christ’s return is imminent, when Israel is finally converted to the Gospel of the Kingdom as a nation. We will rejoice as Israel turns and believes on Jesus Christ as their long awaited Messiah; their redemption will be complete and their country will be spared.

The nations of the earth will marvel as Israel is called in to the Kingdom of God. They have been hated and scorned for being God’s chosen people, and their tears will turn to joy as they are proudly reconciled to their God for all of the world to see. He will take vengeance on their enemies and restore all that His people have lost over the years.

Then the Kingdom of God will be populated with God’s original chosen people and those of us that He has grafted in – His Bride and His Body. We will all dwell together in peace and unity with our loving and gracious God Himself. He will supply all of our needs in abundance and we will celebrate life in His presence forever.

Rejoicing In The Body Of Christ

Psalm 14:7 “Oh that the salvation of Israel [were come] out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, [and] Israel shall be glad.”

Zion is a type and shadow of the powerful church, the Body of Christ, in the Old Testament. Men will rejoice in all that Jesus Christ has done and will do for them when we usher in the Kingdom of God on the earth. We will perform miraculous signs and wonders to attract their attention back to their Creator. We will heal the sick, raise the dead and set captives free from enemy oppression. All the earth will be impacted with the love and mercy of God through eternal salvation.

We will help convert Israel and all the nations of the world by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to them. We will baptize in Jesus’ Name, and all men will have an opportunity to be saved and enter into the Kingdom, so that the people of God will be a unified whole. We will be praised and glorified together with our Redeemer, as we rule and reign over the entire world.

Isaiah 35:10 “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

The people of God will be set free for all eternity to experience joy and gladness for their former pain and sorrow. Our captivity turned, we will have everything that’s been taken from us restored in abundance. The Lord will anticipate all our needs and supply them even before we ask. We will experience peace and prosperity, and long enjoy the works of our hands. We will build habitations and dwell in joy and peace with all men in the presence of our loving God.

Jesus Christ will wreak vengeance on all our enemies, and banish Satan to the abyss. He will provide all of our needs for safety and security in His Kingdom. No evil will reside there; nothing defiling will contaminate life for God’s people. All of our spiritual and temporal needs will be met, and we will enjoy love, joy, peace and prosperity for all eternity.

Rejoicing In The Bride Of Christ

Revelation 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”

Everybody loves a wedding. Jesus Christ is returning to the earth for His Bride, the church. This will be a true cause for joy as the Bride has made herself ready, by purging herself of all known sin and purifying herself in holiness for the marriage. Christ is coming back for a totally spotless, unblemished Bride to rule and reign with Him for all eternity in the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The church must walk in total obedience, unity and love in these final hours before Christ’s return. She should be dedicated to prayer and intercession for all believers. Nothing can take pre-eminence over her pre-destined role; she must be focused and dedicated to the coming of the Kingdom. The Lord will direct her in all our ways, so that she can provide active assistance to Jesus and the Body of Christ as needed.

Radical Joy In The Lord

Psalm 35:9 “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.”

Radical joy is optimism and gladness taken up a notch so that it permeates our entire being and influences us in all that we do. It is the joy of the Lord Himself, and will come to fruition in the Kingdom of God as we experience life at its fullest. We will experience radical joy, peace and prosperity, health and longevity, safety and security. We will dwell together in love and unity and fellowship with the Lord Himself for all eternity.

The Lord intended from the foundation of the world to dwell in love and intimacy with mankind forever. It was His desire to give us the entire earth and everything in it for our pleasure and enjoyment. Adam’s transgression in the Garden of Eden interrupted the Lord’s plans for our lives, so He was forced to develop an alternate strategy to save us from our sins and restore all that was stolen from us by the enemy.

Deuteronomy 32:43 “Rejoice, O ye nations, [with] his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, [and] to his people.”

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to teach us His way of doing things and to atone for our sins with His very own Blood. Christ‘s victory over sin, death and the grave redeemed us, and brought us back to right standing with the Father. The devil was defeated and dominion over the earth was given back to men. Through Christ, we enjoy great promises for the future as joint-heirs with Him to all of the promises of God.

We are already experiencing a mighty move of God on the earth as He pours out His glory in healings, miraculous signs and wonders to get men’s attention and draw them back to Him.

The Lord is empowering us to do great exploits in His Name. He has endowed us with all His divine power and authority to go forth and walk as Jesus walked. We will heal the sick and raise the dead, and set captives free of demonic oppression.

1Chronicles 16:31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let [men] say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.

We will be evangelizing the nations, reforming and realigning all the governments of the world, so that peace reigns over the earth. We will assist Christ in the righteous judgment of both men and angels. He will give us the heathen for our inheritance, and we will be just rulers and able teachers of men from every race and nation of the world. All the earth will rejoice in the fact that our God reigns over them in love and mercy.

Our spirits, minds and emotions should all be aligned with the Word of God, and our very lives filled with expectancy, as we make the Lord’s plan our plan. We are fulfilling our eternal destiny as the children of God. The Lord is ever loving and merciful, and will reconcile all things to Himself in the Kingdom of God. That will truly be cause for overwhelming, radical joy that sustains us through every trial and tribulation in the days to come.

Joy Unspeakable In The Kingdom Of God

Deuteronomy 12:7 “And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.”

Now more than ever, our heartfelt prayer should be “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s promises to restore us are not for some point off in the distant future. They are for our generation and will come into reality very soon as the Kingdom of God is established on the earth even prior to Christ’s return.

The Lord’s eternal redemption plan for mankind will be consummated. He will take vengeance on all our enemies and banish them from our midst. He will restore all that was stolen from us and supply our needs in abundance. For our former shame, we will know glory and honor as He makes us a praise in all the earth. Instead of the sorrow and pain we knew in our lives, we will be given joy unspeakable, radical joy for all eternity.

We have made ourselves ready; we have learned obedience and right judgment. The Lord is now giving power and authority back to men. We will have dominion over the entire earth as He once intended. We will restore all things to their original beauty and balance. We will rule and reign in the Kingdom of God with Jesus Christ for all time to ensure that no evil will interrupt our lives ever again.

Joy In All Creation

All creation is waiting for the sons of God to be revealed. They will establish the Kingdom of God on the earth and herald Christ’s return. The Lord will pour out His awesome power and glory on His people. There will be a worldwide manifestation of the love and mercy of God. The sick will be healed and the dead raised. There will be miraculous signs and wonders in all of nature to get men’s attention and attract them to the Kingdom way of life.

The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to all the world. All men will have an opportunity to be converted and baptized. All captives of the enemy will be set free, and peace will be brought to the earth once again. Christ’s Kingdom will prevail and absorb all earthly kingdoms into one world government with justice for all. Kingdom principles for right living will dictate how men behave for all eternity.

Romans 8:21-22 “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”

Satan took out his wrath on the entire universe, when the Lord exiled him from heaven for his disobedience. It’s been in a state of chaos and confusion for eons. When Adam sinned and abdicated his role as caretaker of the earth in the Garden of Eden, all of nature suffered. While it’s true that humans helped destroy the planet over the years, the Kingdom of God promises re-creation and restoration of all nature.

Plants, animals and the climate will all be restored to their original balance, with man in full authority and dominion over them. There will be no more natural catastrophes. The earth will yield bumper crops of all good things, and men will be in awe of the beauty of creation once again. The earth will be filled with the glory of God in its new and improved form. The entire universe will see and rejoice as the earth is restored to its original perfection.

The Time Is Now!

Ephesians 1:10 “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:”

The Lord’s eternal redemption plan is complete. He will gather all things together in Christ – both those things in heaven and on the earth as He has planned and purposed from the very foundation of the world. Now is the time for heaven to come to the earth realm. This is Christ’s reward for perfect obedience, and He will share His glory with those of us who have believed in Him and were willing to usher in the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Our redemption complete, we will experience supernatural peace and joy as our bodies are changed from decaying flesh to glorious, resurrection bodies. No longer subject to disease and death, we will live forever. The dead in Christ will rise and join us in the Kingdom with believers from every nation of the world. We will all dwell in love and unity, peace and prosperity forevermore.

Christ will rule and reign over all of creation, and we will assist Him in restoring peace and order to the entire universe. Both men and angels will be judged, and all evil expelled from God’s Kingdom. Nothing that defiles will be permitted to interrupt the safety and security of God’s people.

Spiritual beings will co-exist with natural creatures. Angels will walk with men. The plant and animal kingdoms and all of nature will be re-created and subject to us in perfect harmony. There will be no death and destruction in God’s Kingdom; peace and order will prevail.

Psalm 140:13 “Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.”

The Lord Himself will come to the earth to dwell with men in all His power and glory. We will all be righteous and suitable company for our Creator. We will commune with Him on an intimate basis, as the Lord Himself meets all of our needs, both temporal and spiritual. We will be perpetually joyful in His presence, and He will delight in our fellowship.

Everything we put our hands to will prosper in the Kingdom of God. We will partake of the earth’s bounty with all gratitude and thanksgiving. We will build homes and enjoy them with our families for generation after generation. We will live forever in total health and wellness. All men will dwell together in love, peace and unity. We will exalt the praises of the Lord and experience radical joy for all eternity!

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;”

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Describe Joy Unspeakable

2. Kingdom Joy

3. Restoration Of Israel

4. Joy In The Body Of Christ

5. Joy In The Bride Of Christ

6. Joy In All Creation

7. What Is Radical Joy?

 

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