The Lord has been teaching me so much this year of Himself and I want to try to share with you a bit of what He has been teaching me.
I’m standing in the back of a large convention center room, Tyler is playing lead guitar for the Matt Papa Band, who is leading worship through music for the Campus Outreach event. Not alone, I have little baby boy in his stroller. He’s only almost three months; it’s the week after Christmas. I am ready. I am listening.
John Piper is the speaker and he is speaking on JOY.
Have you heard the acronym for JOY?
Well, this wasn’t part of his sermon that night, but it’s where I started. And I like to start with what I know.
When I think of JOY, I do think of Christmas. I think of life, lit up. I think of Jesus, our JOY. I think of the acronym and what it means – Jesus first and in all and through all, then love and serve others, then be aware of yourself, last and less. JOY will follow.
And, friends, this is true. And it’s where I started that night.
John Piper ripped open this verse :
Psalm 16:11 In His presence there is fullness of joy forevermore.
Deep and Wide is JOY in CHRIST. Now, abundantly; forever, eternally. All for our good, and all for His glory – which is inextricably linked.
I knew as he walked us through and shattered any misconceptions that anywhere else can you find any kind of real, any kind of lasting, any kind of actual JOY; as He built up Christ – our refuge, our stronghold, our salvation, THE ONE WHO IS JOY and IN HIM WE KNOW JOY – that I wanted to know this. intimately.
I wanted to know Christ as MY JOY.
And the Lord has let Psalm 16:11 be the overarching verse for my year, the song that He has sung over me. I know that we are in August. There’s a whole quarter of the year to be had, by God’s grace. And I know that if we see the end of this year, Psalm 16:11 is my song for this year.
IN HIS PRESENCE
How do we get there? CHRIST. We can only come to God the Father through Jesus Christ. Girl – humble yourself. Turn in your stolen goods; give up your deceitful ways; let go of your pride; throw down all the stupid sins that enslave you. And humble yourself in the sight of the Lord.
As I have been reading through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s trifecta, Brokeness, Surrender, Holiness, the Lord has led me through it. It hasn’t been easy but it has been so good. And I give the Lord all of the glory.
On the other side, I want to see – to know – to love – CHRIST. MY JOY.
THERE IS FULLNESS OF JOY
How do we experience this? We pursue Christ; we rest in Christ. If you are saved, He has saved you. If you are saved, you are His child. Act like it. Walk in it. Hold your head up high; walk in grace and truth and love. Be all that He has made you to be – to reflect rightly His image. When we pursue Christ, we pursue holiness. And holiness is our only pathway to JOY.
There’s something else here that the Lord as linked together for me with this verse.
Do you know the story of the wedding in Cana? It’s Jesus’ first miracle. His earthly ministry has been officially established and He has gathered together His disciples. First miracle, turning water into wine. Party!
Do you know what the Lord showed me this morning about Jesus through this story?
So, the family of the bride who is giving the wedding is running out of wine a little too early. Jewish families during this time celebrated the marriage for a week. And the wine was running low.
This family could have been humiliated before all of their guests, before their family and friends.
This family was in need. Maybe even a bit desperate.
Which is, I think, why Jesus gently corrects His mother, Mary. Yes, she came to Him – that’s who we go to, ladies. But, she came to Him a bit desperate, worried, unsure, maybe even feeling the burnt red cheeks of embarrassment creeping up her face when she asked Jesus to help.
When we come to Jesus, we can come unashamed, not humiliated. We can come confidently when we are His, saved, His child.
I think Jesus rebukes Mary because she asks amiss.
This does not hold back the love – the generosity – the miracle of Jesus.
He turns water into wine. He uses big canisters that are meant for the water of purification. I think that’s interesting, don’t you?
And he turns this water not just into any ole’ wine, but GOOD wine.
He not only saves the family from embarrassment, but gives them the best. Listen to how the master of the feast (who must have known about the situation) thanks Jesus…
When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus let the wedding party and guests ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’
Jesus not only saves us from our stupid sins and enslavement, but He saves us to HIS JOY.
And His JOY is now. deep and wide. Filling up, overflowing, consuming. In your day in and day out, streams of JOY can flow through when you surrender to Jesus.
Come, wade in the waters of salvation. and know HIS JOY, deep and wide. and now.
Heaven is waiting! And I am excited!
(I used not to be so excited. Then I became a bit more heavenly minded through reading the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn.)
Listen to me girls. The world is fading fast. The world is running out. Whatever you are putting into only the here and now will be lost. corrupted. burnt up. no good.
Heaven and Hell are waiting. Bless my soul, this is serious.
And Jesus is offering to you right now to taste and see that HE IS GOOD. HE IS JOY. HE IS LIFE. THE LIGHT. HE IS YOUR TREASURE.
And for those of us who trust in Him, who surrender, who give up going after the whatever the new fad is today (which is not new under the sun anyways), He is preparing a place for us – HEAVEN – where only with new bodies can we experience this ever increasing JOY in HIS presence FOREVER.
I want to live like this, don’t you? I don’t want to sit in the muck and mire of myself. of my sin. of my pride and selfishness. I don’t want to live enslaved, defeated, dead.
I want to live in the glory and riches and treasure of Jesus Christ, my righteousness. I want to live in humility and meekness and His honor. I want to live FREE – VICTORIOUS – ALIVE – IN HIS JOY.
yes and amen.
Psalm 16:11 reads – In His presence there is fullness of joy forevermore.
Drink it in. Take it to heart. Let the Lord have His way. And live.