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I want to talk to you today about joy in spite of any circumstances. You know itís going to be a bad day when you call your answering service and they tell you itís none of your business. When you put your pants on backwards and they fit better. Been there, done that. You know itís going to be a bad day when your horn goes off accidentally behind a group of Hellís Angels on the freeway. When you sink your teeth into a beautiful steak and they stick. You see, Iíve learned,
Every relationship needs joy ... not happiness.
Happiness is external. Joy is internal.
Happiness is based on chance. Joy is based on choice.
Happiness is based on circumstances. Joy is based on Christ.
In Godís word, one of the first things apparent to me is that God wants his people to be joyful. In fact, I think one of the great paradoxes of life is that as I look at the Christian community, I see a lack of joy. I just scratch my head. We ought to be the most joyful people in the world. We have hope. Amen?
Biblical words to express joy:
1. Bright and shining.
Itís an Old Testament expression, from when David came home after slaying Goliath. It talks about the women who were singing and dancing with joyful song as they played their instruments. That word for joy in the Hebrew, literally, means that they were bright and shining. When you are joyful thereís a brightness, a shining just like a 6-year-old at Christmas time with anticipation getting ready to open gifts. Like a bride walking down the aisle on the day of her wedding, thereís a bright and shiningness about joy.
2. Leaping and jumping.
Itís in the New Testament -- a Greek word from the story about the two apostles Peter and John going to the gate to pray. Do you remember the lame man who was begging? They said, "Silver and gold have we none, but what we have we give to you in the name of Jesus Christ. Rise up and walk." The lame man was healed, and he began to leap with joy. This word for joy expresses leaping. Itís an expression of joy that knows no bounds or no limitations.
It means to be so full of joy that it becomes a verbal expression, a shout. Pastor Butcherís father, Pop Butcher, who died at, I think, 92 or 93, used to sit right over there. Something good would happen in the service and old Pop Butcher in his early 90s would say, "Well, glory!" Thatís a shout of joy. The dear old man was full of joy, and it came out in a shout.
4. Running around in circles.
It literally means to be so full of ecstasy that your behavior is a little abnormal and you run around in circles.
When missionaries in the northern part of Alaska, where the Eskimos are, were trying to get the Bible translated, they had some difficulty. When you go to translate the Bible in any culture, thereís a difficulty in translating some words because cultures and languages donít always have the same words. There was no word in the Eskimo language for joy. And as they were trying to translate joy, biblically, they drew from experience. And as they watched, they saw that the happiest, the most joyful moments in those Eskimo villages were in the evening when they fed their sled dogs. Theyíd go out, and the dogs would yelp and wag their tails and get all excited. And
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