Advent – good news of great joy!
Acts 13: 32
“We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors”
I have been waiting for this verse to come. You can guess why?!! GOOD NEWS!
The angel said to the Shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
- Sometimes joy is given
They were impacted by an unexplainable event. It was an out of this world experience, a God-thing. This year you will probably not have had the angelic host sing to you, but maybe one day you were going about your normal business and by the end of that day your life had turned around, why? God had come to you. He had revealed Himself to you. From that moment on you knew your life would never be the same again.
This might seem strange to you, but God does want you to be happy! In Ecclesiastes 2:6 God gives happiness!
- Sometimes joy has to be found
He wants you to be willing to have what He wants to give you. He wants your partnership.
Mary had a visit by the angel, but she had to be willing, “May it be to me as you have said.” The shepherds weren’t presented with Jesus nor were they picked up and placed into the manger scene. God won’t force you to have good things for your life. He won’t deliver them without your full participation and He won’t drag you into them either. Do not think they ran into Bethlehem with an A-Z map and all they had to do was find Manger Street. Maybe they tried every cowshed in Bethlehem before they found the one with a baby in it, for that is the meaning of the word ‘search’.
- Sometimes we have to fight for our joy
I am reflecting this morning on what was told me last night about a Church of Pentecost Pastor who is in prison today on false charges of speaking against the government. He has been in prison for 4 months and has had visitors refused. He is in a country that if I told you then you would know how horribly difficult this must be for him. His wife is going to have a very stressful Christmas this year as she prays for the release of her husband.
Sometimes we have to fight for that joy. The enemy wants to steal it. Maybe this year there have been so many battles for that joy.
Mother Theresa commanded her workers to smile every day.
Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote: “Have you realised that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?”
Maybe the greatest battle of faith is the struggle within.