Hello, SUM Family! We’re moving closer and closer to Christmas, and like you, I want to be intentional in enjoying the details of Christmas. Yesterday morning I went into my prayer room to pray for my own family and our SUM family here. I continue to pray and declare Jeremiah 24:7 over our spouses and am praying the Scriptures written on the beams of this house over you. They are such good words!
JOY is also a very good word, my friends. And it’s the theme of the second week of Advent. As I searched for the word JOY in the Bible, I was struck by several verses that spoke of JOY. Then the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see a beautiful flow and connection in these Scriptures.
And connection is so instrumental to our relationship with God. As you can see in my picture I’ve lit the second candle. I love taking a picture each week and sharing it with my daughters, which helps create a more intimate connection between us for Christmas as the days draw closer to their arrival. I love that we can share these traditions despite the 3,000 miles that separate us. It closes the gap.
And that is what Jesus did when He entered this world—closed the gap between God and His people and connected us together as His body, the church. What’s more, Jesus arrived with the declaration of great JOY!
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. — Luke 2:10
Jesus entered the world as joy and to bring us joy. Joy is the status quo in Heaven. Isn’t that an amazing thought?
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. — Luke 15:7
Our intended state of being is meant to be joyful. Like He taught us to pray, “on earth as it is in Heaven,” Jesus came to give us His joy, the JOY of the Lord to strengthen and uphold us.
While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. — Luke 24:51-53
And here’s the connection from the cradle to the cross, my friends. It is rich with God’s love and our Savior’s heart for us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. — Hebrews 12:1-3
As Jesus is our joy, we are His joy—the joy set before Him as He endured the cross. In other words, as our Savior suffered and died, He had us on His mind and heart. The very same very reason He entered this world as a helpless child to save us.
I pray this resonates deeper into your spirit than my words can convey. It is a full circle story of love and salvation that is almost incomprehensible in its brilliant perfection. We could spend a lifetime and beyond learning to understand it—and that’s exactly what we get to do!
My friends, as I shared, I went into prayer, seeking the Father’s heart for us now. I waited to hear Him yet only sensed to share this beautiful picture of JOY. But as I sat down to write, the Holy Spirit’s voice broke through and this is what I heard:
He who is faithful has said a good word.
Another Scripture search ensued as I knew I’d heard this before but couldn’t remember exactly where. The Scriptures I found are the very same verses that God has been showing me over the last year or so. I was surprised and delighted to see what He’d spoken to me at separate times come together in one profound word. So like the JOY of Christ’s birth and death…
SUMites, soak these in and apply them to our SALVATION word and promise and to any other promise God has given you.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. — 1 Thes. 5:25
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. — Heb 10:23
For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. — Psalm 33:4
The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” — Jer 1:12
My friends, He is faithful to His Word. He watches diligently to perform it.
And what struck me most powerfully in this word to us, is that it is past tense. Our Lord has “said a good word.” In my spirit I sense that to mean “it is done.” Just like His journey from the cradle led to the cross and His words…
It is finished.
It is done.
We can rejoice!
We have JOY!
Thank You, Lord Jesus, that we are the JOY set before you. That Your JOY is intended to be ours and our natural state of heart, mind, soul and spirit. We rejoice in You. We rejoice in the promises You have given us and have already fulfilled. Even the ones we are waiting to see fully manifest here on earth as You have said a good word in Heaven. In the name of Jesus, amen!
I love you, SUM family, so much. I am overcome by the Lord’s heart and love for us. I pray you are too.