where the writers are
I've got the Joy!

        “Joy”…What a cute little word.  In the Christmas story, the angel said “I bring you good news of exceeding joy”! I hope you can experience this exceeding joy like never before. In 1st. Peter 1:3-9  you will read the words “rejoicing” and being filled with an “inexpressible joy”.  Inexpressible – “unable to truly put into words how you feel”. How can one put into words how you feel? Joy is an emotion, and it is hard to explain. We may see joy as an expression on our face, and we can certainly give examples of things that bring us joy, but what is joy?    Jesus said in John 15:11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete”! What is “complete” joy?...And, how do you know when it is complete?  The Apostle John says the same thing in 1st John 1:3 – “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. We write this to make our joy complete”. In order for anything to be complete, it must have all the ingredients called for. Although we may find many things in this world that make us happy, or even bring us joy, our joy cannot be complete, inexpressible, or exceedingly glorious without knowing Jesus Christ!    I have never known anyone who was happy and joyful all the time. In fact, everyone has problems. Every-one has times when we feel sad, or lonely, or depressed, sick and miserable. It’s not easy, if not even impos-sible to put on a happy face all the time. It’s tough to show “joy” when life seems to let you down.     What we really need is to know the difference between “joy” and “being happy”. They have similar mean-ings, but not the same. Happiness has to do with a sense of well being and contentment with what one has, and the circumstances in one’s life. Joy is described as a “gladness of heart” no matter what one has. In my own words I would say that happiness depends on external circumstances, or “happenings” while joy is an internal character based on internal circumstances.     Joy, the Bible says, is a fruit of the Spirit listed in Galations 5 – all of which are things that come from within. So, what are the ingredients that it takes to make our joy “complete”?  I believe there are three main ingredients, each with four ( non-negotiable ) parts:      First, there can be no inner joy without LOVE. And, love itself is incomplete unless it contains (1) a love for God; (2) a love of self – which is not “ego” but knowing I was created by a loving God to be ME! Plus, there must also be (3) a love of family…And, finally, (4) a love for others. There are two ways to measure our love. The first is To read 1st. Corinthians 13 and place your name in place of the word “love”. The second is to seek all of the “one another” verses ( there are at least 19 ) that show us what it means to “love one another”.    The second ingredient is Peace…And, peace must include the same four parts: (1) peace with God; (2) at peace with self; (3) peace with friends and family; (4) peace with others.     The third ingredient is directly subject to the second because they go hand in hand. This ingredient is Forgiveness. In order to complete my joy…In order to have inexpressible joy in my life…I must learn to forgive!  Receive (1) God’s forgiveness; (2) forgive myself; (3) give and seek forgiveness from my family and friends; and of course, (4) others around me. May your life be filled with “inexpressible, glorious, joy…and may your joy be truly complete!