by Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday December 24, 2004
Imagine the shepherds from the first Christmas night going home and trying to get some sleep after having a visitation from angels. Not only had they heard from God, they had been the first to hear from Him in four hundred years. God has a beautiful pattern in everything He does. He gave His Christmas message about the Great Shepherd to a group of shepherds. And he sent the Lamb of God to be born amongst lambs in a manger.
Likewise Jesus talks with His disciples about joy before His crucifixion. It was important that the disciples hear the key to joy that night, because the next day would be the unhappiest of their lives. Joy and happiness are not the same. Happiness depends upon our outward circumstances, but our joy comes from within. It is unrelated to circumstances. Jesus said to His disciples "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full" (John 15:11). As a result of Jesus' relationship with the Father, He had pure and complete joy in spite of what was to come.
Nehemiah 8:10 says, "The joy of the LORD is your strength." We cannot lose joy, which is a permanent gift of God, but we can choose to give it up by disobeying Him. Sin squeezes the power and joy of the Holy Spirit from our life. But repentance opens the floodgate again. God created the perfect way for us to experience joy - in relationship to Him. It's an offer He makes to each of us.
Need gift ideas? The 2004 In Touch Christmas Catalog is here. Visit the In Touch online bookstore for more information.
Teen Connection is the official teen outreach of In Touch Ministries. Be sure to tell your teen about this cutting-edge web site filled with practical content for teenagers of all spiritual maturity levels. The featured interview for December is best-selling singer/songwriter Bebo Norman. Check out Teen Connection today!