I find it interesting that over the last few weeks, as I have written about "joy" and being "joyous," life has become anything but!

 

I could fill you in. I could tell you all the latest news in my life. But why do that to nice people such as yourselves?

 

Besides, isn't it just like God to flash our own words before our eyes when we're in the middle of conflict and crisis? When unresolved matters that have festered to the boiling point surround us? When plans so perfectly made fall apart and we just can't understand why? When we feel like if we start crying now, we'll never stop. Ever?

 

But there is truly a reason (actually, more than one!) to be joyous...and they all center around one immutable fact: Jesus loved us, forgave us and died for us, "while we were yet sinners." (Romans 5:8)

 

A Look Back At Parts One, Two, and Three

 

We began this series by looking at a verse of Scripture from 1 Peter, which reads:

 

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:6b, 7)

 

The question raised was: In what do we rejoice?

 

In part one of this series, we looked at the words found in verses 3-6a:

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice...

 

We rejoice because we have new birth into a living hope.

 

We rejoice because we have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in heaven just for us.

 

We rejoice because we serve a God of mercy.

 

In What Else Do We Rejoice?

 

We rejoice in our faith.

 

Can you imagine not having faith? Think about the worst thing you ever went through and then imagine having dealt with it without your faith in God. But is faith a perfectly formed gift from God, or something we have to grow...you know, like the mustard seed?