Thursday, September 7, 2017

JOY to the World!

Recently I listened to a series of presentations (CDs) by a pastor in Lawrence, Kansas on the Power of Joy.  They were absolutely fascinating because he explores some brain research relating to our feelings and relationships.   Pastor Brazell had a poignant perspective on the source of joy.  To isolate snippets of his sermon cannot do the whole or the part justice, so I hesitate.  Yet it changes one's perspective forever on joy.  I will give a link to his main presentation at the end of this post and invite you to experience it for yourself. In short, joy is all about relationship.  Lots of things in life can make you happy producing dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter that affects the pleasure center of the brain.  (I'm not a my explanations are faulty no doubt...still you will get the gist if you stay with me.)  Different stimuli create an increase in dopamine and a feeling of pleasure or happiness is released.  But something substantially different happens with JOY.  Pleasure or happiness can be artificially cannot, because joy is an authentic state.  You can fake pleasure or happiness, but not joy because at the heart of joy is relationship.  (There is so much more to this explanation.)  He goes on to explain how a baby seeks connection and joy and how joy is communicated. Truly, absolutely an amazing study.


As you might anticipate, he brings the topic full circle to the source of joy...and it centers squarely on our relationship to Christ.  Immanuel...God with us.  God's purpose in Christ was to reconcile, restore relationship with Him.  Without Christ, relationship with God is impossible, and without relationship joy is also impossible.  The power of JOY is in the power of Immanuel...God with us.

So think of the amazing words of the hymn, Joy to the Word...and look at what follows, the Lord is come...Immanuel...a new relationship is possible.  God came to be WITH US, and that changes everything.  As God related to man throughout scripture, joy is always associated with the presence of God.  "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11)  In the presence of God as we experience relationship with Him, we find the fullness of a lasting joy.

If we are to be a light in this dark world, our influence rests in the joy we experience through Christ and share with others.  It is our joy in the Lord that fuels love to touch others and relate to them through Christ.  Christ came surely for our salvation, but with that salvation--restoration of relationship--that we also find JOY.  And we cannot keep that kind of joy to drives us to relate to others, to share it with others.  If you struggle with joy, I heartily recommend that you listen to pastor Brazell's sermon on the Power of Joy and I guarantee you will have a different perspective on joy.

How exciting to be sharing September's stamp release with the new Christmas sets at Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.  This one is from Peace on Earth by Krista Hamrick and I love it!
(Available for Pre-Order)

The presentation by Pastor Brazell on the Power of Joy

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