In-Depth Studies, News

Great JOY of an Ol’ Kentucky Boy

Author: Andrew Smith

This has been an amazing week for me.  Despite the fact that the bills are a month behind, Christ gives me Joy.  Regardless of the truth that my work truck cracked a head this week, I am soaring in spirit.  Even when fighting the mobs at the retail stores during the great race to finish shopping for the kids, this Christmas, I was reminded of the reason for the season.  This was “Joy” week at my church.  It is the week that we light the Joy candle as we observe the tradition of advent.  Not just regular joy but great Joy.  Although my research puts the birth of Christ around mid-September the winter solstice is the accepted time of observation.  Although it may not be a God appointed holiday, it is the Christmas story, when revealed appropriately, that we can find the Great Joy in regardless of the possible misconstrued timing of the event.

 Luke 2:10-11King James Version (KJV)  10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 1 Peter 1:8-9New Living Translation (NLT)  8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

 James 1:2-3New Living Translation (NLT) Faith and Endurance  2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

It seems that even in the midst of adversity, within the whirlwind of life, God places the right people around me at the right time.  People that edify my purpose and compliment my calling.  He often times asks me a simple question.  This question has never changed yet the revelation that I have received from answering the question throughout the years is as diverse as the different seasons of life from which the question was asked.  That question is, What do you see?  When I actually take the time to earnestly seek out what God wants to show me, I see what He is doing.  He doesn’t just show me what He is doing to be impressed or more informed.  It is always an invitation to join Him in that great work.

Matthew 4:18-20 (HCSB) As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

The above scripture explains how Christ invites us into work that is already in progress.  He asks us to join Him but it is not to merely do it for Him or to do something on our own.  He asks us to JOIN Him.  We can do nothing without Him.

John 15:5 (HCSB) “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.

 John 5:17, 19-20 (HCSB) But Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.”

Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works than these so that you will be amazed.

I find it awesome how when Simon Peter and Andrew were asked to join Christ’s mission in the scripture of Matthew they dropped their nets and went without question.  Too many times I miss out on what Christ wants to do through me because I allow the constraints of time or the breech of my comfort zone to stop me from following through.  I have even caught myself using the excuse “I’m not sure it is Christ telling me to do this.”   If I am honest with myself I know this is a lie when I say it, but it makes it easier to refuse Christ’s invitation to use the “I’m not sure who said it” excuse, then to say It doesn’t fit into my time schedule or my comfort zone.  It is my experience that the things Christ wants us to do will never be in our comfort zone.  He challenges us to use faith.  When we use it, we see fruits from it and then we receive blessing and move forward upon which the next task will go further out of the comfort zone.  The key is to understand that perfect faith produces perfect fruit even if we don’t see or understand it or how it will unfold.  Elisha’s servant didn’t understand why he was not worried about the armies of Syria coming to get him.  He was able to see under the veil and understand the depth of God’s Truth.  He knew that there were not words he could say to his servant to negate his fear so he prayed this….

2 Kings 6:17 (HCSB) Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So, the Lord opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

It was then the servant understood the real power that is behind the veil of flesh that we so often limit ourselves from.  The key word is faith.  We need it because the things that God wants to do through us is part of a plan on a depth of intricacy we wouldn’t understand even if Christ Himself revealed it to us.  It just works better if we take the steps He gives us and leave the full implemented plan to the One whose will it is anyway.  Even if He explained the plan we would argue that it wouldn’t work.  Despite my doubt, God, with a fierce tenacity, urges me to step into His plan of reclamation.  I pray that some of that tenacity that He continues to bless me with transfers into these words and lands firmly into fertile soil.  It is my desire to share the Joy that I find in the revelation of Christ and His unfailing love for all of us.  I pray that the Christmas season be fruitful in ways that invoke growth and resonate loudly the spirit of Joy.  It is my earnest desire to share the Love that Christ so graciously gives to this broken man with anyone in the world that is in need of it.  He is the reason for these arrangements of words that are purged from my center.  He is the reason for the abundance of Joy that resides at that center even through the valleys of life.  He is truly the reason for the season and most definitely the reason for the great Joy of an Ol’ Kentucky boy!

May the grace of Christ, and the love of Creator, and the fellowship of Holy Spirit be with you all.