..... by Lady Michaela.....
A question often asked is: "You say you are Christian Goth, but goth is so solemn and somewhat depressed, what about the Joy of the Lord?" The testimony below is something I wrote years ago when I experienced the Joy of the Lord in such a real and profound way.....a person can be in touch with certain emotions as goths are, and also full of Joy because of a key factor: JESUS. Nothing compares to joy, the Joy of the Lord...it is not an emotion, it is the supernatural presence of the Lord in your very being.
"A Life of intimacy with God is Characterized by Joy." ~Oswald Chambers~
"Happiness is a consequence of good things happening around us; it is superficial. But Joy comes from inside, from knowing that God has not forsaken us and that He does indeed love us. That Joy can come from no one but the Holy Spirit." Ruth Senter
"Joy, must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again...I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is." C.S. Lewis
At this writing (May, 99) it has been seven months since, I was Surprised by Joy. I wasn't even looking for it! Joy was something I never really had a grasp on, I thought it was one of those Christmas words, so it was the furthest thing from my mind. What was on my mind was a major disappointment and heart ache I had just experienced in my life, a dream had died...I had to sacrifice something that meant the world to me...it left me in such deep despair. The pain was so unbearable, all I could find the strength to do was cry and sob before the Lord... ~ All that sobbing and crying for hours and hours and hours in the presence of the Lord has a way of TOTALLY humbling and stripping pride and status from a person. There was a brokenness before the Lord, an emptying and dying of self. I couldn't have been more real (transparent), if I tried. In all that pain and despair - I didn't know I was seconds from being forever changed . ("I was brought low, and He saved me!" Psalm 116:6) As I sat in my living room crying, I felt that the Lord wanted me to praise Him. I could not help but say "You want me to do what?!...now?! ...in THIS pain?! Needless to say, I stood up and I praised Him regardless of the pain....it was as if the Lord's hand came down and literally pulled me out of that pit I was in, and in an instant I was CONSUMED with UNSPEAKABLE JOY! Can you imagine the surprise! Can you imagine the shock from being in despair to unspeakable Joy in a split second? Going from death to Life!? To this day, when ever I think of the Father's outpouring of love on me through Joy, I cry...but this time it's tears of Joy!! What a wonderful God we have! "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me. He heard my cry. He also brought me up out of the horrible pit. Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth ~ Praise to our God." Psalm 40:1-3. But! It didn't end with Joy, He brought Peace, He has helped me to forgive, really forgive. He has given clarity in understanding, He has lovingly dealt with areas I needed change in...He is taking me from Glory to Glory! Life is very different now and as hard as I try, I can't stop smiling! ~ Joy has changed everything!
Soon after, everywhere I went I saw it: JOY! It was everywhere! The Lord brought into my life a book by Bruce Marchiano, called "In the Footsteps of Jesus". Joy was what Bruce discovered made Jesus the Man He was, Jesus was a Man of JOY! That Joy, He received from the Father! (I don't know why folks find so much 'joy' in thinking He was a man of sorrows all of the time.) God is not an angry force somewhere out there ~He is JOY! At Christmas time it seemed as though all the stores had picked Joy as their decoration theme!! I read everything I could find on Joy, I discovered the Word is full of scriptures about Joy~I never saw it before, and I've been a Christian a long time! Did you know that there are 542 references to Joy? (The book of Psalms has 105 expressions of Joy) the Bible is a Book of Joy!
I believe true Joy is from God. The world uses the word (joy) way to carelessly. I know things like giving birth result in joy, as a couple sees their child for the first time...and there are other events...but that joy is pale in comparison to the Joy of the Lord...Let's take a little journey into that Joy!
I consider Sherwood Wirt somewhat of an expert on the subject of Joy, allow me to share a few quotes from him:
In his book called The Book of Joy, Sherwood Wirt so excellently says "The radiant joy of the Holy Spirit shining in the face of a believer will pierce the religious fog in a friend's mind better than any number of sermons from the pulpit. Without that joy, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will never break down the resistance of our skeptical generation. All the ardor, the fervor, the devotion and the prayers of the faithful may well fail to penetrate today's unbeliever unless the Gospel message carries the same note of joy it had when it was first proclaimed. Fear won't do it. Wrath won't do it. Arguing won't do it. Pleading won't do it. JOY will do it. Because satan is on a rampage and the Christian faith is under deadly assault, many earnest evangelicals are telling us that we must fight back. We must "defend the Bible." But Charles Spurgeon retorts, "Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion." Righteous anger is not the strongest weapon in God's armory. JOY is.
"What is joy? It is the enjoyment of God and the good things that come from the hand of God. If our new freedom in Christ is a piece of cake, joy is the frosting. If the Bible gives us the wonderful words of life, joy supplies the music. If the way to heaven turns out to be an arduous steep climb, joy rigs up the chairlift. The fact is that joy is an attribute of God Himself. It brings with it pleasure, gladness, and delight. Joy is merriment without frivolity, hilarity without raucousness, and mirth without cruelty. Joy radiates animation, sparkle, and buoyancy. It is more than fun, yet it has fun. It expresses itself in laughter and elation, yet draws from a deep spring that keeps flowing long after the laughter has died and the tears have come. Even while those who mourn, it remains cheerful in a world that has gone gray with grief and worry. Joy is not a sentimental word. It has a clean tang and bite to it, the exhilaration of mountain air. It blows away the dustiness of our days with a fresh breeze, and makes life more carefree..."---Sherwood Wirt from Jesus Man of Joy
Jesus, Joyful? ABSOLUTELY!!!!!
Copyright 2000 by Christine Kerrick
"Therefore God, your God has set You above Your companions by anointing You with the oil of Joy." Hebrews 1:9 There is the proof that Jesus was the most Joyful Person who ever lived...His Father, told Him He was anointed more then anyone around Him!
Let me share some quotes with you from someone who has said it so much better than I ever could. His name is Bruce Marchiano, he played Jesus in the most remarkable movie ever made about the life of Jesus. The movie is called: Matthew. The Lord changed this man from a so-so Christian to a Joyfilled Christian in preparing him for this movie. The following is what he discovered!
"Yes, Jesus smiled; yes, Jesus laughed. Jesus smiled wider and laughed heartier than any human being who has ever walked the planet. He was young. He radiated good cheer. The real Jesus was a man of merriment, such gladness of heart, such freedom and openness, that He proved irresistible. He became known through Galilee for His genuine strength, the sparkle in His eyes, the spring in His gait, the heartiness in His laugh, the genuineness of His touch; His passion, playfulness, excitement, and vitality: His JOY! He made a dazzling display of love. He set hearts afire. He was an elated, triumphant young man with an incredible quality of life...so different from the solemn religious types He constantly encountered."...Bruce goes on to say, "The Joy of Jesus, I discovered, was wrapped up in His living in all the fullness of life's ultimate adventure-a bigger-than-life, robustness, victoriousness that comes with living 100 percent in the Father's will 100 percent of the time. Can you imagine the level of joy in your heart if you could live just ten seconds that way? Jesus lived every breathing moment that way. It's beyond comprehension! Love unbounded, truth unrestrained, purpose maximized, victory realized, enemy pulverized, humanity eternalized, God glorified-it's just too much to think about...."
My goal in making this web page is to open the reader's eyes to probably a Jesus they never even thought of. Open their eyes to something that is so missing from Christianity today, and in our churches -- JOY! My reason for this page is found in scripture: "...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." My heart is full of thankfulness to the the Lord, that I have to tell everyone what great things He has done! If you will remember my story at the beginning of this page--well, I have a little P.S. to add to the story! Having been surprised by Joy has been such a life changing experience for me, so unbelievable that I wouldn't have changed a thing that brought it about! All that inner pain and suffering, the loss of my dream and my plans...if I had the opportunity to have not gone through it, and was able to keep my dreams, BUT never experience this JOY, Ha!! NEVER would I choose to keep what I had held dear . . . I'd choose the road that led to Joy. I was in church one night, just thinking about the whole deal and I said to myself: This Joy (from the Lord)...it is really real, it is REAL! Not many of you know me personally, but I am not the same person I was before Joy...It's beyond a dream, it's no longer life as status quo, it's the life He meant for us - Abundant Joyful Life! God can bring JOY out of the darkness.
Before I end this page I want to share with you a few of my favorite scriptures about Joy, and a few books that have blessed me so much. Here are the scriptures:
"To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of Joy for mourning, the garment of praise for The spirit of heaviness... Isaiah 61:3
"I have told you this so that you may be filled with My Joy, yes, your Joy will overflow." John 15:11
"For I will turn their mourning to Joy." Jeremiah 31:13
"In Your presence is fullness of Joy!" Psalm 16:11
Books I highly recommend:
In the Footsteps of Jesus by Bruce Marchiano <--(This book is the best book I have ever read!)
Jesus Man of Joy by Sherwood E. Wirt
The Holy Bible / the book of Genesis chapter 22
Jesus, You are the center of my Joy!
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