Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Real Lasting Joy

Luke 1:47

…and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

Life ChangeSunday we begin a new sermon series on the Holy Spirit. The sermon titles are: The Holy Spirit ComesThe Power of the Holy SpiritThe Holy Spirit Helps Us – and Street Cred. These sermons will come from the Book of Acts. We have been studying the Book of Acts on Tuesdays in our two studies – one at 10:30 am and one at 7:00 pm. Both are co-ed and all are welcome. The last two Tuesdays – we’ve had 47 and 44 people between the two studies. You can listen to these sermons here when they are posted.

We’re headed to the Advent season in one month. The coming of Christ is a season of great joy. The joy that Jesus brings to all people is clear. Luke 2:10–11 – 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Jesus’ arrival brings great joy to the people – and not only to His people but to all who would hear and follow Him. Jesus was the Messiah – the Anointed One – the Deliverer – the One who would break the bonds of oppression for His people. Never before or since has the birth of a baby been so anticipated or sought after. Jesus’ birth was to bring great and lasting joy.

The coming of the Holy Spirit should also bring great joy. God with us today – the Holy Spirit. So – we should be as excited about this November sermon series as we are about the Advent series as we approach Christmas.

What brings us joy today? What is it that makes us rejoice? If you’re a local sports fan – maybe the way the Baltimore Ravens have been playing (I hope we can rejoice Sunday night as we play New England). Maybe the fact that the men’s and women’s Maryland basketball teams are each in the top 10. How about the Nationals winning the MLB World Championship or the Washington Mystics winning their championship?Unfortunately – these experiences and other such events are more like temporal happiness rather the lasting joy (they come and go – just wait till the next game – we might not be as joyous/happy afterward). One of my favorite sayings is – Happiness is circumstantially driven while Joy is spiritually derived. In other words – those games only brought us temporary happiness – not true joy.

Jesus’ mother – Mary – had real joy when she was told about the Messiah – her child. Here is Mary’s response to the news of the birth of the Christ child – her baby boy. Luke 1:46–55 – 46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

As we approach this next Christmas season – enjoy the happy moments that a Bowl Game win or a playoff run or a gift here or there might bring – but also seek out a deeper relationship with Jesus and experience the joy that He brings. His joy is lasting and will stay with us a lot longer than any temporal happiness. As we walk thru the sermon series on the Holy Spirit and enter Advent in December – let us deepen our walk with Jesus and experience real lasting joy.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way!

P.S. Remember – this Saturday night – turn your clocks back an hour.

November 1, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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