Happiness depends largely upon what is happening around you or what is going on at the time. Things such as good health, congenial company, pleasant surroundings, etc. Things that affect our emotions positively and bring us "up". Happiness is temporary, joy is constant. Happiness comes from the outside, joy comes from within. Happiness and unhappiness are like water and fire, both can't occupy the same space at the same time. In essence, they can not co-exist together. However, joy and sorrow can co-exist. Joy gives the person who is a Kingdom citizen eternal hope. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Here, the prophet Isaiah is speaking of our King Jesus: He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. The ambassador Paul, once again, made if very clear: Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Both ambassadors Paul and Silas, scourged and imprisoned with their feet in stocks, could hardly be described as "happy" but at midnight they sang their praises to the King, their God. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
Don't you just love it when the Lord God shows Himself to you?! Kingdom living is living a victorious life, regardless of what is going on around you. The greatest witness you have is your joy and peace under pressure. The world doesn't understand it. A Kingdom citizen encourages others to recognize the One who created the heavens and the earth. They had such great joy, that the Lord God caused an earthquake and not only delivered them but brought joy and salvation to the jailer's household.
My brother-in-law and his wife lost their 16 year old daughter many years ago in a car accident. The peace and joy they maintained through a devastating situation had nothing to do with their circumstances. There was no chaos and their family did not fall apart. Their trust in God shone through. Because of their witness of peace and joy in the worst of circumstances, countless people came to Jesus the Christ. There is no louder, more effective witness than your life.
Remember this one thing. The kind of joy that those in the Kingdom have comes from above, not from here on earth. It comes from the Kingdom of God. It is given to all those who listen and obey His Word. Living a Kingdom life is one of obedience to the King's command. Keep in mind, Kingdom living is embracing the King's laws and principles, regardless of what is going on around you. How is that possible? Because you trust in the King's Word and He always keeps His Word.
Psalm 104:31 Galatians 5:22-23; 24-25 James 1:2-3 Isaiah 53:3
Hebrews 12:1-2 Acts 16:23-34
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