Sunday, May 23, 2010

Living Beyond Yourself: Week 4 - JOY

A couple weeks ago I joined a bible study group with some people I went with to the WOF conference. They are currently studying, Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore. When I joined the group they were already on week 3, but I was able to borrow the first 2 DVD sessions to get myself caught up. So that is where I'm going to start with on my review notes of the bible study.

We have our studies on Tuesday nights & I wanted to post this earlier in the week before I started this week lesson, which is on peace, Unfortunately, I didn't get around to making my notes until earlier today, so this is actually from last weeks study.

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength - That was the name of the introduction to the study on JOY.

Before I go on with the actual notes from my lessons, I just wanted to mention how AWESOME I think our God is and how I love the different ways He uses to get our attention.

Right now, I'm not a member of any church. Some of you may/or may not know that I used to be a member of the SDA church. Well, as of last year, I had my membership removed. For the sake of time & space, it's too long of a story for me to go into the full details right now, but I'm currently working on my testimony of why I left the church. I'm hoping to have that up on my website before Sunday night. But if I don't, I will have it ready by next week sometime. With that being said, for the past several months I've mostly been joining some different bible studies during the week - such as this one. And since I've gotten used to sleeping in on the weekends now, I usually watch some services on TV or online.

Well the day after my Tuesday night meeting, on my way home from work, something told me that I should visit a local churches website where I can watch live services online. Since it had been raining earlier that day, I already knew I wouldn't be going anywhere that night. So at 7pm that evening, I got online to watch the service.

I've visited this church on Wednesday a few times, so I was already familiar with they're format. They sang a few songs, the pastor said a prayer & they started the study. Well, guess what the first words he just happened to say was? If you said, "the joy of the Lord is our strength", ding, ding, you would be correct! His study that night was on 'joy' and the different things in our everyday life that can steal our joy. I just got a HUGE kick out of this & was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my study for that week and the title of the introduction was "the joy of the Lord is our strength". Had I not been obedient that night, I believe that I would have missed out on a huge blessing.

So back to my lesson... The Greek word for Joy is chara, which means 'joy, rejoicing, gladness." In many ways it means, "to celebrate"

The 5 areas of Joy (chara) that Beth mentions in the study are:

1. Salvation
2. Discovery
3. Restoration
4. Abiding (or remaining) in Christ
5. The body of Christ - or fellowship

Here are just a few notes that I've taken that describe each area. The words in red are quoted from Beth in the study.


Salvation

"Salvation is a gift of grace that we have a privilege to accept." The Greek word for grace is charis, which means "unmerited favor."

Read Luke 10:17-20. Jesus says in verse 20, "Rejoice that your name is written in Heaven." This is definitely a reason to be joyful. Knowing that the God of the universe sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins, so that we can spend eternity in Heaven with Him.


Discovery

"The discovery of one perfect treasure - Christ, Jesus." (Matt. 13:44, Matt 28:8, Luke 1:44, Luke 2:10, Luke 10:21, Luke 24:52)

"Chara is the supernatural result of which flows from the glorious discovery of our Lord & Savior in every circumstance where we wish to find him."

"Joy also comes as a surprise through our trials in which the "presence, purpose & power" of God is best discovered through our difficulty." I know this is true because I've been through several trials and, even though I didn't understand it at the time, I was joyful at the end result & seeing how God had worked through that difficult situation.

Restoration

She gives several examples of finding joy in restoration

1. Difficulties & trials - "One reason God allows us to experience troubles is because He desires to reveal his joy to us through restoration" (Psalm 7:1-24)

"I am convinced we cannot begin to really know Christ until we learn to fellowship with Him in His sufferings." (Phil 3:10) We know that just as Christ suffered, that we will have to suffer as well. I know from experience that the Christian walk is not an easy one, but I believe that it will be well worth it in the end.

"If God has ordained difficulty for you, he has also ordained restoration for you" (1 Peter 5:10)

2. Our own sins (Psalm 85:6)

3. Our separation from God (Jeremiah 31:1-20) "Discipline basically means 'teaching'." (Hebrews 12:6-7,10)


Abiding in Christ

Remain in Christ - the Greek word for remain is meno, "to abide, dwell, live"

"to remain in Christ means to cling to him, to refuse to be budged under pressure, to never allow loss to cause us to leave."

"the key to "abiding" or "remaining in Christ is in John 15:3, 7, 10"

"Chara can be lost as well as gained"

Reasons we may lose our joy:
1. When our out pour exceeds our intake
2. When our talk exceeds our walk
3. When we become 'wonders junkies'
4. When we are exhausted
5. When we feel all alone


Body of Christ

(Romans 15:30-32, Romans 16:19, 2 Corinthians 2:3, 2 Corinthians 7:4, 2 Corinthians 7:7, Phillipians 1:25-26, Phillipians 4:1)

"We are a catalyst of joy for one another" (Hebrews 10:24-25)

"Joy not only comes from the body of Christ, but also adds joy to the body of Christ. Our joy makes us soul winners" (Psalm 51:12-13, 1 Peter 3:15)

I throughly enjoyed this study on Joy. I've started the first few lessons this week on Peace & it's interesting how much peace & joy are greatly linked. Which is very easy to see because it's hard to have peace if you're unhappy or have no joy.
I'm already planning on posting my notes on that study sometime next week, probably Tuesday night or Wednesday, before I start the new lesson. I think it's easier to take notes as I go along with each days lesson & then, at the end of the week, write one complete post to summarize what I've learned.

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