Leading a Joy-Filled Life

Leading a Joy-Filled Life

by Sarah Young

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310091363
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Series: Jesus Always Bible Studies
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 458,532
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Sarah Young, the author of the bestselling 365-day devotionals Jesus Always and Jesus Calling®, has sold more than 25 million books worldwide. Jesus Calling® has appeared on all major bestseller lists. Sarah's writings include Jesus Calling®, Jesus Today™, Jesus Lives™, Dear Jesus, Jesus Calling® for Little Ones, Jesus Calling® Bible Storybook, Jesus Calling®: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence, each encouraging readers in their journeys toward intimacy with Christ. Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years. They currently live in the United States.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

SESSION 1

Joy in Salvation

Consider It

Billy Bray was a twenty-nine-year-old miner in Cornwall, England, when he had a brush with death on the job in 1823. He was known as a rowdy drinker and womanizer, but shortly after the mining accident, he read John Bunyan's Visions of Heaven and Hell and was convicted that he was on his way to hell. He became a passionate Christian and unconventional preacher, often bursting into singing, shouting for joy, and dancing in the middle of a sermon. Many hearers complained about this behavior, but Bray was so grateful for God's rescue from the path of destruction that he couldn't — and wouldn't — stop celebrating.

If you are a follower of Christ, what feelings and emotions does that evoke in you? Does your liberation from the enemy fill you with such joy that you can't help but let everybody you meet know about it? Perhaps you're not the type who sings and dances. Perhaps for you, joy is a deep and settled sense of peace, a sense that you're okay and nothing can take away your well-being. Yet regardless of how you experience joy, it's important to recognize the amazing gift that God has given to His children — and be incredibly thankful for it.

In this session, we'll examine what the disciple Peter has to say about the inexpressible and glorious joy we should all have when we think about what God has done for us. We will see that no amount of persecution could shake Peter's joy once he had seen Jesus risen from the dead and heard His promises about our future life.

1. When you were a child, what was something that filled you with joy?

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2. When you were a child, what was something that could rob you of joy?

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Experience It

In Me you can discover Joy inexpressible and full of Glory! You will not find this kind of pleasure anywhere else; it is available only in your relationship with Me. So trust Me, beloved, and walk confidently along your life-path. As we journey together, you will encounter many obstacles — some of which are quite painful. Expect these difficulties each day, and don't let them throw you off course. Refuse to let adversity keep you from enjoying Me. In My Presence deep sorrow can coexist with even deeper Joy.

Your life with Me is an adventure, and there are always some dangers involved in adventurous journeys. Ask Me to give you courage so that you can face your troubles boldly. Keep your hope fully fastened on Me and on the heavenly reward that awaits you. Your Joy will expand astronomically — beyond anything you could possibly imagine — when you reach your eternal home. There you will see Me face to Face, and your Joy will know no bounds!

— From Jesus Always, January 8

3. As a follower of Christ, how can you refuse to let adversity keep you from enjoying God? What chosen actions does that refusal involve?

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4. In 1 Corinthians 2:9, Paul writes, "No eye has seen ... no ear has heard, and ... no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him." How do you picture heaven and the eternal life that God has in store for His children?

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I offer you inexpressible and glorious Joy — straight from heaven itself! This triumphant, heavenly Joy can be found only in Me. It is easy to slide, ever so gradually, from delighting in Me to living for the next spiritual "high." Sometimes I bless you with a taste of heaven's splendor, but the primary purpose of these experiences is to whet your appetite for the next life. Do not underestimate the brokenness of the world you inhabit. Your enjoyment of My Presence will always intermingle with the sorrows of living in this fallen world — until I take you into Glory.

Someday you will see Me face to Face, but for now you love Me without having seen Me. You believe in Me even though you do not see Me. This love for Me is not irrational or whimsical. It's a response to My boundless passion for you, dramatically displayed on the cross and verified by My resurrection. You worship a risen, living Savior! Blessed are those who have not seen Me and yet have believed.

— From Jesus Always, February 12

5. How is the joy that followers of Christ experience different than a mere emotion?

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6. How does the cross give followers of Christ a reason for joy?

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Study It

Read 1 Peter 1:3–9. In this passage, Peter lays the foundation for his letter by praising God for his salvation. Peter's words point to the present aspect of salvation — the new birth — but there is also a much-longed-for future salvation that is yet to be revealed. Note that mercy can be defined as the compassion God shows to human beings despite their sin and because of their helplessness to right their own wrongs. The inheritance to which Peter refers is eternal life in God's joyous kingdom, where the deepest longings of every believer's heart will be fulfilled.

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

7. How does the resurrection of Jesus give His followers a living hope (see verse 3)? What are they hoping for?

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8. If you are a Christ-follower, what gives you joy when you think about the inheritance you have in store for you?

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9. What role does faith have in securing the inheritance promised to Christians (see verse 5)?

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10. According to verse 7, what role do trials have in the life of faith?

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11. Are you filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy because of your love for Jesus (verse 8)? If so, what fosters that joy in you? What can get in the way?

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12. Take two minutes of silence to reread the passage, looking for a sentence, phrase, or even one word that stands out as something Jesus may want you to focus on in your life. If you're meeting with a group, the leader will keep track of time. At the end of two minutes, you may share with the group the word or phrase that came to you in the silence.

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13. Read the passage aloud again. Take another two minutes of silence, prayerfully considering what response God might want you to make to what you have read in His Word. If you're meeting with a group, the leader will again keep track of time. At the end of two minutes, you may share with the group what came to you in the silence if you wish.

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14. If you're meeting with a group, how can the members pray for you? If you're using this study on your own, what would you like to say to God right now?

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Live It

At the end of each session you'll find suggested Scripture readings for spending time alone with God during five days of the coming week. This week, each reading will focus on the joy of salvation (both physical and spiritual) as portrayed in the book of Psalms. Read each passage slowly, pausing to think about what is being said. Rather than approaching this as an assignment to complete, think of it as an opportunity to meet with the One who loves you most. Use any of the questions that are helpful.

Day 1

Read Psalm 27:4–6. What gives the psalmist joy in this passage?

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What is the modern equivalent of seeking the Lord in His temple?

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Have you experienced the Lord keeping you safe in His dwelling? If so, how?

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Today, consider setting aside a special place where you will go each day to meet with the Lord.

Day 2

Read Psalm 28:6–9. What causes the psalmist to praise God in this passage?

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How have you experienced the Lord hearing your cry for mercy?

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What joy does it give you to picture the Lord as the fortress for His children?

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Ask God to be your strength and fortress today — and watch for how He answers that prayer.

Day 3

Read Psalm 33:1–5. What reasons for being joyful does this psalmist provide (see verses 4–5)?

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How have you seen the truth of these two verses in your own life?

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Are you the kind of person who "shouts" for joy? Why do you suppose that's the case?

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Rejoice today that the word of the Lord is right and true.

Day 4

Read Psalm 42:1–4. Can you identify with this psalmist thirsting for God? What does that look like in your life?

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Who or what are the voices in your life that whisper, "Where is your God?" (verse 3)

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What does this psalmist do to help him remember God's salvation and deliverance (see verse 4)?

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Pour out your soul to God today, and see if that leads to deeper joy.

Day 5

Read Psalm 43:1-4. What was the general life circumstance in which this psalmist found himself?

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How could he nevertheless be joyful that God was his salvation?

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What do you think the psalmist means when he asks God to "send me your light" (verse 3)? What is the light that God sends to His children?

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Express your joy to God today for offering you His gift of salvation.

CHAPTER 2

Session 2

Joy in Restoration

Consider It

General André Masséna was a French general who served under Napoleon in the late eighteenth century. At one point, Masséna led an army of 18,000 men against a defenseless Austrian town. The town leaders were going to surrender, but because it was Easter, they decided to hold church services first.

All the church bells in that place rang out for joy that day, in spite of the threat that was headed their way. Remarkably, when the services were over, the townspeople found that the French army had retreated. Apparently, when the French heard the celebratory bells, they concluded that an Austrian army had arrived to defend the town. Masséna wasn't prepared to engage with such a force, so he retreated.

Easter, the joyful celebration of Jesus' resurrection, is the day of days in the history of the world. It is the day on which God reconciled "the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them" (2 Corinthians 5:19). It is as if we were the Austrian villagers surrounded by the French enemy, with no hope in sight, but then the bells rang out and the enemy fled. We can now choose to experience the joy that comes from deliverance in Christ and being restored in fellowship with God.

In this session, we will look at the empty tomb and seek to understand how God used this event to reconcile Himself with each of us. As we join the disciples in their joy at Christ's resurrection, we will seek to let this amazing truth ring out inside us too.

1. Did you celebrate Easter when you were a child? If so, what did you do?

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2. What does Easter mean to you today?

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Experience It

I am the Risen One — your living God. Celebrate the Joy of serving a Savior who is exuberantly alive! Rejoice also in My promise to be with you continually — throughout time and eternity. These truths can sustain you through the greatest trials or disappointments you will ever encounter. So walk boldly along the path of Life with Me, trusting confidently in the One who never lets go of your hand.

Consider what I offer you: Myself, forgiveness of all your sins, forever-pleasures in heaven. This is all so extravagant and lavish that you cannot comprehend it fully. That is why worshiping Me is so important: It's a powerful way of connecting with Me that transcends your understanding. It also proclaims My Presence. There are numerous ways of worshiping Me: singing hymns and praise songs, studying and memorizing My Word, praying individually and with others, glorying in the wonders of My creation. Serving and loving others with My Love can also be worship. Whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God — My Glory!

— From Jesus Always, March 23

3. When you think of Jesus as the Risen Lord, what thoughts, images, and feelings does that evoke within you?

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4. Do you experience joy when you think about Jesus' offer to be with you now and forever? Why did you answer the way you did?

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I am your Joy! These four words can light up your life. Since I am always with you, the Joy of My Presence is continually accessible to you. You can open up to My Presence through your trust in Me, your love for Me. Try saying, "Jesus, You are my Joy." My Light will shine upon you and within you as you rejoice in Me, your Savior. Ponder all I have done for you and all that I am to you. This will lift you up above your circumstances.

When you became My follower, I empowered you to rise above the conditions in your life. I filled you with My Spirit, and this Holy Helper has limitless Power. I promised that I will come back and take you to be with Me in heaven — that you may be where I am forever. Whenever your world is looking dark, brighten your perspective by focusing on Me. Relax in My Presence, and hear Me saying, "Beloved, I am your Joy!"

— From Jesus Always, January 2

5. How does it affect you to say, "Jesus, you are my joy"?

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6. If you are a Christ-follower, what helps you focus on Jesus? What gets in the way?

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Leading a Joy-Filled Life"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Sarah Young.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Session 1 Joy in Salvation: 1 Peter 1:3-9 1

Session 2 Joy In Restoration: Luke 24:36-53 13

Session 3 Joy that Transcends Circumstances: Habakkuk 3:16-19 25

Session 4 Joy and Strength: Nehemiah 8:5-12 37

Session 5 Joy Despite Fear: Matthew 28:1-10 49

Session 6 Joy and Healing: Psalm 30:1-12 61

Session 7 Joy in Singing: 1 Chronicles 16:23-33 73

Session 8 Joy Even in Suffering: Acts 16:16-34 85

Leader's Notes 99

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