Friday, December 19, 2014

In the Presence of the Lord There Is Fullness of Joy

On Sunday, March 16th, my birthday, I had the great pleasure to speak at Mt. Horeb Baptist Church in Louisville for their annual Ushers Day program. I spoke on joy from Luke 1:39-56, and the story of Mary's visit with Elizabeth. Almost every the following week, God continued to give me additional revelation on joy as relates to Elizabeth, Mary and John.

Elizabeth's joy was tied to her position in the faith and in the house; baby John's to his position as a prophet, and Mary's to her position as the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Their collective joy, expressed in different ways, on this occasion was tied to their proximity to the unborn Savior of the world. They stood, the three of them, in the presence of the Lord, and in His presence there is fullness of joy!

A primary assignment for ushers who stand at the entrance to the church house, is to greet guests and visitors as they enter and exit the building. What makes this story relevant for Ushers Day is the agency and activity of the Holy Spirit and when He begins to move. We are so use to talking about the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost, but here is an instance of His presence before the birth of Jesus. Luke 1:40-41 states, “…where she (Mary) entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit….” It is interesting that the Holy Spirit begins to move precisely at the point of greeting, and greetings usually occur somewhere near the door. And where do we find ushers serving faithfully at every worship service? At the entrance. At the door. The psalmist says in Psalms 84:10, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

Joy is the birthright and birth mark of the believer. It is a fruit of the Spirit, a character trait of the believer. That doesn't mean we should be happy all the time. In fact, your joy may be a future destiny or purpose, something God is calling you to. For Elizabeth and Mary, the Lord called both to motherhood of uniquely gifted children. For John the Baptist, it was to a unique prophetic position between two dispensations. John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, and greatest of all the prophets (Mark 1:1-8). That’s why we can't be too quick to abort that which God has given us. John had joy from the womb to the tomb. Even though he had difficult days, his joy was complete because he lived his life doing the will of God. Mary had joy because she knew how to spell joy, J-O-Y. She put Jesus first, others second, and herself (Yourself) last. When you live your life according to this godly principle, Jesus will have your back. Jesus had his mother's back at the Cross.

A special thanks to Phyllis Webb, president of the Usher Board, the entire usher board, and Rev. Jerome Evans, Pastor, Mt. Horeb Baptist Church for the invitation to speak, and to the ushers from St. Stephen Church (photo left) who attended.

I wrote another sermon, but God said "no." He added more to this one on joy. Please watch the video, Mt. Horeb Baptist Church Ushers Day Program Part 2 for the rest of the message. Part 1 is also posted under the VIDEOS tab.

Min. Angela Lee Price Speaking at Mt. Horeb Baptist Church on Sunday, March 16, 2014 for their Ushers Day Program.

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