Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Joy

I rolled around on the floor laughing till my stomach ached. Adi looked on bemused. We were at a prayer meeting and there I was, belly-laughing on the floor.

A couple of days earlier God had delivered me from a spirit of fear that had been rooted deep inside since childhood. The Holy Spirit kept whispering the word joy to me. And then in the prayer meeting, His joy flooded me until it gushed out in peels of laughter – filling up and healing all those inner places where fear had reigned in my life.

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
He has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.

Zechariah 3:14-15

My word for 2015 is JOY.

I have tasted God’s joy in the last eighteen months and it’s intoxicating, strengthening, healing. It is part of the inheritance Jesus died to give me, and I am keen to enjoy more of my inheritance in Him.

Sing aloud, shout, rejoice, exult (show triumphant elation/jubilation) – this is about emotion being fully engaged. I used to be conservative, even disapproving of Christians who showed any kind of emotion in worship.

We sing and shout over what we’re truly passionate about. When Jessica Ennis was running for gold in the 2012 Olympics, for all I was quiet, shy and unconfident, I stood yelling my head off for her while watching a big screen at Trent Embankment with several hundred other people – and I jumped up and down celebrating for her when she crossed the finish line. What about football supporters at a match? They sing, they shout, they put their hands in the air, they hug.

Showing such emotion makes you vulnerable. People see what is really in your heart.

Sing aloud, shout, rejoice, exult with all your heart – this is a command. Yet His commandments aren’t burdensome. God created us with emotions and He meant for us to use them.

Why should we be glad and rejoice in God?

I rejoice in Him because He has taken away my condemnation. I deserved judgment and death for rebelling against Him and going my own way. But because Jesus took the punishment I deserved, God does not condemn me.

God lives inside me. My Father has generously given me His Holy Spirit so that I can understand the things that are important to God, to prove that I’m His adopted daughter, and as a guarantee of everything He has promised me for the future.

God has cleared away my enemies. I used to be trapped in an invisible prison, the walls of which were lies and deceit, shame and defeat. But God has rescued me from the domain of darkness and brought me into His own Kingdom. The evil one has no legal right to me anymore because I’m in a new Kingdom now. He is powerless to hurt and trap me while ever I choose to believe Truth. Jesus has set me free and I don’t need to be afraid of evil. If demonic nightmares try to break in on my sleep, the name of Jesus is powerful enough to send them packing.

In these two verses, God twice calls me His daughter. That makes me so secure because to be a daughter of God is to be accepted and beloved and precious.

So I refuse to be conservative in worship. The more I comprehend what God has done for me, the more I must give him whole-hearted, emotions-fully-engaged worship. He deserves nothing less. What can I say? He has rescued me and set me free, and I love Him with every fibre of my being. That doesn’t make me perfect, but it does fill me with joy.

Joy is contagious. When Adi and I were visiting Hampton Court Palace in the autumn, I was struck by this fountain. It gushed exuberantly high into the air, scattering droplets in a pebble effect and showering us with spray. That is what the joy of the Lord is like – my prayer is that He will fill me until I overflow with His joy, and that as others see His joy in me, they will want to know Him for themselves. Because He is the most amazing and wonderful God. My Father, My Deliverer, My Hero.

4 Comments

  1. Wonderful! I can hear the joy bubbling beneath the surface and waiting to overflow. God is good – and when He reaches down and touches our lives things change dramatically. Mandy, what a story you have to tell. You’re an inspiration.
    Thank you.

    • Mandy

      08/01/2015 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks Helen! God has been so good to me. Hopefully by this time next year my book will finally be published 🙂

  2. Oh how I loved reading this Mandy. I am still standing at the portal of being shy and showing exuberance so to read your words of Joy, which is the word that I also chose at the beginning of the year (mine for finding some of the Joy that I’ve lost over these 60 plus years.) You so remind me of my son who was delivered 3 years ago and nothing keeps him from shouting Joy to the Lord for all the deliverance he has received. I so agree with your analogy of how we do show emotion at sporting events, but rarely do we shout for Joy to the Lord.

    As I was reading Matthew chapter 6 this morning, it says not to be like the hypocrites for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. I had gone to Church with my son last evening and his Church shows no fear of shouting Joy to Jesus. As a shy person, I’ve gone to both quiet and exuberant Churches most of my life and experienced both. Anyway, reading Matthew 6 about praying quietly as I was searching answers to why I don’t Shout Out…..it dawned on me that praying quietly is not the same as shouting, dancing, and singing our Praise, and then I went to a blog that I follow, and she had her word of the year posted, which was Simplify so I thought I’d follow the link to see about my chosen word of Joy and you are the one that I clicked on. Such miracles are done each day as I feel God led me to your site as I needed to read your words of inspiration about letting go.

    I love how you explained and could feel your Joy. So glad to have visited you.
    🙂
    You have helped….thank you. ~hugs ‘n giggles~
    Peabea

    • Mandy

      09/03/2015 at 6:56 pm

      I’m so glad you were encouraged Peabea – and thank you for signing up for updates. God is truly amazing and I love the way He works behind the scenes in our lives orchestrating everything so perfectly – even when it doesn’t always feel like it! 🙂

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