Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1
February 6, 2005
Lincolnton, N.C.

<129> Thesis: Joy arrives on the wings of a real confidence in the Shepherd. Introduction: If we could see things the way God sees them, one of the first things we would notice is just how absolutely crucial our attitude is. This "cruciality" is made manifest by the overwhelming and inescapable focus in the Scriptures upon the necessity of "faith"... beginning with Genesis 3 and coming to a head with the doctrine of "salvation by grace through faith". If we could see with clarity, one of the most shocking things we would discover is how much of our lives we have turned over to the tyranny of our circumstances -- those people, places, events, and things with which we invest the control over our attitudes. Two things can be said without debate: 1) that the absence of joy is one of the "feeder roots" of all of the evil that is in the world; and 2) that one of the greatest contributions to godly behavior is the dominating presence of joy in the heart. It was this fundamental truth that sponsored Yahweh's call in Isaiah 45:22 -- "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I AM 'EL' and there IS NONE ELSE" (AV). Every time someone gripes about anything, they are announcing to the world how great is their unbelief. To turn one's emotional state over to the tyranny of circumstances is one of the greatest mistakes that believers can make: it is the surrender of life. It is to these truths that Luke turns his attention as he writes his Gospel of Jesus, the Christ. And, it is for the development of these truths that Luke pushes the doctrine of "Yahweh's grace". And, it is also for the development of these truths that Luke told of the shepherds in the pastures of Bethlehem on the night of the birth of the Son of El Most High.