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Thursday, November 7, 2013

When Everything is Fine and When It's Not

Unlocking Joy - Keys to Understanding Joy

Can I really have joy at all times?

What does the response to the question, "Hi how are you?" typically answered?  Usually I'm fine...

What does this really mean to you?  Are you really honestly fine?

Can we honestly define fine?

How do you you know deep down that God is good?  Whatever crosses your path....cancer and everything else.

Read Luke 17:11-19 The Story of the 10 Lepers
My attention is drawn to two words in this passage of scripture.  The first word is found in verse 14, "And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed."  As they went walking towards the temple to show themselves to the priests they were cleansed.  This speaks of the outside change that occurs in our lives.  A physical difference occurs.  This is visible to those around us.  For lepers this would be a hugs deal to not have the mark of infected skin.  Now that had the ability to enter the temple and participate with others and actually have fellowship. As I read on later in verse 19 am am struck by the second word, "And He said to them arise, go your way, your faith has made you well. The leper who returned to thank Jesus was made whole.  His faith resulted in wholeness.  In the Greek the word wholeness is sozo, which means salvation. This is very interesting and a huge nugget of truth I have stumbled upon.  I dig a bit deeper  and discover that because this man had faith to boldly so thank you it had a profound effect upon his salvation -- how appropriate to say thank you to Jesus.  We say thank you to Jesus when we partake of the communion.  We break break and drink the cup and remember, we are thankful.  This act of thanking God reminds us of the cross and what Jesus did for each one of us.  We remember grace is a gift.  It is the gift of salvation we are thankful for.

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." Titus 2:11

Now we can say that thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives.

"Whoever offers praise glorifies me. And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God."  Psalm 50:23

Thanksgiving results in a full-life -- the abundant life -- the blessed life.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who morn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure i heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5: 3-10

What is the opposite of thankfulness?
Ingratitude - Ungratefulness

This is the robber of joy.  It stops us dead in our tracks and replaces our joy with a negative attitude and a heart that stinks full of ingratitude and ungratefulness.

So what is the key to unlocking joy?

I have four keys that have helped me in my battle for joy.  I will outline them here and then in the next few posts I will expand on each key.

Key #1
We must learn like Paul...Philippians 4:11-12
Learn to be content
Takes Practice

Key #2
That I might know Him...Philippians 3:10-11
Takes quality time
Need to get my mind engaged

Key #3
Work out your own salvation...Philippians 2:12
Requires discipline
Holy habits

Key #4
Not only to believe in Him, but to suffer...Philippians 1:29
Experience growth
Christ magnified in us

Am I really willing to do the hard work to have joy always?

Can I really do something to help my self break this bad habit of ungratefulness?

I hope to answer these questions over the next few posts...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

For Love's Sake

It's why we mothers do what we do everyday.  We love.

We love because He first loved us.

We bend over to pick up dirty clothes, lost Legos, cereal crumbs and items of unknown origination created in boys dream-lands.  It is a never ending job.  Just like love it never ends, never gives up and is always present. A mother's love never grows weary.  There are the sleepless nights of infant feeding and stumbling in the dark to find a place to feed a hungry babe.  It is tireless, thankless and relentless work.  Yet love wells up in a mother's heart and is able to accomplish the task at hand.

Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

Five loads of clean laundry sit piled like a mountain on my bedroom floor waiting to be folded and tucked into drawers.  The dishes clatter against themselves as the dishwasher purrs like a kitten. My list of today's to dos sits open on the kitchen counter.  The dogs, cats, chickens and horse have all been feed.  The baby still slumbers as I tip toe around the house before the light dawns. Love will awaken soon.  My heart is drawn to sit and rest in the stillness of the morning. I sit in my big brown comfy chair and read about Love. 

"And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold [water
in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, 
he shall by no means lose his reward." 
Matthew 10:42

So I sit like Mary at the feet of Jesus (Love incarnate) and drink.  My soul is quenched for the moment.  My heart is filled once again to overflowing so I can give away love for the day.  This is the epi power of the Holy Spirit. My cup sits full to the brim with love overflowing.  I pray it spills out to all I come in contact with.  It's what I need to survive the day.  Love is at war for my mind, my Spirit, my heart and my flesh.  

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength
 of my heart and my portion forever. 
Psalm 73:26 

Love comes alive in me as I continue to sit.  I draw near to Him and He draws near to me.  The baby cries and I arise to fetch Love...a gift.  I cuddle Love and kiss and speak Love to him. I am filled to overflowing. I think my heart is about to burst.  My cup runs over.