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Another Side of Sunday: A Weekend Reminder

We can find joy in the slowing of a weekend. Celebrating worship, rest, and fellowship give us an opportunity to let the work week go and experience renewed joy.  Remember the children sharing a joyful song Sunday?

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.”

“Where?”

Where have you experienced the most joy this week?

What during the week seemed to steal your joy? Was it a circumstance? Someone’s action? Your own actions?

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

May you count it all joy as you enjoy your weekend. Here’s a little something to bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.

Another Side of Sunday: Recipe for Joy

A new teaching series began this week: Christian Characteristics. Merriam-Webster’s defines characteristic as “a distinguishing trait, quality or property.” Believers have traits, qualities, and properties that set them apart, and these characteristics draw others to Jesus.

Sunday’s focus was joy.

Before we go any further take a moment to consider yourself when it comes to joy. Ask a trusted friend, “Do you consider me to be joy-full?”

I am reminded of a recipe I once heard or read. I believe it still rings true. A simple acronym provides us a recipe for joy.

Jesus… Others… You…

This is not one of those recipes where the ingredients can be thrown into a bowl and mixed. Order is of great importance. As Believers when we align our thoughts and actions in this way (Jesus, Others, You) joy becomes a part of who we are in Christ.

I see it reflected in Sunday’s Scripture.

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (emphasis added)

Jesus ushers us into new life the moment we decide to follow Him. As we put Him first in our daily walk, our faith continues to grow and God’s power resides in us.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (emphasis added)

Followers of Jesus aren’t guaranteed a rosy life on easy street. We face trials and heartache and pain. These are used to refine our character, create genuine faith, and connect us to others. The hard in our lives is exactly where Jesus reveals Himself to others through us.

 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:8-9 (emphasis added)

You and I are the ones who reap the benefit of this recipe. Take a look at how many times you see the word “you” in the Scripture.

YOU love Him, YOU believe in Him, obtaining the outcome of YOUR faith, the salvation of YOUR souls.

In Galatians 5:22 joy is found in the list of the fruit of the Spirit. As we put Jesus and others before ourselves, joy naturally springs forth. It’s not something we can manufacture or pretend to have. It is a gift, a supernatural working of the Spirit in us.

Are you missing joy in your life? Do you find yourself grumpy, critical, or bitter? Is it time to try a new recipe?

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Matthew 22:37-40  The Message

Father, so many times I have placed my happiness as my priority. I want life to be fun and full of joy. I’m sorry for the moments I’ve gotten mixed up in thinking something or someone will bring me joy. You and You alone are the One who can bring me joy. Guide me to put You first and to love You more and more each day. Show me how to share Your love with others. Amen.

[Feature Image Photo on blog by Aaron Burden on Unsplash]

Songs of Praise: Psalm 123-126

Today’s readings: Psalm 123-126 [Click the reference to read online.]

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy on us.

Psalm 123:1-2

God sent me to Psalm 123 as my life reeled from devastating news. My feet couldn’t find a firm place to stand.

When a moment came I could finally consider this psalm, I heard Him say: Trust Me. Watch. Wait. I will have mercy.

The circumstance didn’t end as I would’ve chosen. But I did clearly see His mercy through and through. And I learned to look to Him as a maid to her mistress, trust Him, and wait when life careens out of control.

Looking at these four psalms in context today, stringing them together, I see the blessings of setting our eyes on the Lord as a servant to His Master. From the perspective and attitude of being fully obedient to His Way, we find security, peace, protection, strength, and mercy when the trap has been set, the enemy attacks, and circumstances rage out of control around us.

Submitting ourselves wholly to God as Lord and Master, keeping our gaze fixed on Him alone, trusting Him with all we are and have, we find His mercy and discover Him trustworthy. No matter what circumstances threaten, He surrounds and encircles us as a mountain range.

He is trustworthy, even in the most devastating of circumstances. I know.

Choose to serve Him only. Not self. Not the things of the world. Nothing else will provide what we need to survive the perils of this dark broken world.

Today, I ask you to submit to Him fully as your Lord. List your fears and wants. Bring them before Him and say:

I want to serve You with all I have. I want what You want. Teach me to serve You. I will wait for You to direct me at home, work, and play. I want to know the joy of Your work in my life, bringing mercy and joy out of all I face. You are trustworthy.

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!

Psalm 126:5

Lord, may all my tearful sowing be in full obedience to You. I know serving You alone secures my life and brings me to a place of  eternal joy.

[Featured Image Photo seen on website by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash]