Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Week 1, Day 4: Unwrap Your Gifts!

I love how Margaret brings us into a scripturally sound awareness of the gifts of joy God so freely gives; He is not stingy, and His gifts are always wrapped in perfection.  I am enamored by the thought that God's joy is the glue that holds the universe together... that "All of creation isn't just born in joy but is sustained by the joy of God.  This makes God's joy foundational and essential to everything that was, is and will be." (p.32). My goodness that is a radical concept!  We exist and are sustained by the joy of our Creator.  It makes me wonder if I ever bless God and give Him back at least a portion of the joy He created me with.  The thought brings my sins into awareness, for they certainly displease God, but knowing that He created me by and for His joy makes me want to strive to please Him.  Praying Psalm 139:23~24 daily, with a sincere heart, helps exploit my transgressions so that I may ask for forgiveness for them and, consequently, walk in tandem with His commands.

By recognizing the gifts that God so generously showers us with... I mean really taking time out of the hustle bustle of life and thanking God for specific gifts... family, health, life, nature, freedom, provision, shelter, food, church, friends, etc., allows us to experience more joy (p.33).  Margaret specifically says, "We must pay attention to where we are and whom we're with," and then inquires, "When is God tossing joy bombs into our lives and we aren't even noticing?"  Every person or circumstance we counter on a daily basis is an opportunity for more joy... every ~ single ~ one... good or bad!  Think about that.  For instance, when you're at the gas station filling your car with gas, what is the person beside or across from you doing?  Do you ever consider how God might compel you to start a conversation about His goodness with that person? Or even bless them by paying for their gas!?  When you are genuinely filled with the joy of the Lord, you cannot help but splash it all over others... it cannot be contained!  It is like fire your bones (see Jeremiah 20:9).  How many times have I been to busy, or too self~absorbed to notice strangers around me?  People who God has strategically placed in my life as opportunities to spread His joy?   I will courageously answer:  TOO MANY!  I pray daily for God to make me aware of those who surround me ~ those who need to feel and experience the encouragement, love and joy of God.  I have even placed a sticky note in my car so that before I go in to the grocery store, bank, or wherever it is I am going, I am reminded to consider OTHERS before myself and pray for God to direct my words/steps.  When you encourage a total stranger and share God's love, that is, by far, the greatest gift that you could ever unwrap, give away, and see return to God for His glory.  That, sweet friends, is the kind of action that liberates unfathomable joy for both you and God!  I pray that we may be emboldened to shower God with joy from this day forward!

Job 23:12
Psalm 119:103~105
Psalm 19:9~10
Isaiah 55:11~13

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