It’s great to have our Coffee Hour and to write from my heart to yours. I know we’ve finally picked up speed and are moving through this series at a much quicker pace. In case you’re wondering why, well, the whole communication piece took the longest because it is the key to all the other sacrifices! So as we turn the corner and head to the finish line of this series with only three more sacrifices to go, I am excited to hint at a new series coming after this one. It involves four-legged children who steal our hearts … yup, dogs! I’ll be co-writing it with our Director of Development who taught her dog how to say “I love you” and of course she passed that lesson on to me and we, in turn, passed it on to our four-legged kiddos! Anyway, I’m looking forward to that fun series and the laughter and joy it will bring! Let’s get back to The Seven Sacrifices to Joy. Grab your coffee and your Strand of Faith and let’s go talk about the fifth sacrifice, joy!
So how could joy be one of the sacrifices to joy? Well, hopefully I’ll be able to paint the answer to that question in this blog.
It seems strange that offering joy before the Lord is considered a sacrifice. However, when we look around and see how many Christians do not exhibit joy we may begin to understand. When we offer up joy, we tell God that we are rejoicing because we have Him and know Him. Joy takes on many forms which actually involve all the senses: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, feeling. Various things that we listen to can cause the joy within to rise up, for example, in the midst of a noisy day, to stop and take a little worship break and break forth with songs and praise to the Lord. Or how about the calmness that touches our soul when we sit still before the crashing waves from His glories oceans? Or what about the sweet sound of life coming from singing birds; doesn’t that sound squeeze our hearts with joy?
Oh, and His creation beckons and stirs our joy when we take in a glorious sunrise or sunset as the Creator whispers good morning or sweet dreams. The fragrance of flowers, their vibrant colors, their quiet ability to captivate…. Joy!
But how would we know joy if we hadn’t experienced sadness or unhappiness? It is the experiences of the antonyms of joy that increase our joy! It is through those times of the stretching of our faith and increasing our trust boundaries that our joy is not just stirred but increased!
Our joy can be active because of God not just for the good times, but also in the painful circumstances. Joy is based on our internal hope of our eternal destination!
This joy enables us to rejoice in and thru all circumstances, but it doesn’t mean we are joyous for those circumstances while we are in those circumstances! How is that possible? Because of our faith and trust in His faithfulness. And here’s something that can seem a bit unfathomable: Even when we are faithless, He is faithful. Now that’s something to offer up a sacrifice of joy for!
And when life’s difficult situations come crashing upon you like a giant wave, pray for strength to lay aside the innate tendency to worry, to exhibit fear and anxiety and instead, to offer up the sacrifice of joy. God will be well pleased!
Until tomorrow …