Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peace and Joy

outside my front door

Welcome friends! I am glad you found my blog and I hope it is helpful to you!

I am going to try something new this month, a book give-away. If you comment on this month's blog posts, you will have a chance to win a copy of Jesus Calling - the devotional book that changed my life. So, leave a comment and check back on Jan 1st to see the winner!

Now on to my topic:

Did you drag yourself out of bed this morning feeling exhausted and sluggish?  Here we are, the final countdown to Christmas, 3 days left.  There is shopping to be done, gifts to be wrapped, baking, cooking, house cleaning and school parties to attend.  You may be wondering where is all the JOY???  Have you ever felt, at this time of year, a gaping emptiness inside even though your days are filled with busy activities?

Often times the holidays exaggerate the emptiness in our lives: our unfulfilled dreams, our disappointments, our struggles and our lack of Joy and Peace.  For years I studied the Christmas cards and pictures of my friends from around the country.  Their lives seemed so successful, their families so beautiful and perfect.  Then I would look at my own circumstances and I would go through my list of "if onlys":  if only I were married to someone else, if only we had more income, if only my husband had a better job, if only I had a better job, if only I didn't have so many children, if only, if only...  For five years I never sent Christmas cards because I thought everyone could see right through our family picture into all our problems, and I certainly wasn't going to write a Christmas  letter and erase all doubt.

Little did I know that facing my emptiness was the prelude to being filled with all the fullness of Christ.
Colossians 2: 9 & 10
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
It usually isn't our natural response to look to God to fulfill our neediness.  Usually, we call a friend who will listen to us vent and will sympathize with our complaints.  Be careful of venting with someone whose eyes are not fixed on God.  Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians  15:33), but God speaks in the language of Love.  His words will fill you with Life and Peace, Joy and hope.

This filling is the work of the Holy Spirit.  He is the counselor, the Spirit of Truth who will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own; he speaks only what he hears and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He brings glory to Jesus by taking what is His and making it known to you!  (John 16:13)  Isn't that an amazing thought?  He takes what belongs to Jesus and makes it known to you!  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  The Holy Spirit takes that peace and gives it to you!  Jesus also said, "I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name... Ask and you will receive, and your JOY will be complete! (John 16:23,24)

Do you believe this?  I know, you're thinking, "I've asked for many things that I've never received!"  That may be true and there are reasons for this.  God has put certain "laws" into effect that He usually does not override when giving us what we ask for (topic for another post).  On the other hand, there are some things that God gives liberally.  Two of the things He longs to give liberally are Peace and Joy.  Most of the things we ask for are not necessary for our Joy to be complete.  Read that again, most of the things we ask for are not necessary for our Joy to be complete! 

When we ask God for the things we want, we are seeking God's hand.  But when we live close to God and make Him your highest priority, we are seeking God's face.  As you seek God's face above all else, you will experience Peace and Joy in full measure.
  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.  (Matthew 5:4,6)
Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4: 4-7) 
In her book Jesus Calling, Sarah Young writes:
"If you persevere in dependence upon God as you go through the day, you will discover at bedtime that Joy and Peace have become your companions.  You may not realize at what point they joined you on your journey, but you will feel the beneficial effects of their presence."
Joy and Peace be yours in abundance today~

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