Monday, August 29, 2011

Finding Joy

Joy is a gift from God. Deep down we are all searching to find indescribable joy, not happiness but JOY! I want to start searching scripture to find the recipe for JOY. We each have a hole in our soul that we try to fill. Some of us try to find it in food, pleasure, entertainment and friendship. There is nothing wrong with these things, but none of them will give us the JOY we are looking for. They are only temporary and only a quick fix.

In the book I mentioned yesterday One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp she discovered what she believes is the recipe for JOY.

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Luke 22:14-20 (ESV)

I went to my handy dandy Strong's Concordance and looked up the words "given thanks" and found in the original language the word is eucharisteo. It means to express gratitude. That word is used over 26 times in the New Testament. Now lets think about it. Jesus is having the "Last Supper" with the 12. His heart is heavy because he knows what he is about to endure. Think about it, torture, being stripped naked and sent through the streets being made fun of with a crown of thorns on his head. He knows all of this yet, he expresses gratitude. Why did he do that? He knew the bread he was offering was a gift and he was thanking the Father for that gift.

There are two other words that go hand in hand with eucharisteo and that is chara which means joy and charis means grace. SO, gratitude, grace and joy go hand in hand. In order for us to have the joy and grace it has to start with expressing gratitude.

Jesus is our example. He learned the secret to JOY and that was to give thanks. That is why the author of the book decides to take the challenge her friend gave her and write down 1000 things that have been given to her. So how about joining me on a journey to find JOY? I have always believed and said that we have to chose JOY. A choice that can be sought even in the midst of such pain and grief.

That is the secret to me not crumbling into a ball and giving up. I CHOSE JOY, what about you?

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

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