Wow - it's been a while since I've added a post to Travelling Parry's.
It's been a tough year losing my grandparents and my aunt, walking through the process of Liam being diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, having Joelle's heart checked due to a murmur, as well as seeking God for the shift in seasons in our life. Through it all, however, we have found joy.
Our pastor, Bruce Frank, just finished a series on Joy from the book of Philippians. Each of the messages were so relevant to my life at that very moment and gave me ample "food" to chew on during the week.
Here are a few highlights...
~ Phillipians 1:12-19 - Even though Paul was in chains, he counted it joy. I can safely say that most of us would find ourselves depressed and grumbling that we were bound and not able to experience freedom. Paul found a freedom in his chains and counted it joy. He rejoiced that each day he had a new audience in the form of guards to hear the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. They couldn't go away, they had to stay with him, it was a captive ear. The point of this sermon was that no one can steal your joy, only you can give it away. And even when times are tough or look different that you thought they would, you can still choose joy. Romans 8:28 - and we know that ALL things work together for good for those who love God. The choice you have to make is that He will bring the situation to a conclusion that brings Him glory. Do I want to be part of that and find joy in the process?
~ Phillipians 2:3-7 Do nothing with selfish ambition (building yourself up at the expense of someone else) for if you act like this it is a recipe for disaster! But, with humility of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Some Level 5 leaders were interviewed and the greatest common thread between them all was that they didn't like attention towards themselves but wanted the good of the company to prevail. See, God's Plan A is humility (voluntarily) which unfortunately makes His Plan B is humiliation. It's so easy to become haughty and think that we deserve things or earned it. But if we look at the cross and really examine the fullness of what He did, how can we be so arrogant? We need to take off selfishness/arrogance and choose to pursue selflessness which produces joy. A great quote from the message is you are as deep theologically as the last person you served.
~ Phillipians 4:2-8 Be anxious for nothing but in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Is God or your circumstances bigger? In life, we need to take some steps, but leave the rest up to Him. There are just some things we can not control. A great prayer to pray is God I can't control this and I'm sorry I tried - casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Get away from the anxiety and run back to intimacy with Him.
~ Phillipians 4:10-14 Learning to be content. In a world that teaches us to covet (wanting things bad enough in the wrong time and for the wrong reason, saying God's provision is not enough), it is challenging to be content (a satisfaction of God's adequate provision for my life right now). Learn to say I'm satisfied with God's provision for my life right now. Break the cycle of coveting and come to the realization that that you are a steward and not the owner. Be content.
"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day."