"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!" (Phil 4:4-5 MSG)
Wow! This morning I picked up a book that I had forgotten about called "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" by Eugene Peterson (same guy who wrote the Message). It is a book that works through the Songs of Ascent in the Psalms... each chapter discusses practical disciplines of the Christian life found in these Psalms. This chapter was on Joy!
Lately, I've found happiness hard to attain and hold onto...but I've also found myself realizing that in the process of life, I've been losing hold of joy!! Listen to some of what Peterson says...
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion's exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn't believer our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations-
"God was wonderful to them!"
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people
And now, God, do it again-
bring rains in our drought-stricken lives.
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
-"Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence....it is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience."
-"We come to God (and to the revelation of God's ways) because none of us have it within ourselves, except momentarily, to be joyous. Joy is a product of abundance; it is the overflow of vitality."
-"....decide to live in response to the abundance of God and not under the dictatorship of our own poor needs....to live in the environment of a living God and not our own dying selves...to center ourselves in the God who generously gives and not in our own egos which greedily grab."
-"Joy has a history. Joy is the verified, repeated experience of those involved in what God is doing....Joy is nurtured by living in such a history, building on such a foundation."
-"Joy is nurtured by anticipation....What we have known of Him, we will know of Him. Just as joy builds on the past, it borrows from the future. It expects certain things to happen."
-"The hard work of sowing seed in what looks like perfectly empty earth has, as every farmer knows, a time of harvest....It is clear in Psalm 126 that the one who wrote it and those who sand it were no strangers toe the dark side of things....They knew the deserts of the heart and the nights of weeping. They knew what it meant to sow in tears...."
-"....laughter does not exclude weeping. Christian joy is not and escape from sorrow....Laughter is a result of living in the midst of God's great works....Enjoyment is not an escape from boredom but a plunge by faith into God's work."
-[Psalm 126] "...It announces the existence of a people who assemble to worship God and disperse to live to God's glory, whose lives are bordered on one side by a memory of God's acts and the other by hope in God's promises, and who along with whatever else is happening are able to say, at the center, "We are one happy people."
**I could not have summed up joy any better...so today, if you are like me, not feeling what you want...do what Philippians says...REVEL in God...in His Goodness...in His promises...in His faithfulness...and you will find your JOY!!
Today, I choose joy :-)