Prayer: Lord thank you for bringing each of us to this moment of our lives. Thank you that YOU have been with us today, no matter if things were easy or difficult. Help us to love you more, to trust you more and to set aside the cares of life for just this next hour. Father be with us and those we love for healing, for comfort, for hope…whatever we need. In Jesus name amen.
Because of this season of life for myself, I have been re-studying some things I learned during training about JOY. Last week we talked about the context of that often quoted verses from Neh. “The joy of the LORD is my strength” being spoken just after hearing the Books of the Law read. It was also during a time that was not and had not been easy. The Hebrew people had just rebuilt the walls around Jersaleum but they had not yet built homes for themselves. The work of restoration was incomplete. And yet, they took time off to “be” with the LORD as they listened to His Word read outloud.
There is a lesson in that for us, isnt there? We CAN have JOY, we can be in a state of JOY even during times when life is not perfect. Even if, like me we are learning a new way of life that we did not choose. Even like some of the rest of us who have imperfect health, imperfect relationships, imperfect family members, or needs of all sorts.
We can learn a lot from infants. God creates infants, right? With plans and purposes? To be loved and to love. (Before I formed you, I created you…. all the days ordained for you…. behold the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you… i have loved you with an everlasting love, etc). You were once an infant. We all were. Many of us have had the priviledge of being around tiny infants either as parents or those who cared for them. We can remember what is so special about an infant cant we? One thing is their JOY. There is nothing quite as wonderful as catching the eye of a small baby and watching the delight (joy) that illuminates their entire body when you smile at them.
We all began that way. Created for JOY. And that sort of, “Someone is glad to just “be” with me” joy is always relational. I am going to share a bit from some stuff by Jim Wilder and Shepherd’s House. The reason is learning this changed my life and also during this season I needed to “remember what I know”. And so, I am going to remind myself while sharing with you all.
Our heart is very important. It is with and from our heart that we connect spirit to Spirit with God and others. We use terms like…he has a heart for people….she has a broken heart… what a small hearted person… what a big hearted person… etc. But besides that the bible speaks of the heart and tells us…the heart is deceitful… we need an undivided heart to worship God…He removes our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh (a feeling-tender heart).
This is from Dr Wilder:
What makes your heart hurt?
What does that tell us about you? What would hurt a heart like yours?
Why it is like us to hurt -- being a living sacrifice..
Romans 12:1 beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Dodi Note: I this point I am wondering what is a Living Sacrifice. What on earth is Paul talking about?
To find out, we will read Chapter 12. As we read… think about JOY and what it might mean to ACT like WHO GOD designed us to be.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Serve God with Spiritual Gifts
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Behave Like a Christian
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”says the Lord.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Hmmmm that is a tall order isnt it? Yet very clear. This is how we were CREATED to live life. This is living a JOY filled life. In fact this is only possible when we are living from the HEART Jesus gave us and not from the hurts and wounds of the past.
Dr. Wilder goes on to say something very profound:
Teachers teach (but hurt when people don't see).
Encouragers encourage (but hurt when people don't move).
Givers give (but hurt people do not receive or appreciate)
Isnt that a neat way to think more deeply about “wounded people wound others? When we are unable to live a joy centered and joy filled life, teachers (and the Word Itself) teach us… we dont see.
Encouragers encourage us, but we remain discouraged.
Givers, and especially God constantly give to us but we do not appreciate or even recognize the gifts or the love of The Giver.
So guess where ultimately we get our “joy tank” (our need for joy and to return to joy) filled? God and relationship with him. But also as being part of a bonded community. Bonds based on love not fear. Some of us receive a dose of joy when we gather here online together. The even better place is to be part of a small group in your town. Some families function that way. Many dont.
Back to the author:
Joy strength is developed as an actual brain structure through loving relationships. Joyful bonds create our identity, our ability to act like ourselves in distress, and our capacity to face pain. Joy strength both sets and limits our capacity to handle trauma. We can build joy strength throughout our lives if we know how.
For the rest of our time, we are going to look at Scriptures to back up what we have been discussing, ok?
Joy and God
Joy is strength
The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10b KJV)
Joy and God's face and voice
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. (Acts 2:28 KJV)
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. (Ps 89:15 KJV)
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 KJV)
Dodi Note: God is always GLAD to be with us. He desires us to be present with Him. It does not matter if we come happy or sad or anything in between, God is GLAD to be with us. God is GLAD, always glad to be with YOU.
Dodi Note: The premisis, the thing which touched and changed my life is that since we were designed for joy (and being with a baby is proof of that) we are also created with the ability to return TO joy from within any strong negative emotion. His “proof” is found in the following verses.
Return to joy
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalms 30:5 KJV)
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. (Psalms 126:5 KJV)
I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:13 KJV)
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (Psalms 51:8 KJV)
[From] their shame...and confusion...they shall rejoice. (Isaiah 61:7 KJV)
Jesus and joy
Dodi Note: From pre birth till his death joy was found in the presence of Jesus. And still is available to us.
..the babe leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:44b KJV)
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. (John 15:11 KJV)
Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV.)
I pulled out some concrete action steps we can take. These are best done in community with at least one person in your town. The authors have training and books to help you.
The Joy Component in discipleship. (DN: living as a disciple of Jesus)
Restoring the brain through joy - (From The Life Model page 12)
Smile whenever you greet those you love.
Use a warm tone of voice.
Do what you can to end positively.
Before you fall asleep make every attempt to reach joy. (DN by intentionally connecting with Jesus)
Make sure those you love are in "Joy Camp" with you. (DN learn to help others)
Touch whenever appropriate. (DN safe non-sexual touch)
Give surprises that make their eyes light up. Let your eyes light up too. The joy builds as glances go back and forth.
Bonding to God with Joy… DN: how? Scripture. Prayer. Appreciation: Being intentional to notice and thank God for little gifts during the day.
Bonding to the church with Joy
Bonding with the wounded by returning to joy.
Raising God's children to maturity in joy
Did you enjoy this? I did. We were created for joy. By God who has that wonderful complete joy filled relationship within the Trinity. But also offers the same to us. We CAN learn to love and accept ourselves too. To be at peace with who.how we are on the way to being more and more transformed. We can learn to love God, receive God’s love then to love ourselves and after that we can love others freely and joyfully without being “needy” or trying to use others to get our joy tank filled.
Father God, help us to see ourselves as you see us… to look at ourselves and others with compassion and even joy. Help us to cling to you during the hard times and the lonely times but also the good times. Truly Father, the JOY of knowing you is our strength. Help us go from joy moment to joy moment and recognize that you ARE always with us and always GLAD to be with us. In Jesus name amen.
http://www.lifemodel.org/download/ICBC% ... pacity.pdf
Monday night Bible study discussion archive. Feel free to view and comment on the studies posted here.
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