Some Wisdom for a Joyful Day

wordswag_1512476013357Joy. The decorations are up, the songs of the seasons are playing. Parties are planned.  Beautiful worship gatherings will be offered in churches around the world. Gifts will be given. Will you find joy? Yesterday I put up the Christmas tree in my house. While going through the decorations stored away in the attic, sorting which ones to use, tears started to flow. For a moment I could only remember my losses. Those boxes hold so many memories of a time past when Bev and I walked together. But, I did not stay in that sorrowful place. Instead, while giving thanks for joys past, I choose to anticipate this season, the new opportunities.  My life is in no way unique. You, too, deal with disappointments and sadness; of that I am quite certain. Life is not perfect. Question is – will you trust God, find joy, and live to invite His peace?

This passage from Scripture grabbed my attention this morning. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-14, NIV) There is a pathway to joy. What does God say?

First, He reminds us that each season has its own beauty!

My memory tends to idealize certain times. I remember the first days of being in love and the memory is sweet. But, then I remember a houseful of little children and that seems the best time. And so it goes if we decide to look back and try to relive the past.  Truth is, each season, each experience has its own challenges as well as its beauty. For example, now that I am in my 60’s there are more aches and pains and less energy, but there is so much more wisdom and patience!  Will you ask the Lord to reveal the beauty of this day to you?

Second, He reminds that eternity beckons!

We are not just here for today. Our destiny is be with our Creator forever. We have the capability of knowing history and anticipating the future. We learn (hopefully!) from the past and we find hope in the promise of the future. Both inform how we live today.

And, so He reminds us to be contented and engaged with the present!

I confess that being content can be hard.  I am tempted to look around and compare, to wonder if life would be better if only ….   You, too?  But, Paul shows the better way. “True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8, NLT)  We will never live joyfully unless we are living in the moment, loving those with whom we walk, taking the opportunities of the day.

Last, He reminds us of His purposes that cannot be frustrated!

Do we have the ability to take in a long enough timeline to see all of God’s plans? No!  In our limited understanding it may appear that we are captives of chaos, that evil is winning, that our experiences are meaningless. The recurring testimony of the Scripture is that God is at work, that He is fully able to keep us safe in His love until we enter into His forever home.  Don’t turn that into fatalism. One of the mysteries of life is how our freedom of choice meshes with His declared will.  We need not be fearful over the future or our salvation but we do have a high calling to establish His kingdom – in our own heart and in the world in which we live.  The foundation of our peace is that He is God and His promises are all ‘Yes, and Amen’ in Christ Jesus.

Let me ask a question I asked a moment ago – Life is not perfect. Question is – will you trust God, find joy, and live to invite His peace?

Here is a word from the Word – “And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. … You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:4-5, 8-9, NLT)  Re-read that. Believe it. Find Joy!

__________

Joy To The World

Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing

Joy to the earth the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat repeat the sounding joy

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as far as the curse is found

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders wonders of His love

Isaac Watts © Words: Public Domain

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