Saturday, February 7, 2009

choosing joy

Did you know that the word "joy" occurs 181 times in the Bible and the word "thanksgiving" appears (in various forms) about 136 times? In one particular example, when dedicating the new wall around Jerusalem, Nehemiah celebrated at the dedication with singing and thanksgiving.

Joy... thanksgiving... it's interesting because I am reading the book "The Shack" by William Young, and in one particular scene the main character is challenged with the idea of giving up his "right" to decide what is good and evil. The passage reads, "You must give up your right to decide what is good and evil on your own terms. That is a hard pill to swallow; choosing to only live in me (the Holy Spirit). To do that you must know me enough to trust me and learn to rest in my inherent goodness." Again, the 'me' in the quote is referring to God. It goes on, "By choosing to declare what's good and evil you seek to determine your own destiny. It was this turning (which he later defines as 'desire') that has caused you so much pain."

We can focus only on ourselves and declare something as wrong or something as ok as it pertains to our life ...or... we can choose to live in God and His goodness, believing that the occurrence that we deem wrong/ok is really inherently good because we trust our Almighty Father and His guidance for our lives. Going back to joy and thanksgiving - by ultimately trusting in God and resting in His goodness, we should have joy and thanksgiving as visible fruit in our lives. It is hard... for me to hear this idea on May 24th would've been a "hard pill to swallow" but ultimately it's because I did that that He guided me through that occurance (the loss of my child) which I would personally deem as bad/wrong. By giving Him control I am able to see how God is using my "bad" experience for His greater good (and I am!)

In perspective... a little something to be thankful for...
If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world (p.190 of Captured by Grace by D. Jeremiah).

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