Tuesday, February 07, 2017

February 7, 2017 ... Sparking Joy

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 38 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images declaring that we should … CHOOSE JOY … no matter what we’re confronting in life … because of what Jesus did to give us HIS joy.

Highlight Verse[s]: Philippians 4:8 [NLT] … 
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 
… We can CHOOSE to think joyfully of those thoughts which honor God.
Highlight Passage [context]: Philippians 4:4-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle exhorts Christians to hold onto the joy of what Christ has done for us … the Gospel is our joy.

Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 23:7 [NKJV] … 
7 As a man thinks in his heart, so is he … 
… Easy to see the word picture from Solomon here, isn’t it?

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Acts 16:20-25 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… In spite of their imprisonment, Paul and Silas sang of their joy.

Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Galatians 5:22a [NLT] … 
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, JOY, peace, ... 
… We have the Joy of God in our hearts as Christians; but we have to choose it over our self-driving emotions.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, uses a modern and biblical reference to teach about choosing joy in spite of the emotional clutter of life. The ODB author wrote: A young Japanese woman’s book on decluttering and organizing has sold two million copies worldwide. The heart of Marie Kondo’s message is helping people get rid of unneeded things in their homes and closets—things that weigh them down. “Hold up each item,” she says, “and ask, ‘Does it spark joy?’” If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, then give it away. 
The apostle Paul urged the Christians in Philippi to pursue joy in their relationship with Christ. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Instead of a life cluttered with anxiety, he urged them to pray about everything and let God’s peace guard their hearts and minds in Christ (vv. 6–7). 

This OBD entry hit home with me today because recently I was diagnosed with a type of clinical depression which produces severe fatigue but often results from a lot of emotional “clutter” in one’s (my) life. Perhaps you can identify. But the Apostle Paul, writing from the confines of a prison, tried to help his beloved friends in Philippi (and you/me by extension) to choose the joy we have in the Gospel and our relationship with Christ to overcome the emotional oppression of our lives and this world.

And that’s what the young Japanese author was trying to write about in her book, mentioned above, which used the analogy of reducing the domestic and personal “clutter” in our lives to spark joy to replace perceived angst and confusion.

As Solomon wrote (in Prov. 23:7 - NKJV) we become what we think in our heart. So Paul urged Christians (see highlight passage) to think only things which give honor to God. And in doing so, he knew, having experienced that kind of joy (see Acts 16:20-25 above), that we Christians can choose to revel in the joy God implants in us (see Gal. 5:22a) by His Spirit.

So, my friends, as the video linked above promotes, I declare here - today - that I will choose joy! … Common; … jump in and join me!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, in spite of all the anti-joy in my life, I choose today to partake of the fruit of joy You have planted in my heart. … Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

No comments: