Monday, October 5, 2009

Abundant Joy study

I love the journey. I appreciate the security I feel in Christ, even when the world I’m living in feels a bit shaky. The challenges, the pressures, the roles I have as a woman, the commitments…the list goes on and on. “Where exactly does the idea of joy fit into all of this?” Well, I say, right in the middle.

Not because it is always evident in our circumstances. Not because our lives are easy and blissful all the time. No, not because of us or anything in the world, but because of our amazing God! A loving and merciful God who saved us and made available to us, His everlasting joy. It is accessible, so you and I must choose to live it out each day, amidst our daily lives.

Abundant Joy was written to encourage us all to take time out and really look at what makes up our life. We will spend time evaluating what it is around us that influences us, where we find our priorities leading us and where we find that our life holds the most joy. My personal prayer is that joy is found in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray that the benefits of abiding in Him flow over into all aspects of your life and influence you in a profound way~ A joyful way!

God placed the idea for this book on my heart in November 2007, right before we went on a family vacation for eight days. I can tell you that I definitely battled with Satan on “feeling” joy during parts of the trip. We were tired, out of our routine and even sick with the stomach bug, but of course, God was faithful!

As I write this, we are traveling home in the car for eight hours and my two year old is singing in the back with Miss Pattycake, “When-o, when-o I pwaise God! Haweywujah.” My heart smiles at this precious sound. This is joy to me~ yes, I am tired and longing for my own home. I am also making sure my three year old throws up in the bucket and not all over the car. The journey. I have to choose joy over frustration. God’s way over my own. I am a natural optimist, but with Christ living in us, we can all make the choice to live in God’s abundant joy in whatever circumstances we face. In His joy, I have an inner peace and contentment knowing there is nothing I would rather do today or any other day!

I think about Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” God’s gift to us when we have a personal relationship with Him, is the Holy Spirit, which means the fruit of the Spirit is available to us at all times. Our relationship with God, gives us the ability to live a life based on love. Following love is the inward focus of joy and when it is in its proper place, the others are produced in us. We often long for the “outward” actions of the fruit of the Spirit, but without love and joy, we are incapable of actually using this gift we have received.

I pray for us all to open our hearts to our awesome God and what He wants to teach us about His everlasting joy! Purpose to grab hold of His joy today and really live! Enjoy this process and continue walking steadfast in His Truth, abiding in Him each step of the way.

Each week our group meets on Fridays for the study and then creative fun of putting together our scrapbooks! I will post the study on Mondays here and a picture of my pages! I hope you will be able to join us in the journey and post a comment if you post your pages on your blog! Enjoy :)

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