Ultimate Joy

Archive for April 2010

Each day we can respond to the opportunities God places before us. Not opportunities to be famous, powerful, or rich, but opportunities to worship and glorify Him. These opportunities will often be found amidst the ordinary days and routine moments of our lives.

Today, I stepped away from the busyness and unrelenting pace of life to have lunch with a good friend.  Without meaning to, she spoke a truth into my life.  She told me about a friend of hers with MS who is now confined to her bed.  It was a sad story to be sure, but it also was a story that made me realize how terribly blessed I was.  I often complain, yet, I drove to meet my friend in my car on a bright sunny day, walked under my own power into the restaurant and then sat for almost two hours drinking from the deep well of the companionship of a beloved friend.

The Holy Spirit knew my heart and searched out a place where I needed to yield my selfishness to Him.  Too often, my prayers are filled with complaints and not praise. Yet my friend’s story made me realize that despite what I feel is the unfairness in life, God has given me so many abundant gifts that I don’t even think twice about them – much less pray about them!

God’s love as shown on the cross creates our emancipation from sin and selfishness. This life-changing truth is not something you can understand by sitting down, putting your hand under your chin, and thinking hard about it. The Holy Spirit must reveal it to you and that happens only if you open up your heart and mind to his promptings.  I didn’t expect a lesson from the Holy Spirit today.  I thought I was going to lunch.  But, in the story of a friend, I found myself worshipping God and responding in love to the way that He made me.

Joyful opportunities abound in every day life. Responding to the Holy Spirit’s promptings will only increase our capacity for joy.

In order to contemplate the holiness of this day, I spent some time in Borrego Park listening to the birds.  To spend Good Friday in the sunlight in a tranquil meadow was a change for me.  Normally, I attend a church service focused on the awesome sacrifice that Christ made for us today.

Yet God is everywhere, and to seek Him in nature was what my soul needed today.  To revel in the shafts of sunlight and in the lyrical sounds of the birds made me love our Savior even more.

Christ’s analogy to birds struck me while I listened to their playful noises. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10: 29 – 31)

But on Good Friday another passage came to mind:  “We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.”  (Psalm 124:7)  That’s what we commemorate today – our release from death, from sin, from our fallen nature.  The One who was blameless took our sins and as a result, we can fly free.  We can reach towards to heavens, towards a loving God, floating free and forgiven.

The power of the cross brings us into a whole new way of thinking and living. Our old life is gone, and the new life of Jesus Christ has come. Yes, the cross means we have died, but the cross also means that Christ is our life. We have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless we live, yet it is not us who lives, but it is Christ living in us.

Let the cross of Jesus Christ do its work within you and let the Holy Spirit fill you with His power to live a life of resurrection—to live as He lives; to love as He loves; to think as He thinks; to feel as He feels; to walk as He walks.

This is freedom, this is His will, this is His glory.