Wednesday, October 26, 2011

True Joy

Dear Friends,
I couldn't sleep for thinking so much and I thought this would be a perfect time to blog since I haven't done it in a while. This is a different blog. I am going to update you on my condition and then share a little something God has laid on my heart.
I am doing okay and I am blessed. Next week I get my pain pump. I am tremendously nervous about my procedure, but after that one of my best buddies is coming to visit me and to help be my nurse for a few days. I am so glad for her coming to hang out with me and help me in any way needed. I am truly blessed with lots of people who love me.
Anyway, I just wanted to take some time to just share what the Lord has been speaking to me in my life. So many times, I just update you on my condition, which I'll do right now just to get it out of the way. I am going home in December with an open-ended ticket because I don't know what the doctors are going to suggest. I get more test done at John's Hopkins in Baltimore in December. Then I will see the doctors and they will decide what course of treatment to take. They may want to take my pancreas out or not. I am currently not eating anything by mouth except for water and tic tacs and decaf tea. That's basically it. I have lost 30 pounds in 2 months and I am only being fed by my j-tube. Anyway, I am in a lot of pain so hopefully the pain pump will resolve some of those issues. It's still all very scary and if I think about it too much I start to panic!!!
The real reason I wanted to write tonight is just to talk about what God has put on my heart. I want to talk about Joy and what it means to be joyous. I really pray that in my life, I am joyous. I think Joy is so much more important than Happiness. To me, happiness can change, but Joy is permanent. I believe that living joyously is a character trait.
So many times I see people that have lost their Joy. They've lost joy in life, joy in their marriage, joy in their circumstances, joy in living. It makes me so sad because joy is the easiest thing to obtain. We obtain it by walking with Christ. When you are walking with Christ, no one can steal your joy. They can rattle you and maybe mess with your happiness, but they CAN NOT steal your Joy. That's at the core of your heart.
When we as Christians walk around without joy, we are showing the world that we have nothing that they don't have. We are showing the world that there is nothing joyous about serving Christ.
I'm not saying you can't be sad or have a bad day or be in a bad mood, but when we stay there and wallow in the bad, and we don't want any help to get better -- when there is no true happiness and no true enjoyment in life, then you've lost that Joy that God supplies.
It's one of the fruits of the Spirit, in fact, it's listed right after Love in Gal. 5;22. That's how we get Joy in the first place, by becoming so close to the Spirit and taking on the fruits of the Spirit.
Jesus says in John 17:13 that "I come to you...that they may have MY joy fulfilled in themselves."
In Dueteronomy 28:47, the Children of Israel were punished "Because (they) did not serve the Lord (their) God with joy and gladness of heart..."
A popular verse on Joy is in James 1:2 that says "Count it all JOY when you fall into various trials..."
Perhaps my favorite verse on Joy that I looked up was I Peter 1:8 that says "Whom having not seen you Love, Though now you do not see him yet believing, you rejoice with JOY inexpressible and full of glory."
Sometimes I look at Christians, including myself, and I wonder if I am someone that should bear the name "Christian." The name itself is a derivative of Christ, the man who died to save us. Yet, we do things so often to displease Him. I'm not talking about things we mess up on or make sinful mistakes that we are sorry for. It's the deliberate sins I think that make God so angry. We carry the name of His son, yet we are so unlike Him in many ways.
One of those ways is in our walk and in living with Joy. You can be angry and still be joyous. You can be mad and hurt and still be joyous. You can still be treated unfairly and be joyous. Because joy comes from within. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It comes from Knowing Christ so intimately and having true peace.
Happiness comes and goes every day. But can we say our lives are joyous? Do we walk in peace and bring peace when we walk in a room, or does the air deflate when we walk in the room. When your caller ID shows the number of the person who is calling, do you think "I want to talk to that person because he's got a joyful spirit" or do you think "Not the downer again...I'll let the machine get it."
I'm not preaching at all. I just want joy to be so evident in every person that calls themselves Christians. I heard an anonymous quote once that said "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
Ouch. That hurt. I want to be like Christ so badly it hurts!
It's just a thought for today!
Love you all. Thanks for reading!