By Shirley WigginsThoughts, like lightning bolts, can run in and out of our minds seeming sometimes like a million –a – minute. Some flash into our minds and lodge in our hearts and we continue to recall them days later.
That’s what happened to me some years ago as I sat in the Beth Moore video Bible study entitled, Mercy Triumphs.Beth was “painting” some beautiful, large strokes with the Scripture “brush,” and I was furiously taking notes because she was talking about how joy can be “birthed” from anguish and through anguish and the two can co-exist, being specifically referenced to childbirth in the Scriptures.
She mentioned her grandchildren and their obvious desire and delight in spending time with her. As she said this, my mind had its own rush of memories related to my precious grandchildren (two at that time, and now there are three!).I promptly fell in love with each of mine and began daydreaming about them long before they were born! I have no doubt this love will continue to bring joy until the day, somewhere in the future, when my physical life gives way to my heavenly life in eternity. And, there only God knows how we will love then forever.
As Beth shared that day, this thought came to me and I wrote it in my notes:“What does our joy in and toward God make Him feel? Consider the process of falling in love with my grandbabies; consider my own story.”
My own story is that I have had so much fun with my grandbabies from day one! I have a million stories to tell of the cute things they did and said, not to mention the utterly profound things they’ve said as children that was almost too deep for an adult much less children!The Scripture says, “out of the mouths of babes…”
The delight they gave to me in the forms of a freshly picked flower, a pretty rock, a hug, and so on and on, no matter what they gave me, I treasured it and loved them with all my heart.One of the things they have each given to me – all three of them – is the opportunity to grab my Bible to read Bible stories and talk and laugh together. My oldest grandson and my granddaughter’s favorite spot was the outdoor swing and they had a deep interest in the stories of Jesus and the people in the Bible. So does the youngest one today who is only four years old.
What joy!Do you ever think about what you give to God and how that makes Him feel?
God is love and He loves each one of us, so nothing we can give Him will make Him love us more; but I would love to think that I could bring joy to my heavenly Father!So what could I “give” to God as I start each day?
The joy of seeing me reach for His Word with absolute delight and eager anticipation of what He will say to me today?The joy of hearing my prayers of praise for the greatness and the grandness of Who He is and the forgiveness of all my sins and the resulting salvation He has given?
The joy of seeing me pause throughout my day, while in a particularly difficult set of circumstances, to remind Him (and mysel) that I am depending upon His goodness and kindness and faithfulness to see me through each one?The joy of seeing me in attendance in His house of worship and prayer each and every Sunday, wearing a full faced smile as I greet His other children?
The joy of seeing me return good for evil to others who’ve hurt me or offended me or behaved irresponsibly (in my own personal opinion!)?The joy of seeing me embrace His Son as my Savior who saved me once and forgives me daily as I ask?
The joy of seeing me listen attentively to His Holy Spirit as my Comforter, Counselor, constant Companion, and Guide into all truth?The joy of seeing me study His Word, the Holy Bible, really studying it and not just giving it a quick and brief reading, or neglecting to open it all day for days on end?
How do I spend my time, my energy, my money? I use the word “my” very loosely for there is nothing I can give to God that He didn’t first give to me and all I can do is return a good investment on what He has so abundantly provided to and for me.I turn from my examination to what I give to God to the question of what I give to Him that I can stop giving to Him.
I can stop complaining and grumbling about every little thing. I can stop giving Him disrespect and stop wasting all the good gifts He has given to me.I can daily show Him my love and respect and appreciation and worship of Him through my actions and behavior in my personal quiet alone time, my actions toward my family, my friends, my neighbors, and those whom I meet in the daily routine of life.
I can behave as the ambassador of Christ that I truly am because I have repented of my sin, received God’s forgiveness through His Son and my Savior, and daily surrender control of my life to God through Jesus by the help of His Holy Spirit, and live to point others to God in Jesus Christ.How about you? What do you consistently give to God?
In God’s Word, Jesus said:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.Already you are clean because of the Word that I have spoken to you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down His life for His friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
John 15:1-17 (ESV)
You give joy! Help us to give You joy because our hearts truly delight in You!
Thank You so much for all of the great and good gifts that You bestow on us.
We give you praise! In Jesus’ name,
Edited Repost from June 30, 2012