Thursday, January 12, 2012

Heart of Thankfulness Chapter 9

This week might just be one of my favorite chapters of the book. I hope you'll join us again! We're digging deeper and becoming smaller and receiving the best gift of all: Joy.


Have you ever spent much time with kids?
Little kids can be entertained for hours by the simplist things--boxes, spoons, paper.
anything new to them is filled with wonder.
it's a new experience to explore.  They giggle, laugh, and squeal.
pure joy. unhindered, unabashed.
but adults, it takes a lot to see joy in an adult.
why? what happened?

what if the heights of our joy is measured by the depths of our gratitude?
how "small" can we make ourselves? small enough to see the joy in the seemingly small gift?
can we make ourselves as small as a child?  

"God created the world out of nothing,
and as long as we are nothing,
He can make something out of us"
Martin Luther

When I list my gifts, I can see the "bigness" of God, and the small-ness of me.
I can feel myself decreasing--sliding into the background, and the focus is
the love and passion from a God who gives good gifts.

Expectations kill relationships--human ones and the one with the Father too.
when we life life without the burden of expectation, what can top the surprising wonder of the moment? When I'm not expecting God to give--how much greater does the gift become?

Is it only when our lives are emptied that we're suprised by how truley full our lives were?
Instead of filling with expectations, the joy-filled expect nothing, and are filled. 
CS Lewis said he was "surprised by joy". Perhaps there is not way to discover joy but as surprise?

To receive the gifts--we have to live low. Life small.
and He has promised to fill those small empty moments with joy.
Receiving the gifts is not a strain, a burden. But a simple letting go and letting God fill.

The world doesn't live small. It lives large, extravagant.
and it hungers.
maybe this is why.

Joy comes from a place far deeper than feelings
Joy comes from the presence of God. 
Joy is God and God is Joy and joy doesn't negate other emotions
Joy transcends all other emotions.
Even when marriages are struggling,
when children stray,
when there is no money in the bank
and no dream in the heart. 
"I will take joy" Habakkuk 3:18

I hope this week you will become small and "take" joy with us.

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