Suffering is inevitable.
Joy is optional.
God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
Resolving, worrying, plotting, bracing yourself, looking forward to, or however you’re coming at it…
Factor in: one day you’ll stand before the judgement seat of Christ.
(I was writing this on my phone on a train, wondering if it was too heavy. Up the until-now-silent carriage from me, a conversation broke out… The topic they began to chew over? The final judgement.)
on those who are actually here.
Yes, there are occasions when it’s right to grieve or honour some who are not present. The odd planning meeting for a surprise party perhaps.
Yet the default has to be, “all in on those who are actually in front of me”.
The leader who spends the whole meeting ruminating about those not in the room probably hasn’t served the Lord, the people (both present and absent), or her own joy well.
Love lasers in on those in front of you, right here, right now. We have no other moment we can love-as-a-verb in.
Use those ears. Go to work on thoroughly understanding this: It’s not what goes into your mouth, but what comes out of it, that ruins you. What happens with food is obvious – you chew it, digest it, poo it and flush it, there’s no problem with this! It’s what’s happening in your heart that’s the real issue. The stuff that bubbles up from the soul – bitterness and brutality, schemes and swindling, lust and lewdness, that’s what really corrodes and corrupts. It leaves you facing away from God, lacking love for others, talking rubbish. Dodgy desires, not diets, are the root.
Matthew 15:10-20 as part of the SAS project
If you’re using these odd, festive, in-between days as a chance to switch off, hunker down, sleep, feast, pour into the few that are yours and just generally relax.
If you’re going to be legalistic about something, make it about regularly having a restful and joyous retreat.
We tend to want free bread and healthy bodies for ourselves.
He leans towards free hearts and healthy souls so we’d be a blessing to others.
Sure, some days you get the full house…
but if it’s all being contested, pray that you’d be inclined to the things that he’s inclined to.
Freedom, used to serve, in love, and so be a blessing to others. (Whether in plenty or in want, full of health or hobbling along). There is an age to come.
A friend of mine has a daily practice. She talks about it in a way that’s almost reminiscent of an addict talking about their fix. It lights her up.
It’s simple. Every day she takes time to think about three ‘gifts’ she’s been given that day. They may be small things like something beautiful she’s seen in nature, or a bigger thing like an answered prayer. She takes time to mentally ‘unwrap’ them, thank God for them and then makes a note of them in a book.
She’s been going for over a year, so she has over a thousand of these gifts recorded. It’s changing her outlook, and her walk with God. So it’s not an exaggeration to say that this little practise is changing her life.
Gratitude is a learned skill. It’s one that disciples are called to pursue. And did I mention it just feels so damn good?
Today’s a great day to begin doubling down on it.