Happy Monday, friends!! One more week of school and then we are out for Christmas break!
Today I am reviewing week 3 of our Advent study. I can’t believe we are starting our final week. It’s been such a good study for me personally. I hope it has for you, too.
This week we studied about the source of joy and how we can have joy in every circumstance that life throws our way. We also learned how we can be bearers of joy through service and our lives.
Day One, Joy In Our Shepherd’s Care, began with taking about unmet expectations. I particularly loved the following quote that said,
“Expectations can be an idol, and joy is not based on my circumstances but in the choice to live in God’s extravagant grace.”
Have you ever had a time when you experienced unmet expectations? How did you respond?
I know for me, I like to have a plan for everything. So when my expectations are not met, it throws me for a loop. I can let my emotions get in the way and ruin an entire day if I’m not careful.
I’m sure Mary and Joseph had so many expectations of how life would be. Never did they imagine that she would be giving birth to Jesus. Yet, Mary and Joseph both, chose to trust and walk in the Lord’s plans for their lives.
You may be in the middle of a difficult season with unmet expectations and unfilled desires. But the Bible tells us that we can have joy in midst of all of that.
Psalm 23 tells us that we have a Shepherd caring for us every step of the way.
We can choose to be a joy-giver and not a joy-taker. I really loved the descriptions on our book of these two.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a joy-giver!
“A joy-giver is confident in the Lord, content, likes being around positive people, seeks to be obedient to the Lord, enjoys celebrations, and rests in the Lord’s plan for her life.”
“A joy-taker exhibits self-pity, focuses on comparison, is a complainer, is a negative influence, is overcommitted, and is even constantly exhausted.”
Day two, Joy May Come Through Suffering, is pretty self explanatory. Our culture today believes that if we do the right thing, we will earn a comfortable life. But if we do the wrong thing, we’ll earn a life of suffering.
“In the upside-down way of the kingdom, though, suffering isn’t merely a form of punishment reserved for the disobedient. In fact, Scripture is clear that the obedient will suffer, and that their suffering is actually a sign of their status as children of God.”
Even Jesus suffered. Being God’s son didn’t disqualify him from going through hard times. He is the High Priest who is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” because being tempted in every way, He never sinned.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
Day three, Serve With God, we all know Matthew 20:28 that says that the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
We are called to serve and love others. Yesterday our pastor said it best, Christmas is about Jesus and people.
How can we serve those around us? Let’s pray every day for God to send us opportunities to show the attitude of Christ even in the inconveniences of our days.
Day four, Joy Comes in the Presence of Jesus.
“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)
David found fullness of joy in the only place it can be truly found-with God.
There is no joy apart from Christ. God knew this and that is why He sent us His son so that we could experience eternal joy with Him.
“Choosing to find joy in Christ and not in what the world offers can be hard. Hurrying off to spend time in His presence when the world is full of so many appealing distractions is challenging.”
Just as Martha chose the good portion, we should do the same. Don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle. Take time to spend time in His presence every day.
Day five, Joy is Contagious, reminded us that when we are joyful we can’t help but share our joy with others.
This season and every season, let’s be joy-givers. How can we experience more joy ourselves and also give more joy to others?
And that’s this week’s review! I hope you have a wonderful day. This week we are studying about love. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us.