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Finding joy

Editor's Note

About the author: Bryce is a senior at Carmel High School and volunteers in student ministries almost every Sunday. In his free time he enjoys working on spreadsheets, 3D printing and working with the school’s robotics team as their public relations leader.

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: ISAIAH 11:1-9

J-O-Y, that three letter word that appears over a hundred times in the bible. However, it might be intimidating for one to find it and grab hold. One thing that has always helped me find joy is to make a list of things I'd like to complete throughout the day. The sense of accomplishment I get when checking off a box or completing a task helps me to power through the rest of the day with a positive attitude.

However, joy is not one-size-fits-all. Since everyone has different pasts, different experiences, and different reactions, only you can know what makes you joyful. Therefore take time to reflect on the things that you do since it might give you a better idea of what to be thankful for and what gives you joy.

In the scripture Isaiah 11:1-9, the prophet Isaiah mentions animals that stop their primitive ways and lay down. We need to keep this in mind throughout our busy days – it's okay to take a rest or a break. The world will keep whizzing by and we can rejoin it when ready.

Thought of the day: Rejoice in the moment for God has given us a multitude of opportunities but we must stop and make the most of these opportunities for without his grace we have failed.

Activity:

Create a list of your goals for today, cross or check them off as you go. Here are a couple examples:

  • Finish making this list
  • Drink water
  • Help someone else
  • Finish that project

Prayer:

Lord,
Thank you for all the opportunities you give each day. Big or small, each one gives us give us a glimpse at your work and allows us to be with your creation. May we remember to be thankful and joyful for all you have made.

Amen

Posted by Byce Castle with

Abundant joy

Editor's Note

About the author: Jane Burgess and her husband Claude have been members at ZPC since 2003. They have 2 children: Kristin and Thomas.  Jane serves as a ZPC Deacon, is on the Zionsville School Board, and volunteers in the community.

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 12:2-6

You may have seen Pixar’s movie, Inside Out. In the movie there is a character named Joy. My family has always teased me that Joy is my character. As opposed to the other characters, who are also emotions (Disgust, Anger, Fear, and Sadness), Joy is the engine that keeps everyone moving and happy with her energy and positive vibes. I have been asked what my source of joy is and what makes me happy. I point to the one who has blessed me beyond measure throughout my life: from an orphanage in Korea as an infant to blessing me with the most loving, incredible parents and family, to providing the blessings of my wonderful husband and two children, dear friends, our ZPC family we treasure and many opportunities throughout my life. I have always been so grateful and have felt so very blessed. Does this mean that I have not experienced challenges, trials, or failures? Absolutely not. God has taught me probably more through the challenging times when my faith has been tested, yet I know he has always been present and that when I put my trust in him, great things happen. This brings me abundant JOY.

So what is Joy? Joy can be considered true contentment based on faith.  Joy and happiness are nearly synonymous but not quite. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22. True joy is unshakable and is not dependent on current circumstances like happiness is. It is easy during this Advent season to get so busy with our to-do lists and our over scheduled calendars that we lose sight of the reason for the season and the true source of our joy. 

The prophet Isaiah calls us to sing, shout, and testify to the greatness of God, and to cast off our fears. In Isaiah 12:5-6, the prophet says, “Praise the Lord in song for he has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitants of Zion; For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” 

May we remember and celebrate the true joy of the season because “in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). May unshakable joy be ever present and reflected in what we say and do. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer during this busy, yet JOY-filled, season. 

Activity:

Take time today to reflect on the blessings that God has provided in your life that bring you joy. Thank God for the blessings big and small in your life. 

Prayer:

Thank you God for the joy of this season made possible because of your son, Jesus Christ, who you sent for me and to be with me. Thank you for the abundant blessings that you have provided in my life. Help me today to share your love and joy with my family, friends, co-workers, and those you put in my life today. 

Amen

Posted by Jane Burgess with

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