Saturday, February 20, 2016

Quest For Joy- Part 3 "Eucharisteo"

Our quest for joy ends with thankullness...or rather begins there.

Think on your life.  What are you thankful for?
Has He protected you? Your family? Has He used your past failures for your good? For His glory? What about day to day life? What are you thankful for?
I believe we all have something to be thankful for.
So, write it down!

Paul tells us to practice these disciplines over and over until it becomes second nature. The thing about practice is that it takes work, conscious effort and we will not get it right the first time.
Phillipians 4:8-9

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

"The disciple of thanks only comes with practice. The practice of giving thanks...eucharisteo...this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes.  We don't have to change what we see.  Only the way we see it." -Ann Voskamp

"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them..." Luke 22:19

Eucharisteo in the original language reads "he gave thanks".  The root word, charis, means grace. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the greek word for grace, charis, but it also holds a derivative, the greek word chara, meaning JOY!!!

"Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the Eucharisteo, the table of thanksgiving.  So, then as long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible.
Grace, thanksgiving, joy...Eucharisteo." -Ann Voskamp

I just love this! It is so very true.  It is near impossible to remain in fear or in a place of worry and doubt, when you practice giving thanks.

"All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given to us." J.R. Toelkin

Do we really want to waste our days in worry and fear?  Do we really believe that worry will change our outcome?

"We are merely moving shadows and all our busy rushing ends in nothing." Psalm 39:6
God gives us time. Do we have time for God?

Do we really wish to choose control and bitterness over joy?  Because it IS a choice.
"When I choose to crush joy with bitterness, and it is a choice, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness?  Choosing to take the angry way of Lucifer because I think it to be more effective than giving thanks?" -Ann Voskamp

Ouch.  I doubt we think of it this way. But it IS a choice.  And our choice reflects what we believe to be true about the God that we serve.

He gives us all that we need. He cares for us. He loves us. He is FOR us.
John 6:35
Isaiah 40:28
Psalm 50:1
Psalm 48:14

Verses on thanksgiving:
Hebrews 13:15
Psalm 34:1
Psalm 52:9
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Colossians 4:2
Colossians 3:17
Ephesians 5:20
Psalm 111:1
Psalm 100:4
Psalm 69:30
Psalm 7:17

Trust the Lord and in the power of His might and His word.
Colossians 1:15-17
Ephesians 2:4-10

"All is grace. God is always good and I am always loved.  Everything is Eucharisteo.  Because Eucharisteo is how Jesus, at the last supper, showed us to transfigure all things-take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness.
This, the hard eucharisteo.  The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty.  The hard discipline to give thanks for all things at all times because He is ALL good.  The hard discipline to number the griefs as grace.  All is grace only because ALL can transfigure.
The life of true holiness is rooted in the soil of awed adoration. It does not grow elsewhere."
-J.I. Packer

Are we in awe of our Savior? Do we believe His word to be living and active?

"be attentive to my words; incline your ears to my sayings. let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those find them and healing to their flesh."
-Proverbs 4:20;22

Are we in awe of the blessings in our life that He has given?

*living in His presence is fullness of joy and we can only enter His gates with thanksgiving.

Choose to think on the things you have to be thankful for. Choose to take a moment to write them down.

"out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

"If you really want to be alert to seeing Jesus' divine beauty, his glory...then make sure you tune your senses to see his grace." John Piper

Practice. Practice. Until it becomes second nature.

You might be tempted that you don't have time for this. You're too busy.
Then, guess what? You. Are. TOO. Busy.
God is worthy of our praise! We were created to worship Him!

Its a pretty simple equation.
Thankfulness= JOY= life abundant in Him= your life speaking the love of Jesus to a lost world!

Simple equation but of course our sinful hearts combined with the darkness of this world, and it becomes complicated. However, I believe it is only complicated if we make the choice for it to be.

Practice takes time and diligence.

"for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

In His presence is fullness of JOY! He is in this moment.

"Fear keeps life small."  Ann Voskamp
Oh man, doesn't it?!
Stress and fear steal our joy. It cripples us and our lives. And how we respond to it can be sinful.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me." John 14:1

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him." Romans 15:13
AS YOU TRUST IN HIM....notice our part. This is our response.

If we believe, why do we stress and fear rather than give thanks and trust?
The word belief in greek means "to put ones faith in; to trust."
Belief is a verb; something that you do.

So then, saving belief must be the very real, everyday action of trusting.

"If authentic belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief. Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism." Ann Voskamp

Thanks is what builds trust.
Count blessings ans discover who can be counted on.

Psalm 136:3-7

"It is thanksgiving that shapes a theology of trust. Isn't this what Christ ultimately asks of us in the last supper? Do this in remembrance of me. Remember and give thanks. Remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust-to really believe. It's only when you live the prayer of thanksgiving that you live the power of trusting God." -Ann Voskamp

Romans 8:32
"He who did not spare his only Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"

He gave us Jesus! Isn't remembering this enough?!
It should be, right? But, man, we mess this up! We are sinful and we need Him daily, minute by minute. We need to practice thankfulness in order to keep it on our minds and hearts.

All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ.
For in Him all things were created, are sustained and have their being thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for.  We give thanks in everything because there is a good God leading and working in all of it.

So, as we give thanks for the dirty dishes that are evidence of a meal provided for us to eat; for the pile of laundry that reveal clothes that we have been given to wear; for the toys that scatter the house that are evidence of the blessing of a child/children...all of these day to day things that we take for granted..when we give thanks, we are being reminded of God's infinite love and grace toward us; we are giving praise and thanks to a Holy God, a loving Father and a Merciful Savior...then our unbelief turns to belief and our heart fills with thanksgiving and our lives fill with JOY!

When we give thanks, we find ourselves in the presence of God; communing with our Father; our heart and our thoughts focused upward and outward. We find ourselves doing what He has commanded us to do; love Him and love others, as though it were second nature.

In His presence is fullness of JOY!

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