Our church is going through a daily “Joy Writing Challenge” for the month of December. It’s a reading/writing plan by “Elihu’s Corner” (click here to read his original post). Basically, there’s a couple verses to read each day that you simply reflect on and find where God promises or gives us hope or joy.
Below is my reflection on the verses from week 2. Here’s a link for week 1 if you want to check it out.
If you want to join me in it, you can start at any time. Here’s an image of the daily reading plan and below. You can download the plan and other resources at Elihu’s blog.
Day 9: CATCH UP DAY
Seeing Jesus in the flesh must have been a crazy experience. Witnessing His public ministry and life would be life altering. It makes sense people laid their cloaks on the ground He rode on… do we have this much excitement and joy over Him and all He has done? They had Jesus in the flesh, but we have a risen King Who has already gone to the cross to die for our sins and risen again to give us new life. How much more joy and excitement can we have in our everyday lives?
“And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”Luke 19:36–40
They had so much joy over finding where Jesus was born. Do you remember the joy you had when you first accepted Jesus, when you first found Him to be your Savior? Our lives were once taken from darkness into light, from death into life, and it’s easy to lose that initial joy. Let’s remember that goodness today and return to that joy He gives.
“After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”Matthew 2:9–11
When we seek God with everything we are, He promises that we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13), and when we come to Him, burdened and heavy laden, He promises to give us rest (Matthew 11:28).
“And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.2 Chronicles 15:12–15
They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns.
And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.”
The root of our joy is revealed when problems come in life. When our joy is founded solely in God, it cannot be taken away, because He cannot be taken away.
“Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.”Psalm 119:161–162
This passages is one of many that are pulled from when Mary says her prayer of thanksgiving at the news of her pregnancy. Not only does it encourage me to continue to look to God in thankfulness and hope, but it’s also a good reminder of the influence we might have on others to do the same (as Hannah’s prayer influenced Mary’s).
“And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.1 Samuel 2:1–3
“There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
The culmination of Jesus’ birth and work to do on earth. Whenever pride may creep into our lives, we can remember how much God has done for us and in spite of everything about us.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”Romans 5:8–11