Wednesday, April 30, 2008

serve with joy

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy....
Galatians 5:22, CSB


Father, you are a God of joy. You delight in your creation. You created the universe and declared it good, and created mankind and declared your entire creation very good. Then, you entered your rest in joy.

You command your people to serve you with joy and you disciplined Israel when they did not follow you with joy (Dt 28). And you sent Jesus so that our lives might be made joyful (Lk 2:10; Jn 10:10). Those who are called by you accept your good news with joy (1 Thes 1:6).

All of heaven rejoices when one of your lost sheep in found (Lk 15:7-10) because you are a God of mercy and forgiveness, and in that your people rejoice, too. Jesus' disciples wept at his death, but that sadness and distress was replaced with joy at the news that he had risen (Jn 16:20; Mt 28:8). And our joy in Jesus' triumph can never be diminished (Jn 16:22)!

Father, I can approach you and ask for your blessing because you want to make my joy complete (Jn 16:24).

May the members of your church encourage each other and bring joy to each other (Ro 15:32). May your church realize that we are united together by your Spirit through your gospel. May we take seriously our calling to be a family and to look out for each other and pursue each other's joy. May your church, in joy, reach out a helping hand to those in need (2 Cor 8:2). May our joy overflow into service for others and may our service overflow into thanksgiving to you (2 Cor 9).

Father, may I come to truly know and grasp the wealth of your love and the joy you offer. May I take hold of that joy and live my life with passion, knowing that you alone are my ultimate source of joy and that I can count on your power. May I enjoy the freedom you have given me in Christ.

May I find joy in praying for the needs of others and for your glory (Php 1:4). May I find joy in evangelism, sharing your glory and love with others (Php 1:25). May I rejoice in any loss I may suffer for your name (He 10:34) and may any loss I suffer be for your name (1 Pet 2:20).

Father, let me truly experience the joy that can only come from knowing you and experiencing your blessing on my life. May joy overflow from my life so that I live every moment rejoicing in you, praising you, and demonstrating your goodness to the world around me.

I have confidence asking all this because you, who gave your son Jesus for my joy, will not hold back anything that is best for my joy. May your will be done. Amen.

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