For some odd reason for the last week, I have been carrying a wooden turtle given to me by Van, a coworker. Van immigrated from Vietnam and found it hard to get a job due to his struggling English. I gave Van a job in our digital print shop with the challenge to him and the team to find a way to work it out. He worked hard to adapt and became a stellar performer and team member. In his birth culture, the turtle is a sign of wisdom. I cherish the gift. Van merged and so did the team.
Finding Joy – Goodness Most Evident
Finding joy can be one of the most frustrating journeys for any of us. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an abiding sense of security based on our condition of humanity. Yes, being human predisposes us to joy. Well then what happens?
What happens is the accumulation of negative influences in our environment coupled with our choices to participate in pain and angst. Our genetic predisposition to negative or positive plays a role. The examples from our core family and friends plays a role. Ultimately, with all of that together, we still own the final choice of joy or junk thinking and feeling and acting.
In Conquer Your Anger Take Back Control of Your Future, this week, our current team is studying CORE VALUE. Dr. Steven Stosney has done tremendous work with thousands of participants reversing incredible levels of unjoy and violence. The elements of CORE VALUE that are inherent in our creation as humans and distinguish us from every other animal sometimes get covered with dust and shadows and we forget of what we are made. Bring those to the front of your conscience and improve, appreciate, protect, and nurture them and you find an abiding joy has been there all along. From where does it come?
It comes from your DNA. You are designed for joy. Life gets in the way, but you were designed for joy. You are designed to press through hardship and discover that joy deep in the wells of life and in your spiritual quest. The balance of mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and physical brings you to discover joy. That spiritual quest is one we tend to ignore until we can no longer find solace in any other solution.
The other solution is spiritual. Some choose to engage in spiritual quests in nature, the cosmos, various religions, and even humanism or worship of self. A spiritual quest happens outside of us. It is acknowledging that we are only a small part of this created order and the immensity beyond us.
“To move from one unselfish action to another with god in mind. Only there, delight and stillness.” (Marcus Aurelius)
Aurelius did not mean God in the sense that I mean God. His quest was spiritual. But he looked to an amorphous god with a little g that meant all that is in the universe compiled to give us sense and purpose and order. I look to the Creator of all that sense and purpose and order. Others have a different sense of spirituality. Nonetheless, modern psychology tells us you will be hard pressed to find any lasting joy with a spiritual quest. It will attach and detach based on circumstance instead of a solid foundation.
So the following is a part of my spiritual quest this morning. These quotes span a course of 3000 years of success in spiritual significance. Take it or leave it. Our condition of joy comes from what Dr. Ruby Payne points to the studies of Dr. Bandura, noted social psychologist, that our core internal cognitions (thinking) stem from a mix of the demands of environment, relationships and knowlege, and resources. And yes, she and those working with her point back to a need for the spiritual quest to become a part of that triad of influence to reach joy and fulfillment.
Joy is not some fleeting fleck of fickled fate feature. Joy is eternal. Joy is a deep and abiding substance that sustains surviving storms. You have joy. If you have Christ, you have joy. You have joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Let the words of those who have gone before in spirited by the Holy Spirit inspire joy to bubble up from within the well of salvation.
“Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.”
Isaiah 12:3 NKJV
Yes, salvation is a water well of joy supplied. It is supplied. It is ready. It is available. It is in you. The fruit of the Spirit contains joy.
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”
Psalms 84:11 NKJV
Certainly, the sun that warms and feeds life to plant and animal along with the shield of grace belong to us. In days of depression, let the light of joy shine through the dark shroud of deceit and denial.
“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”
1 Timothy 4:16 NLT
While the Lord will expose His glory into our lives, it is our responsibility to guard what has been entrusted from the shambles of self serving.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
James 1:2 NLT
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. These words were added to the core Serenity Prayer handed down through the ages in many forms until Reinhold Niebuhr placed them in legacy order. There is nothing new under the sun, but a crafting in a manner that touches us is wonderful. Take it to heart to give glory to God’s name and watch Him do the wonderful with the life in front of you so filled with pain and problems.
We are family
You are loved
Jesus is Our Strong and Joyful Tower of Healing
Pastor Phil LarsonREGISTER NOW FOR CONQUER YOUR ANGER April 5th 8pm 12 WEEK WORKSHOP
Excited to join wth you.. here is an invitation you can send to a friend also..Your mission – is to engage in a 12 week study of the job description of the Holy Spirit in order that you will get closer to God, hear the voice of the Holy Spirit with clarity for your life and ministry, and refresh your experience as a living temple of His power and grace
The Job Description of the Holy Spirit – course has started and is open… Register and get started http://bit.ly/2021SpringHolySpirit The next zoom will be April 6th at 6pm CST… At that zoom we’ll discuss the first four week’s of study with each other. Rev Phil.. this is my digtial cell/text line
When I was a kid, I drank Clorox straight from the bottle. Yes, I did. Here I am alive to tell you. The fiery bleach seared my throat and left me mute. How did it happen?
Watching my older brothers in the back bedroom, I thought I saw them drinking from the bottle of Clorox on the counter. Everyone wants to be like the older brother, right? That is not always a good thing, but we do what we see and think we know.
So, I snuck into the room alone and drank the Clorox. Immediately, I knew I was in big trouble. I could not speak and wondered how long I would live. I took a full glass down. I swigged it.
All I could do was stand at the window, tears streaming, gasping to breath and make frantic motions to my family all gathered out back of the house outside. It took a few minutes of hand signs to explain what I had done and I was rushed to the hospital in our small rural town.
The doctor had me drinking milk. That was it. Drink milk. Counter the poison. Put out the fire of mistaken living.
There is a moral in this story. One: We do what we think we know by observation. Just because you think it doesn’t mean it is true. Two: Redemption is available with counter agents if we don’t die first. Three: Alone we are doomed.
What would have happened if my family responded the way counter culture and tech bullying and hard core nationalism responds today? I would have died. Simple. “Well, stupid, why did you think that? We are turning our backs on you and locking you out of our lives.”
And that is where we are in our human family today. We turn our backs, label, define life in black and white, either or, right and wrong, my way or the highway, and leave our neighbor to die.
Dr. Daniel Amen has done phenomenal work in identifying ANTs, automatic negative thoughts, and ways to stomp them. Thanks, Dr. You provide milk for the Clorox drinkers, love for hate, recovery for mistaken living and imperfect obedience. Check his approach out.
You see, I was just obeying the example observed and receiving of the cure provided. I think my higher than usual voice octaves date to that day. I can sing some pretty high notes. Maybe the Clorox helped me in my growth and abilities.
When one of my kids ate a poisonous toadstool from the backyard, the answer was charcoal not milk. When my granddaughter ate her wood popsicle stick, it took a wait and see solution. Every poison needs a different response, but ignoring and punishing for a simple mistake is insane. I like my kids. I want them to live and learn.
We are explorers. We test ideas and actions against our environment. Sometimes those tests are injurious to ourselves and others and need correction. I doubt if a doctor today would prescribe milk for Clorox, or maybe the solution still stands. But he or she would give a counter agent.
Some folks drank the Clorox and never got the milk. Pouring more Clorox down their throat with cancel culture, tech bullying, and hard core nationalism won’t help anyone. Some folks are still drinking Clorox and think that if they kill 99.9% of what they don’t like it will somehow make life sweeter. It will just make life less appealing to our children’s children and kill us in the process. We need a little milk of human kindness.