Wednesday, November 2, 2022

           One of the themes found in Philippians is joy.  As you probably know, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Biblical joy or the joy of Philippians comes from the Lord and is rarely, if ever, contingent upon external happenings or circumstances in life.  The joy we read about in Philippians (or elsewhere in Paul’s letters) is a creation of the Holy Spirit.  He is the architect or designer of joy.  And the Holy Spirit does not work in ways that depend on what is or is not happening in your life.  If your joy is running low, winning a lottery probably won’t increase your joy level.  And there is a big difference between happiness and joy.  Early in Philippians, Paul wrote about the joy that the Philippian believers brought to Him.  Indeed, even the mere memory or recollection of his relationship with them brought him great joy and satisfaction.  Paul wrote, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).
            Are there people in your life for whom you give God profound thanks and praise?  Is there anyone in your life whose mere presence is a blessing to you?  God often blesses us through the lives and contributions of others.  God graciously gives us shared experiences with others and memories that endure.  When we enjoy conversations, experiences, opportunities to serve and amazing God-moments with others, we often grow to cherish and savor those times.  Indeed, we look forward to them!
            Soon, we will celebrate Thanksgiving.  We are less than four weeks from the day itself but November is sort of a Thanksgiving season where we begin to see the evidence of God’s fingerprints in and on our lives.  God often works in us and blesses us through the presence of other people.  Family, friends, neighbors and even strangers can be carriers and conveyors of God’s richest blessings.  Take time during these days of Thanksgiving to remember those who have shared your life with you or poured blessings into your life.
            One way to express your thanks for the gifts of others is by telling them what they have meant to you and how they have blessed or encouraged you.  You could speak with them directly over lunch, coffee or a chance to catch-up.  You could bless someone else with a card, email or text.  Generally, if we make thankfulness and gratitude a big part of our lives, we will find that stress, anxiousness and disagreeable behavior begin to recede.  Living in conflict or contention with others can easily rob us of the joy that comes from living thankfully and gratefully.
            You can pay your joy forward by blessing someone else.  Pack one of the shoeboxes we are collecting for Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse.  Bring some of the items we are collecting for the Cabarrus Women’s Center on Sunday, November 20 to bless new mothers caring for newborn babies.  And certainly, you will soon have the chance to adopt an angel from our Angel Tree made up of students from four different Kannapolis City Schools.  Invest in someone else’s life just as others have invested in you.  Bless another person just as someone has blessed you.  At the end of life, you will want to have lived in a way that brings joy to others when they simply remember your name or recall your life.  Have a great Wednesday and remember you can always connect or worship at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.
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