Monday, January 5, 2015

Paying Attention: a key to joy!

The past week has been a week of happy! Gotta admit, I could get addicted to happy. Happy for me is having all my family under one roof, making memories, laughing, playing games, and grazing our way through each day not worrying about calories. Happy is, well....wonderful; and, it is sure to fill my joy-tank to full and over-flowing.

HOWEVER, happy is temporary and temporal. It's based on my-current-world-experiences. It's grounded upon sweet-situations. It finds its fulness in what brings me pleasure. All great gifts from God's hand to be sure. BUT, what happens when my kids leave and take my grand-treasures back home? Then where does the joy-meter register? Sometimes, happy masks true joy. 

I don't want to need happy repeated in order to know JOY. So far, what I understand about experiencing true JOY is that it's found being in God's presence. No matter what the current-world-experiences, if I want my joy-tank to fill up, I have a need to experience God. We all do. That's had me thinking quite a bit, once everyone left, and silence filled the empty spaces of our house. I went back to Psalm 16. I re-read these verses, and began to memorize the words:

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely...You will make known to me the path for my life; in Your presence is fulness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever more (vv. 8, 9, 11)

Honestly, sometimes, it's difficult to experience God. I anticipate meeting with Him every morning; I come ready. I do all the right things. Gotta tell ya, though, there are times I wonder if He's around. Some days, He's just quiet. There's a key in those verses that I almost missed. A key that will open the door to being in His presence and experiencing His fulness. It's found in the last phrase of verse 11: in Your right hand there are pleasures forever more!

Picture this: While unseen, by faith (not by feeling), I can KNOW for certain (according to verse 8) that my God is always at my right hand. His left shoulder is brushing up against mine - and sometimes, His arm is embracing me, comforting me, causing me to feel settled, secure, unshaken. That picture should be enough to get my heart soaring, and my soul leaping in joy, as it did David's, but there's more. While my Lord sits close, He's also holding His right hand in front of me. In His hand are "pleasures." Pleasures: sweet, lovely, beautiful things; delights agreeable (literal or figurative). These things never run out. He, forever, has more gifts to offer. We get the privilege of sifting through them, and discovering each and every one for ourselves. No wonder there is fulness of joy!

The key is in the sifting. The key is paying attention. Every time we sit in God's presence, we should be looking into His right hand. There are wonders anew - things that will make us smile, things that will cause us to "awe"...  As I think about that, I'm reminded of something someone told me years ago, "if we lose our wonder, we lose our worship..."  

Being in the presence of my Living Lord, experiencing God to the fullest, finding my joy-tank rising to overflowing, begins with paying attention to what's in His right hand. To do so, requires a little effort. This isn't a normal practice. To do so, requires setting aside our sense of entitlement, in order to receive the blessings. To do so, however, will open our eyes to a fresh new wonder...and lead us to worship, because we will KNOW we are in HIS PRESENCE; and in His presence is fulness of joy!

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