Monday, January 13, 2020

7. Writing Joy on My Heart

Writing Joy on My Heart: A Bible Memory Devotional. Jean Fischer. 2020. Barbour Books. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Devotional]

First sentence: Where are you on your path through life? Is there always joy in your heart? Dictionaries define joy as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” If you rely on that definition alone, you will discover that joy is fleeting. It is impossible to sustain that kind of joy 24-7. Life’s path, your journey from birth to death, is strewn with obstacles intended to steal your happiness. Satan will deliberately put roadblocks in your way. Jesus confirms this in John 10:10 (nkjv): “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” Satan’s purpose is to steal joy—sustained feelings of great pleasure and gladness—and obliterate it.

Fischer has selected six verses with the theme or subject of JOY which she is encouraging her readers to memorize. She provides tips throughout her devotions for how to memorize Scripture. So. Six verses, six weeks, seven days worth of devotions per memory verse. This one is essentially straight forward. What you see is what you get...mostly.

The six verses are:

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Colossians 3:23
Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:11

Without a doubt these are six fantastic verses that everyone should consider memorizing or at the very least meditating upon.

I began this one with hope in my heart. I wanted the devotions to be good--aka BIBLICALLY SOUND and Berean approved. But ultimately I was disappointed. Not initially. Not from the first week of devotions. But more and more with each passing week.

Stop and consider these sentences:
You radiate true beauty when you find joy in yourself. It begins with you! Unless you first find joy in who you are—God’s creation and His beloved child—your senses can’t fully enjoy and rejoice over all the wonderful blessings He puts around you.
Shouldn't it be you radiate true beauty when you FIND JOY IN GOD?! when you FORGET ABOUT YOURSELF?! Isn't there a song that goes LET'S FORGET ABOUT OURSELVES AND MAGNIFY THE LORD AND WORSHIP HIM?!?!

Begin each day talking with God. Ask Him to help you block any negative self-talk, and ask Him to show you the beauty He set within you. Recognize your worth as the daughter of the King of all kings, the Creator of the universe.
You could I suppose ask God to help you block any negative self-talk, or, you know you could ask him to forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You could ask God to show you your own beauty or worth, or, you know you could ask him to open your eyes to HIS beauty and HIS worth.

At the end of the day, tell God about the beauty you found inside you, and thank Him for putting it there.
Okay. So let's get this straight. We are supposed to go to God at the end of the day and brag on ourselves and all the good and beautiful things we have found within ourselves that day...with the excuse that God planted that goodness there?!?! Isn't that a bit vain and prideful? That doesn't sound like a model prayer from the Bible to me.

Turn your thoughts to God’s love for you. As His love grows within you, so will your love for yourself.
So it's not turn your thoughts to God...or turn your thoughts to God's love...or God's goodness...or God's anything else...but God's love for YOU. Because apparently God really wants you and me to LOVE ourselves more and more.

Compare your relationship with God five years ago to the relationship you have with Him today. Here are ten questions to guide your thinking: 1. Overall, have you grown closer with God? 2. Has your relationship with your heavenly Father made you a better person? 3. Have you dug deeper into Bible study? 4. Do you spend more time now praying and listening to Him? 5. Has your trust in Him grown? 6. Are you more aware of what God expects from you? 7. Have you become more compliant with His rules? 8. Are you more comfortable sharing your faith with others? 9. Do you think about God more often throughout the day? 10. Do you rely more on Him for guiding your decisions? If your bond with God hasn’t grown stronger during the last five years, think of ways you can improve it. Prayer is the best starting point. Talk with God about how you plan to make a more powerful connection with Him. If your relationship doesn’t feel stronger right away, persevere. Believe that God is drawing you nearer to Him.
Legalistic much?! Not that some self-reflection is a bad thing. It can be good--in moderation. THINK OF WAYS *YOU* CAN IMPROVE IT. Not God. Not Jesus. Not the Holy Spirit. Not prayers of repentance and confession. Not prayers for humility. Not praise or gratitude. ABOUT HOW *YOU* PLAN TO MAKE A MORE POWERFUL CONNECTION WITH HIM. Seriously?!?! Because apparently it's all on you and the Holy Spirit doesn't have a thing to do with it?!?!

Today, list five good things about yourself. Then give thanks to the Lord.
I'm speechless. I am. Again we're being prompted to brag on ourselves and our worth and thank God for how good we are?!?!?!

And be ye kind to yourself, tenderhearted, forgiving yourself, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Just guessing that the the ORIGINAL meaning of that Scripture doesn't line up exactly with this "new and improved" one that is help you love yourself because you're awesome.
Your relationship with God should be your first priority and then your relationship with yourself. If you aren’t right with God and if you have unresolved issues with yourself, your other relationships will suffer.

Again, you can look to Paul as an example. He resolved his issues with God and himself. He went on to find joy in hardship and teach others to do the same.
I wonder if Paul knows this about himself?! 

In Noah’s story, God sets the perfect example of organization and efficiency. Your goal is to model yourself after Noah and work as if working for the Lord. To do that you need to rid yourself of any clutter that gets in the way of serving Him. When you work in an orderly way, you can serve God joyfully and efficiently.
Wow!!!! Apparently I've been reading the story of Noah all wrong too!!! All my life I've been under the impression it was about GRACE and MERCY--finding REFUGE from God's wrath and punishment. 

Don’t just read about Jesus; study Him! Ponder His relationships with others. Then try to be more like Him. 
This isn't as out-there-weird as some of the earlier statements. But. Jesus isn't to be studied and examined so much as trusted in, loved, obeyed, worshipped.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: