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What brings you joy?

What makes you joyful? Not just happiness. But joy. The comfort and pleasure of joy. We set out to answer that question a couple years ago in my bible study group. We were to write about what brings us joy. I missed the group that week, but I still wrote my joy story. I’m told that mine was really long. lol. That’s good!

What brings me joy is the awareness that God is here.

The simple things that remind me that God is present. That God’s creation has design. How amazingly balanced our seasons are. Even though we may think of our seasons as extreme with the cold weather we have now, the fact remains that our planet has seasons that are within limits that sustain life. An amazing array of life. All the shapes of trees. All the different types of animals. All the amazing different ways animals behave. All designed by God.

Our awesome underwater world. Our Shedd Aquarium is wonderful. The creatures in our oceans instill awe. For awe is to be aware of God’s AWESOMENESS. From Psalm 104:25, “Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.”

Another thing that brings me joy is when we sing songs in church. Especially when the songs are about things that I’ve been learning. A few recent examples. Over Christmas I learned about how incredible it is that at Christ’s birth, the shepherds were invited to share the praise of Christ’s birth. That as they shared the good news of Christ’s birth with others, they were in essence singing with the angels. What an incredible thought. To sing with the angels. Now whenever we have a song at church about singing with angels, it gives me great joy.

Also last Sunday when we sang the song, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say again I say rejoice” is based on the verses in Philippians we are studying now. I love to have the background behind the songs we sing.

What brings me joy is to hear others pray. And when I read prayers. For prayers in print are just like hearing other people praying. I have a Lutheran Book of Prayer that I read from almost every morning. The Monday prayer says the following:

Heavenly Father,
We thank you for the privilege of work.
Use our talents and energies in Your service for our fellowman.
Help us to see our tasks as expressions of trust from You.
Keep us from seeing our chores as cumbersome duties and toil.
Remind us we are doing more then merely making a living.
Give us the joy in Christ to do all things to Your glory.
Enable us to see in all our tasks that we are called as laborers in Your vineyard.
Keep us faithful and useful to all as men and women who have only one Lord, even Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

I find great comfort that God uses our commonplace work as a way of sustaining our world as a whole.

I find joy in that we have the true word of God. Through the ages God has worked to preserve his Word, so we may have it. I find immense joy in the comfort that God is bigger than culture and He can achieve what He wants–which includes preserving his Bible.

I find joy our pastors preaching every week from God’s Word. And in the sermons preserved in podcasts and text online. [note this was written in January 2010] I find immense joy in being able to share sermons with others. My mother who is currently in the hospital comes to mind. Joy is found in trials. James 1:2-3 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

I find joy when I bow down. For when I submit myself, that’s when I become more aware of God.

George the seahorseI find joy in all things deep, like the ocean. I find joy in things small and well-designed, like grapes. I find joy in things vast like the sky. What a wonderful reminder we have every day. As things can get so busy and cluttered down here, we can look up to the the open sky. God has kept our sky open, so we can be reminded of his vastness.

All reminders of God’s love and forgiveness that is vast, deep and wide.

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3 Responses to What brings you joy?

  1. Peter Kreten January 18, 2012 at 3:03 am #

    This is really great Matt. I really like the prayer, what book is that from?

  2. Matt Maldre January 18, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    It’s called “The Lutheran Book of Prayer” Amazon sells a newer edition, but I prefer the older edition, because the newer one changed a bunch of the prayers. I can’t find the older one on Amazon, it has a simple red hard cover, with a simple cross made from two gold lines. I’ll look at the publication date when I get home.

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