June 9 Devotional
Opening Prayer: Lord, gives us the courage and the perspective to count it all joy when we face hard times; knowing that through them you are going to do a great work in us. One that will make us more into the people you long for us to be. Amen.
Scripture: James 1:2-4
Journal: What is your normal mindset when you go through trying times? How is it possible to count it all joy? How is God at work in your life right now in a hard, but good way?
Reflection: There is a distinct difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is mostly circumstantial; when suffering comes, happiness hits the road. But joy is much deeper, more substantial. Joy is not dependent on conditions being favorable. In fact, joy is something that is able to endure the presence of pain and still abide. The word joy comes from the Greek word chara which means a deep and sustaining gladness. This gladness is able to see the bigger picture and to trust in the sacred heart of the One who can bring beauty from ashes and victory from the jaws of defeat.
So when James tells us to count it all joy when we face trials of many kind, he is not telling us we need to be happy about it. He is telling us to trust in the end result. He is telling us that beneath the sorrow or the suffering or the pain is always a Hand that is working in us to make us more and more into the people he desires for us to be. This joy holds an unfailing trust in his unfailing love; trust that regardless of the situation or the circumstances, he is always up to something good. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
The CSPC Special Needs Ministry reaches out to families touched by a disability and offers support to those who are constant caregivers. Opportunities for respite care are given to these families by loving, trained volunteers who offer their services several times a year through a program called Buddy Blast. This involves a variety of activities such as play time in the gym, movies, crafts and games. Pray today for Knoxville families who are touched by a disability and for the volunteers at CSPC who lovingly reach out to them.
Closing Prayer: God of life and death, teach us to hold out for a deeper life, for the prayerful consciousness that enables us to transcend our petty needs for security and self-image, so that we may be free to rest in communion with you. We do want life, but we want the Big Life, which includes you and everything else too. Amen.