Friday, September 4, 2009

Truly blessed...oh, really?

Are the comforts of life in American truly blessings or have we been cursed with the comforts of live? After falling asleep in my recliner last night-not in bed, but comfy, nontheless-I woke this morning and decided to sleep in (til 6:30-I truly am a morning person). After breakfast from which there were many choices with my wonderful wife it was off for the Friday Wal-Mart run. After the drive-through at Starbucks and a quick stop at Lowes and a stop to gas up my car, I made it to Wal-Mart.

I started looking at the choices avalable: milk-low fat, 2%, whole, chocolate, each in three brands; snack bars-6-8 different brands in low fat, low calorie, regular, and a plethora of flavors. Shampoos: good grief at the choices! This choice thing went on throughout the store. After finishing at Wal-Mart and a stop to pick up some fresh tomatoes at the local produce stand and a stop at Dollar General for a prefered cleaner I returned to our air-conditioned home with a beautiful yard to listen to XM radio on my satelitte TV.

That's when my mind drifted to Ukraine. On our last trip there we stayed at what was classified for the Ukrainians as a 5 star resort; for us it was probably what we would consider budget accomodations. The room was reminiscent of a Micro-tel. So grateful were they for what we shared with them! And when we left they were literally taking our bags from our hands to carry them for us as an expression of thankfulness for what we had given them-encouragement and love. Mouths not being able to communicate with us but faces beaming with joy from what we shared with them.

We have so much at our disposal from food, luxury housing by most of the world's standard to instant entertainment and communication in a variety of forms. Yet happines seems to elude so many of us. And that is the problem for many of us-seeking happiness or contentment from the happenings around us. That is, at best, fleeting and, at worst, never existing. Oh, if we all could forget about happiness and seek joy. Paul reminded me that "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace..." in Galatians 5:22.

In other words, until the Holy Spirit of God is residing and working in my life, happiness is all I can hope for and happiness is always looking to be replaced by the next experience only to leave me looking for the next one ad nauseum.

Francis Chan in Crazy Love says, "We tend to think of joy as something that ebbs and flows depending on life's circumstances. But we don't lose joy, as though one day we have it and the next it's gone, oh darn. Joy is something that we have to choose and then work for. Like the ability to run for an hour, it doesn't come automatically. It needs cultivation...Obsessed people know that true joy doesn't depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God (James 1:2-4)."

I thank God for the joy that wells up inside me from the presence of His Holy Spirit regardless of circumstances. Are we truly blessed by all the conveniences and choices we have or would we be better off with less and a greater dependence on Him? I am not looking to give all them up but I am giving thought and gratitude to Him for making not only them possible but the joy that comes with or without them.

Just something to think about today.

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