THURSDAY: JOY by Steve Yinger

SCRIPTURE: Zechariah 8:9-17

God is telling his people through the prophet Zechariah to work hard in rebuilding the temple. Before that time when the foundation was laid but was laying idle, there was no crops to pay the workers or even feed the animals because of their sin. One man was against another and there was no safety. But now the people were beginning to return to the Lord and the construction of the temple and God promises to bless them and to make them a blessing to others. But take warning, do not allow evil into your heart and do not love lying because these are things that God hates.

During Advent seasons in the past, I have made the mistake of expecting joy to somehow fall on me if I spent enough time with family, if I listened to an adequate amount of Christmas music or when I started buying presents. Then joy would magically happen because these things would make it so. Christmas would come and I would wonder how it came so fast at the same time realizing that it would be over all too quickly. I’m reminded here by today's
passage that joy comes when we are fulfilling God’s purpose. All of the things I mentioned are good. Seeing family should be joyous. Listening to Christmas music makes me happy. Buying presents can be a delight as long (as we don’t wait until the last minute in a crowded mall with thousands of other people trying to fill a quota rather than fill someone’s heart with a treasure that we found just for them). Our church is going through a transition and we have a unique opportunity to be about the work of building our own temple by being an encouragement to others, by volunteering when asked (or better yet when we see a need) but ultimately by seeking God’s will each day for our lives. God has blessed us so much in past years, how much more He longs to give us joy as we live in harmony with Him
and others doing His work.

Lord, we pray that Your will be done in our lives.
We pray that Your desires for us will be clear and direct.
And we pray that this will be the most joy filled Advent season yet

Josh Kleinfeld