Rev. John Shaver
Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 9:30am
“We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety…” ~ Henri Nouwen
Dear SDUMC Family,
I pray that this note finds you well. We’ll continue with our new sermon series this week, Turning the Corner and Stepping Out Faithfully in 2021, and look to joy this week. Joy doesn’t always come easy (it may seem especially difficult in this current COVID-life). The apostle Paul also knew it was challenging to find joy each day. Still, he continually reminded the early church to choose joy.
When I started writing my weekly e-message, I had the television on in the background (probably not the best idea). I won’t go on about all that I heard in the last few moments, but I’m sure, like many of you, it didn’t bring much joy.
Throughout the Bible, we are reminded that the first step to finding joy us the first step to rejoicing is through prayer. Take a few moments now (or whenever you have a bit of time) and take a breath, then share your fears, frustrations, and worries with God. After letting go of all that keeps you from joy, think about the abundance of blessings that surround you and share them with God.
As I move into a time of pondering my blessings, I try to focus on the people I care about, places I enjoy visiting, and my favorite passages of scripture. I remember the incredible gifts I often take for granted, like water, air, laughter, and the fantastic coastal sunsets. I remember the small things—playing in the snow as we came home from the desert, music that stirs my heart, and phone calls with family and friends I can’t visit at the moment. All blessings that remind me to give thanks.
Philippians 4:7 reminds us that when we share our blessings with God, “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds.” This scriptural reminder helps me turn those corners and turn them with joy.
This Sunday, I hope you’ll join us for our Livestream worship at 9:30 a.m. We’ll look to the Bible’s suggestions to help us find some relief from the difficulties and worries of this world. Also, we have some special music planned to lift your spirits.
Again, my prayer for each of you is to have a safe and blessed weekend (keep wearing the masks when you are in public, physical distance when you are out, and wash your hands). Also, take some time to breathe, pray, and choose joy!
Grace, Peace, and Prayers,