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Are you finding this Covid-Crazy lockdown squelching your “Merry and Bright” this Christmas season? I am currently teaching Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience as a zoom Meet Up. Inside the last chapter I covered, there is a very practical—and very challenging verse—that beckons us to apply in order to survive, and perhaps even thrive, in this very discouraging, depressing, disjointed Christmas season of 2020.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky (Phil 2:14-15)
Let’s take a peek at a few word meanings:
Do everything without grumbling and arguing – could be summarized as “act to separate from” all grumbling (muttering, murmuring and smoldering discontent) and arguing (disputing back and forth) and in doing so, we make forward movement in emerging as blameless (living above reproach) and pure (innocent) in this warped, twisted, perverse and corrupted world.
The choice seems to be the desire and will to live out our calling and identity as children of God or allow the negative to drip toxin into our heart, mind and spirit polluting our lives and witness.
This is reflective of the fork in the road of John 10:10 AMP:
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].
When we refrain from feeding the dissatisfaction and disgruntlement, that act of living above circumstances is seemingly so rare, that we shine out like the bright Christmas star on a pitch-black night sky. A synonym for shine is also a FLASH which lights up in brilliance to make things clear and visible. The stars are like dazzling luminaries that light the path in a snowy blizzard. Our positivity lights the way for others to follow suit and gain peace, hope, joy and supernatural love that reflects our Father’s love and care. If this verse were a bumper sticker, it might read:
Your Words MATTER!
In the home where we raised our three sons, we had a six foot sign that hung over our dining room table: “Thou Shalt Not Whine” which was a daily reminder to the entire family, including me, to look for the positive, the silver-lining and the upside in any and all situations. More recently, I was talking with one of my “overcomer” friends, Dawn Wilson of Upgrade Your Life with Dawn Blog, and my co-author of LOL with God devotional. She has been battling serious health issues, yet has maintained a vibrant positive attitude. When I asked her about how she retains the spark, she said:
In the chapter of Discovering Joy in Philippians, me and my co-authors, Jean and Karla, challenge reader to go for one
24 hour day with ZERO complaining. Sounds easy—it is NOT! Make a plan and try it! For me, I decided it would be easier to not gripe, whine, complain, or grumble if I plan on being:
Someplace I love, with someone I love, doing somethings I love.
Here is a jumpstart of a list of 15 things you can do instead of complaining:
- Turn on praise and worship music and sing along
- Go on a prayer walk
- Be Creative. (I enjoy Bible Art)
- Do Bible Study (like the Discovering the Bible series)
- Create memes and posts to share on social media #ChooseJOY
- Go out in nature: hike, bike, paddle, sail, etc.
- Play with or read to children or grandkids
- Donate time, talent or treasure to a worthy cause
- Help a friend who has a health or financial hardship
- Cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” with Radiant Joy worksheet
- Download and print Infectious Joy 30 Day Creative verse a day devotional
- Be proactive and list off 30 things that always bring joy, then use JOY Blossom to record them, color and post, then put on your schedule: one per day JOY MOMENT
- Write down frustrations and fears then cross them off with positive Verses for Turbulent Times
- Draw a cloud then list off the possible silver linings for your current circumstances
- List off God’s names and traits then thank Him for who He IS. (A comprehensive list of God’s names is in Becoming a Brave New Woman)
“Go to where the joy is”- Martin Luther
Join Pam’s Discovering Joy in Philippians Zoom Bible Study (sessions are recorded) Pick up a copy of Discovering Joy in Philippians, Discovering Hope in the Psalms, or Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament.
Join Pam and Bill for their 41st Anniversary Virtual Party.