Friday, July 12, 2002
Your child's social life has officially begun when they get their first invitation to a friend's birthday party. Our kids have been to parties in the party room at fast food restaurants, at pizza places, homes with swimming pools. When our youngest son had his 16th birthday, we knew we'd have a hard time surprising him because he had watched us surprise his brother and his sister on their 16th. But I tricked him into going with me to check out a riding stable several days before his birthday - and that is where we surprised him. So his party was where the horses live. Lots of parties are often made special by the place where they're held.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Best Place For A Party."
We often told our children the very best place of all to have a party going on. So does our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Proverbs 15:15. The Bible says, "The cheerful heart has a continual feast." You see, if you carry the party inside you, then life can be a pretty joyful experience - for you and for the people around you. A "continual feast" God calls it.
This cheerful heart approach to life can be summed up in a word the Bible uses to describe one of the benefits of belonging to Christ - joy. Nehemiah said, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10) Jesus described what should be the effect of our belonging to Him in John 7:38-39 - "'Whoever believes in Me ... streams of living water will flow from within him.' By this He meant the Spirit.'" A little earlier in John, Jesus told a Samaritan woman at a well that He would place a spiritual spring inside us that would mean we didn't have to keep going back again and again to life's happiness wells to fill us up. (John 4:13-14)
Put it all together and you've got an inner source of joy and positiveness that has nothing to do with what's going on around you. It's about God's Holy Spirit inside you, producing that stream of "living water" that's supposed to bring joy into every life around you. I wonder if that's the effect you have on other people - joy. If not, you're probably focused on something or someone other than your great Savior.
When you stay very close to Jesus, when you turn your anxieties over to Him, when you believe His promises that He's working everything out for your good - well, you can live as a joyful person. No, I don't mean laughing all the time, not always feeling all bubbly, but with that inner poise ... that inner positiveness that belongs to someone who isn't running their own life, but letting Jesus run it. With that kind of relationship, you'll look for ways to encourage people instead of dragging them down - for things to praise God for rather than things to complain about. You look for the big picture instead of the little frustrations that seem so big.
When you lose the joy, the party's over. But joy is not the result of everything going your way. Joy is a choice - a choice that defies our natural tendency to get down and discouraged when hard things happen. And Jesus is the source of that joy. That's why Paul can write from a prison cell that we should "rejoice in the Lord always." (Philippians 4:4) When you concentrate on Jesus and stay amazed by Him, you don't go to a party - you carry the party in your heart!