Word Wednesday: “Xapa”

God Gold of the day

[Xapá] ——> Joy (Chara)

The Greek word for “joy” is chara, derived from the word charis, which is the Greek word for grace. This is important to note, for it tells us categorically that chara (“joy”) is produced by the charis (“grace”) of God. This means “joy” isn’t a human-based happiness that comes and goes. Rather, true “joy” is divine in origin, a fruit of the Spirit that is manifested particularly in hard times. Someone may feel happiness, merriment, hilarity, exuberance, excitement, or “high spirits,” but all of these are fleeting emotions. On the other hand, “joy” is a Spirit-given expression that flourishes best when times are strenuous, daunting, and tough!

The word happiness emboldens visions of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, strolling hand in hand with the one you love, being surprised on your birthday, responding with unbridled laughter to a comedian, or vacationing to an exotic locale. Everyone wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal a lifelong pursuit: spending money, collecting things, and searching for new experiences. But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen, and the party is over? Often happiness flees despair sets in.

In contrast to happiness stands [Joy]. Running deeper and stronger, [Joy] is the quiet confident assurance of Gods love and work in our lives — that he will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but [Joy] depends on Christ.

He is an example given in First Thessalonians 1:6, the Thessalonians were under great stress due to persecution; yet in the midst of it all, they continued to experience great joy. In fact, the Greek strongly implies that their supernatural joy was due to the Holy Spirit working inside them. Paul even called it the “joy of the Holy Ghost.”

Golden R-ships: “Thankful”

God Gold of the day

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”

-Ephesians 6:18

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”

-Philippians 1:3

“Rejoice evermore. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Pray without ceasing.”‘

-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I don’t even know where to start with this message but I guess the only place I can is by saying, “THANK YOU!!” Today, I had another birthday, actually my 25th birthday so I’m another year older and a few more grey hairs into this life. The birthday was so awesome in so many ways but there was a few things that stuck out to me above the rest. It was you, and all of the people God has placed in my life. Today, I received so many messages of “Happy Birthday,” along with some extra lines of encouragement throughout different messages. From the shortest to the longest messages, each word sent my way today continued to hit me in ways that seems to be magnified even more with each year of life. To have people reach out to me and speak words of encouragement and thankfulness over me, I’ve been so humbled in each message. Just to know that someone would take the time to show how much they care about me and how much I mean to them, that’s the most humbling experience I’ll ever go through. I don’t feel deserving for any of it at all but the one word to sum up the rush of emotions I feel is, THANKFUL!

I could never explain how genuinely thankful I am for you! But I figured, all I can do is show you how much you mean by speaking these truths over the God Gold with the hopes that this message today will bring you a sense of encouragement and hope to your life that moves you forward in your walk with Christ. I could type all day about how thankful I am but I want you to know that it’s because of your messages that God revealed to me a truth in relationships that is much over looked in our busy everyday lives. I pray this truth will open you up to experience the relationships that God has placed in your lives to the fullest and the ways that God has intended.

I noticed in these letters that Paul and others would write to churches in the New Testament, called the “epistles.” They would always take the time and be intentional in telling the people at the churches they were writing to how genuinely thankful they were for them. That struck me and I also noticed that majority of the times, the reasons that these early church leaders had to write these letters were because of wrong-doing or fixing a problem the church was causing or facing. That made this act of thanks expressed by Paul and others so much bigger to me that despite the hurt and problems caused in these relationships, they spent the time to write letters of encouragement and correction anyways. They showed a beautiful picture of the Gospel right there as they continued to love, encourage and help these people throughout there mistakes. It’s the sense of thankfulness that opened up the door to for these men to treat relationships with others in a way that would never be handled the same according to the world’s standards then or now. This thankfulness starts with Jesus, how even though we made our fair share of mistakes, committed sins, and did and still do so much that rejects Jesus in so many ways, despite all of that Jesus still took the punishment that we deserved on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to. He literally went through hell and back so we didn’t have to make that journey ourselves. Jesus did all that without hesitation, even though we were so undeserving. WOW!!!

I can’t put to words how thankful I am for what Jesus has done for me but I still to this day often overlook and live a life that so easily forgets the price that He paid so that I can have the LIFE that He’s given me. It hit me earlier that it’s the gospel that drives our lives but also in a closer view, it’s the gospel that drives relationships with others also. It blows my mind to see these early disciples spend so much time loving and encouraging people that by all means probably didn’t deserve it but it seems to be how they lived their lives through the lens of the gospel that brought out this awesome example of how to treat others and how to build golden relationships with them. When you get down on someone or don’t feel like giving that extra breath or word of encouragement, just take a few deep breaths and open your hearts back up to the gospel. It’s there that you will see Jesus and all that He has done despite our lack or deserving it, it’s there that you will experience this same sense of thankfulness that will overflow from your heart into the lives of others. And golly bum, I can’t explain what experiencing other’s words of thankfulness has done for me today. I see now a little bit of how these early believers must have felt being told by these big time disciples of Jesus how thankful they are for them. It’s those intentional words that changed their lives and spurred them on in this mission we have with Christ and these words have also brought me to a place of thankfulness and fullness that has lit my fire in so many ways. All because of others took time out of their day to share words of love and encouragement, these words have fueled me and made me thankful to the point that I just want this 25th year of life and this year of sending out God Golds, I just want to show you how thankful I am, serve you in every way possible, constantly think of ways to encourage you and spur you on to living a life for Christ. Because of these words I have received today I want to add value to your life in anyway I can and ultimately make you feel the way I do right now, encouraged, full, and most of all thankful.

There is no better feeling than this feeling I have right now so that is why today, I want to challenge you to text one person, call someone, write a letter even, in whatever way you feel led, take some time and be intentional in letting someone know how thankful you are for them. Encourage them and share with them in what you appreciate about them, what ways do they add value to your life. Seriously, don’t overlook this anymore, take the time to spend sitting under the truth of gospel and let that thankfulness overflow into the lives around you. You have no idea how much those words may mean to someone or how those words may pick someone up, it’s those words of thankfulness that changes lives forever, and even the lives around those people. You have no idea just how far those words of encouragement and thankfulness will travel in someone’s heart and the lives around them. That’s the challenge today, make somebody feel like it’s their birth day, whether that person deserves it or not, live in that same grace that Jesus lived in for us so that others will get to experience what it feels like to be set free and have LIFE to the fullest breathed into them! There is nothing more powerful than the gospel and what stems from that good news is it’s power and love spread into action among people’s lives.