Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bursting with Joy

We were filled-to-overflowing on our way back from the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors) conference in Nashville the last week of September. Ted and I have been attending the world conference, held every two years, and it is always so amazing.

There's so much passion and power, wisdom and godliness. Many of the speakers were well-known authors – Ortberg, Strobel, Crabb, McDowell, and many more. (I have added many book titles to my to-read list!)

Before and after the speakers, we'd sing together the most beautiful worship music, led by Christian artists. Imagine nearly 7,000 voices raised together...("We bless you Lord, God of the ages; highest of all, we magnify you, your name will be exalted, exalted...").

After the sessions, we'd leave the large conference rooms and spill out into the atrium streaming with natural light. The Opryland Hotel is the perfect location, with its rich and tropical atrium – palm trees towering, fountains flowing, fragrant orchids blooming, and walkways meandering through a lush and green paradise.

It is an experience that involves all the senses. It feels as if we were allowed to visit heaven for a few days and now need to come back to earth to finish some work.

I realized I've had the opportunity of abiding – for days. It was like sitting at the feet of Jesus for teaching, soaking up His love, feeling the joys of the beautiful things He loves and yet feeling the pain of the injustices that hurt the heart of God. It was a beautiful time of recharging and refocusing on what's important.

Now we are bursting at the seams with more love and joy than we can contain – nor were we meant to keep it all for ourselves.

Lord, "You make known to me the path of life, you fill me with joy in Your presence..." (Psalm 16:11 NIV). And now, dear God, help us spread your love to all, to help a hurting world.

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