Devotions from Judy’s heart
Life was meant to be lived fully with joy and grace. As children of God, we are people of hope and can enjoy each day as a gift from the Lord. That doesn’t mean everything in our lives is perfect but that our joy is found in  Him. Our culture is one of pleasure seeking but the results are not good if the pursuit of pleasure is separate from God. If it is sought in drugs, sex, and gluttony etc. we will come up empty. Trying to manufacture joy apart from Him leaves us bored and lacking in meaning. But, when we experience God, we can’t help but experience joy for He is the giver of joy. I have been in fellowship groups where we spent the whole evening laughing and went home refreshed and renewed. One time our church gave us a party on Bear Island and the whole evening was filled with so much joy and laughter that the party group in the next room thought we were all drunk. When they found out it was a Christian group, it must have changed their outlook on dull Christians! But even Christians sometimes have trouble enjoying the gifts that God gives us. I know there are times I remind myself to slow down and enjoy the moment, enjoy what is happening right now in the present. Eugene Peterson writes about pleasure and shares how King Solomon was a very wise king and had everything he could possibly imagine and indulge in. But he was also foolish and said in Eccl. 2:1(ESV) “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” He pursued pleasure and arranged the world around him and indulged in everything imaginable. Pleasure became an idol and it did not bring joy; instead, King Solomon ended up saying, in Eccl. 2:11, “I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” None of us can purchase pleasure but simply enjoy the gifts God gives us. Our desire must be for God and then we can enjoy the gifts of life that he gives us, as long as, we don’t make a god out of them. Peterson also says we can’t purchase pleasure for joys are given to us freely by God and our part is to receive them. We can’t earn them or hoard them or accumulate them but rather we can be generous with them. When we share them, our own soul is enlarged as we practice giving them away. If we want to live joyfully let us receive His gifts and give thanks.
Challenge for today: Spend some time thanking the Lord for the joy of the pleasures He has given you. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy