Monday, August 29, 2011

True Stability

Nehemiah 9:19
"Yet Thou in Thy manifold mercies, forsook them not in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light and the way they should go."
The Israelites left Egypt to go .....into the wilderness! Western believers often expect that their lives will become a rich, abundant valley filled with pleasure and joy and free from cares when they are come to Christ. But always, sooner or later, there is a wilderness. Dangerous. Unpredictability. Barrenness. Scarity.
The promise is His presence. His comfort. His protection. His provision. His power to walk through the wilderness. The joy is that he never leaves. Never forsakes. Always enables.
How often we forget. Elyse Fitzpatrick in her book, Because He loves Me, sheds some light on this on page 18:
It's essential for us to think about God's love today because it is only his love that can grant us the joy that will strengtehn our hearts, the courage that will embolden us in our fight against sin, and the assurance that will enable us to open up our lives to him so taht he might deal powerfully with our unbelief and idolatry. If we're not completely convince that his love is ours right now--fully and unalterably ours-we'll alsways hide in the shadows, focusing on our performance, fearing his wrath."
"Yet indeed I count all things for loss for the excellance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things"..... Philippinas 3:8

Friday, August 19, 2011

It seems backward

Neh 8:11b says
"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Really?! I would think the strength of the Lord would be my joy! And there are other verses that delight in God's strength. But I have pondered this one for some time, yet I don't think I have a grip on it yet.

One aspect is having experientially understood our own violations of God's holy law. But once understood, we joyfully revel in our redemption...and as we do, we live in His strength.

Without doing a purposeful survey, it seem to me that many of those who have endured trial and persecution for the sake of the Lord has a good hold of this truth. They were so caught up in the marvel of their redemption, that they would not let go of it at any cost.

May God grant us the grace this day to joy in Him!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Looking for the praiseworthy

I read this blog that came through my email this morning. How does this relate to joy?
It gets us looking for those things that are true, right, and praiseworthy, which are the things we are commanded to be "thinking on".

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever thingsare noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

And as we look for ways to praise our children (and spouse?) how can our hearts not be lifted in gratitude to the Lord for His work in them, and the gifts they are from Him?
To my shame, I have one really good story on this. When daughter number two was quite little, her older sister and I taught her how to make her bed. The both of us encouraged her greatly on the job she had done as well as how hard she worked. That little girl, who I'm sure wasn't more than 4 at the time, but I know she made her bed without being told for two weeks!

May God grant that this is a weekend of praise.
Off to go find something to praise! What did you find?

The Boyer Blog: Part 1: The Importance of Teaching Character to Yo...: "Praising Character Why is it we so often forget to praise our children? As parents we are responsible to steer them in the right direction..."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

do not be anxious

Philippians 4: 4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I'm pondering the relationships...between rejoicing, gentleness, and the lack of anxiety......I kind of get the prayer/thanksgiving and the peace of God. That seems like a logical progression. And it's a beautiful to picture the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds.

When the heart and mind are filled with rejoicing, and the attitude and actions are filled with gentleness, there won't be room, it seems, for anxiety. It goes back to "the Lord is at hand", doesn't it?

Such a simple truth. Yet we often fail to live like it. How are you doing living cognizant of His presence? Conscious of his gifts. Aware of His love and power. Do you have examples to share? I'd love to hear them!

Presence, praise and gentleness

Philippians 4: 4-5
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

First, this is striking to me right now, as it is an adamant command. I have been so convicted that my Lord is telling me to do something that I have purposely set aside so often.

Second, it sets me to pondering the relationship between this command and the instructions around it. Before this command is the admonition to the two fellow workers in the gospel to be of the same mind...and for those around them to help them. If there is known sin, bitterness, disunity, it seems that is will effect our rejoicing. We must keep very short accounts in our relationships, especially those who are of the household of faith.

Many of us lady's wish we were more gentle. Perhaps many of the men wish we were too. And many women admire the strength of gentleness when exhibited by our men. Gentleness is sandwiched between rejoicing and remembering the Lord's continual presence (or some would say imminent return). If we are rejoicing, how much more will be aware of the Lord's presence. If we are aware of the Lord's presence, how much more will both rejoice and be gentle. This seems to be a vital key which so many of us have rattled off as a memory verse without deeply contemplating the implications.

I'd love to hear in the comments how you have experienced this in your lives
a. unity that enhanced your rejoicing
b. Rejoicing that enhanced your awareness of the Lord's presence or your gentleness
c. Awareness of the Lord's presence that enhanced your rejoicing or gentleness
d. any other thoughts that you have

Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

Monday, August 8, 2011

This should have been first!

This blog is an attempt to synthesize the many ways the Father has been teaching me about joy and gladness.

Many, but not all of the sources He has used are in the right side bar,and I urge you to explore them.

I'm in kindergarten on this, but want to try to articulate, and hopefully thereby live, what He is teaching. My hope is that it might be an encouragement to others and that we might be able to spur each other onto love and good deeds here!
I'm not really sure what happened.  I meant to post this in August!  But htere it is now.  A bit revelaing, but I hope encouraging!

" Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! " Philippians 4:4

A command. Those of us who have been bought with the price of His blood don't have an option.

Yet, I have disobeyed this often out of fear. Fear?!
With heights are corresponding depths, are there not?

But hasn't my Lord said,

Psalm 139:7-8 "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there;If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there."

There are 235 references to rejoice in the KJV. It's a gift. It's part of our relationship with God. And I would do well not to overlook it! In truth, it is sin for me to neglect this.

E-Sword defines rejoice as:

A primary verb; to be full of “cheer”, that is, calmly happy or well off;

Long ago I studied what it meant to be of a gentle and quiet spirit as my Father commands in Titus 2. It's not defining volume, but a matter of inward solace, and inner state that is unruffled. This comes through our explicit trust in the Father.

May He grant us grace to live this so that His Word.

It's a command, not a suggestion

A question in the book Idols of the Heart asks what does God desire. One thing He desires is that we serve him with joy.
Deuteronomy 28: 47 “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything,"....
It was something He wanted. Seriously.

It's not an option. It's not selfish. It is when we are living in His reality.