Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In my last post, I stated that:

'"A dear godly woman taught me-think of the worst outcome of the situation you are facing or the most troubling fear you have.  
Now, is God big enough?"

That is trust in HIM, who He is, His character, our relationship in Christ.
And that is the soil of joy."'

We are back to relationship.  When we marry, we do so "for better or worse, richer or poorer".  We commit to loving the other one even if age makes them less attractive, or if disease renders them helpless.  We marry them, by God's grace, committing to seek their best-not what we get out of it.

Our relationship as believers, the church, is a Bride to Christ.  
No other relationship requires more trust than a marriage.
No other relationship requires more vunerability than a marriage.
No other relationship demands as much determined faithfulness as a marriage.

In looking at the Bibical  role of the wife, we can examine godly women who were married to imprefect men.  It strikes me that godly Abraham, as Ben Patterson stated, endangers his wife and gets a lecture in ethics from a godless pharoah!

 Yet, in the end, he is called the father of a nation and is an example of faith in Hebrews 11.  Isn't grace great?

Sarai had to put her trust in God to protect her against the selfish decision of her husband.

But we are not so wed.We are betrothed to one who cannot lie for He is Truth.
He can not grow weak, as He sustains all things by His powerful Word.     
His love endures forever.
He is without shadow or turning. 
He is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

No, stop, don't tune out.  I know it may sound cliche, but consider the full implications of each of those for your life!  Secure?
When we rooted in His love, we can be "more happy, but not more secure than the souls of the blessed in heav'n!" ( A Debtor to Mercy Alone)

Are we rooted and grounded in His love?

Ephesians 3:14-21, from,

:14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[c] 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Oddly, I could not find the hymn lyrics online for "A Debtor to Mercy Alone" that had the same last line as in our Hymns for Worship and Remembrance. A nice recording of this hymn even though the last line differs can be found at

Ben Patterson's book can be found here:

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls"—Habakkuk 3:17

The past week didn't turn out like I dreamed and planned.  Our lovely week "off" that was to be filled with home and organizing, ended up with alot of running a and unexpected little emergencies, like an overflowing dishwasher!  Nothing of eternal consequence or really a truly serious problem.  We did have food to eat and a house this week~!  

But it had me down, angry-frustrated, tempted to despair.  Despair over lost time...that is a plague to me.  I thought of this verse and remembered that I needed to trust the Father, even in these piddly things that daunt me.  

When I looked the verses up again, I was struck by the fact that the passage doesn't really end there. There is more.....

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV

It doesn't end in "trust"...the trust ends
One of the essential humus ingredients to grow joy is trust in the Father regardless of the circumstances.

This differs from trust in God to make everything "alright", whatever our definition may be.  As a dear godly woman taught me-think of the worst outcome of the situation you are facing or the most troubling fear you have.  
Now, is God big enough?
That is trust in HIM, who He is, His character, our relationship in Christ.
And that is the soil of joy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Of course, a post about joy should be posted on Valentine's Day, right?  I believe this is the 28th V-Day my husband  and I have celebrated together...some joyous, some not so much.

This morning the children and I watched a song from one of my favorite children's dvd's ...Steve Green's Hide 'Em in Your Heart.

We discussed what love is...and what it isn't.  Love is a commitment to seek the other person's good, no matter what the cost.  That does NOT mean you should never have feeling for the person you are marrying.  But it's not about how they make your feel or what you do for them.  This we knew before we married.

But there is more that I needed to learn.

First, I needed to learn not to let my husband's eyes be my  idol.  Joy did not come from searching out my husband's eyes to see if he was proud of what I had said, done or accomplished. It was not trying to make his eyes twinkle in pleasure.   In fact, it devastated me, because I was looking in the wrong place.  I doubt I will ever forget the unbelievable conviction when my jealous God confronted me with the fact that I'd made my husband's eyes my idol.  Finally, I understood Isaiah when he cried " I am undone!".  While it was good to try to please my husband, it was not good to make my value or my joy dependent on it.

Secondly, I needed to learn not to measure my obedience to the Lord by my dear husband (or anyone Else's) response.  They may be having a  bad day.  They may be selfish  at the moment.  They may simply not notice-or care!  Our service is to be done as unto the Lord.

This is about my journey into joy.  I'm hoping it helps you with yours.  I'm hoping we can spur each other on and encourage one another along the Way.

 It is as vital to realize the counterfeit offers as well as know the true gem.  Your counterfeits may be different.  Is there something that you simply can't live without?  Something that you think you just can't function unless it's in place.  If it's anything but your Creator and Redeemer, it's an idol.  And our of pure love for you, He will let every one of those fail you til you are resting only in Him.  He is the One who loves completely, unfaltering, unending.  It is only when we live in His love that we will be in joy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

TO Caly'ry Lord, In Spirit Now
By Edward Denny

To Calvary, Lord, in spirit now,
Our weary souls repair,
To dwell upon Thy dying love,
And taste its sweetness there.
Sweet resting place of every heart,
That feels the plague of sin,
Yet knows that deep mysterious joy,
The peace with God, within.
There, through Thine hour of deepest woe,
Thy suffering spirit passed;
Grace there its wondrous victory gained,
And love endured its last.
Dear suffering Lamb! Thy bleeding wounds,
With cords of love divine,
Have drawn our willing hearts to Thee,
And linked our life with Thine.
Thy sympathies and hopes are ours:
Dear Lord! we wait to see
Creation, all below, above,
Redeemed and blest by Thee.

John 12: 12-14 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the circumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross

Col 2:12-`4
John 1227 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”
30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Father wants relationship. 
 I have often said that I think God's theme for my life is dependency.

You know He is a jealous God?  I don't know that I've ever heard a sermon on that one. 

He wants none to come before Him.  No idols.  Of any kind.  

There is no joy, but Him.   He is true beauty.  He is even true Truth.

 He wants me to know, out of the overflow of His love and grace, that I completely dependent of Him.

  He is my creator, provider, protector, and enabler.  
Without Him, I am not.  I have no purpose, passion or pleasure.  I'm vulnerable for eternity.  I can not unless He empowers.

He expresses His relationship to us in the most intimate of terms- husband, father,friend.  No relationship, no matter how carefully tended, manipulated or sacrificed for can fill this void.There is that "God-shaped hole
  "Pascal (1623-1662) wrote in his Pensees (10.148):1

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.
 He expresses His relationship to us in the all encompassing, lord, creator, redeemer.  We simply are not without Him.  We don't exist.  We don't have purpose.  We don't have a future.   He is.  Without Him, we aren't.  

He is our Father, and our life abundant.  The existence He has given us is riddled with pain, difficulty, trail.  To believers, these things are expressly promised.  But that is not the end.  He blesses, encourages, gives all we need for life and godliness.   He wants us to live His economy.  We see through a glass dimly...

He is our joy .  His joy is our strength, not vice versa.  He is our hope.  Our Song.  
Our peace.  The circumstances simply do not matter.  As Paul, in whatever circumstances we can be content, knowing Him!

Father, we humbly ask for the reality of this to be more real each hour in our lives.  May being your redeemed creature be the center of identity.  May our relationship increase that it may be said of us that we walked with God.  For Christ and His Kingdom I ask.