Tag Archives: joy

A Gift

What a wonderful day You gave us yesterday, Father! It was so nice having a day together without a lot “scheduled” on our plate. What a blessing to have time to just enjoy each other’s company. Thank You for the wonderful gift!

Revelation 2:7 (<<click green)

Reading ahead just a bit, Lord, I never realized that each of the seven churches is promised a gift if they are victorious in standing with You. (It is totally awesome how regardless of how many times we read and hear Your Word that there is always something that we can learn! Great is [Your] faithfulness; [Your] mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23)

The gift extended to the Ephesians (and to us!) is “fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.” Of course, the “tree of life” stood in the Garden of Eden at the very beginning but when we chose to disobey – to sin – we forfeited that gift of living forever in Your presence. But when we repent of our sin and accept another marvelous gift from Your hand – salvation and the forgiveness of our sin! – we will once again be able to partake of “fruit from the tree of life”.

Lord, it just baffles me that people avoid a relationship with You. We have in our very small view of things that You are a cosmic killjoy, that all that You want to do is to burden us down with an impossible list of rules and regulations. We just want to have “fun” and You just want to take that away.

But in reality that is a total bald-faced lie! You alone are the source of true joy and fulfillment. Everything we cling to in this world will only let us down – it will leave us, it will fall apart, it the long run it will only bring tears and sorrow. But not You, Lord!

I love the way the Amplified Bible translates James 1:17,

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].”

Lord, may we accept all the wonderful gifts from Your bounteous provision! Amen.

June 30th, Fri, 6:26 am

I Choose Joy

Sleep is heavy in my eyes this morning, Father, despite the cold water in my face. Help me to hear Your words for me this day.

Revelation 1:9 (<<click green)

If I were to ask anyone who has read the New Testament to any degree to give me a description of the Apostle John, I doubt anyone would describe him as dour, grumpy or melancholy. He most certainly would not be labeled with an Eeyore personality.

Even when I read today’s passage, Lord, I don’t see discouragement or anxiety – there is no doom and gloom mentality. Though I see the words “suffering” and “endurance” and “exiled”, in my mind’s eye I see a man of joy, determination, and love. The “disciple who Jesus loved” is much like his Master. His attitude toward life remains consistent regardless of his circumstances.

John was no more perfect that I am but at this point in his life – and he was probably in his 90’s – he had experienced enough of the ups and downs of life that there is no pretense. He is who he is – a man at peace with himself, his world and his Lord.

I pray, Lord, that I am like John – at least a good part of the time. I have never been imprisoned (Acts 4) or placed in exile but we all have our trials. I do lose my cool on occasion. I ponder my lot in life and wonder if it will ever change. Overall, I am content with wherever I find myself. But one thing I most definitely can attest to – this joy is not a natural response to my life and circumstances. My joy – as John’s – is found in my relationship with You, Lord.

The chorus of an old hymn comes to mind,

There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus.
Joy that throbs within my heart

Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart.

May I ever draw upon Your power, Lord. Amen.

June 13th, Tues, 6:34 am

I Refuse to Blame God

Though last night was a little rough, Father, I was grateful that You were by my side. It is reassuring to have You in my thoughts at any time, day or night. I am glad You are my comforter.

In the past twelve days, four men in my life have died – three from my churches and one from my family. On top of that, I have two uncles recovering from strokes. It has been difficult, but one thing I refuse to do is to blame God for it.

If anything sin is to blame. God created us and this world to be perfect, clean, and holy. And we soiled this holy perfection by inviting sin into the picture. We can’t just blame Adam either. Throughout the thousands of years of man’s existence, all of humanity – men, women, boys and girls – we have all perpetuated sin in each of our lives. Sin is at the core of all of our heartache and disease.

Personally, we should be grateful towards God. How many prayers have been answered that have prolonged life giving us another day…another month…another year? How many minds has God gifted with the ability to think through seemingly insurmountable problems of disease and illness? Medical advancements in my lifetime alone are absolutely amazing!

How many times has everything lined up in such a way that at just the right time physical maladies have intersected with just the right professional who was able to put all the pieces together to find an answer? That is not coincidence – that is providence! It is God’s intervention!

God does love us! He does care! In the midst of the awful storms of life, God is there! He is the rock upon which we can build our lives. And even when our lives come to an end, He is still there. If we have given our lives over to Him, death is not the victor! He has overcome death and we can step across that cold threshold into His loving presence for all of eternity. No more pain. No more tears. No more sorrow. Only everlasting love and joy! Amen!

Apr 26th, Wed, 8:50 am

Love Lustres at Calvary

The last several days, Father, have been very full and the nights have been short. I’m a little later in coming to sit with You this morning but I am grateful that You are with me always. May I hear what you have to say to me today. I am compelled this morning to just read through today’s Puritan Prayer. It is so full. I must read it over and over, allowing it to speak to me – pausing, pondering, processing – reading it repeatedly, reflectively. Thank You, Lord, for all You have done and continue to do. I owe all I am and ever will be to You.

LOVE LUSTRES AT CALVARY

My Father,
Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips,
     supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,
     made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified,
     and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
     and infinite punishment was endured.
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
                       cast off that I might be brought in,
                       trodden down as an enemy
                            that I might be welcomed as a friend,
                       surrendered to hell’s worst
                            that I might attain heaven’s best,
                        stripped that I might be clothed,
                        wounded that I might be healed,
                        athirst that I might drink,
                        tormented that I might be comforted,
                        made a shame that I might inherit glory,
                        entered darkness that I might have eternal light.
My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
                         groaned that I might have endless song,
                         endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
                         bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
                         bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
                         experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
                         closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded
                              brightness,
                         expired that I might for ever live.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.

– The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions
Compiled by Arthur Bennett
©
 The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Sept 14th, Wed, 9;14 am

Paradox of Life

Help me get my mind in gear, Father. It’s been running in “low” since getting out of bed. Help me to shift into thoughts of You and what You have for me this day.

James 1:1-4 (<<click here)

My lesson today, Lord, I believe is the upside-down mentality of walking with You. The book of Puritan prayers a dear friend loaned me and this passage has communicated that. A portion of the prayer reads:

Let me find thy light in my darkness,
                        thy life in my death,
                        thy joy in my sorrow,
                        thy grace in my sin,
                        thy riches in my poverty
                        thy glory in my valley.

And then my passage for today reads,

“…when troubles…come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For…when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

The paradox of life with You, Lord, makes no sense to the world. But why follow what the world says makes sense? The world is a mess! I live in it out of necessity but I don’t have to believe how it does. It only yields grief, sorrow, discontent, hatred, strife, and death. All of it is hidden under the glitz and glamor of stuff and shallowness – no thanks!

Following You, though the world deems it odd, yields joy, deep contentment, love, fellowship, and life. Lord, help me to see as You see, to respond as You would respond. May I see life through the filters of Your love.

July 26th, Tue, 6:31 am