"I am guiding you in the way of wisdom, and I am leading you on the right path." proverbs 4:11

The Joy of the Lord

Written by:admin
Published on August 18th, 2012 @ 01:09:00 pm , using 838 words, 1276 views

 Psalm 21:1
 For the choir director. A Davidic psalm. LORD, the king finds joy in Your strength. How greatly he rejoices in Your victory!

Nehemiah 8:9-10
Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ? This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.? For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, ?Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.?

 what is the joy of the Lord?  the joy of knowing the the Lord. of being known....by Him.  of having returned from exile, of reading His words?

Hebrews 12 says ?for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross?

angels rejoice when one sinner repents.

from Nehemiah-they have returned, rebuilt the wall, read from His words, grieved.  and Nehemiah says to them, do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.

 the concept of joy eludes me, i?ve been reaching for it ever since i read in John ?no one will be able to take away your joy?; and ?i say these things...so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.?  and then seeing in acts, after being flogged they went out rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for His Name..?  (John 15-17, Acts 5)

 what in the world is it that would overcome the natural emotions associated with having been flogged and replace it with rejoicing?  what did that rejoicing look like?  that joy set before that would enable one to endure the cross, scorning it?s shame? it definately was not happiness.  Neither Jesus nor the disciples would have been happy about what was happenning.  this must be something else. 

 in the case of Nehemiah, the people were grieving after understanding God?s word.  i am thinking, grieving over how short they had fallen?  but Nehemiah tells them not to grieve, that the joy of the Lord is their strength and stronghold.

 strength and stronghold.  Lord i want to get this, really get this at the core of my being. 

 is this preaching the gospel to myself over and over again?  the joy that is the result of having been saved?  Psalm 21 says ?the king shall joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall He rejoice.?  Psalm 28 reads ?the LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults (rejoice exceedingly), and with song I will praise Him.

 sometimes it doesn?t seem like salvation or victory or help has come....but never- is the fact that salvation and victory and help Ultimately and where it matters most-never can this be taken or undone.  is this once again, where the cross not only stills my questions (vs. answers them) but also that the cross is my source of joy that gives strength and is a stronghold.  could it be that once i grasp this-once my heart truly rests in this, i could actually endure being flogged and go out rejoicing?  it seems pretty far-fetched.  but then i remember that last year when i studied the book of Acts, i studied it as the book of Acts of the Holy Spirit, not of the apostles.  so if in fact i should one day face flogging-the Holy Spirit could overcome my heart with rejoicing-using that same Power that raised Jesus from the dead.  but in the mean time-it?s not flogging i face, but rejection.  and misunderstanding, and disappointment.  and fitting in, and letting go, and not belonging, and plywood floors and front yards full of weeds. and children who bicker. and people who want nothing to do with You.  and work that is exhausting.  and fires in the mountains.  and the fact that any proper English writer would use proper grammar and never start a sentence with the word ?and.?  these are small things-can i be faithful even in these small things?  oh how unfaithful i am with these small things.  but the principle does work here.  the joy of the Lord, the joy that He delights in me; that His love will not fail; that there is no condemnation for those in Christ; that He counted me worthy to hang on that cross...even Me!   even tho like a 2 year old i whine about far too much.  my heart can be settled with Nehemiah?s words too.  I rejoice in the Lord, my salvation.  He loves me deeply and has rescued me from the pit.  it is right to grieve over my sin-it is right to let His restoration and forgiveness replace that grief with Joy.   its a process to go thru, not to avoid. 

oh it does bring joy in the depths. 

and i do thank Him in song. 

When i can't.....

Written by:admin
Published on August 11th, 2012 @ 10:44:00 pm , using 599 words, 400 views
Posted in Journal Entry, Prayer

so often what comes from deep within my soul, and echoes inside my head is; "i can?t do this"

solve this problem
parent this child
respond to this situation
answer this question
have this conversation
obey this command

but usually i am right in the middle of this and for some reason i?ve not got what it takes to just walk away.

 and so i?m left with only this;  ?help!?

 today it was parenting.  and i grew frustrated and raised my voice and lectured....ending with a final crescendo; ?UGH!?

 i doubt it was helpful-

 what now. 

 Ann says it well; ? A parent must always self-parent first, self-preach before child teach, because who can bring peace unless they?ve held their own peace?  Christ incarnated in the parent is the only hope of incarnating Christ in the child.? (p.124 One Thousand Gifts)

 i?ve said it this way-every area i am still bound i will pass along.  every area i?ve been freed, i will pass along.  so i?ve engaged with the Spirit on this journey of freedom.  i know my gift to my children is not great parenting methods or wise parenting choices.  no the real gift i offer them and the world is to be healed and made whole.  and then to have healing and wholeness in my marriage.

 sigh...  tho i?ve come so far, there?s still so far to go. 

 and in the meantime-when my girl needs guidance?  when she needs discipline without condemnation?  when she is a girl born from this mother...but not me-she's her own person?  how do i break thru the fogs and the lies and keep her from treading down the same destructive depression path i trod? 

 i don?t.

 i can only point her to the ONE who is real.  the One who knows her deeply.  the One who declared her worth-with His own life.  i can only PRAY that His Word would break thru and His declaration of her worth and who she is would overshadow all the other messages the world and even her own mother sometimes give her.    

 and i can say ?i?m sorry? and hug her a lot......a lot...much more than i currently do. 

 and keep crying out for help.  For He who promised is faithful and He delights in my seeking His help and He delights in helping me. 

 ~~~~~~~...~~~~~~~...~~~~~~~~~...~~~~~~~~...~~~~~~~

 i used to think this rumbling message from deep within ?i can?t do this? was an indication that i was not growing or maturing in Christ.  before i met Christ i felt it was weakness, just like i believed tears were for only the weak.  i used to think that the strong didn?t feel.  the strong were able to do anything, because they weren?t bogged down by feeling.  lies, all lies.  oh the courage it takes to feel!  the courage it takes to be helpless!  the courage it takes to cry!  i have begun to see; the more i know deeply ?i can?t do this,? the more mature i become.  because He?s not asking me to be strong enough.  Paul figured that out.  when i am given the glimpse into something that is working-something that worked,  i know from that same deep place- ?i didn?t do this!

 ~~~~~~~...~~~~~~~...~~~~~~~~~...~~~~~~~~...~~~~~~~

The storm has passed for the moment.  You have calmed my heart and reminded me of truth.  Please i plead, do that for my sweet girl.  gather her in your arms and hold her close to Your heart.....and please,  gently lead these sheep of yours-including me.

 ?He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.?

What stills my heart when questions abound....

Written by:admin
Published on July 27th, 2012 @ 12:49:00 pm , using 808 words, 593 views
Posted in Journal Entry, Settling

7-27-12

Delight:
noun
 a high degree of gratification : joy; also : extreme satisfaction
  archaic : the power of affording pleasure
verb
to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly:

psalm 147:11
The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.  (niv 1984)

He is extremely satisfied with me when i fear Him (i am still trying to understand what it is to fear the Lord-thoughts on that another time.) and put my hope in His love to not fail

 i can do that!  This hope-it?s an anchor to my soul

His love will not fail-He keeps all His promises-but the one that matters the most, the one that settles my heart ALWAYS-is the promise of His love.  His love that WILL NOT FAIL. 

 sigh.  big sigh.

 Last year i studied the book of Isaiah through Bible Study Fellowship.  Right in the beginning the Lord says to Israel?

 Oh sinful nation,
people weighed down with iniquity,
brood of evildoers,
depraved children!
They have abandoned the Lord;
they have despised the Holy One of Israel;
they have turned their backs on Him.

Why do you want more beatings?
Why do you keep on rebelling?
The whole head is hurt,
and the whole heart is sick.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
no spot is uninjured ?
Only wounds, welts, and festering sores
not cleansed, bandaged,
or soothed with oil.

 Cleansing, bandaged, soothed with oil-those words almost shouted at me.  What is it that cleanses, bandages, and soothes the very wounds of my heart-and there are so many?  What was it that kept me away from the Lord all those years ago? -this description in Isaiah so perfectly describes me then.  It really boiled down what i believed about God?s love-or lack thereof-for me.  Seeing God?s character thru my circumstances, rather than seeing my circumstances thru God?s character.  i didn?t know His character-i hadn?t read the Bible.  i didn?t want to know.  i knew my circumstances full well.   i concluded wrong things about the God of the Universe. 

 It is interesting to me-the more i grasp the depths of my depravity-the more i grasp the depths of His love for me-love that cannot be caused to fail by those very depraved depths.

 There is this amazing book written by Amy Carmichael called Rose from Brier.  Chapter 37-?Thy Calvery Stills all our Questions? is my favorite.  She says; ?There is only one place where we can receive, not an answer to our question, but peace?that place is Calvary.  An hour at the foot of the Cross steadies the soul as nothing else can.  ?O Christ beloved Thy Calvary stills all our questions.?  Love that loves like that can be trusted about this.?

 Psalm 37 extols me to TRUST......COMMITT.....REST.  But often that first step would elude me.  Now-as i begin to grasp-to really grasp His love i can move on to committing, and arrive finally at the resting.  It always begins with a remembering of His love-and sometimes it?s other things He does that prove it to me-an answered prayer, a favorable circumstance (tho these can be deceiving), yet always when there is no other evidence that i can see-Amy is right-an hour spent at the foot of the cross  stills me.  That is the proof that can not be thwarted.  That is the anchor of my hope. 

and this is what delights my Father-what brings Him immense satisfaction!  That i anchor myself in His love! In real belief that it will not fail, that it has not failed!  It was the solution-that cleansing, soothing solution for Israel in Isaiah?s day-and it continues to be the solution for me.

 By this hope,  i delight the ONE who loves me.  i have power to afford Him pleasure by trusting in His love.  that floors me.  i know how far i fall daily, how disappointing a daughter i can be.  but it?s trusting in His love that delights Him. 

 amazing

 life changing

 soul stilling

TRUTH from His Word.

 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend (have power to grasp-niv) with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God?s love, 19 and to know the Messiah?s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us? 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.   (Ephesians 3 HCSB)

climbing for Higher Ground

Written by:admin
Published on July 17th, 2012 @ 03:47:00 pm , using 720 words, 795 views

i?ve read Crazy Love by Francis Chan

isaiah 58 is our family ?motto?

yesterday i read Ann?s words on the middle ground

 i think of living cross-cultural.  many write about it. 

 when i read of those who live other places and what they deal with having their hearts spread accross cultures, as aliens and foreigners, i relate. to some of them i really relate.

 but i still live here in N. America. in the town my husband grew up in.  where my children are growing up.

 and i feel like i am fighting the middle ground constantly. 

 feel like some days i just want to fit somewhere.  belong somewhere.  settle somewhere.   to pick a community and live out my days quietly.  somewhere with more than 1 bathroom for this family of 5. 

 yet other days i feel guilty for even that 1 bathroom.

 already too radical, too challenging, too out there,  too much....  yet really not enough.

 how to live out the gospel-without creating a ?new? gospel from what i?m living out?

 how to keep these things a by-product of my seeking His kingdom, not the means of seeking His kingdom?

 i?ve been learning of balance for quite some time now.  keeping things in balance-out of balance being unhealthy.  there is truth there.  to help too much is usually to hurt instead of actually help.  eating too much/eating too little.  exercising too much/exercising too little.  but this balance mantra-it has some paradoxes.  and some exceptions.  the discernment to know what those are-i lack and am learning.

 to be an inconsistent mentor/sponsor-can be more damaging than not at all.  sometimes it feels like we?ve taken on more than we can be faithful with.  it?s not the money-its the pouring out of our hearts.  the writing letters.  we are failing and failing and failing.  but yet-we continue with other activities-we make time for other things.  why is there always time for these other things?

 You, LORD, have said-if we follow You- The Light of the world-we will not walk in darkness.  are we following close?  have we drifted behind and the light has dimmed?  how do we return?  and how do i discern the difference between laziness and rest given?  wasting time and down time?  what really is needed?  how do i hear the answers from you and not from my culture?  when have i poured out without being filled up and for the wrong reasons?

 You, LORD, have said-You will show me the path of life. 

yes Uganda changed me- but not like Isaiah 58 has.  its still a struggle to understand how to live these changes out. and what it means for today.

 For today when i am sick with a cold and my children are struggling to love eachother, and friends are cleaning up charred remains of burnt houses, and others? marriages are falling apart, and people in Haiti are suffering.....

 today-what do i do with today? 

 i am so far away from all of them.  all there is to do today is to pray for them. 

 and so i pray.  i pray for comfort and help from You for my friends with the burnt houses, failing marriages, and sufferings in Haiti among other places.   and i receive a call about a detail you worked out-help and comfort You provided!  Specific and real answer to my prayer.  it didn?t come from me...the help and comfort, it came from the One who is the BEST Help, the Perfect comforter.  and all i can do is praise You for Your encouragement to me that prayer is something.  Prayer was a gift given and You were the gift received-to both the prayer and the one prayed for.

 till the other type of work can be done-i rest in Your encouragement, i take delight in the successes You give, and i trust Your Spirit?s work to lead and guide me away from the middle ground to the higher ground of Your presence and the fullness of joy promised there.  the Higher ground of the path You trod for me.  following close so that Your Light shines clearly.  thank you that for today-Your Light shone brightly that You are here- even here- working.

 Hallelujah! Grace upon Grace upon Grace.

 ?You reveal the path of life to me (of Isaiah 58, of crazy love); in Your presence is abundant Joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.?  Psalm 16

Finding my Place

Written by:admin
Published on July 9th, 2012 @ 02:53:00 pm , using 395 words, 416 views

a difficult call.  the brokenness and complexity of these relationships is beyond me.  i have no idea, i know no conclusions. 

 what they see here is Jesus.  in this place i call home-Jesus lives.  but He is not the answer that they want.  they want what i have.....what i have is Jesus-they don?t want Him. 

 in the midst of it i try to find my place.  when that is too hard i escape into another?s story-i can find my place in someone else?s story.  just not in my own.

 then the song comes-from deep within my soul-playing over and over in my head...just the chorus:

?Tell me, once again, who i am to You, who i am to You.  Tell me, lest i forget, who i am to You,
               i.  Belong.  To.  You.?  (Jason Gray)

This is the question i'm asking...who i am-where is my place.  Jesus invites me to ask Him...to listen to His answer. 

i search it out to hear the whole thing....this line speaks deeply: 
              ?if  i?m Your beloved, Lord help me believe it.?

 i glance on my wall and this line speaks deeply:
               ?Looking away from all that will distract... to Jesus?

 i open my journal and this quote speaks deeply:
               ?Joy is the heart?s harmonious response to the Lord?s song of Love.? ?A.W.Tozer

 just the other day i had written in my journal:  ?This day with ........ and all my questions and sorrow, what my heart desires most, beyond Your dealing with......or ........?s salvation- 
                  my hearts desire is to know You in such a way that no one can take away my joy.?

 This search for joy  i?ve been on that Jesus described in John-i?ll write about that one of these days.  it is the story behind the name of this blog.

 but for today
just for today

 this heart that broke and ached and shouted in frustration and confusion.  this heart fully aware of it?s blasphemies past and present.  this heart has been rested with the truth of who i am to YOU, my Jesus. 

 it is a road that is less traveled on i suppose, but it does make all the difference.  Lord help me believe it.... in an hour from now,  when i've forgotten so quiclky.  Remind me again. 

 i am Your Beloved. 

 that is my place in this world....in these relationships.  just Your Beloved-and that is all.  i am learning to let that be enough.

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