I woke up this morning thinking about ...
I then thought of our recent trip to Sierra Leone. Even though I have never seen such poverty physically, it seemed that joy was just waiting around every corner of our trip! I was stunned. People of all ages would gather, pull out instruments, and song, smiles and dance would erupt as people took great pleasure praising Jesus!
My mind then flew over the past years and I started to wonder if I am still a person of joy. Have I become a bit complacent in my everyday @ home zone? Do I live joy? Am I fun to be around? Do I make others smile? How often do I come to Jesus in my day and just worship Him with the passion inside of me? Oh, such good questions to ponder! These are healthy ones.
I know that I find joy when I am with God, when I allow everything else in my world to be still and I turn the eyes of my heart and mind toward Him... and worship. Oh, such love and joy in those moments.
Joy is found in something other than myself. Joy is in community and in knowing the pleasure shared in relationship. Bruce and I have moments of great joy and, in essence, have a joy-full life together. Joy is a heart full of love spilling out its immense warmth and pleasure toward someone else.
In fact, it occurred to me that this is all about others! For example, look at all the fruit of the Spirit an you'll see that community is required. What good is kindness without someone to be kind toward or patience if you never have to wait for anything from someone else? Think of it, gentleness, faithfulness, love, all rely on someone or something other than ourselves. What a gift from the Father, that He would give us resources and fruit from and for community!
That is why we need, I need, to come and be with God in the secret place for it is there that joy is fully experienced. The bonus is that we can come and never worry about offending God with our volume, style, repetitiveness, skill level, or lyrical ingenuity. We will find Him entertained by our heart. His joy will be known.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Since we have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven ... (see Colossians 3:1-4)
I don't know if it's age or just increasing desire. I may be getting tired of the faults in my human nature or I might just be wanting to see some of the people I love, who have gone before me, again ... I'm not sure. All I know, is that the reality of heaven is much stronger today in me. My hunger for it and to see Jesus, grows increasingly. I am so excited for the day that all sin is gone! My heart jumps when I imagine the first time I see God. My breathe is taken away with the thought. I don't know how I'll be able to utter a sound, but I know I will want to :) I'll want to sing something new; something that does not have an ending but simply changes direction as my eyes and my heart envelope the greatness and beauty that I am beholding.
Does this hunger render me useless here on earth? Absolutely NOT! Actually, I find that my heart is stirred so deeply that I am moved out of my self sufficiency and awakened from my sleep. I am compelled by what I hope for. Compelled to taste as much of His presence here and to lead others to Him, to show them the water of life, the fountain of eternity, the healer of souls.
The reality of heaven gives me purpose for earth.
Jesus said to ask God for His kingdom to come, for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So be it, Lord! Until we get to come to you.
(see also 1 Corinthians 15:43-46)
Teach me. Show me the path. Guide me today.
Shine, so I can see where to put my feet. Lord, I am walking in obedience. Give me renewed passion & purpose for You.
May I, like Phinehas, do Your will in this complicated world.
Psalm 106:30-31, Numbers 25
Jesus, You were there in the beginning; fashioning, shaping the world, the generations and me. Thousands of yeas ago (in human terms:) You were planning, strategizing and creating.
May I be struck by Your Majesty!
Jesus, if You were there in the beginning, then you were surely there when perfection fell. You saw the greed & forgetfulness, the shame & nakedness. You saw the cowering to hide as Your holiness drew near in friendship. And you clothed them.
May I know Your love. May I fear Your holiness. May I love like you do.
And Jesus, You watched the generations trust, then forget over and over again. You watched with Your Father as the nations chose to not serve You wholly. You watched Your very own people choose evil over good. And yet, You came to give another chance. To redeem. You gave everything to woo them back. They didn't even know it was You! You suffered humiliation. You took all of our sin... my sin. You sacrificed it with Your body and died.
May I be full of Your grace & mercy toward others.
Then, Jesus, You rose up; back to life. Death could not hold Innocence. You put all my sin to death and came back stronger than ever! You are my King. You have killed my debt. You have given me life without shame.
May I live in it!
May I worship You forever!
May I always remember.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
Please inquire for the word of the LORD today. 1 Kings 22:5