Tag Archives: Joy

A Weekend Word

Because this is too good not to share…

the God of hope

And who doesn’t need to hear this reminder, this encouragement, this TRUTH?

At the end of a weekend … full of many good and rich and wonderful things that in our weak moments threaten to exhaust and overwhelm?

At the beginning of a week … full of work and routine and busy that tempts us to get lost in the mundane?

In the everyday … as we learn to trust Him more one moment at at time?

Trust the faithful God of hope.

Be filled with joy and peace.

So that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit alone.

—–

ps: just for fun, if you happen to love this print as much as I do, check out StudioJRU for this & others!

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Count it All Joy

As soon as I started the car Monday morning, I knew something wasn’t quite right. But it had been raining for two days, and historically, the battery sometimes just needs a little extra time to get warmed up in such conditions.

But as I pulled out of my neighborhood, I realized whatever was wrong wasn’t correcting itself, and it seemed I was at risk of the engine choking out at any moment. So instead of heading to work (because there is little that terrifies me more than the car breaking down on the side of the road. seriously.), I drove the shorter distance to my parents’ house, not able to go more than 40-45 mph. And let’s just not even talk about the car’s distress on hills and at stoplights. Once at my parents’ house, I knew my Mom could drive me to work and my Dad could look at the car after work. (Huge shout out of thanks to both of my parents!)

count it all joy

By mid-morning, safely at work but with the knowledge that I was either facing a new car purchase before I was fully prepared or a likely substantial repair, I knew that the correct response to this situation was something along the lines of James 1:2

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”

And while I was incredibly grateful that I had started the morning in focused prayer, to at least give me a fighting chance to maintain proper perspective … even uttering these very words, “Lord, this day is all yours” … this wasn’t exactly how I would have planned for that prayer to be lived out.

So as I reflected on the right response, to count it all joy, realizing that I was pretty much failing miserably at it, my thoughts shifted towards what this passage wasn’t saying, to hopefully better understand what it was saying.

It wasn’t really saying to find the silver lining that somehow made the circumstance ok.

And it wasn’t really saying to be happy about what just went down.

But it was saying to count it all joy because of what was coming.

“…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
James 1:3-4

Because there is great hope and expectation in what lies ahead after and because of the trial: steadfastness which leads to perfection and completeness.

That’s where the joy is rooted. In the assurance and security of that promise.

It’s letting the worry and concern and circumstances fade in the light of Jesus Christ. It’s moving closer to Him in faith regardless of the trial. It’s knowing and trusting and abiding.

Honestly, even with all of that at the forefront of my heart and mind, I still feel like in many ways I failed. I knew the right response. And my flesh continued to battle with my spirit over it all day.

But at the end of the day, if nothing else, I just know.

I know I’m a day closer, a circumstance closer, to Him.

I know a rest in my soul because I know He’s here in the midst of my car issues and my heart issues.

And for today, maybe that’s enough.

Because He’s enough.

The Victor’s Grip is Greater

Victor's Grip

Some days, the what-ifs and I-don’t-knows of this feel overwhelming. Even a little dark. Like swimming through murky waters just below the surface. I can’t quite see my way out.

Questions of the alternatives hang in the balance.

But maybe I’m supposed to sit with the tension, the conflict, the trial, a little longer. Each day realizing even more that this is out of my hands. It was never really in them anyways.

The facade of control crumbles.

The attempt to manage and maintain fails.

But the message from Sunday’s sermon on James 1 rings loud and clear.

“Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (ESV)

The trustworthy Words of the Lord are light in this darkness.

I can hear Him saying…

Trust Me. Be Steadfast. Rest. Find Joy. Not in your ability, but in Mine.

And I find myself desperately asking for wisdom (my word for this year). Because I just can’t do this on my own. I can’t even fix my gaze on Him without His power, His strength, His presence drawing me in, drawing me near, drawing me deep.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5 (ESV)

The burden to figure-out this life is not mine to bear. There’s really very little to figure-out. He’s already done that. He’s already planned, battled, and won.

The unknown is frightening and fear’s grip can be great, but the victory is secure, and the Victor’s grip is greater.

Joy Unspeakable

joy unspeakable

When my head hit the pillow last night, I immediately thought that what I really needed was a do-over.

But from the crazy bad mood of yesterday that fear would have had me believe was more of a permanent shift not to be easily overcome arose a calm, yet firm, hope and possibility for today, and the opportunity to leave what may have just been a bad day behind and move on.

Turns out the finding of joy in that photo was no mistake.

Only the Lord can answer a prayer for more of His joy and more of His peace that I didn’t even fully appreciate I was praying because the sentences didn’t seem complete enough and the words didn’t seem eloquent enough. Though I most certainly was praying … from a place of greater desperation than I realized.

And then this morning, this:

“For from His [Jesus Christ’s] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

John 1:16 (ESV)

Not exactly a do-over. But joy unspeakable.

Thoughts redirected and a heart full of hopes, possibilities, and dreams.

Deeply felt, but loosely held.

Because they’re better in His hands.

—–

*linking with Emily Freeman for tuesdays unwrapped at chatting at the sky*

Photo of the Week: Forty Seven

photo of the week 47

Another glimpse of Christmas decorations around here…

Somehow, there’s joy hidden in this photo of the week. I don’t know exactly where or why or how. But when I look at it, it makes me smile. Maybe it’s the color or the different perspective or just the opportunity it provides to pause and reflect.

But I know I need more of it. More joy. More peace. More reflection. More perspective. More truth. More of His presence.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)

—–

*linking with Shannan for Money Shot Monday*

Cling to Him

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you…

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips…

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

Psalm 63:1, 3, 5, 8 (ESV)

——

Seek Him. Praise Him. Be satisfied in Him. Cling to Him.

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

I have a bit of a fascination with origins. 

Of anything and everything.

So recently when I was listening to Celtic Woman’s version of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” (which I happen to love), I began to wonder if the standard modern lyrics were original to the piece…or at least an accurate translation of the original lyrics.

Honestly, I wasn’t even certain that the original piece had lyrics…and even if it did, I wasn’t certain of the original language or if Johann Sebastian Bach had written them when he composed the piece or not.

Well, according to Wikipedia (which I’ll agree has its limitations, but sometimes proves quite helpful), the German lyrics to the 10th movement of the cantata in which this song appears (BWV 147) are as follows:

“Jesus bleibet meine Freude,
meines Herzens Trost und Saft,
Jesus wehret allem Leide,
er ist meines Lebens Kraft,
meiner Augen Lust und Sonne,
meiner Seele Schatz und Wonne;
darum laß’ ich Jesum nicht
aus dem Herzen und Gesicht.”

Now, I must confess, I don’t know German, but thanks to Google Translate (among others…), the most literal translation of the above appears to be:

“Jesu, joy,

My heart [comfort] and juice,

Jesus all suffering,

He is my life;

My eyes [desire] and sun,

My precious soul and bliss;

Therefore, I do not let Jesus

From the heart and face.”

Take a moment to reflect on that translation. 

“Jesu…my juice.”  My essence.  My being.  “My life.”

Powerful stuff! 

I don’t know about you, but after spending some time pondering these original lyrics, this song has now taken on a whole new depth of meaning for me and I love it even more!

Especially during this Christmas season, may our hearts and faces never stray from Jesus Christ, our Joy, as our soul rests and rejoices in Him.