Thursday, August 30, 2007

Living Joyfully

The Bible tells us that God desires that His children experience joy. The book of Psalms is full of passages that speak of God’s heart for His children’s joy. Psalm 16:11 tells us that:

You [God] will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(emphasis mine)

We who know God experience the greatest joy possible because we are able to stand in the presence of God Himself, and as the psalmist wrote, in His “presence is fullness of joy.” Our hearts can’t be truly joyful apart from God.

I often think of God watching over His children and beaming when He sees us experiencing joy. Just as I believe that God’s heart breaks when He sees us in pain, I believe that His heart fills with joy at our joy. I liken it to a parent or grandparent that has given a special gift to a child who is dearly loved. The joy seen in a child’s face is pure and unencumbered, and that joy often creates joy. Think about it: At Christmas, what is one of the most common pictures we see? A bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked child gazing at a decorated tree or at a favorite gift, joy radiating from her face.

I don’t have children of my own, but I have witnessed my many nieces and nephews experience the joy of receiving a wished-for gift, and the joy I’ve seen on their faces is priceless. My heart fills with their joy. I believe that’s what God feels when He sees our joy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jesus Promises Peace

These things I have spoken to you,
that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

There was a time when I really thought the enemy was winning the battle—not just the battle, but the war.

Nothing was going right. My husband and I were trying to have a baby, and nothing. We’d gone to a fertility specialist, and we’d been told that nothing was clinically wrong with either of us. We just had to keep trying. And try we did.

But still nothing.

During this several-year journey, I’d recommitted my life to Jesus, and I knew He was on my side of the battle. I believed that our side would win.

But still nothing.

I was finally diagnosed with likely infertility (that so-called specialist hadn’t dug deeply enough), and the battle changed: I wasn’t fighting to get pregnant, I was fighting for peace.

And that’s when I really felt Jesus on my side. I knew that He promised peace in the midst of tribulation. And I finally remembered that last part of John 16:33. I could be of good cheer because Jesus really has overcome the world.

What battles are you fighting? Are you fighting them alone? Or have you asked Jesus to join you in the battle? More importantly, have you asked Him to give you peace no matter what the outcome? Talk to Him now. Ask Him to reassure you that He really is the victor.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Reason for Hope

I've been in a study of Hosea with a group of ladies at work, and I love the reminders of how faithful God is in spite of our failings.

This week's study ended with a verse that I want to commit to memory:

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

The hope I have in me . . .

Where does my hope come from? It comes from the confidence I have that the Lord God is working in me and through me. It comes from the confidence I have that I'm saved from my sins. It comes from the confidence I have that Jesus walks alongside me every day. And it comes from the confidence I have that one day I'll be in heaven with my Lord.

It's been said that if someone gave you a cure for cancer, wouldn't you share it with everyone you know? How much more should we share the good news of salvation and eternity with Christ?

We do, indeed, have a reason for our hope: Our hope is in our Lord.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Abundant Life

I have a little "treasure box" on my desk, and the verse I see today is John 10:10. This verse tells me that Jesus came to give me life. But it says more than just life. It says life "more abundantly." says that "abundantly" means "well supplied" or "richly supplied."

I like that last definition . . . richly supplied.

It reminds me of another verse. You may be familiar with it. Philippians 4:19 tells me that my God "shall supply all [my] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Notice that it doesn't say all my wants will be supplied. No, God promises that all my needs will be supplied. That's abundant life.

We sometimes get caught up in what society says we "need." We need a certain car. We need a certain home. We need certain clothes.

Guess what? We don't need anything except food, water, something to clothe our bodies (and not what's trendy), and a roof over our heads. That's it.

Oh, and one other need: We need a relationship with our Lord God.

Everything else is just icing.

I'm beginning to learn that abundant life isn't about the stuff. It's about experiencing God. It's about coming to know Him more. It's about seeing how He chooses to bless me.

That's abundant life.