Friday, June 24, 2011

Pure Joy?

The following comes from thoughts from my devotional time.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds,

because you know that testing of your faith develops perseverance.

perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,

not lacking anything” James 1:2-4 (NIV)

Lord, I understand the message from James when I keep in mind the end of this passage. Father, at what point do we consider a trial a ‘pure joy’?

As I look back into my history, I find each time I faced a trial; I was busy as I tried to get through the circumstance. Was I wrong when I dealt with the things at hand as I waited for You to bring the issue in front of me to a resolution?

Did I know in my heart You had allowed the situation to come into my life? Or did I secretly grumble about having to step outside my comfort zone? Did I openly gripe to a friend about the fact I had to go through whatever it was? Whatever I did, You heard me.

Once my crisis comes to its end, I realize that I possess a different stance. What might have bothered me prior to the episode has made me see that issue for what it was-a sign of my weakness, a blind spot, or a shortcoming that I needed to deal with.

Each time I learn what God is teaching me and remember it; I find I am better equipped to understand what He wants to do in my life.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, yes, I can look at my trials as His way of instilling maturity in my life when the crisis begins. This outlook has come to me through introspection and experiences He has given me.

The joy will come when I see how He will continue to mould me into the person He wants me to be. I will see these hard times as times of learning and times of growth.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Searching for Joy

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,

and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who

endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow

weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)

From time to time I hear news that tends to get me down. On a recent day, I received two pieces of information that caused my mood meter to take a nosedive.

Two of my friends and their husbands are going through trials involving a health issue that their adult children have to deal with.

At this time I can’t give particulars on these needs because one of those youngish children is still in the discovery stage- nothing definite, just a scary symptom. The other family is dealing with the possibility of their loved one going through a very difficult path of dealing with disease.

Compounding these people’s traumas is the one family has already lost a member to this disease. The mother still has times of grieving for the child lost several years ago. My other friends are already dealing with this disease present in one of the older family members.

I know God is in control and can take care of anything He allows to enter our lives. Sometimes, I forget this and for a while I let the stressor work on me. I can’t do this; it’s not good for my emotional make up. I could get physically ill myself if I would let these issues get to me.

I have to give these trials over to God and let Him handle the situation. I have to study my Bible and pray about the issue and maybe even study a few hymns to find the joy I need to stay on track with Jesus.

Monday, June 20, 2011

God’s Kindnesses Lead to Joy

It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed,

because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV)

As I wrote the following thoughts, I sat in my living room joyful for the cool breeze coming through our living room window. I heard birdsong in the air.

A few days ago,I noticed that the birds’ singing always precedes a bright sunny day. This  morning I realize that the gentle stirring of the breeze and the birdsong are kindnesses from God.

God displays his kindness in many other ways. He answers our prayers, comforts us when we hurt-physically, and emotionally. He guides us through times of doubting and distress. He brings people into our lives to help us see Him in their lives. He forgives us when we do wrong. For all these kindnesses He extends to me, I thank Him with joy in my heart.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...