Monday, January 30, 2012

God's Masterpiece

When you hear the word


....what do you think of?

Do you think of a portrait painted by a renowned artist?

Starry Night, by Vincent VanGogh

A famous statue chiseled by a well-known sculptor?

The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin

Or how about an incredible piece of music created by a celebrated composer?

The Hallelujah Chorus, by George Frideric Handel
This past Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon about who God wants us to be and how He sees us.  He referenced Ephesians 2:10:

'For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.'

As someone who has spent WAY too much time over the years comparing myself to other people and my circumstances to theirs, and has come up wanting each time, I'd like to share  a bit of what I took away from my pastor's sermon. I know there's someone out there in the blogosphere besides myself who needs to be reminded of these truths -- or perhaps needs to hear them and learn them for the very first time. 

When we don't accept who we are, or what we have, or our situation, we become depressed, dissatisfied, discontent.   But really -- who are we?

We are God's workmanship.  Some Bible translations say 'God's creation' or 'God's handiwork.' But the New Living Translation says it this way: 'We are God's masterpiece.' 

The word 'workmanship' in our English language is translated 'poemia' in Greek, which is where we get the word 'poem.'   So literally speaking, we are God's poem, a poetic statement, written by God.  

Think about that in regards to yourself.  Get up from the computer, go find a mirror and take a look at yourself as you think, you say aloud: "I am God's masterpiece; a poem, written by Him."  Let that truth sink in for a few moments.

You are a unique individual, created by the Lord God; special, set apart for Him.  You were created in the image of God (check out Genesis 1:27).  He took time to form you, to knit you like a beautiful piece of tapestry, in your mother's womb.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth." ~ Psalm 139: 13-15, NIV

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born, I separated and set you apart, consecrating you;" ~ Jeremiah 1:5, AMP

God knew exactly how He wanted you to look:

*your height

*your skin, eye and hair color

*your birthmarks, beauty marks, freckles

*the shape of your face, nose, lips, eyes and ears

God knew exactly how He wanted you to sound:

*the tone of your speaking voice

*the timbre of your singing voice

*the lilt of your laughter

Listen -- stop trying to be somebody else.  Somebody you aren't.  Because you CAN NEVER BE who you're supposed to be if you waste your time and your life trying to be someone God didn't create you to be.  

God created you to be you.  

He didn't create you to preach like Billy Graham or Francis Chan or Tony Evans.

He didn't create you to write like Max Lucado or Neta Jackson or Priscilla Shirer.

He didn't create you to hit high notes like Mariah Carey or play the guitar like B.B. King or dance like Gene Kelly.

God created YOU to be YOU!

Are you getting the picture now? No pun intended.  But seriously, please don't look at yourself and merely see someone who is unattractive or who doesn't measure up with the perfect, popular crowd.  Don't keep reminding yourself of the poor choices you made ten years ago, or the mistakes you made yesterday.  Please STOP right now.  Because this is not -- repeat, IS NOT -- how God sees you when He looks at you.  

You are a beautiful tapestry, woven and spun by the Master Weaver -- carefully, intentionally.

You are a magnificent vessel, formed by The Potter's hands -- lovingly, tenderly.

You are a glorious poetic symphony, created by the Consummate Composer, sung by the Sacred Psalmist -- joyfully, passionately.

YOU are a masterpiece.

God's Masterpiece!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Worship Song Sunday -- King of Glory, by Third Day

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is He, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty --
He is the King of glory. ~ Psalm 24:8-10

King of Glory, by Leslie Young Marks
Glory.  We talk and sing a lot about glory. 

God's glory. 

I've often heard, during worship songs and during sermons, God's people calling out, 'Glory, glory!' Lately, it seems as if God has been pointing me to particular Scripture verses that speak of His glory, like the one I've referenced above.  But what exactly is it? 

I'm certainly no Bible scholar or theologian, so I did a little research and came away with this from Christian preacher and author, John Piper:  "I believe the glory of God is the going public of His infinite worth.  I define the holiness of God as the infinite value of God, the infinite, intrinsic worth of God.  God's glory is the radiance of His holiness."

When we glorify God, we are publically announcing and pointing out to everyone in our sphere of influence the shining light of His glory, radiating from Him:  His incredible awesomeness, His perfect holiness, His breathtaking majesty, His amazing love, His overwhelming strength and power.  It's Who He is.  He is the King of Glory.  There is NO ONE ELSE like Him.  Let's worship our King!

Who is this King of Glory, 
With strength and majesty?
And wisdom beyond measure,
The gracious King of Kings;
The Lord of Earth and Heaven,
The Creator of all things;
Who is this King of Glory,
He's everything to me!

His Name is Jesus
Precious Jesus;
The Lord Almighty
The King of my heart
The King of Glory

(please note: for some reason when you click on the arrow to view this particular video, a message comes up informing you that the content of it is restricted from certain sites -- obviously this blog site.  Just click on the link that says 'Watch on YouTube' and it'll take you to the video. My apologies for the slight inconvenience/annoyance.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

For God So Loved The World

John 3:16.

It's the most well known and most quoted verse in the Bible and, according to good old Wikipedia, it has been called 'the Gospel in a nutshell.'  

Pastors preach sermons on it.

Kids learn to recite it in Sunday School, AWANA and Vacation Bible School.

The trendy fashion store, Forever 21, has it printed on the bottom of their bags.

Now, how cool is THIS??

People have written songs, books and Bible studies about it. 

Concert merchandise tables sell apparel, jewelry and key chains proclaiming it.

Fans at sports events hold up signs displaying it.

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow even referenced it beneath his eyes during the 2009 BCS Championship game.

Wow! Now THAT'S pretty extreme, don't you think?

But that love -- God's Love -- for us is even more extreme.  So much more than we can even fathom.

And yet, for all the times we've heard it/memorized it/recited it/shared it, we could very easily gloss right over the extreme, intense and awesome love of God that this 26 word sentence declares.  

But let's not do that.  Ever.

'For God so loved the world, that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

It's so beautiful in its simplicity.

It's breathtaking in its awesome truth.

Yesterday, I came across this video put out by Focus On The Family and was so touched and delighted by it, I just had to share it here.

And yup -- I'm in total agreement with the little girl at the end of it, who breathlessly speaks one single word:


Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Escape

Lying still
Eyes shut tight
like shutters closed
and curtains drawn
across the windows to her soul

You pass on by
With a cursory glance
But cannot see
The pain

Her pain


So small a girl
All alone
in the dark

Now mouthing a silent prayer
while making her way slowly


crawling across the cold, stone floor
of her broken heart and mind

Frantically feeling for
the door

The door to the wardrobe
The door that leads
to her escape

The door that leads

And with her last ounce of strength, she

And victoriously steps through
the open doorway

Pushing her way
past the forest
of wooden coat hangers,
dark, stiff woolen coats
and cool, sleek furs

Amidst a hailstorm of moth balls

Running towards the light of her Narnia

Searching for and
crying out to Aslan --

her salvation
her strength
her savior

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Worship Song Sunday -- God Almighty, by Chris Tomlin

Today is a new day.  It is a day that God planned for you and I, long before we knew Him and long before we were even born.

Look in the mirror this morning.  You are alive and beautiful, a child of the King.  You are His.

Look out your window and rejoice in the landscape that He has created, whether it is dry, wet or snow covered; whether it is sunny or grey; day time or evening. He created it for you.

Stand outside and breathe in the air, whether warm or cold.  Listen to the sounds or just enjoy the peaceful silence.  He is speaking to you in all of that.

Today, let's thank Him and praise Him and worship HIM and Him alone, not just for all He's done for us, but for Who He is. 

Jehovah Jireh
Jehovah Nissi
Jehovah Shalom
El Roi
The Holy One

El Shaddai -- God Almighty

Friday, January 20, 2012


For I am already about to be sacrificed [my life is about to be poured out as a drink offering]; the time of my [spirit's] release [from the body] is at hand and I will soon go free. ~ 2 Timothy 4:6, AMP

Yesterday, I attended the going home service of my beautiful friend, Daveida Wallace, joining together with several hundred other people, to bid her farewell. 

It's been my honor, privilege and delight to be a part of Daveida's life -- not only to have been her friend and to have loved and served her, but to have been loved and served by her. This woman made such an impact on my life and the lives of so many others.  We had only met back in September of 2010, but I felt like I had known her my whole life.  

At the time, neither of us had a clue as to just how entwined our lives would become.   

Daveida was a mother of three, a woman who had been battling breast cancer for some time; she was in pain, exhausted and had been told by her doctors that she'd be lucky if she made it to October.  She was simply looking for help with meals to give her overwhelmed family members a break when she reached out to our pastor for help, who in turn, shared her story and request with my friend Michelle and I, both of us being breast cancer survivors ourselves.  

Daveida told us later she had no great expectations of anything other than a few weeks worth of meals, and perhaps the pastor stopping by once or twice to pray and share some Scripture with her.  She never expected two survivors to come her way and wind up as friends. 

Michelle and I had similar non-expectations.  Even though we'd survived our own cancer journeys, that Saturday morning in September we showed up on Daveida's doorstep, we really weren't sure WHAT to expect as we eyed up the "No Smoking--Oxygen In Use" sign attached to the front door.  I remember the both of us taking a collective breath as we got ready to knock on her door, as if we were preparing to dive into unchartered waters. 

When the door opened, we were greeted by a waif of a woman with barely-there hair, and huge sunken eyes, lugging an oxygen tank behind her. We had to strain to hear her breathless voice as she welcomed us into her home, shared her story, and just before we were ready to go, whispered a prayer over US!

Later that day, though, feeling SO overwhelmed by her many needs, Michelle and I realized something.  We felt -- beyond blessed!!  How was THAT even possible? 

We went to be a blessing to Daveida, but walked away having the tables turned on us. 

Every time we met with her, it was like that. Not just for us, but for everyone else who came to know her in the weeks and months that followed.  Because, thanks be to God, October came and went and our delightful new friend remained among us, defying the doctors dire predictions! (That's our beautiful Dee in the middle, top row!)

Daveida wrote to me once that we'd be sisters forever.  And that will not change just because she has left this world. In fact, I feel an even more special, sisterly connection to her because she passed away on my birthday.  No, I am not angry, hurt, upset by that fact. Because I know that Daveida's with her Savior, Jesus Christ.  She is FREE -- free from all hurt, pain, discouragement, sorrow, disease.  And that is something to celebrate.  Her birth into new life!

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that  is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands.  We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.  For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.  While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us.  Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, NLT

The soul of this precious woman left her body last Thursday evening and headed for her new home -- her home with Jesus.  However, Daveida didn't just leave behind a weary body. She didn't just leave behind a grieving group of family and friends.  She didn't just leave behind memories of brighter, happier, healthier days. No, she left behind much more than that.  

Daveida Wallace left behind a legacy.  

A legacy of love and service to others in need.  A legacy of perseverance and strength in the midst of pain and suffering.  A legacy of encouragement and hope, comfort and joy.   And she didn't leave it laying by the wayside for all of us to look at or comment on or weep over. 

Absolutely NOT!  This woman of faith left behind a legacy for all of us to grab a piece of and run with.  Just like she did.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ~ 2 Timothy 4:7, NIV

As hard as this seems and as much as it hurts for us who loved her dearly, we are called to carry on Daveida's legacy. Pressing on.  Moving forward.  Leaning on our Lord Jesus Christ all the way, following in His steps, like she did.  And we are to lean on one another as well.

Daveida didn't look at life as something to 'get through,' but as a gift to be enjoyed, savored and shared.  

She was pleased and content to be a humble, obedient servant of the Lord, avoiding the limelight and applause, choosing instead to work behind the scenes.  My friend wasn't looking for acknowledgement or accolades or other people's approval.  She was simply doing what every humble, obedient servant of the Lord and child of the Most High God does: shining her light of love in the dark places of this world. 

Last week, Daveida's light was gently, quietly extinguished by her Father God.  

But not before He made sure each one of us who knew her and loved her were touched by that light and have added a portion of her flame to our own that burns for Jesus.  To make our flames that much brighter as we also shine our lights in the dark places of this world. 

May my sister's legacy continue on in all of us.  

Daveida Wallace:
Daughter of the King
Good and Faithful Servant

I will miss you so much, dear sweet friend.  Sisters forever!!

Until we meet again.................  

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?  Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy ~ Legacy, by Nicole Nordeman

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In The Blink Of An Eye

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. ~ James 4:14 

Many years ago, I used to keep a sign at my workstation that read, 'Life is unpredictable.  Eat dessert first.'   I got loads of comments and lots of chuckles about that statement, but it is so true. Life can change in the blink of an eye.

Last week, I wrote  “A Different Kind of Sunday,” highlighting the song ‘Our God Is Able’ for my Worship Song Sunday post.  I wrote it after a day spent with my sweet friend and sister, Daveida, who once again found herself in a major, painful battle with cancer.   I penned these very words that day:

But my sweet friend and sister-in-Christ KNOWS that Our God is able.

Yes, oh YES she knows this!!

Able to heal.  Able to strengthen.  Able to comfort. Able to deliver. Able to redeem. Able to transform.  Able to raise the dead to life.  Able to make a way when there seems to be NO WAY. 

Able to do IMPOSSIBLE things. 

She knows God won't fail her.  She knows God won't leave her or forsake her.  She knows God loves her.

Daveida believed those truths for her life with her whole heart, mind, soul and strength.  Those of us who loved her dearly were in agreement with her and continually reminded her of and encouraged her with those truths.

I consider this Sunday a different kind of Sunday also because today, Daveida is no longer with us.  As her mother told me this past Thursday night, “She’s left us.”  Yes, my friend passed away.  Today, she is in the arms of her beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ, while our arms -- and our hearts -- are now empty. 

Right up until the end, all of us, Daveida included, believed that God was going to do a mighty, supernatural work and heal her…totally and completely….bringing all glory and honor to Him, because the doctors had given up, saying there was nothing more that they could do for her.  Several strong and faithful people of prayer, none of whom knew one another at the time (and two who didn’t even know Daveida at all, but who had been asked to pray for her by friends), had clearly heard God speak to their spirit and tell them, ‘this will not end in death for her.’  

We didn’t know how or when healing would come.  But we all trusted and believed, and thanked God for how He was going to bring this all about.   Last Saturday when several of us went to visit her, and she rocked back and forth in pain in her living room, we continued to trust and believe with thankfulness that this would not end in death for her.  Three days later, this past Tuesday night, when I stopped by Daveida’s home to hang out with her for awhile and she seemed so much better,  I continued to trust and believe with thankfulness that this would not end in death for her.  We made plans for me to stop by the next morning to make her breakfast.  

Wednesday morning, when Daveida called me to cancel breakfast, telling me that she could no longer stand the pain and was having her son drive her to the ER;  and on my way to the hospital, when I made the phone call to several friends to spread the word to pray pray PRAY for Daveida; and when she slipped into a coma later in the day after being taken for a CT scan of her lungs to check for blood clots; and as so many of us gathered together with her family in the ER's tiny waiting area, we continued to trust and believe with thankfulness that God was going to heal our girl and that this would not end in death for her.    

When we got word later that she was awake, and lucid, and cracking jokes, WE REJOICED!!!!! And we continued to trust and believe with thankfulness that this would not end in death for her. That night, Daveida held court in the ER while she waited for the staff to find a room for her, listening to praise music on a friend’s iTouch, talking and laughing and enjoying the revolving door of company in the form of family and friends that she received (oh, we all broke SO MANY hospital rules).  We all thanked and praised God, joyfully sending out messages to those who could not come, but who were diligently praying at home or at church, that once again, God had rescued our dear Daveida (as He had done almost a year and a half ago).  And we all continued to trust and believe with thankfulness that this would not end in death for her. 

Thursday afternoon, I stopped by the hospital to visit with Daveida.  She looked as if she had slipped back into a coma, although her family said she was just asleep from the pain meds she'd been given.  Just before I left, she sat straight up in bed, struggling to breathe and acting as if she had to throw up.  Her eyes reflected so much pain, and she looked so disoriented, it hurt to look at her.  I kept repeating to myself, “Lord, I trust You.  You said You were going to heal her and I believe You will.”   I leaned over to Daveida, took her face in my hands and spoke words of encouragement to her.  I told her to hang on, that the Lord was going to bring her through this, as He had promised.   I told her I loved her.  I saw a bit of recognition in her eyes.  And a bit of hope, struggling to stand firm.  I kissed her and said that I would see her tomorrow. I walked away, fully believing that I would. 

But then -- life changed, in the blink of an eye.

That night, my family took me out to dinner for my birthday.  We switched cars and I inadvertently left my cell phone in the other one.  I didn’t even realize I was without it until I got home.  After much searching, I remembered it was in my car, and ran out to get it.  What I saw when I checked it made my dinner want to come rushing right out of my stomach.  There’s a horror movie called ‘1 Missed Call.’  Well, I felt as if I were starring in my own horror movie as I read the words '8 Missed Calls' on my phone’s screen, most of them coming from Daveida’s mom and sister, as well as two other mutual friends.   I didn’t wait to hear the messages, but called back her mom, who shared that her daughter was gone.  

Like a mist, Daveida appeared for a little time on this earth….and then vanished. 

Three days later, I am still reeling from the news.  I’m still in a state of shock.  I’m doing all the normal, day-to-day things -- running errands, cooking, doing laundry, taking my daughter and her friend to the mall -- but I feel like I’m moving in a dream. A very bad dream.

So what happened?  As the four of us who were closest to Daveida came together to comfort her family and each other, this is the question we kept asking and continue asking.  We are not shaking our fists in anger and raging at God.  But we are shaking our heads.  We’re confused.  We’re hurt.  What happened here?  Did those people who said they heard  that this would not end in death for Daveida  hear incorrectly from God?  Did we all misunderstand Him?  Some have said that yes, God did indeed heal Daveida completely.  She was so tired and in so much pain, He could no longer bear to watch His daughter suffer so.  So He called her home to heal her there.  

In some way, I can understand this reasoning.  But how do you explain that to the shy 11 year old boy who is grieving for his mother and internalizing his pain? How do you explain that to the 15 year old woman child who now not only has to raise her own 7 month old baby but her younger brother as well, all while attending high school, without the benefit of her mother’s guidance, encouragement and support?  How do you explain that to the 19 year old young man who promised his mother he would continue on with college NO MATTER WHAT, and is struggling now to keep that promise, as he wonders where and with whom will his two younger siblings reside?

Our faith, hope and trust is anchored in Jesus Christ.  But at the moment, all three of these things are being sorely tested in myself and many others.  We remain hurt and confused.  We are looking to our Lord for strength, for comfort, for peace.  We know that His ways are not our ways, and that our thoughts are not His thoughts.  We are not doubting His Sovereignty. But like David did in so many of the psalms, we are crying out to the Lord, looking to Him for answers. 

I will miss my beautiful friend Daveida.  The one year and four months since we met truly felt like it passed in the blink of an eye.  But in that blink, she taught me so much: quiet dignity in spite of pain and suffering; total dependence on God for EVERYTHING; trust in Him in the midst of the darkest possible storms; endurance and perseverance despite heavy burdens and challenges.  She gave me so much: love, support, hope, encouragement, wise counsel, laughter.  Hers was a well lived life.  And she was a woman much loved.

I’d like to ask a favor of those of you who have stopped by to read this post:

Would you please share your comments on this story?  What do you think and how do you feel about what I’ve shared here?  Have you ever experienced anything like this, confused over the possibility of misunderstanding God’s message to you, or wondering if you had really even heard from Him at all?

I’d really appreciate hearing from you.  Thank you, dear ones!

Teach me to number my days 
And count every moment before it slips away 
Take in all the colors before they fade to gray 
I don't want to miss even just a second more of this 

It happens in a blink 
It happens in a flash 
It happens in the time it takes to look back 
I try to hold on tight, but there's no stopping time 
What is it I've done with my life?
It happens in a blink ~ Blink, by Revive

Worship Song Sunday -- Open Skies, by David Crowder Band

Praise Him under open skies

Everything breathing praising God

In the company of all who love the King

I will dance 

I will sing

It could be heavenly

Turn the music loud, lift my voice and shout

From where I am

From where I've been

He's been there with me
He's built a monument

His very people
So let his people
Sing, sing, sing!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Different Sort of Sunday - God Is Able, by Smokie Norful

Our God is able.

Do you believe that?  

Then say it with me -- 

"Our God is able."

Yes, oh YES He is!! 

Typically here on Sundays, I post a worship/praise song or a hymn.  But today is a different sort of Sunday for me. Last night I decided to choose a different song; this song, which by most people's standards may not technically be considered a worship and praise song.  I chose it after listening to it earlier in the day while some friends and I sat alongside of a precious sister of ours, who once again, has been asked to make the dark, frightening and arduous journey through cancer.  

This brave woman of God is a single mom with three children.

And Mom-Mom to one beautiful grand baby.  

Chemo no longer works for her.
Radiation is NOT an option.
She cannot go back to work.
She can barely breathe, let alone speak.
She is in intolerable pain.
Her doctor has not called her back yet with any promises of hope and healing.

A hopeless sounding situation to most.  

But my sweet friend and sister-in-Christ KNOWS that

Our God is able.

Yes, oh YES she knows this!!

Able to heal.  Able to strengthen.  Able to comfort. Able to deliver. Able to redeem. Able to transform.  Able to raise the dead to life.  Able to make a way when there seems to be NO WAY. 

Able to do IMPOSSIBLE things. 

She knows God won't fail her.  She knows God won't leave her or forsake her.  She knows God loves her.

With her voice barely able to make it above a choked whisper, this woman -- after several of us had prayed for her -- prayed aloud to Abba.  She questioned Him as to why she has been asked to walk this road again.  Yet -- YET -- she also praised Him and thanked Him for all He has done for her and for her family: His provision, His protection, His healing, His blessings, His mercy, His grace, His love.  She asked Him to strengthen her faith. 

I see her faith as already being incredibly strong.  To be able to thank, praise and worship God in the midst of such a terrific, overwhelming storm.  Well.  I can only hope and pray that should my time come to face a similar challenge, my faith in Jesus will hold steady, unwavering. 

I dedicate this song to my beautiful, brave friend and to the myriad of people, many of whom I am honored to have in my life, who are in a battle of mammoth proportions -- be it physical, relational, spiritual, mental or emotional.  The road may be rocky.  The way may be lonely and scary. The journey may be long and painful. The suffering may be unbearable. Visibility may poor to non-existent.  And faith may seem barely the size of a mustard seed. 

But we serve and love and are held by and loved by and worship






And He won't fail...............

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Three Things

Some time ago, I heard someone on the radio talking about three things you can expect when you are a Christian. While I can’t remember it word for word (old age has definitely set in), here’s the gist of it: 

The three things you can expect to receive as a follower of Christ are: 

∙ fearlessness
∙ joy
∙ constant trouble 

Well, alrighty then.  The first two do indeed sound like some pretty wonderful gifts, don’t they? To be fearless in such a fearful world? Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to be unafraid. “Fear ye not strong and courageous, do not be terrified.” Our fearlessness depends on our ability to put our trust and our faith in God. “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God whose Word I praise; in God I trust, I will not be afraid” (Psalm 56:3,4). 

And joy...who doesn’t want joy? Mentioned 242 times in the Bible, it’s a feeling that comes from deep within our hearts through the Holy Spirit living and at work inside of us (Luke 10:21; Galatians 5:22); is completely independent of our outward circumstances (Habakkuk 3:18; James 1:2) and is often hard to express in words (1 Peter 1:8). Great joy is found in knowing the Lord as our Savior (Isaiah 58:14; Acts 16:34), consuming His word (Jeremiah 15:16; Psalm 119:103) and spending time in His presence (Psalm 16:11). Our joy, like our fearlessness, also depends on our ability to trust in the Lord - “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him” (Romans 15:13). 

But wait just a minute here.  Constant trouble?  You're kidding, right? Who in the world wants to receive THAT??!! That's no gift.....FUGGETABOUTIT!!!  I’ve had my share and more this past year, thanks very much.  You can keep it. Let's keep looking ahead, maybe 2012 will be the Year of the Cakewalk.  

Yeah.....right.  Dream on, dear ones.  Trouble, according to the Bible, is to be our constant companion, a burden we must shoulder as a devoted follower of Christ while we journey upon this earth.  In 1 Peter 4:4, referring to those who do not share our faith in Jesus, it says "they think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you."   Yup.  I can relate to that, can‘t you?

And Jesus said, in John 16:33, in the Amplified Bible, “In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration.”  Ain’t THAT the truth? Trouble is a given, a guarantee.  Our traveling companion in life, though definitely NOT our companion of choice. 

So where does that leave us?  Well,  thankfully, we have this hope to focus on and cling to in the next part of the verse: “but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” 

'Lion of Judah,' by Jeff Haynie

Jesus, our Mighty Warrior and our Hero, has gone before us and made a way for us to follow Him.  Jesus conquered sin and death.  Our troubles are not removed, but He walks with us as both our front and our rear guard; as our Protector and as our Light to guide us safely through our dark and troublesome times. 

Writing this, I’m reminded of a poem I’d heard many, many years ago:

The Prayer of St. Patrick

As we begin this new year, let’s ask our precious Savior to allow us to see these three things as the gifts they truly are --  although that last one might not be the gift we've been hoping for.  Let's pray that this year, we'll hold tightly to God's promises to us and that throughout 2012, we'll remember who we are: sons and daughters of the King; brothers and sisters-in-Christ; fearless prayer warriors of God, beloved  followers filled with joy unspeakable, although constantly surrounded and bombarded by the troubles of this world. 

But -- take heart! Be encouraged! Stand confident and undaunted in our Hope, Jesus Christ, who has overcome and conquered the world for us!

Hail Jesus You're my Lord
I will obey Your Word
I want to see Your kingdom come
Not my will but Yours be done

Glory glory to the Lamb
You take me into the land
We will conquer in Your name
And proclaim that Jesus reigns

Hail hail Lion of Judah
How powerful You are
Hail hail Lion of Judah
How wonderful You are
How wonderful You are ~ Victory Chant, by Nicole C. Mullen
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...