Tag Archives: Joy

Joy in Trials

“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) 

 

 I find so much comfort in this verse. Earlier this week I took a brake from my normal devotions to just take a look at the great promises that the Bible has about suffering, giving thanks and praise to God through everything, and the like. I found such encouragement from the words of the Bible, it is my very strength. As I write this I am pressing on through my current trial of pain in my joints. But I am reminded to count it ALL joy, not just a little bit of joy, not just taking it for what it is or just accepting it. No, it goes far beyond that. It’s taking joy in the fact that the trials God puts in our lives are merely tools for our holiness.

 The tough things are only momentary, even though everyone can tell you they don’t seem that way at the time. They seem hard. We ask God with raised fists, “Are you a fool? I can serve you better with this, I thought it was a gift that was good!” When we should be having the spirit of the author of Laminations, who when faced with the destruction of his beloved city, the death of his people as well as their rebellion, and his own health in a sorry state along with other horrible things, yet he rejoiced in the Lord! He uttered the words, “Therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.””(Lamentations 3:21b-24)

 I am in amazement over what God has already done with the trial of my joint pain. He is teaching me so much through it and I have this deep, deep peace that I am not sure I have ever experienced before. Though my body is falling apart right now my soul is being gently comforted and clothed by the grace and mercy of my King! It’s just wonderful! The joy that you receive when you let go of those trials is so much better than having the trials go away. I am not specifically praying for healing anymore, I am praying that God will do HIS will, not mine and that my will shall be conformed to His perfect one.

 I know that God is using this for my good, to conform me to His holiness, and to make me lacking in nothing. I can’t say too much how great this is. This is true joy, knowing that God is faithful even when it doesn’t look that way, truly knowing that “in faithfulness He afflicted me”. (Psalms 119:75) Words don’t even begin to describe this, I believe that’s because the language of joy is a foreign tongue that is learned as instructed and it’s truly belonging to heaven. Perfect, complete joy will only be found when we are in the wonderful arms of our Savior. He is good and He is faithful!

“Morning by morning I wake up to find
the power and comfort of God’s hand in mine.
Season by season I watch him amazed, in
awe of the mystery of his perfect ways

All I have need of his hand will provide.
He’s always been faithful to me

I can’t remember a trial or a pain he did
not recycle to bring me gain. I can’t
remember one single regret in serving
God only and trusting his hand”

(Sara Groves, He’s Always Been Faithful)

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Hebrews 12 Part Two

“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

This verse was one that I memorized last week for youth group and when I really started meditating on it, I found that it was such a wonderful verse with so much truth, joy, and power.

 

Going back to my previous post, we are running a race, and in that race we are to fix our eyes on Jesus. Without doing so we will stumble and fall just like the apostle Peter when he was walking on water. Christ needs to be at the center of our lives, our “race”, because He is the reason we are running the race. He is the author of all we believe and cling to, so our eyes must be set on Him.

 

I love how it says that He endured the cross because of the joy that was set before Him. He was willing to die the worst death just for the joy of being our Savior and rescuing us from our sins. It’s a wonderful thought! Jesus, the Lord of all things, was willing to come down to earth and live a perfect life, just to end up dying on a Roman cross, because He wanted to be able to be with us. He found joy in reconciling us to God! It’s just so amazing!

 

We have a Savior who founded our faith and perfected it, like the book of Hebrews talks about in concern to the new and old laws. He perfected it by dying a horrid death, and though he despised the shame and torment of it, He found joy in the fact that it would mean that it would save us. He didn’t just stay dead, but rose and is still alive and is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God. If that isn’t something that we should give thanks for I don’t know what is!

 

In the midst of the upcoming Thanksgiving celebrations, keep Jesus as the number one thing that you are thankful for. Because He is our everything and has done more than anyone else could ever do for us. So gives thanks to Jesus, for all that He has done and will continue to do. ~Soli Deo Gloria~

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Own Your Life? (Continued, They Found the Secret)

 Well when I wrote the previous post I thought that I was done. Well obviously not. Let me start with how I decided I had more to add.

 On Sunday there was a small table with some books on it that were to give away outside the church library. They were books that usually looked older and were the ones that weren’t used as much. On that table was a book called They Found the Secret: Twenty Transformed Lives that Revealed a Touch of Eternity. I looked at the back and it had Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, John Bunyan, Oswald Chambers, and D.L. Moody so I decided to take it. I enjoy biographies, even if I already own a ton.

 This book isn’t a normal biography! Not in the least sense. Last night as I read the Introduction and the first chapter that was on Hudson Taylor I was blown away. This book isn’t of what these people did, it isn’t about what their ministry is, it isn’t about how they touched the hearts of the world. It is about their spiritual journeys. How they found the secret of life. What made them such amazing people. Let me share with you a quote from the introduction;

 “Every now and then we come across a life that is radiant, revealing a richness, a warmth, a triumph that intrigues and challenges us… Out of discouragement and defeat they have come into victory. Out of weakness and weariness they have been made strong. Out of ineffectiveness and apparent uselessness they have become efficient and enthusiastic.”

 A huge part of this was focusing solely on Christ. Caring for nothing else other than him. That is how these men and women found the secret. They came to a point in their lives were they could no longer go on without Jesus. They came to a place where they were broken and tempted, hurting and lonely, when they cried out to the Lord to fill them. To take their meager lives and make them so much better.

 Throughout the first chapter I was underlining passages and writing notes in the margins. I was just finding so much truth in this book. This is what I wrote at the bottom of the last page of the chapter:

I must decrease so that he may increase. Only Jesus should matter. I am nothing, he is everything. He is the God of everything, I am dust. I have nothing to offer, he has everything. May my life be exchanged for one far more beautiful. May he fill my every thought. May he give me rest, joy, and a peace that passes all understanding.

 So that is what I took from what I have read of this book so far. I would love you all to read this book too. I think it will be a great encouragement. Another thing I learned is to not judge a book by it’s cover. I really hope that you guys read this book and it will strengthen you all.

In Christ Alone, Nobody <><

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