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The service this morning was opened with a song of Joy. And while we have sung it hundreds of times, the second verse jumped out at me.

“I still have Peace.
I still have Peace.
After all the things I have been through,
I still have Peace.”

Do I still have peace? Just last night I read of Perfect Peace. I was still thinking on it this morning. What is this peace? This Perfect Peace?IMAG0333

The scripture reads “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” Isaiah 26:3-4.

As I reread this passage I realize that it is more than just the people of God speaking of God, but singing of him. This is a song of confidence in God’s provision and care.

Thou, God, will keep him, me, in perfect peace, when I keep my mind on you, when I trust in you. My Trust in the Lord must endure for in the LORD is everlasting strength.

So my trust, utter dependence, reliance, belief in, confidence on God will provide me with perfect peace, In-Gods-Handsnot a little bit of peace or shattered peace or broken peace or incomplete peace, but perfect, whole, complete, enough, abundant peace. Abandoning my life in God’s hands gives me a peace that is all I need.
And that isn’t all we get in return for placing our wants, desires, hurts, pains, questions, ambitions, families, loves, on God, he gives us strength to continue to trust him. This strength is everlasting, not just for today, this hour, this trial, the well won’t run dry. The strength of God that he gives in exchange for trust is EVERLASTING. It is of God, there is no beginning and no end. It is eternal strength.

In need of Peace, in a strength drought? Why not Trust in God Again?

“Is there a mountain standing in your way
Is there a loved one you’re worried about today
Is there a blessing you desire that seems intangible
Instead of giving up the fight
Cling to faith with all your might
The One who’s seen you through before is still able
(He’s still able.)

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at his word
Why not trust

Why not trust God again
I know that he can do it
If I pray again, believe again
My God will work it for my good again
I know that He will see me through it all
If I trust in God again.”
Kurt Carr – Why Not Trust God Again Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Why NOT trust God again? He has proven himself Faithful.

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I sit at work today trying to hold back the tears that come with the beginning of learning, opening and accepting the many gifts that God has given.

I am listening to One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. My mom and sisters follow her blog A Holy Experience. I have read some of her posts but have never been good about sitting down to read or follow blogs. A couple months ago, my sisters took up the challenge that Ann has proposed of making a list of 1000 things that they are thankful for. I thought I can do that, I have been writing my thankfuls down for years. In fact thinking on it now, I probably have thousands of things written in my thankful notebooks.

I began my list.

1. To be Challenged
2. Motrin – I got strep throat this week
3. Hot tea
4. Walks on brisk mornings
5. Flowers

To me it wasn’t any different than any other list, I would just continue the numbers instead of beginning at 1 every night. As I said writing my thankfuls was not new to me. My mom gave me a thankful book probably 15 years ago with the admonition that thankfulness and discontent cannot live together. I was faithful for much of that time to write 5 things I was thankful for each night. I still write them, only now it is on Facebook. I had the concept of thankfulness. I would be grateful for the good things and even those that brought me grief. At the end of the day I would read my Bible, pull out my notebook, find my place, and write the date and 5 things I was thankful for that day. I would close the book and be done. I didn’t put much more thought into it. I would be thankful for things through out the day in my mind and was thankful for all things, but didn’t really appreciate ALL the things and accept them as gifts of love to me from God.

As Ann’s voice is reading the words of her book through my headphones, I pull a piece of scratch paper close and begin a list.

1. The crunch of apples
2. The arrow of a mouse on the computer
3. Quesedillas full of cheese, chicken, and chopped bellpepper and onions
4. Ice Makers
5. Coke fountain drink machines
6. Rain trails on the windows

In naming each thing, I am seeing and receiving the gift. I am being thankful for that moment. In One Thousand Gifts, Ann describes her journey of being full of grace and living fully. It took hold with her list. Through her list of gratitude, she was able to live fully with joy in each moment. As I began to acknowledge each moment, each gift, my heart began to over flow with joy and gratitude to the big God that loves little me. I cannot tell you how many times I had to swallow back the tears and blow my nose so that I could continue work.

I begin to think on my life and the things that I have taken for granted in my thankfulness. And I thought of my house. A number has been put on the days that we have left in the house, and I could no longer wait. I thought of all the times we have had in the house, the flowers in the yard, the parties, the memories. It has been a good 14 years. I had to make a list, I wanted to picture so that I could remember. I don’t plan to forget, but I want to be able to think back to the wood piles, the rack of rain boots in all sizes, the bird houses in the trees, the creek and the green garage door.

I continue my list…and in the naming of the gift, I receive it and am filled with Joy and Grace to overflowing.

Lately there has been a lot of turmoil in my life. A lot of changes, dreams being put on hold, and future plans accelerated. There has been confusion, grief, and worry all about what will happen in the future.  The business that I worked for went out of business. While this has been happening all over the place, it hit a little harder than just loosing my job, it was a family business. Not only did I lose my job, but 4 of my siblings and my parents all lost income at the same time. At first it was like an earthquake and it seamed that the world was falling around us.

But through the whole ordeal (we aren’t out of it yet) God has been there. Yes in the human there was worry, but in the spirit there was faith in God knowing that he had it all under control. It is so comforting to have someone to lean on in troubling times. It is God that gave peace and reassurance that he has a plan even in this.

During this time I had been reading in Psalms and a couple of scriptures stood out to me. One would assume that in this kind of situation, there would be depression, anger, and great sadness. I am not saying that there isn’t any of that, but there has been a joy and a happiness through it all also. This happiness comes from accepting God’s will for our lives and not holding on to temporal things. Things that we have in this world are on loan to us from God, he provides for our needs and blesses us abundantly. But they are all his, and not that he would want us to suffer, but he could take them at any time for a purpose. If we become so attached to things that our joy escapes us when they are no longer for us to use, our happiness is in the wrong things.

Psalms 144:15 says “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” and 146:5 tells us “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:”

If our happiness is placed in God, no matter what we face we will be able to have a deep joy in our souls that will help carry us through.

We can have happiness even though…

Psalms 16

1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

 

I read this chapter this morning and was greatly encouraged by verses 8 through 11. I am so thankful for the assurance that if we keep God before us, he will be faithful to lead us. He isn’t going to leave us stranded along this path of life. I was also blessed by the fact that I can say that I have done this and it has been proven in my life to be true. Allowing God to lead us can only result in good for us and all those that we are around.

Psalms 126
When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

There is always an end to sorrow. God is faithful to bring his people through their captivity. There is a promise found in these scriptures that we can hold on to. First the people remember when God brought them out of captivity and blessed them in a manner that their enemies noticed. Then they ask again that God bring them through, holding on to the promise of deliverance that they have already experienced in times past.

We too can hold on to the promise of deliverance from captivity. We may not be bound in literal chains, but we can be bound in our minds or in a situation that we see no possible end. It is this that God can deliver us from. There is an end to our sorrow, as another scripture says, “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalms 30:5. We can trust that an end will come to our sorrow and that we will experience joy once again.

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