Saturday, December 29, 2012

Unspeakable Joy

The word 'JOY' is often thrown around and reflected upon more around the holiday season. We think of happiness, simplicity, and peace as being factors of joy. However, there is something we experience as Christ-followers that succeeds all earthly understanding of joy. I am referring to unspeakable joy. The kind that overwhelms and satisfies your soul. I literally cannot explain this in words. Even as I was thinking of a blog topic, I realized that I probably would not be satisfied with a post about this joy because it comes across as entirely too warm-n-fuzzy. Sometimes the power of words is so weak when they are describing something so strong. My challenge to you is to not take these words at face-value. Doing that will only dilute the message I wish to share. Please think about this joy in your own life. What triggered it? The Holy Spirit fascinates me; when I can experience something so tangible and real and breathtaking, I am filled with joy.  Sometimes it's the 'PTL' (Praise the Lord) reaction, where I just can't stop praising with my words. Other times, it's the quiet, teary, soft moments when I am overcome by God's grace and love. Reading and praying over scripture is also a way God can quiet us to discern His joy. These are only to name a few. I pray that you have known this joy. As I said, there are hardly words to describe accurately. Psalm 139:23-24 says "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Speaking personally, there is nothing more freeing than completely surrendering and being known. Especially by God. The joy that comes solely from that is divine. 

I hope this has honestly provoked you to think about where your 'joy' is being derived from. Keep your eyes open and set on Him. 

Also, feel free to suggest new post topics in the comments below, I'd love to hear from my readers!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Silent Night

"Lord of my life. I sing to You

be with us now. on this Christmas night

let all be calm

and hearts be light

oh what a night. praising Your birth

light of my heart. shine down Your grace

to save the world

to You we praise"

If you have ever heard Lady Antebellum's version of 'Silent Night' then these words are probably familiar  to you. These lines are sung in an echo to the original words of the song. In light of Christmas I wanted to share. Go listen and focus on what a prayer this is! My new favorite Christmas song, for sure. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Prayer of David.

This past semester has been one of the most challenging, growing, and rewarding I've experienced yet. I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be in every aspect of my life. Not that this makes the rough times any easier, but it has given me a new perspective on how I handle my circumstances. Looking back, I think I have learned the most about how God works through consistent prayer and His provision in my life. There were so many times that I specifically prayed and asked God to provide exactly what I need, whether it was what I wanted or not. That kind of surrender is such a beautiful part of a relationship with Christ. It's vulnerability. I can recall being hit right in the face with his plans each time I prayed that prayer. His answers were SO incredibly clear and I could do nothing but sit back with an awe-smirk (Yes, I just made that up) and feel the tangible love of my God. Just to give a practical instance of what I'm speaking of, I recently needed to pay off a remaining balance before I could register for my next semester at Cedarville. It was a lot more than I had initially planned, so I immediately took it to God. By the end of the week I  had come up with literally the exact dollar amount I needed. To the dollar. Seriously, what are the chances of that? That my mom, or others who helped, didn't round up a few dollars to make it even, it was the most detailed amount. We serve a God that is so faithful. I know that money is an easy way for us to apply 'His provision' in our lives, but it doesn't end there. I will agree that it is a dangerous prayer to ask only for what you need, but what else more could you want? The creator of everyone and everything knows your deepest longings and how to satisfy you, let Him work! Also, Christians often abuse prayer and only pray for what God will provide. Re-evaluate the focus of your prayers, be sensitive to selfish nature. I find this easier to do when I journal; when I can physically see the words 'I', 'Me', 'My', on the page. This doesn't work for everyone, but it's definitely worth a try. I am truly blessed by every little thing that has happened in this season of my life and I'd like to thank you if you have been a part of it. To end my post, I would like to share Psalm 86, one of my favorites that got me through a lot this semester. It overflows with God's faithfulness. Thanks for reading!

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.
You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
    no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
    will come and worship before you, Lord;
    they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.
14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me—
    they have no regard for you.
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
    slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
    show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
    just as my mother did.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
    that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
    for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.