The beauty of Joy

Make special clothing for Aaron to show his separation to God–beautiful garments that will lend dignity to his work.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to console those who mourn… to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…that He may be glorified.”

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines…Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength!

Ex.28:2 NLT; Is.61:1,3 NKJV; Neh. 8:10ESV; Jn.16:33 NKJV; Ps.55:22 NLT; Hab.3;17-19 NKJV

I so easily slip into the trough of sadness. Despite all that is beautiful and wonderful, and all God’s abundant goodness to me, there are things that make me sad. Disappointments. Things I wish I could change. Regrets that gnaw at hope…The world is full of troubles. If yours aren’t weighty right now listen in on your neighbor’s heart. Take a walk with a friend and let them share their pain… There are burdens aplenty to share. But sometimes in taking them on I lose sight of the bedrock of joy that is ours in Jesus. I become somber at heart instead of hopeful.

The Word never fails to lift my eyes to bigger realities than those that gloomify my heart. ‘God works in ways we cannot see’ is more than a trite chorus. It’s a truth woven through every story in Scripture. Have a look. Consider Ruth and Naomi, Samson, Jonah, Peter or Paul. Whether you’re in the Oldest or the Newest books, history, proverb or epistle, God is weaving a tale that reflects His Glory and Might.

Our own stories are not finished yet. And even if they never read as we had hoped, no matter if trouble dogs us to the finish, God has the upper hand and all things will turn to His purpose and praise. He will be glorified in His people.

My prayer of late comes from the words of Psalm 138 which I’ve been memorizing…

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Ps.138:7-8 ESV

I highly recommend finding a passage for yourself that reflects your prayer to God or reminds you of the truth you most need. It can be a joy-preserver!

Blessings on you. May Spring’s beauty lighten your heart as you cast your cares on the One who has given us the seasons of life through which we walk.


This is the LIFE!

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly–And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.–Beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses–Charge them not to…set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy–take hold of that which is truly life!

I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life!

Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today…For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess–And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory…And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Long ago…God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son!…Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?!–I am the Resurrection and the Life!

Jn.10:10 ESV; Jn.17:3 ESV; Lk.12:15 NKJV; I Tim.6:17,19 ESV; Deut.30:19,20 ESV; Deut.32:46,47; Jn.1:14,16,17 ESV; Heb.1:1,2;2:1; Jn.11:25 ESV

What’s the secret to the best of life? Ads promise life-enhancement through adding or subtracting one more thing. Start a new habit. Throw out what doesn’t spark joy. Buy this car/appliance/book or gizmo. Try a leaner, cleaner diet…There’s no end of appeals. The pursuit of LIFE can preoccupy a lifetime only to end in death. Not so, the pursuit of Christ!

The trendy ephemera of modern culture competes with this pursuit, promising life but serving only to distract from its true Source. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life! As winter inexorably gives place to spring, shoots will rise where ice and snow reign for a season. Flowers will bloom again. Even so God’s Kingdom will come and Satan’s power to deceive and enslave will once-and-for-all be vanquished. This is a hope on which we can build our lives and arrange our days. No matter the state of our bank accounts, the culture savvy of our lifestyles, or even the health of our bodies, the best of life is ours in Christ, for today and forever after!

How does your pursuit of Him dictate the shape of your days? These are thoughts I’m pondering today in my still snow-capped part of the world as I enjoy the lengthening hours of sunshine with their promise of spring!

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

–Paul, Phil.3:8 ESV

Enjoy the words to this old hymn which says it all in rhyming verse!

Jesus lives, and so shall I;
Death, thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die
lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me with the just:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and reigns supreme,
and, His kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with Him,
ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised: be it must:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and God extends
grace to each returning sinner;
rebels He receives as friends
and exalts to highest honor.
God is True as He is Just;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and by His grace,
vict’ry o’er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways,
ever to His glory living.
Me He raises from the dust;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives! I know full well
nought from Him my heart can sever,
life nor death nor pow’rs of hell,
joy nor grief, henceforth forever.
None of all His saints is lost;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and death is now
but my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
hast a crown of life before thee;
thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.
–Christian F. Gellert