There is Joy

I am weary.  Yet joyful.

I am trusting.  And joyful.

I am broken.  Yet joyful.

I am thankful.  And joyful.

I am hurting.  Yet joyful.

I am prayerful.  And joyful.

There is joy.

There really is a joy that transcends circumstances.  A joy that - in the midst of tragedy - takes root.  Near unexplainable and completely palpable.  A joy that grows deep & spreads wide.  Fills the empty places in a grieving heart full of questions.

We buried the body of the heavenborn child of dear friends today.  Friends grown dearer through this shared experience.  It was hard.  So hard.  It hurts.  So deep.

But at the same time there is joy.  

Joy, hearing the unashamed, unassailable faith of this young couple.

Joy, witnessing their incredible, supernatural strength.

Joy, trusting the providence of our Loving Father.

Joy, knowing that this dear child is already living in Glory.

Joy, anticipating a heavenly reunion with this heavenborn friend.

Joy, observing the loving boldness of those ministering.

Joy, bubbling up from the streams of living water within.

Joy, feeling the prayers & support of so many dear ones.

Joy, experiencing love as a verb in countless actions & words.

Joy, walking this tragic path with inspiring Christ followers.

If I could trade this joy for that precious boy, you know I would.  But - trusting God's providence & receiving His grace - I'll accept this joy as a gift.  My gift.  One among so many from this child, our heavenborn friend. He has changed us.  Forever.

He has shown me real, uncircumstantial, divinely given joy.

Joy to You

How's your joy?  Really.  Are you joyful?  I mean it.

Joy check.  Right now.  Yes, you.  Let's check. No matter your circumstances.  Things going great.  Or not so much. Thinking you are more blessed than you deserve.  Or wondering what curse you inherited.

Luke 2:10 records, "And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.'"  Do you have joy?  Great joy?  You make up one part of the phrase "all people", don't you?  The angel meant you.  Me.  Us.  We.  Joy.  Really.  Joy.  No kidding.  It's right there in the Bible. God said it.  He meant it.  For real.  Joy.

And then the carol.  Not Scripture, true.  But meaningful to many of us.  A connection through verse & song. Memories mixed with melodies.  Visions of Christmases past.  Anticipation of eternity future.

Joy to the World , the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Amidst all you are doing these days.  Making your list.  Checking it twice.  Have you left room for Jesus? Maybe you need to make room for Jesus.  He came to save you.  He wants to guide you.  He has always loved you. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' & believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," says Romans 10:9.  Take a minute to ask: Have I opened my heart to Jesus?

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

Oh, I hope you are singing.  This time of year.  Christmastime.  Celebrating the of the birth of our King, Jesus. Even you non-singers.  You shower only singers.  You stick in the mud afraid to sing a note folks.  I hope you are singing carols.  Smiling.  Thinking.  Joyful.  For all God is & has done for you.  If you are not singing right now will you ask, why am I not singing the praises of Jesus?

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found.

Did you know that when Adam & Eve sinned creation itself fell?  The perfection of creation was marred by sin. And the curse of sin came to earth.  Genesis 3:17-18 tells us so.  From that time until now, one sin has followed another. We can't help it.  It's our sin nature.  Yet, God brings us into personal realtionship with Himself - through his son, born to us on earth, Jesus Christ - to love us no matter our sinfulness.  We must ask in response: How do I spread the blessings of Jesus?

He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.

"The Word (note the capital "W", Friends) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One & Only (more capitals), who came from the Father, full of grace & truth," states John 1:14. Jesus is the Word of God to us.  God in flesh.  Living Grace.  Incarnate Truth.  He is full of both grace & truth.  I pray that you know both his grace & his truth in your life.  I pray that you can consider & live out this last question herein: How can I share the love of Jesus?

Open your heart.

Sing his praise.

Spread his message.

Share his love.

And about that joy check: How's your joy now?

Merry CHRISTmas, Friends!


Don't you just love Christmas carols?  Singing to celebrate our Lord's coming to save us from our sinful selves is such joy!

Let's continue our Christmas Carol lessons with The First Noel.  Noel comes from Latin, through French meaning "birth."  This rich carol tells of a one-of-a-kind, first & all time birth.  The coming of God to earth as a human.  This rich carol can teach us lessons today too.

The first Noel the angel did say, Was to certain poor shepherds
in fields as they lay; In fields where they lay, keeping their sheep, 
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

You're a shepherd.  A societal outcast.  Cast out because you've got a menial job.  Cast out because you got a smelly job.  Cast out, well because your job keeps you out with the sheep & not in town.  But you are doing your job.  Watching your sheeps & hangin with your peeps when... An angel.  An angel appears & God's glory shines round your shepherd band.  Terrified.  Dumb struck.  Frozen.

"Don't be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." the angel says in Luke 2:10.  I'm not a shepherd, but I have a question: Do I fear God’s power?  Do I fear God's awesome power?  His righteousness & justice?  Or do I fear his mercy & grace?  Which do I deserve more?

For all to see there was a star, Shining in the east, beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light, And so it continued both day and night.

You're a smart person.  At the top of the societies pyramid.  At least close.  You've got lots of education & enough means to support yourself in pursuits of the mind.  You & your intelligentsia pals notice a new star. One of you connects that star with a new king.  It's a great star.  It must be a great king.  Let's roadtrip.

"We saw his star in the east & we have come to worship him," says one wise man in Matthew 2:2.  We get pretty busy in our hustle-bustle days.  So I gotta ask, do I see God’s signs?  When God shows up, am I paying attention?  When God lights the answer to my prayer up in neon do I notice?  When He points one of those big arrow signs toward his will for me do I see it?

And by the light of that same star The wise men came from country far;
To seek for a king was their intent, And to follow the star wherever it went.

And when I do see God pointing the way - when I am clear He has a plan for me to follow -  do I obey? Do I follow God’s lead?  Do I get up & get moving?  Do I change direction because God has changed my mind? What am I gonna do about it?

Then let us all with one accord Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made heaven and earth of naught, And with his blood mankind hath bought.

If you were a shepherd outcast outside Bethlehem, then were one of the first to know the great news, of great joy for all people.  "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord," Luke 2:11 tells.  Wow!  Lowly me?  The King.  The Savior.  Came for me?!

How good is that news?  How many people would you be telling?  Facebook status.  Twitter tweets.  Texting homies.  Skypin far off friends.  Emailing your entire address list.  Or just plain talking & telling the news.  It hurts me to think, with how much - or how little - enthusiasm do I share God’s story?  A story of salvation for all people.  It's my news to tell!

Fear God's grace.

See God's signs.

Follow God's lead.

Share God's story.

It's CHRISTmastime.


Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.

All the Way

Fanny J. Crosby wrote these words in 1875 after receiving the answer to a specific prayer. She was in despreate need of five dollars & had no idea where to obtain it. She followed her habit & began to pray. In minutes a stranger arrived at her door with the exact amount.

  1. Mrs. Crosby, blind since infancy, was keenly aware of the need for guidance amidst a life of stumbling uncertainty. What if I recognized my blindness & trusted my Savior's guidance?

  2. All the way my Savior leads me,
    What have I to ask beside?
    Can I doubt His tender mercy,
    Who through life has been my Guide?
    Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
    Here by faith in Him to dwell!
    For I know, whate’er befall me,
    Jesus doeth all things well;
    For I know, whate’er befall me,
    Jesus doeth all things well.
What have I allowed Jesus to do for me?
  1. All the way my Savior leads me,
    Cheers each winding path I tread,
    Gives me grace for every trial,
    Feeds me with the living Bread.
    Though my weary steps may falter
    And my soul athirst may be,
    Gushing from the Rock before me,
    Lo! A spring of joy I see;
    Gushing from the Rock before me,
    Lo! A spring of joy I see.
How have I experienced such joy?
  1. All the way my Savior leads me,
    Oh, the fullness of His love!
    Perfect rest to me is promised
    In my Father’s house above.
    When my spirit, clothed immortal,
    Wings its flight to realms of day
    This my song through endless ages:
    Jesus led me all the way;
    This my song through endless ages:
    Jesus led me all the way.
Where have I followed myself & not my Savior?