Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Joy Unspeakable

It's been a long time.

Needless to say, December was filled with much-expected excitement and busyness.  Not to mention all the preparation for Christmas and dear friends, gift-making and gift-wrapping, days of chilly weather, surprises, wishes and dreams come true, fun and frolic, laughter and loudness, peace and prosperity, the coming and going of Advent, decorating the Christmas tree, opening presents, fellowship and scrumptious foods, endless chatter and conversation, amusement, sport, entertainment, Scripture readings, family devotions, baking, learning and education, songs and hymns and spiritual songs, Christmas gaiety, Christmas carols, joyful hellos, bittersweet goodbyes, tears and happiness, and boundless amounts of delight in every way.
Just to give you a taste...

 Amy and I

 Grin, Ben!

 Fun with the camera

 All girls

 Bestest of friends!


 Now THAT is what I call a shield...

 Beautiful Mama

 Little Bit

 Friends for a lifetime

 Friends since birth =)

 The "chaperone" ;)


Joy unspeakable.  Joy is much greater than earthly and whimsical happiness.  While happiness is based upon emotions, and thus the fulfillment of temporal enjoyment, joy is eternal and unending.  Happiness fades when troubles and trials enter the picture, but joy is ever still hopeful of the future and will remain whatever the circumstance.  I want more than just happiness; I want joy.

Joy can only be found in Christ.

"Thou wilt show me the path of life:
In Thy presence is fulness of joy;
At Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
~Psalm 16:11

"For His anger endureth but a moment;
In His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night,
But joy cometh in the morning." ~Psalm 30:5

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them;
And Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart:
For I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts."
~Jeremiah 15:16

"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
But righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
~Romans 14:17

I don't know why this is the case, but many times we are inclined to be sort of pessimistic. Okay, full and in fact, very pessimistic.  Joy, even for Christians, is hard to attain.  Perhaps it is our human nature, perhaps it is our sin which so easily besets us, or maybe we don't think God will  keep His promises.

Now that one is a shocker.

It is easy to think that joy was possible for the martyrs who suffered starvation, persecution, torture, and even death for the cause of Christ, but joy, possible for mundane daily life? No way!  Joy, possible for waiting and preparing?  Joy, possible when things don't go our way?  Joy, possible to have during moments of gloominess and despair and sin?  Joy, possible to keep when our simple insignificant lives seem to be falling apart?  Joy, possible in the midst of a confusing, chaotic "love life"?  Joy, possible in chores and cleaning and studying and learning and tutoring and obeying?  Surely not.  Most emphatically not.  We see joy possible in the big things, but definitely not the little things that make up our own lives.

Nevertheless, the correct answer would be YES!  Most definitely yes.  Joy is possible in all the little things that seem to be so big.  Believe me, it is hard, but I would really love to know who ever said life was going to be easy?  In fact, it is even harder for the Christian striving to be more like Christ each day, fighting against the despicable sin nature that so wants to win. 

The most amazing thing is that victory is possible, though only through Christ (Phil. 4:13).  Our joy can be unspeakable, and very full of glory.

Only the glory of Christ.  As in everything, our joy is to bring Him glory, praise, and honor.  Our chief end ought to be our life's ultimate goal: to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.  New Year's resolutions usually end in laziness or lack of appeal (I'm sure you have found that out by now), but our number one aim should always be the same.  Have joy, and glorify God.  What else is there?


Sarah said...

Dear Rachel,
These are really nice pictures. It's always a joy to be with friends and family...they're a gift from God.

Yes, it is more difficult to have joy in the smaller mundane things of life then when faced with the bigger issues and trials. However, it's in the small things, I think, that joy really makes a difference. I think contentment comes much hand in hand with joy in those times. May the Lord grant us this daily.
Thanks for sharing.

Love in Christ,

Joy said...

Dearest Rachel,

I love all those photos, thank you for sharing them!! It is always such a gift to spend time with family and friends, isn't it.

I know how it is, sometimes we think we can have joy and be thankful in the BIG sacrifices we do and when we read of the sufferings of the martyrs, but when it comes to the dreary, every day chores and activities, often it feels really hard to smile and thank the Lord, and work with a song in your heart, having that inner joy. Thank you for sharing this beautiful truth, dear sister, that our joy must be in Him, in His Presence, and that joy in our life would glorify Him!!

I recently actually posted something like that on my blog. You can check it out here: http://joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com/2011/12/joy-that-no-one-can-take-away.html

Blessings in Christ,