Advent 3, Monday, December 15, 2014
Joy in the Crazy
Read: Psalm 118:24
“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it”. Most of my days can be defined by the word crazy. I am being pulled in twenty different directions from ministry to motherhood and being a full time student… on top of being a wife and a person. I find myself singing these lyrics, “A little time with You, the only way to get me through the day. Oh, come meet me in this moment, Before it all gets going. These plates start to spin, When the crazy kicks in. A circus of distractions, It’s just about to happen. I’ll be ready when. When the crazy kicks in” (Francesca Battistelli, When the Crazy Kicks In).
How many times do we go about our ‘crazy’ day rushed and not really expecting Jesus to be there with us? When I am interrupted doing a bible study for a diaper change, why do I think Jesus doesn’t follow me to the floor to change the diaper? What if we started saying “Jesus meet me in this moment” instead of “hold on, Lord”…. Let us start saying, “come with us in the crazy”! The joy is He WILL come with you. He will meet you where you are. He made this day to have a relationship with you. Don’t forget about the joy of having Him with you.
The verse is “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”. But look at verses 22 and 23. It talks about the builders rejecting a stone (that stone being Jesus) and how now that stone is now the capstone, Jesus is the capstone. “The LORD has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes”. The time Jesus spent here in active ministry, was ‘crazy’. He was very busy with healing, teaching, traveling… and yet out of that craziness came the very reason we all have joy. Sometimes, our crazy day needs to be reevaluated. We could probably be much better at planning and time managing but sometimes, the crazy, is just life or the day that He has made. Find joy in the ride!
Advent 3, Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Joy in the Waiting
Read: Colossians 1:9-12
There are days that my heart craves Heaven so much, for many reasons. The evil in the world, loved ones in Heaven, just wanting to be close to the Lord… the list is really endless. But yet, “he qualified [me] to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light” (Col 1:12). So there is great joy in that even though I am not there yet, He came to make it possible for me to someday be there with Him. But instead of considering it waiting we need to remember that it is our job to witness to others so they can be in the inheritance as well. The joy that brings, needs to run over to where our joy fills others cups as well. To be joyful in the waiting that we prove His Kingdom is worth waiting for!
But then there are also times of waiting, waiting for God to move a mountain. I feel like I am in this stage of waiting today. I crave a son. I want a little boy who will be my little man. This probably is intensified by losing Jonathan but I always loved the connection my mom and brother have and I would love to give my husband a namesake. Through five miscarriages now and the loss of Jonathan this is a lot of waiting. And as we start the adoption process next month, I can already feel the joy that comes from waiting. His timing is perfect and though the waiting was/is difficult, it is joyful because God is going to do a good work! We just can’t rush Him. Joy is having Him in the waiting with you.
Advent 3, Wednesday, December 17,2014
Joy in the Grief
Read: Deuteronomy 34:8-12
The Israelites took time to grieve Moses’ death and God allowed it. When we lost Jonathan… my world stopped. I never doubted “Why us?” because, why not us? But God was there the whole time. I have never doubted that Jesus was even crying with me; because He saw my pain, even though He could see the eternal reasons. He still saw my heartache. My heart still aches for my baby boy but it also has great joy because Jesus came and made the way for these “goodbyes” to be “see you later” with just a matter of faith in Him. The Joy that Jesus brings, even in death, is unstoppable. Never let grief overwhelm your joy. One is temporary (grief) and one is eternal (Joy in Jesus)!
So, after Moses’ death, the Israelites were then led by Joshua. But it is stated that “the LORD knew [Moses] face to face”. What greater joy that we have a God that wants to know us “face to face” or “heart to heart”. And Moses laid his hands on Joshua and Joshua “was filled with the Spirit”. Moses may be dead but his memory is still very much alive. The Israelites did not see another leader as great as Moses until Jesus; but they joyfully entered the promised land after Moses’ death. There is Joy in continuing in the new and leaving behind the old, because we can trust God’s plan.
Advent 3, Thursday, December 18, 2014
Joy in the Good Times
Read: Psalm 30:11-12
Joy in the good times. It seems easy doesn’t it? But this is often when we see drifting from Christ occur. We stop being joyful with Him and in Him and we stop praising, we stop talking to Him. We are joyful by ourselves. We need to remember to be joyful always but sometimes we forget that we are supposed to include Him in the joy when everything is going good. In the good times, I suggest dancing. Turn on the Pandora Mandisa channel and sing and dance! Praise Him! Because He has “turned your wailing into dancing”. He saw you through the valley. Ask Him to stay with you on the mountain top. “Oh LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever”.
In the verse, we see David praising God for turning his wailing into dancing. David had to run from King Saul who wanted him dead, he had to deny his rightful place as Israel’s King until Saul was gone, and I imagine the running for his life was not an incredibly comfortable situation. But eventually, David took the throne. But he got comfortable in the joy of the good times… and it led to a huge mistake. In 2 Samuel 11-12, we see him have Uriah (his battle buddy and friend) killed because David had an affair with Uriah’s wife and now was pregnant. He killed a good servant because of trying to hide his sin. We need to remember that the joy of the good times, is not any of our doing. David thought he deserved Bathsheba. Everything was going the way it should in his kingdom. He was king and he should have what he wants. This lesson always reminds me that our joy should be sustained on what God is doing and not what we are doing.
Advent 3, Friday, December 19, 2014
Joy in the Struggle
Read: James 1:2-4
We need to consider it pure joy! It is pure joy to face trials because I know the testing of my faith is going to lead to me knowing Him better than ever before if I cling to Him. Danny and I overcame what many marriages do not and this verse was my foundation during that time. Consider it pure joy… how is it possible? It is difficult but there is great joy that Jesus will walk with you, love you, and intercede for you every step of this struggle. The joy in the bad times is that Jesus never let’s go of you. And after this time of anguish births joy. Like having a baby, labor is painful, it is a struggle but out of that anguish births great joy! And the trials of our marriage have led to an even better marriage! I love that man more today than I ever did the day I married him. Consider these trials joy because He is bringing something better! Remember, those contractions are worth it and will bring joy! In labor they tell you to focus on a “focal point” and every contraction I would picture Jesus’ hand with the nail in it… He endured that for me… I can endure this contraction! Pick Jesus as the focal point through the struggle and from it will come pure joy.
James was probably penned around 45-50 AD (thought to be one of the first of the New Testament Canon). And from my research, James was the pillar (Galatians 2:9) apostle for the Jewish Christians. He wrote this letter to the Jewish Christians to live a vibrant faith that proves itself through actions. When we still display a joyful attitude in the mist of struggle, we are proving our faith through actions and God will be glorified. Through persecution, through struggle, through hurt we must have a joyful heart because we have an eternal perspective.
Advent 3, Saturday, December 20, 2014
Joy in the Kenosis
Read: Philippians 2:5-11
Kenosis is the English for ekenosen which is from kennoo, meaning “to empty”. Christ left His glorified position and throne in Heaven to empty Himself to become man. To become a man because we needed a sinless, spotless lamb as a sacrifice. He willingly emptied Himself for us. What greater joy that God loves us this much that He sacrificed so much. To become like us that He would feel cuts like we feel them, to need sleep, to need food, to need solitude. The incarnation is possible because Christ pre-existed before His birth in Bethlehem. Consider it joy than that He counts us worthy to come save and willingly gave us His all. Now with joyful hearts, let us give Him our all. Joy is He understands us.
If you want to read about some of the Old Testament pre-incarnation works of Christ here are some verses. You will see that coming to our rescue, being the relationship link of the Trinity, and serving is nothing new in God the Son’s nature but He is the same today as He was from the beginning.
Note: The phrase, “The Angel of the LORD” or “The Angel of YHWH [Jehovah]” and “Angel of Elohim” are times when theologians are fairly certain that this is the Son of the Trinity in the OT since Christ is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3).
The devotions this week have been written by Bobbi McMasters