Thursday, May 21, 2015

Unspeakable Joy

Well that's long enough...I can finally breath again.

Almost a year ago was my last blog, the hiatus endured as a result of a change in direction I felt was coming on through my writing.  At first the blogs appeared to develop well as my thoughts and adventures here in the D.R. came out on the screen.  Then I began to notice a shift in what I was writing, some of the thoughts appeared almost accusatory, often critical about how people lived, or for that matter, didn't live.
God told me to stop writing.
At first I couldn't put a finger on what was wrong; maybe complacency was settling in, maybe I was losing interest in writing, maybe it was a mid-life crisis.  After all, I had not had one yet!

Today God told me what it was.

I had lost the Joy of the Lord.

Such a little thing when you think about it, but then again, such a great big thing as well.
I tried hard to think how this could have happened, I mean, I know I love God!  I know why I am here!  I know who Jesus is to me!  I believe!
So what happened?

I happened.

Let me explain,  I know we are not supposed to go back to the ways of our past, but I honestly must admit that part of the old me never died when I accepted Jesus.  I just assumed that the parts I wanted to die had died...they did not.  I cannot pinpoint exactly what began to turn my head back into the world, and I never did slide all the way back in, but I did notice a frustration edging forward in each day that I seemed not to grasp.  The tendency for me to "handle" a situation comes from years of being a manager; I know how to solve problems fast.  That's the definition of manager.
Trouble is, as a missionary, this is not my job now.  I am not a manager, I am a disciple of Jesus.
But when things are not going the way you think they should be going sometimes our first instinct is not to go to the Lord; I found that I was dealing with problems very much the way I did when I was still running a company back in Canada, and here in the D.R., that method can make you very tired, very quickly.  Now fatigued and frustrated, and still not going to the Lord to seek His face, I woke up one morning and felt I had not slept at all.  I felt no joy and no desire to face another answer-less day; looking in the mirror, I almost did not recognize the man standing there.  I cried out to God inside my head simply because I was not alone in the room.  Silence laughed back at me from behind the mirror.
I felt His presence after I left the room, the daylight was just breaking and I stopped to look into the bush which surrounds our yard.  Dew clung to the leaves of every tree and bush I could see, a thin mist moved through the low brush pushed by a slight breeze in the growing light.
A smile broke onto my face as I breathed in the freshness of the morning, and His presence enveloped my as I stood there on the terrace.  Waves of songs rushed through my brain mixed with sounds of wind, warmth and a rising sensation overtook my body. Unspeakable Joy rising up within and I knew within that I was not alone:  He was here, ever-present, inside and all around.  Wrapping me up in His embrace with invisible arms that lifted me right out of my former state.  The worship continued in my head and I broke out into audible song, the words spilling easily off my tongue. 
"Greater is the one who lives in me, greater is the love of Jesus, greater than my sin, greater than the grave, above all other thrones, above all other names, Greater!  You are Greater!"  kudos to Cris Tomlin for these words and song.
I searched myself to understand why God was interested in me;  after-all, I am just a man out of many in this great big world, no-one especially exceptional; good at a few things, not so good at others.  Not a lot different than any other man.  The overwhelming answer kept coming back to me; "because I love you!"
I tried to deny it, "Lord, who am I that you would love me?"
"You are that which I made, I formed you in your mother's womb and gave you life."
"Your life did not come from any other source, you were not an accident, and you did not cause your life to be on your own."
I knew this to be true.  I could not have possibly given myself life, the complexity of life itself is no simple thing requiring massive amounts of information to be created, complied and then ordered into a human.  Clearly not an accident.
No, I knew that something gave me life.  Do I simply conclude that it must be God because there is no other available explanation yet? Not a simple conclusion, the obvious conclusion.

This is to be a daily truth for the rest of my life.

I must seek Him, I must know Him, He gave me life, and I thank Him for that.
Why He chose me is a question I will continue to seek an answer for;  how could I possible look for my own truths when I know that I am nothing apart from Him. 

I want, no I desire this Unspeakable Joy every day; this is the rule of my in His peace, worship in His Joy, seek to know Him.

Fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." 

These fruits are the evidence of an individual who has taken on Christ, because Jesus is all these things.  These are the outward  activities and appearances of the individual that at times of course can be imitated, but never maintained for any length of time unless that individual has surely taken on Christ.  For when the trials of life come on and the pressure is turned up, then these fruits will still show through, the individual will be able to overcome, to endure, to run the race.  But if the trials come and the Christian is only "putting on a show", then the real fruit of the flesh will come forth.  Whatever is truly residing in our hearts will be manifest in the moment especially when the pressure is on.  If this occurs in your life, then you must question if you have really given your life to Jesus, or are you just playing at being saved? 
Joy, as fruit, simply overstates the inward nature of God, which is manifest in us.  As we take on Christ more and more each day, His Joy overflows into us, bathing our souls with unspeakable happiness.  This is not a surreal thing, it is not something of our imagination although we sometimes think we could possible imagine such a feeling.  It is certainly more than a feeling, in fact, this Joy is somewhat of an enigma; simply stated, if you have never had the Joy of the Lord, you cannot possibly fathom what it is you are missing.
When the Joy of the Lord comes upon you, you will know it as surely as something unique, entirely.  You will know exactly what is to be loved unconditionally by the Father, that He chose to dwell inside you and manifest His will for His creation through you.  You will know that is this Joy that encompasses your heart that brings you to the point of compassion that breaks your heart because it breaks the Heart of God.  This Joy will be so close to your emotion as a human that when it envelopes you, you cannot control the tears when His compassion is revealed through the plight of His children.
The fruit of  Joy is combined and available for us with the other manifest fruit of the Spirit and gives unmistakable proof of a Christ filled individual.  As you walk with God, each day growing closer and closer to Him, He will reveal His plan for you in His Kingdom, and your life with Him.

Be blessed