Continually

Man, what if I told you our work isn’t done until we meet Jesus face to face.

You’d say, yeah I already know that, thanks.

But what about your heart? I know there are still issues there, because there are still issues in my heart.

What if I said God continually wants to work on you?

I’d say, whew I’m already exhausted from this whole being made new thing.

And guess what, I’m exhausted because deep down in my spirit I believe I can pull one over on God. I think yeah yeah, but watch me God, I’m gonna do this super fast and we will work this issue until it’s gone forever. Then something happens and that old way is triggered and I find myself working on it once again.

Guess what, He’s not proud of us if we do it faster. He’s proud because we are His and we did nothing to deserve it.

Because, we all have sin. We all have pain. We all have needs. We all have areas God is not done with yet. We all have suffered and if we haven’t, we will.

Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world.”

In this world, we will be wronged. We will feel hurt. We will experience pain. We will be rejected.

And because of all that, we need a deep ever present God to be with us. And if we are constantly seeking Him, repenting and asking for forgiveness, and truly crying out to Him for wisdom and mercy:

He will give it.

He will forgive us.

He will meet us where we are.

Over and over again.

And one day we will be in His Presence and we will know Him because we walked with Him through it all.

So keep soldiering on and know this is a good process of continually being made whole.

Learning to rejoice

Its a funny thing.

People say, “Just be thankful.”  “Be happy.”  But sometimes life throws punches and it’s just hard.  Especially when you’ve learned to “get through” life instead of taking delight in it.  The Bible tells us to rejoice a lot.  But, there have been times in my life I felt blind to rejoicing.  I didn’t know how.  And it felt very foreign.

1 Peter 4: 12-13 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”  (ESV, emphasis added)

There have been some moments in the suffering that I was able to rejoice, but most of the rejoicing in my life has come after the storm.  Normally a “thank you for letting me live!”

I looked up “rejoice” and asked the internet what its meaning was in greek.  I was looking for something deeper. (Note: I am no Bible teacher, I literally just looked up “rejoice in greek” and saw a Strong’s definition, remembering that name from Bible college.)

A few pieces of the definition popped out to me.  Rejoice: leaning towards grace.  Whew!  Leaning in, moving closer.  Another definitions “to delight in God’s grace.”  Because that suffering will end, if not in this life, in Heaven.

So rejoice is not putting a silver lining on our suffering, or pretending its not there.  But it is completely delighting in God’s grace towards us.

There are things in this life that do not change.  God’s grace towards us.  His love.  His Presence.  And for me His creation will never stop rejoicing in His goodness.  Just go sit outside and watch the clouds go by.  They are magnificent.  Delight.  Breathe.  Take it all in.  Shift your gaze.

And we can rejoice in these things even when life throws a curve.

How are you rejoicing today?

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