Monday, November 15, 2010

Joyful, Joyful

So, if spiritual food had calories, I would be obese. Check out these gigantic portions that got tossed my way today from friends who spoke encouraging words into my life today- talk about "feeding" the lambs. I am one fatty lamb with the friends I've got.

"God of grace, grant us the strength, the wisdom, and the courage to seek always and everywhere after truth, come when it may, and cost what it will."

"One thing is for sure, only the Holy Spirit can bring about the transformation needed"

"I am not the sum of my failures, nor the sum of my accomplishments. I am who I am, a conqueror, regardless of how many times I've won or lost."

And that was just from today's email. There were conversations with friends filled with honesty, confession, encouragement, accountability. There was Oswald Chambers and his forever challenging, if not frustrating exhortations. And there was time reading the book of John, always good to hear Jesus say, "What are you worried about that other person for? You follow me." John 21.

But even with all of that fatitude, I managed to get bummed out mid-afternoon. "O soul are you weary and troubled?" Well, yes, as a matter of fact I am some of the time. But, I took a moment of prayer before BSF and asked the Lord for help. He said, "the joy of the Lord will be your strength." Nehemiah 8:10 With that in mind, I decided to sing a hymn about joy. I wanted "Joy to the World" (I am getting into the Christmas spirit already anyway) but before I could get to it, my hymnal picked another one for me- "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" Every stanza was perfect. When I finished the song, I thought, "I wish that Holly (my BSF teaching leader) would pick this hymn to sing at BSF tonight. But that will never happen. It's a Christmas song."

So off I went to BSF, still battling the blues a little bit, hungry for what God would do tonight. Small group was amazing- a whole other story unto itself. But then, when we went to the sanctuary for lecture, what song do you think appeared on the projector? None other than "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." I laughed out loud and shook my head, "You're funny," I said to Him. I hope He gets pleasure out of things like that. I don't know exactly how He does it- whether He plants the desire, or meets it before we know we want it- I don't know, but I hope it tickles Him. It tickles me. I LOVE moments like that with Him- pure enjoyment of each other. It is bliss.

So, I practically rolled out of there after lecture. It was the spiritual equivalent of a Thanksgiving feast. Then I got to come home and chat with my love (who is out of town for the week) and tell him all about it. It's so fun to compare the day's stories of God's faithfulness with each other. How much He has changed us, blessed us and nurtured us! To Him be the glory! Our cup overflows- with joy, of course! :)

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

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