Joy

(A Conversation)

Crossroads

You’d think by now I’d have this down.

Have what?

Making decisions and finding God’s will.

Is that what you mean by “being at a crossroads?”

Yeah, I have some decisions to make, and it’s kind of a mixed bag.  Some really good things and some really challenging things, either way I go.

Okay…

But I don’t want to just do what I want to do. I want to do God’s will.

As opposed to your will?

Yes.  I know that he speaks through my desires.  But even that’s mixed up right now.

And you need Him to sort all that out for you?

Yeah.

Sorta like those neon arrows on the highway at night that say, “Stop here?”

Boy, wouldn’t that be awesome? [click to continue…]

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Lost in This Moment

by Andy Wood on September 20, 2013

in 100 Words

In the most God-breathed of moments, time stands still.

Jonah 2

The most ordinary of times, like breathing or sleeping become objects of watchfulness and joy.

Jonah 4

[click to continue…]

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Dancing on BeachIt’s my strength, Nehemiah says… the joy of the Lord.

It’s the result of an exchange, according to Isaiah’s prophecy.  The Spirit of God anointed Jesus to exchange my mourning and ashes for beauty and joy.  Surely you don’t think somewhere along the way He’s lost that anointing, do you?

Jesus later told his disciples that they would mourn (at his death), but that their mourning would be turned to joy when they saw Him again (after His resurrection).  News Flash!  In case you missed it, He’s still alive.

Moreover, Jesus said, as they asked in His name, they would receive, and their joy would be full.  So about that asking…

Joy is the fruit of the Spirit because joy is one expression of the character and nature of God.

It’s here that the Lord gets a bum rap. [click to continue…]

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Dancer posing in ornate gown

(A Truth Story…)

“Why won’t God just let me die!?” she asked in pained exasperation.

“Because He’s still waiting for you to get saved!” I retorted.

There you have it.  Now you know the kind of stuff Aunt Ruth and I used to talk about.

Aunt Ruth was neither my aunt, nor was she named “Ruth.” I named her that, and was the only person to ever use it. But she seemed to love it. And beneath her crusty exterior and sharp tongue she loved me. Except, of course, for the times she was laughing hysterically at me.  Or trying to teach me one of her “mysteries,” as she called them.  Then she was just being cruel.

Aunt Ruth was wise.  I’ve never had a relationship with anybody quite like her. We could talk about just about anything; that was rare for me in those days. I was a young pastor with an image to create and maintain. Aunt Ruth cut through all that like Sherman through Georgia. [click to continue…]

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joylessThis morning I have the privilege of preaching at Shadow Hills Baptist Church here in Lubbock.  After dreaming about hearing John Piper preaching in my head all night long that “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him” (and I’ve never actually listened all the way through to one of his messages), I believe the Lord was “instructing me in the night watches” (Psalm 16:7) to preach on joy, and specifically how we can lose it.  Here’s a quick summary of what I’m sharing there…

The most joyful people on the planet are believers in Jesus Christ.

The most joyless, miserable people on the planet are Christians, too.

Those who don’t have a relationship with Christ don’t know any better, and as they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”  But those of us who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, then somehow lost that sense of His presence, know there is something missing.

I’d like to show you how that’s possible.  How can someone who has experienced this amazing joy suddenly find themselves without it? [click to continue…]

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LeapingSitting on the back porch this morning, watching Thomas G. Glavine. Not the famous pitcher for the Braves and some other nameless team, but the yellow-striped cat named in his honor.  The G. doesn’t really stand for anything – that’s just something we tossed in there for good measure.

Glavine is a world-class mouser and extraordinary bird hunter.  He’s almost 11 years old and may have lost a step or two, but don’t tell the birds that.  A dove was sitting on top of the 10-foot fence this morning, and Glavine went to work.  His tail started swirling back and forth.  He waited and watched for the perfect moment.  Then he made an epic, heroic leap off the patio table and landed eye-to-eye with the bird, tail still swirling.

Well, the dove flew off and lived to see another day, and the cat went on the prowl for other prospects.  And the Lord and I had a little talk about what I had just witnessed.

See, before his feet made the leap to the top of the fence, his heart was leaping at the sight of the bird.  [click to continue…]

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Nursery

The room was completely remodeled.

New drywall, carpet and wallpaper with clowns and balloons.

New furniture filled the space.

New little outfits filled the drawers.

And diapers!

Oh my, the diapers. [click to continue…]

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Dance in the Rain 2

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name (Hebrews 13:15 NET).

I.
So much you’ve wanted to write or to say,
To sing from the heart
Or create magic with words
And rhythm and feeling…
Art from the heart
To show the supreme worth
Of your Dearest Friend,
Your Immortal Beloved,
Or your Infinite Redeemer.

Yet the words don’t say it all,
Do it all,
Or show it all.
The Dearest, Immortal and Infinite
Are worthy of so much more.
So there you are…
Yearning to capture the perfect refrain
For the One who has taught you to dance in the rain. [click to continue…]

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On Interstate 40 in New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa, you’ll find an exit at the 226 mile marker.

That’s about it.

A bridge and four exit and entrance lanes.  That’s all.

There is no food, phone, gas or camping opportunity.  No tourist traps so common on this major cross-country artery.  Nothing.

Okay, but at least there’s a highway number or the name of some road, right?  I mean, plenty of Interstate exits offer no services, but at least they name the road or the destination like Owassa, Hope Hull, or Tucumcari.  What’s the name of this road?

There isn’t one.

Where does it lead?

Nowhere.

The sign simply says, “Exit 226.” [click to continue…]

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Albuquerque. Sunday morning, 4:30 a.m. MST.

I think I had an encounter with a prophet.

Or maybe it was one of those times when the Lord Himself wanted to pay somebody a personal visit and get their attention.  He definitely got mine and for the briefest of moments it wasn’t pleasant. [click to continue…]

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