Goodness, the Nebulous Fruit

“You’re a good person.” I’ve heard those words so many times, and every time I want to scrunch up my eyes and respond with a resounding “Huh???” Goodness has always been so nebulous to me. Even the definition of the word is nebulous. So, what is a concrete person like me to make of the word?

When I think of goodness, I think of God’s goodness:

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17

I think of this verse in Psalm 23:

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

I experience the goodness of God every single day, but how does that goodness translate to my relationships with others? I don’t see myself as inherently good. I’m just trying to show the world how much Jesus loves me, one moment at a time.  I wrestled with this one for a long time. Writing comes easy for me, and yet I’ve spent weeks thinking and praying about this one with nothing. Crickets.

But then I realized I was taking the wrong approach. I had this idea that the fruit of the Spirit meant I had to be good. That’s not it. I’m just here to show others the goodness of God. The best way I can do that is by letting his Spirit show up in my daily life, bearing the fruit we call goodness.

Ok great, now what does that look like? When I asked God that question, He gave me Psalm 27:13

I remain confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. NIV

Our Pastor frequently reminds us that we are the salt of the Earth.  God sent us here to show his love in such a way that others will come to know Him.  Isn’t that all we can do?  So what does goodness look like in practical action? When it’s not nebulous but more concrete, it’s those things we do when no one is watching.

It’s allowing someone to go ahead of me in traffic. It’s holding back criticism. It’s feeding a stray dog, picking trash out of the park, helping someone on the street. It’s saying “thank you” at work, or lending an ear when someone is frustrated. It’s understanding that another person’s frustration isn’t personal and sometimes she needs love. It’s doing the dishes or taking out the trash when it isn’t my turn.  It’s serving at church and in the community. It’s donating to charity. It’s setting aside pride. It’s giving my time.

Goodness is no one thing, but it’s a pervasive attitude that allows God to shine through us so He may be glorified.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

 

About the Writer:
Wendy is a wife and mother who works full time in Risk Management.  Here at First Dallas she serves in Sunday school, helps coordinate Angel tree, and teaches at Discipleship University.  Her greatest joy comes from discovering how following Jesus can greatly impact her daily life and the lives of those she cares about in innumerable, practical ways.

Advertisements

How to Tame a Tiger: Parenting Tips and Tidbits from my Grandmother

She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

Because my family and I lived with my grandparents for the first six years of my life, I have very many precious memories of living in a multigenerational home.  My grandfather owned and milked cows on a dairy.  My grandmother was a homemaker, and lived in a time when there were no dishwashers, no microwave ovens, no fancy kitchen gadgets, and with only a wringer type clothes washing machine.  Most of her wonderful home cooked meals came from the garden she had planted and vegetables that were either fresh or canned.  Out of her home came the best pies, made-from-scratch cakes, homemade candies, fried chicken and steaks, and lots of joy and fun.  During my first few years of school, all of my clothes were made by hand by her and my mom. I can remember being so excited about having five new dresses – one for every day of the week at the beginning of each school year.

Grandmother demonstrated to us all the lovingkindness which God shows to us. There were no extracurricular activities, except an occasional baseball game in a nearby field with my cousins. Some of my best memories are just being with my grandmother learning to sew, crochet, and cook; working by her side, or just spending quality time with her fishing off a dock. She led by example and worked tirelessly to see that all our needs were met.  All of us grandkids knew where she stood when it came to doing what we were supposed to do and respected her high behavioral expectations. I never remember her even having to raise her voice with any of us.  Even though she died when I was only eighteen, I am so thankful to have had her example of how to parent and lead a family with respect, love, and kindness. She was truly the Proverbs 31 woman.

As a grandmother now, I hope to pass along some of those parenting tips and tidbits I learned from her, as well as a few of my own.  Here are some of the things those include.

  • Read scripture daily – schedule a quiet time for yourself to reap the benefits of God’s wisdom. (Colossians 3:16) And pray, pray, pray. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
  • Read scripture aloud daily with your children, talking about it in daily activities, and memorizing with them. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
  • Keep high expectations for behavior, teaching (Proverbs 31:26) and explaining to them your expectations, and train them as you go. (Proverbs 22:6)
  • Don’t be afraid to discipline (train) age- appropriately with consequences related to the action. (Proverbs 13:24)
  • Set clear rules and boundaries always with their own safety in mind.
  • Be clear to the children when disciplining that you love them, but are not happy with their choice of wrong behavior, or actions. (Proverbs 3:12) And never let your own emotions get out of control.
  • Spend quality time with your children, stay connected, and know what is going on in their lives, always!
  • Finally, do all things with love and kindness, demonstrating the love of Christ, as He has done for us. (Ephesians 2:7) Don’t give up! It takes time to tame a tiger!

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

 

About the Writer:
Beverly has been a long time teacher and administrator who alongside with her husband have taught numerous Sunday school classes. As a grandparent today, she loves to share with others God’s Word and make it applicable to daily living.

 

He Ain’t Heavy

The road is long 
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
So on we go
His welfare is my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another
It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Those are the lyrics to Clay Crosse’s rendition of He Ain’t Heavy. This song was released in 1997 — the year and even the month of my very first short-term missions trip. I must have listened to that song a thousand times as I remembered the faces of my Russian fellow believers, the abandoned children and youth from the orphanages, and the countless people with whom we had shared the Gospel with doing door-to-door evangelism — the people who are etched into my memory with a recollection fiercer than any before or since. It was listening to that song, no doubt, that led me (also a thousand times) to beg God for a way to live amongst and serve those same people. Everything about the impressions of that song was my ideal — to live for the good of others, to carry their burdens no matter what the cost and, in doing so to be a reflection of Christ, Who loved us to the point of dying on the cross for our sins. This was, to me, the definition of kindness, benevolence, and graciousness — everything I begged God for the opportunity to be.

God granted me my request and paved the way for me to do just what I had asked of Him; and my joy truly was complete. However, in the process I came to understand that there are some burdens too great for my shoulders. Oppression, darkness, sadness, evil, deception, selfishness, hate — all are among the burdens far too heavy for me to carry for myself, not to mention for another. Perhaps this is the struggle of every follower of Christ, to desire desperately to reflect the One we love so much, while daily experiencing the truth that we are not strong enough to fight even our own struggle with sin lodged deep in our own hearts (Romans 7).

And then enters Kindness:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

The word easy in “For My yoke is easy…” is the same word in Greek as the word used for kindness in Galatians 5 when referring to the fruit of the Spirit. How appropriate that Christ would define kindness as carrying the burden of sin on His shoulders so that we could be free to follow His example. Rest assured, He WILL call us to tasks too cumbersome for our own feeble selves, but it is His kindness that allows us to take the role of watching Him shine strong and victorious in the lead.

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Forbearance: Weathering the Sudden Storms of Our Souls

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,   patience . . . ”, ah, yes, patience. (Galatians 5:22-23)  But what is meant by patience?  The Apostle Paul used the Greek word makrothumia, which means “long-tempered” or “slow to express explosive anger.”  Let’s replace patience with forbearance, the word that the NIV uses.  Websters’ Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines it as holding oneself back from something,” like lashing out in anger, “especially with an effort of self restraint.”  See why I prefer forbearance?

What is important is that we learn how to put it into practice.  Galatians 5:16 says, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”  Jesus said “Abide in Me  .  .  .  He who abides in Me bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)  We walk in the Spirit and abide in Christ, by spending time with Him daily in prayer and in His Word.  There is no other way to bear fruit!  If we want to be like Him, we must spend real time with Him, sharing our real problems with Him.

What are some of the things that make you angry?  May I encourage you to tell them to Jesus?  He knows and understands you better than anyone because He made you.  If coffee with a friend can sooth our souls, imagine what some quality time with the Lover of our souls could do!

Is exhaustion a source of your anger?  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.“  He is our Wonderful Counselor, and He can handle our anger, and whatever else we throw at Him.  We don’t scare Him.  He’s crazy about us and nothing we do could ever change that!

I encourage you to memorize Colossians 3:12-17, and to pray through it whenever the firestorms of anger begin to rise in you.

  • Put on tender mercies: kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering/forbearance (makrothumia).  Clothe yourself with these daily in prayer.
  • Bear with each other and forgive each other because Christ forgave us!  Unforgiveness is the source of much bitterness and anger. Forgive as an act of your will.  Tell the Lord in prayer that you forgive the one who wronged you.  You don’t have to agree with them!  You just have to forgive them!
  • Most importantly, put on LOVE!  Love bonds us together in unity.  Love is a VERB!  Our desire should be to speak the truth in love, without anger, and  to serve others through love.
  • Let the Peace of God RULE in your hearts. The idea is to let God’s peace be the referee in our hearts, the seat of our emotions. We can choose to be at peace even in the midst of turmoil!
  • Dwell on God’s Word and sing praises to Him! Praise is powerful because it invites God in, and it is a balm to our hurting hearts.
  • And WHATEVER you do, do ALL in the Name of the Lord Jesus.  Ask yourself?  Can I do this in Jesus Name?  Can I yell at a family member or colleague in Jesus Name?  How can I deal with my anger in a way that pleases Him?

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way.  The Lord be with you all!

About the Writer:
Tiffany is a cross-cultural missionary, Bible teacher, speaker, writer, and worship leader.  More than anything, she desires to be one ‘who like a tree planted by the rivers of water, brings forth its fruit in due season, whose leaves do not wither, and have whatever she does prosper’(Psalm 1:3). She is committed to abiding continually in Christ, the vine, so that she may bear much fruit in, and for Him (John 15:5).

 

Bad News Bears

I have a confession to make … I hate watching the news. I purposefully do not watch it unless the weather man is telling me how sunny and amazing it’s going to feel outside that day. I call this a confession because as Christians this is not how we are to live.

We are not to be like the ostrich who sticks her head in the sand ignoring what’s going on around us. But y’all there is so much bad news! All the time! From bombings, child abductions, murders, and devastating hurricanes, there is so much in the world to make us anxious and worried. And what about our private lives? Worries can pile up and send us into a spiral of despair. There are even some chapters in the Bible that can create worry and distress. Just take a look at Isaiah 24; it’s called the “mini apocalypse” and for good reason.  The horrors listed in this chapter that will happen (not IF, but WILL) are enough to make your knees knock. So how do we go on about our days? How do we cope?

As Christians, we have something the rest of the world does not: JESUS! What He did on the cross is the reason we have peace despite the chaos swirling around us. From the moment we trust in Him we acknowledge that He is bigger than the bombs, child abductors, murderers, and even the hurricanes surrounding us. He is bigger than our personal chaos; whether it’s caused by someone else or due to our own continual mistakes. Jesus makes this promise.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

In addition to the promise of an eternity filled with joy and bliss, Jesus has also seen fit to give us blessings on top of that. Think about it, as a Christian this is the only Hell we’ll ever face! In Priscilla Shirer’s study “The Armor of God” she teaches about a tool used to combat anxiety. She suggests that anytime the anxiety of this world starts to pile up, stop and thank God for ALL of the things in your life you’re grateful for, no matter how big or small. By doing this, you will get your priorities in line and remind yourself of how much bigger God is than anything you will face in this life.

If you’re reading this and find that you’re not sure if you have ever experienced the peace that comes from having a relationship with Jesus Christ, I urge you not to delay. He is the only way to everlasting peace. 

One of my favorite hymns is “I’ve Got Peace Like a River”:

“I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river! I’ve got peace like a river in my soul!”

Hum that little ditty while focusing on what Jesus has done for you and see if your day doesn’t go a little more smoothly.

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to a 2 year old and has one on the way. She occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.

 

Beneath the Sheets

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. . . Psalm 23:2-3

Each night, I lie in bed wishing for more energy to continue working, but I will myself to put my phone down and close my eyes, ” Ah, rest!”  I let out a heavy sigh and listen to the sound of the sheets rustling beneath my head. I drift into prayer, “Dear Lord, please give me more energy.”

But then a realization hits me, and I continue, “Lord, you DESIGNED us to need rest. You knew the demands of life would compete with You, and so you designed us to NEED these moments of quiet retreat.

 I will embrace this time. I will cherish the stillness when I hear your voice so clearly. My ears ring with Your promises and Your commands. May they not be empty words that I repeat with a cavalier attitude, but may they come alive.  I can see the truth of Your Word played out so clearly in my life.  I recognize with a grateful heart the purpose for which they were written. I delight in You.”

 A grin slides across my face, unable to contain the peace and harmony that I feel in His presence.

 “Here you are beside me, fully present, loving and kind. Never failing, ever-faithful. You know every tear shed through these trying days. My name is written on the palm of your hand. (Isaiah 49:16) Lord, you are mighty.

Your Word tell us that you have measured the waters in the hollow of Your hand and marked the span of the heavens, that you have weighed the mountains and calculated the dust on the earth. (Isaiah 40:12) You are mighty beyond comprehension, and I pray that your majesty would not be lost in my limited understanding.

 I will keep my mind steadfast and trust only in you, for You alone are my peace and you have overcome the world. (Isaiah 26:3 and John 16:33)

 Thank you Lord for the silence. For the peace. And for being my hiding place. Amen.”

About the Writer:
Audra has a passion for encouraging women in their roles at home in both marriage and motherhood. She enjoys sharing her journey of refinement and learning through these important transitions on her blog called The Homegrown Project.

Peace

Have you ever given a “peace offering”?  What did you expect to happen in response?  What actually happened? Let’s look at a modern day take on a peace offering. The Cambridge dictionary defines it as “something said or to be given  .  .  .  . to show that they want to be friendly, especially to someone with whom they have argued.” Now we should ponder how God defined a peace offering.  A peace offering was for one of 3 reasons:

  • to give thanks to the Lord for whatever reason;
  • to fulfill a vow;
  • to acknowledge God spontaneously.

These are quite different aren’t they? So if a sin offering is made because you have already sinned, wouldn’t a peace offering be made because you already have peace?  How is that achieved?

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

When you are grateful, when you express gratitude, you are taking focus from “I” and placing it on whoever has done something favorable for you or someone you love. You are extolling the person’s character or sacrifice. When the Israelites made it across the dry ground of the Red Sea, they danced and sang praises to the Lord, and all was well in the camp…until they started complaining. So one facet of peace is the state of having and also expressing gratitude.

Another dimension of peace is doing what you say you’re going to do—fulfilling your vow. When Hannah brought young Samuel to the temple, she made a peace offering to the Lord. She did not grudgingly hand over her toddler; she expressed full gratitude to God for giving him to her in the first place. Man, do I hope to be Hannah-tough one day! That was one stout sister! She bore what her society saw as the shame of barrenness, fervently and unashamedly begged  God to give her what she wanted and promised to give him right back to the Lord .  .  . And then she did it! I bet she slept soundly every night thereafter.

When I do something positive, I’m not really surprised if the beneficiary shows some appreciation. But the best “love-ins” are the ones that catch me off guard. When my manager tells me that I’ve done a really good job for “just doing it and doing it everyday” or when my granddaughter runs up and hugs me super-tight “just cuz”, then I know I am valued. Now, you can’t take God by surprise, but you can please Him with your spontaneity.  Part of this aspect is a generous spirit. As our God is generous with us, how can we not be generous back?

If peace is something you are without, take a good look at these types of peace offerings. Is there an area in which you’ve been lacking? I know I used to have a terrible problem with insomnia. Medication didn’t help, and home remedies didn’t help. Nothing helped until I got my priorities straight, realized how blessed I was (and still am) and started acknowledging the Lord.  It seems such a simple thing, but that’s how God works: complex things are made simple in Him. Peace

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will made your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:6

About the Writer:
Cindy loves being an RN, wife, mom, and CiCi (that’s a grandmother but I’m way too young and hot for normal terminology) to one sweet little 5 year old girl. She loves the Lord with all her heart and wants to serve Him with gladness til her dying breath. Cindy plans on starting seminary very soon. She can hardly wait for Wednesday and Sunday to roll around so she can sing with the choir and experience just a sliver of the joy we’ll have when we all get to Heaven!

The Best and Worst of Friends

I know Depression.  How well do you know him?  Maybe you have met him once or twice in your life, or maybe he is your worst “best friend.”  I admit, I have hung out way too much with him over the years.  We met when I was about 11 or 12 and have bumped into each other more than I would like.  I try to avoid him most of the time because he definitely is not one of those friends who lifts me up; but sometimes I call him up hoping that he will understand my woes. Why I don’t just ask God to come dine with me and tune His listening ear to me is beyond me.  Just knowing that God hears me lightens the load a little, but it is not usually enough to send me back on my humming way.  Believe me, I have been extremely perturbed on more than one occasion that doing all the “right things” did not provide me lasting relief.  Surely I am not the only one who has been happy while at church and despondent once back home!

Then, one sweet day, God opened my heart to the best news I have received since that of the Gospel, and His same resurrection power at work in my life.  Are you ready for it? God showed me that He is my bridegroom! Now, I have a fantastic husband already, but sometimes I still feel very alone.  In my humanness, my husband could be doing all the right things or even slaving over the stove entertaining our little girl and cleaning simultaneously while I lie sprawled out being unproductive to anyone, and I might still feel uncared for or unacceptable.  In Isaiah 54:4-6, God calls Himself our bridegroom. Here is the passage from “The Message” translation:

Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed.
    Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.
You’ll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
    and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
    his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy One of Israel,
    known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
    and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
    and then left,” says your God.

St. Augustine of Hippo wrote in his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” On days when I feel anything but joyful, and unloveable, one of the most powerful truths that frees me to walk in the Holy Spirit’s fruit of joy is this: my Maker, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, is for me; and He will stand strong for me when I seek refuge from the pressure of this world. I know joy and can live in joy because my God has my back. He is the best, best friend, EVER.

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant.

I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart!

Have you ever read Isaiah chapter 35 in the Bible? I was recently reading through it and came across an incredible message in this chapter about rejuvenation, restoration, and reclamation. It speaks of the day when the Lord Jesus Christ will restore our land, perform mighty physical healings, and turn wasteland into lush farm land.  No more pain, problems, or even paper cuts.

When I think about His coming, I get the same feeling of anticipation as when I’m waiting on my favorite holiday.  I know there will be laughter and lots of good times to be had.  The only problem is, when the holiday finally comes I find that it never quite reaches my expectations.  But Jesus promises that with His holiday, we can’t even get close to imagining how perfect it will be. This means the feeling of disappointment will not only be far from us, but we’ll be in awe of how incredible it actually is. For the first time, I truly imagined what that day would look like and the best word I could use to describe my feelings of that day was . . . joy.

My joy came from the anticipation that God will wipe away every tear, forever!  And the thought that Jesus Christ gave this joy to me as a free gift got me very excited.  So excited that I even used a total of six exclamation points coupled with a few “Hallelujahs” and “Praise Hims” to try and capture my sentiments in my prayer journal! Think about it: we have done absolutely nothing to deserve any measure of happiness on our own. But through our gracious Lord Jesus Christ he created the way for us not only to be content for a little while, but to be jubilant for eternity. And He did this because He is a loving and merciful Father, who longs to spend time with us.  He chose us. Meditating on this truth is what gives me pure joy.

                  …They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.  Isaiah 35:10

Are you confident that you too will be able to experience this joy? There are only two options of where you’ll spend eternity. If you read chapter 24 of the same book of Isaiah you’ll find that the second option is not only worse, it’s downright scary. If you are unsure of your salvation from the second (horrifying) destination, please don’t delay a moment longer and assure your eternity through Christ Jesus our Lord.

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to a 2 year old and has one on the way. She occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.

 

Joy in Jesus!

My sweet friends, today I want to talk with you about true joy . . . not “happiness”,  not “contentment,”  not some strange giddy “feeling” . . . but real, living, deep, and soul–penetrating JOY.

Today, many of us around the world are experiencing greater prosperity than has been witnessed in recent history.  Yet with all this, there seems to be little expression and little experience of true joy.  Why is it that we can’t find any real satisfaction?  How can it be that so many of us “still haven’t found what we’re looking for?”  I believe that the answer is shockingly simple and also quite difficult for most of us to accept.

You see, sweet friends, true joy is found only in and through a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.  YES, I said it!  If you want to know true joy, you must know and submit yourself to Christ as LORD:  LORD (Heb. YAHWEH/Gk. – ego eimi – the GREAT I AM) as in GOD Himself; Lord (Gk. Kyrios – Master) and Master of your life and of your every moment!  YES friends, Jesus is Savior, Friend, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counselor, Healer, Helper, and so much more.  But friends, the Incarnate Christ was first, and most importantly revealed to us by the angel Gabriel as JESUS, Savior (Matthew 1:21), Emanuel, GOD with us (Matthew 1:23), Eternal King (Luke 1:32-33), Son of God (Luke 1:32, 33, & 35), and Lord and Master (Luke 1:17).

In Luke 2:11, an angel of the Lord, possibly again the angel Gabriel, announced to the shepherds “there is born to you this day, in the City of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Gk. Kyrios – Master).  Many years later, after Christ had ascended to the Father, Peter preached the first Christian sermon in history and proclaimed to the people, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord (Gk. Kyrios – Master) and Christ” (Acts 2:36).  Finally, Paul the apostle, and the first Christian Missionary, explained the truth of the Gospel in this way: “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord (Gk. Kyrios – Master), and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).  All of this says that Christ is Lord!

My friends, if Christ is Lord and Master, if He is GOD, and GOD with us, if He is the GREAT I AM (John 8:58), how and why do we expect Him to be less to us, and in us, than He is?  We so long to receive His blessing, His peace, His gracious presence, and YES, His JOY; and yet we remain so empty and listless (disinterested, devoid of energy and spirit), because we refuse to get still and KNOW Him as our GOD (Psalm 46:10).  Because we do not wish to have Him meddle in our daily lives, we resist reading His Word daily and spending quality time with Him each day in prayer; and the pain and loneliness we feel grows stronger day by day.

What we fail to recognize is that the One Who created us, made us for fellowship with Him.  As Blaise Pascal (the famous French mathematician and philosopher) explained, “there is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Today I have a dare for you!  I dare you to get still enough, for long enough, to hear His still small voice through daily time in His Word and in prayer.  And, I further dare you, to welcome His Word to you as it is, the sweet revelation of His perfect plan for your life, and to welcome Him, as Who He is, the God of the Universe, the Lord and Great Lover of your soul, and the true JOY GIVER!

In His presence there is fullness of JOY; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

May the Lord BLESS you and KEEP you!  May He make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace, and His JOY, until we meet again! (Numbers 6:24-25)  In JESUS’ precious, and HOLY NAME!  AMEN and AMEN!

About the Writer:
Tiffany is a cross-cultural missionary, Bible teacher, speaker, writer, and worship leader.  More than anything, she desires to be one ‘who like a tree planted by the rivers of water, brings forth its fruit in due season, whose leaves do not wither, and have whatever she does prosper’(Psalm 1:3). She is committed to abiding continually in Christ, the vine, so that she may bear much fruit in, and for Him (John 15:5).