Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chapters of My Life: He Is My Joy

     He makes me laugh. He brings joy into my heart; a joy that bubbles over into every fiber of my being and fills me with delight. He is the Joy I have in the Lord. One of my favorite verses in the book of Psalms comes from Psalm 37. David tells us that we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4)
     My glorious Husband made me laugh today in such a way that it embraced me and strengthened me all at the same time. I am so very humbled by His great love for me, I do not deserve it, yet He pours it out upon me over and over again. How could I have ever wandered from His love, thinking I could find joy in any other but Him? He has been and always will be my greatest Joy. Besides, our Heavenly Father has the perfect sense of humor!
     I have a fear of birds. If you know me, you will know how scared of I am of birds. For those who don't know, let me explain what happens when I come near a bird. I go into a traumatic anxiety attack and have come very close to passing out! My heart races, my hands sweat, I can't think, all I can do is shake and find somewhere to hide from the little winged creatures. I have always had a fear of birds. But, for the past month, God has been working on my heart, helping me overcome the fear. They are His creation, created for our benefit and His glory. He has given us humans the responsibility to take care of His creation, just like He cares for us. In Genesis, God spoke to Adam and Eve and told them they had "dominion" over all He had created. Dominion does not mean dominate. It is a loving care, a tending to the needs, and cherishing each creature as God cherishes His children. The care and love God gives us, He told Adam and Eve (and every single human being) to do the same with His creation.
     I digress. Don't get me started on the way us humans treat God's Creation! That's a whole-nother chapter in itself! But, As I stated earlier, He has been helping me overcome this fear. I have not arrived yet, but I am getting closer! About a month ago, I put a bird bath out and started to talk to the birds, and get comfortable around them. I got closer than I ever have before. The fear is still there, but He is working in me a good work. The Lord must have decided to test my progress and my faith in this area because I found myself surrounded by birds!
     I went to an interview, was taken back to the supervisor's office, sat down and we started to chat. All of a sudden it hit me. I was surrounded by birds! Oh my goodness, there were 5 birds total in that tiny little office; two of them were sitting right next to me. I turned to the left and there, staring at me were two parakeets! Not to mention to my right were three more. Praise God they were in cages! Had I freaked out I probably wouldn't have been considered for the job at all- since it is taking  care of animals on a daily basis! But God...
     He gave me the grace to get through the entire interview without fainting! In fact, I can honestly say I wasn't even scared. They were flapping their wings and showing me their pretty voices, and it didn't bother me at all! I passed the test! Or so I thought!
     After the interview she takes me and shows me around the  offices and talks about what my responsibilities will be. As we are walking we come into a room where there is the biggest most beautiful African Parrot I have ever seen. I mean, she is magnificent! I wanted to get close to her, but the lady commented not to get to close, she will break your finger. My heart started racing and I felt my hands getting sweaty. But God...
     I felt a peace come over me and the words of Genesis came back into my mind. I have dominion. This beautiful creature is a magnificent creation of God, and just as the Father loves me and cares for me, I have a responsibility towards her. My heart stopped pounding and the Lord God strengthened me to get through the rest of the interview.  It was His grace that go me thus far!
     When I got home from the interview, I came into my house and just sat down. I could not believe that I just encountered all those birds and did not once freak out! Then it hit me. The Lord knew I was going to walk into that interview today- He knew long before I did, because He had already been preparing my heart for it! It all started to make sense. He started to prepare my heart to accept the path He has prepared for me. (Ephesians 2:10) I could lean on Him during the interview because He has been my pillar for the past month, leaning on Him to overcome this fear. He was right there with me, every step of the way.
     The battle is the Lord's my friend. Always has been and always will be. He knows the enemy's attacks, because, if you remember Job- God allowed the attacks. But He never took His hands off Job, and He has never taken His hands off me. He saw the interview before I did, and He was preparing me for it- I was just too blind to see it! Let me say this one more time- Nothing, and I mean NOTHING is outside of His control, His knowledge, His understanding, or His will. He is working all things together for your good and His glory. It is this knowledge that gives us that perfect peace we seek. It is only in the resting knowledge that He is Soveriegn. He only asks that we have faith in what He has promised us.
     Psalm 37:4 is a promise, a promise we can cling to. If the Bible says "He Will" then He will. His Word is sure and true. Mine isn't- but His is. You can stand, sit, lie down and rest in the knowledge that He Will. It is that simple. You want to know what it means to have Joy in the Lord? Then have the faith to believe His Promises- His Will.
     After I realized what had happened and how the Lord was working it out for me, I started to laugh. It bubbled up from deep inside me and inexplicable peace settled in my heart. The Lord God has prepared this way for me, and He keeps confirming it over and over again. For so long I prayed and begged Him for direction, guidance and for a sign of some kind; but I was too busy trying to do it in my own strength to recognize He was directing me, He was guiding me. I was too blind in my own wretchedness to see it! I was not waiting on Him, I was too busy trying to figure it out on my own. "Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7a
   
The lesson for me these past couple of days has been the realization of not only His Power working in and through me, but also how guarded I need to be in regards to my relationship with Him. All throughout the Bible God tells us to "guard our hearts and minds", to guard ourselves and put on the whole armor of God. Do you know why He repeats Himself so many times about this? Because no matter how many righteous we think we are, sin is crouching at the door to devour us, and our enemy is seeking whom he may kill and destroy.
     Guard your hearts, your minds, your life in Jesus Christ. Hide in Christ my friend. What do I mean by that? How do we guard our hearts and minds and hide in Christ? One simple statement the Lord God has taught me- If it does not point to Jesus then don't let it in your life and don't let it leave your life.  If you have people in your life pulling you away from Christ, then run. Psalm 1 is a reminder of what happens when we sit with sinners, it is a steady progression of our fall if we pay attention to what He is saying.
     This is how I have applied this truth to my heart. If what I am listening to, watching, or taking part in does not point me to Christ, then I need to walk away from it. But not just what I am taking in matters when I want to guard my heart- it is also what comes out of my heart that matters as well. If what I am saying, doing, or thinking does not point me to Christ, then I need to put it down, not let it come out of me. For him who knows to good and doesn't, to him it is sin. We can't hide ourselves away into some cave and never come out. No, Jesus tells us that we are in the world, but we do not have to be of the world. If I find myself in situations where I am with "sinners, mockers and scoffers" I become the one who points to Jesus. In my speech, in my actions and in the Love He has given me to shed abroad into the hearts of others, that is what I do. If I am pointing to Him, then it doesn't matter what other people say or do. Why? Because God does not forsake His children. (Psalm 37:25) That is a promise He fulfills every single day.
     If we truly desire Him above all else. then He is all that must come in and He is all that must come out of our lives. It really is that simple. This is how we delight ourselves in Him. This is how we abide in Him. (John 15)
     Let me finish this chapter with the abundant joy the Lord Jesus placed in my heart and I pray that it brings you peace today, so that you can go and delight yourself in Him too. After the interview, and I was at home, I had to go out again. I hopped in my car, turned on my tunes and guess what song came on? "God of All My Days" by Casting Crown. I began to weep and cry and sing with joy for the great love of my Father who reminds me that He is the God of All My Days. Through the good, the bad, the ugly and the sin, He is still the God of All My Days. He again confirmed to me that I was on the right path, He was guiding me, He was holding me and would continue to uphold me, every step of the way. He is giving me the desires of my heart.
     Delight in Him, and wait patiently for Him. Guard your hearts, delight in Him, and you shall have the desires of your heart, because you will have Him. Amen?

 God Of All My Days- Casting Crowns