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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Inspired by . . . always rejoicing

There is a reason that Christ is described as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. And it doesn't just have to do with the affliction He experienced here on earth. As John 2:25 tells us, "He Himself knew what was in a man."

In this age of instant images, we have all come to know, and are constantly reminded of, the depravity of humanity.

I daresay if we do not feel great sorrow over the state of our world something is amiss in our soul. [click to tweet]

It's not just what we see happening out there, it's what we are all experiencing to one degree or another in our own lives. The breakdown of relationships, increased anger and division (both in and outside of the church), even our physical bodies are breaking down as cancer and chronic illness increase. The effects of sin and decay have simmered just below the surface for thousands of years. Lately, things seem to be reaching a boiling point.

While this gives us cause for sorrow and prayer, it does not give us cause for alarm, fear or bitterness.

Nor should we mope about in an Eyore-like state.
Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed His faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. ~Oswald Chambers
In chapter six of second Corinthians Paul gives a Christian manifesto of sorts. Paradoxes abound! After all, the message of the cross is foolishness.

But it's not only unbelievers who struggle with Paul's words.

"in our sorrows, we have always cause for joy;"

How do we keep from despair, yet at the same time keep our hearts open to the sorrow we must feel if compassion and love are to rule our minds and actions? [click to tweet]

Remember the Source of your joy.

If you are looking to the things of this world to satisfy and bring you joy, you will be disappointed.
If our trust is placed in human beings, we will end up despairing of everyone. ~Oswald Chambers
True joy comes from the Holy Spirit. Our strength comes from the joy of the Lord.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom 14:17)
And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh 8:10) 
There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. ~Oswald Chambers
Tapping into that joy even when we are at our most sorrowful is not as difficult as you may think. 
Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Eph 5:18-20)
Obeying this scripture may need to begin as a discipline. You may have to force yourself to be grateful and give thanks in all things. But it will not always be so. God will bless your obedience and change your heart.

The God of your salvation will fill your heart with joy. Being identified with Christ will always mean sorrow this side of heaven. But just as we are together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. (Rom 6:5)

And that, dear ones, is cause for great joy!


Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June