Tuesday, February 24, 2015

fight back with joy

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

That verse has been part of my Christian walk for as long as I been a Christian.  That is well over 27 years by now.  The first sermon I heard on these verses was powerful and one I listened to many times.  It has stuck with me.

Turn the tables and learn how to apply it in the face of pain and sorrow is another thing.  In my work in the church and community I have seen lots and lots of pain and heartache.  Those things have made these verses come to life.  Joy is so needed.  Trials will come, have come and will keep on coming.  Joy is what will give us some perspective.

I’ve walked with several people in the last couple decades who have taught me what joy looks like in times of pain.  God is real.  God alone gives lasting joy.  I want to thank many of those people who have been living examples of what joy looks like.

It isn’t darkness.  It is punching holes in the darkness.  It isn’t fear.  It is fear being pushed away by faith.  It isn’t depression or despair.  It is a deep understanding of our God being in control that allows fear to thrive.

One of the examples of this truth is author Margaret Feinberg.  She and her husband Leif have been dear friends of mine for several years.  In the past couple years she has battled cancer and recently published a book titled Fight back With Joy.

I’d like to share with you some simple quotes from Margaret’s journey:

Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil. –Psalm 97:11

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be filled with joy.

So true: You will fill me with joy in your presence. –Psalm 16:11

Hope springs when we realize God as the source of life when all seems lost.

Grieving may last for the night, but joy doesn’t only wait for the morning—it comes in the mourning, too.

The journey to joy leads us to greater dependence on Christ.

Sometimes JOY comes through others as a gift of grace, but just as often it requires intentionality.

Circumstances change. Joy endures.

I've never quit loving you, and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! {Jeremiah 31:3}

Sometimes we need to give space for grief in order to make room for joy.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit... Romans 14:7

Make the decision to declare today: Joyful Are We!

You have joy because you are drenched in the grace and mercies of God.

God stands on tiptoes, waiting to whisper in your ear: “You are loved.”

Fear may show up on your doorstep but it doesn’t have to rule your life.

Sometimes you have to poke holes in the darkness until it bleeds light.

One word from God can change everything.

Several of those have rang in my heart and mind for sometime.  My prayer is that we will have huge amounts of real joy, God given joy, in our lives; that is enough joy that we cannot help but share it and give it to others.  Let’s fight back with joy!

1 comment:

Margaret Feinberg said...

Michael, I am so thrilled Fight Back With Joy has resonated so deeply with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I am honored, humbled and grateful.

start to pray

Psalm 42:8    NLT But each day the   Lord   pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs,   praying to Go...