How To Experience More Of Christ’s Joy

“Many people are selective about which parts of themselves they bring to Me in prayer. Some hesitate to approach Me about traits they consider shameful or embarrassing. Others are so used to living with painful feelings—loneliness, fear, guilt, shame—that it never occurs to them to ask for help in dealing with those things. Still others get so preoccupied with their struggles that they forget I’m even here. This is not My way for you, beloved.

There are hurting parts of you that I desire to heal. Some of them have been with you so long that you consider them facets of your identity. You carry them with you wherever you go, barely aware of their impact on your life. I want to help you learn to walk in freedom. However, you are so addicted to certain painful patterns that it will take time to break free from them. Only repeatedly exposing them to My loving presence will bring you long-term healing. As you grow increasingly free, you’ll be released to experience My joy in greater and greater measure!” —Jesus (in Sarah Young’s Jesus Always)

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How Long??

Four times in the opening two verses of one of his psalms, David cries out, “How long, O Lord?”

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?”

It does sometimes feel like the unpleasant season is lasting “forever!” David lays it out: “Every day it seems like Your face is hidden, I’m trying to come up with my own escape plans, my heart is breaking, and the bad guys are taking advantage of me! O Lord, how long will You let this last?”

David turns to prayer again and again. He asks God to hear him, enlighten his eyes, and silence his enemies.

Then I love this transition in David’s outlook—
“But I have trusted in Your mercy; [so]
my heart will rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, because
He will deal bountifully with me.”

I have … I will … You have … You will!

O my soul, keep looking up. Keep crying out.

The God who has STILL will! 

Poetry Saturday—Thine Forever

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered 
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain … 

Oh, make me Thine forever;
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love to Thee! —Bernard of Clairvaux

The Servant As His Lord (book review)

One of the most straight-talking, tell-it-like-it-is Christian speaker and author is Oswald Chambers. No one could ever accuse him of sugar-coating the Christian walk! In The Servant As His Lord, Chambers takes an unflinching look at the difficulty a Christian will have in living as his Lord, Jesus Christ, did.

As is the case with nearly all of Oswald Chambers’ books, The Servant As His Lord is a compilation of three sources: lectures, sermons, and essays for some small pamphlets. Biddy Chambers, his wife, often recorded Oswald’s sermons via shorthand and then put them into a book form at a later date.

The material in this book was all recorded during the height of The Great War (or what we now refer to as World War I). Many Christians were quite shaken in their faith during this time, questioning why God’s followers should have to go through such horrific things. Oswald Chambers, as he always did, never dodged the question nor made excuses, but simply stated: Jesus suffered pain, ridicule, and injustice while on earth, and His followers will too. The servant will be as his Lord.

Even though this book addresses some heavy topics, it’s not at all a “downer” for the reader. Quite the contrary! This book is actually very encouraging for the Christian going through any kind of difficulty or trial, knowing that Jesus not only went through the same thing, but that He is walking with us through our own trials.

This is definitely one of Chambers’ meatier books, but it is well worth the mature Christian’s time to study these wise and encouraging words.

11 Quotes From “Peace In The Face Of Cancer”

This book is a MUST READ for anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, or is a caregiver to someone with cancer. Lynn Eib’s Peace In The Face Of Cancer will give you insight and encouragement for your journey. Check out my book review by clicking here, and then enjoy a few quotes below.

“We always want people to give us the benefit of the doubt or cut us some slack, but we have to admit, it’s not always easy to do the same for others—especially when our world as been rocked by something as life-threatening as cancer. Our emotions are fragile, our bodies are hurting, and our spirits can be wounded easily. … Nevertheless, if we want to find peace in the face of cancer, sometimes we will have to hear people’s hearts and ignore their words (and perhaps their actions, too).”

“There is a much more reliable source of truth and good news no matter what you’re facing. I guarantee it has the kinds of hopeful words you will want to reverberate through your brain. That source is the Word of God. (For example: Psalm 119:28; Proverbs 1:33)

“God designed us to need each other and to be able to offer one another our talents, our gifts, our insights, and our special brand of encouragement. Please don’t let those differences become a wedge in your relationships. One of the primary ways satan discourages families and friends facing cancer is to get us at odds with one another. Don’t let that deceiver win.”

“Be a friend. Be a shoulder. Be a hugger. Be an asset. Please just be there and God will be there.

If you do this you will be the giver of the greatest gift a suffering friend needs—presence without fixing; love without an agenda.”

“The most loving thing you may do for your loved one today is to be good to yourself. … Do something to lift your spirits so afterward you can once again lift someone else’s.”

“Please don’t surrender to cancer. Even if it ultimately takes your life or your loved one’s life, you never have to become submissive to it. Cancer is not in charge. Those errant cells are not calling the shots. This disease is not in control. God is.”

“Quit searching for life’s Ctrl+Z button and stop pretending you could be in charge of it all. Go ahead and give up the control stick and declare with the psalmist, ‘My future is in Your hands’ (Psalm 31:15). Trust the only One who is all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful. He will lead you into all your tomorrows.”

“No matter what havoc cancer wreaks on your body, it does not have the final say. Those who have everlasting life never lose their battle with cancer because if God doesn’t take the cancer out of them on earth, He takes them out of the cancer and home to Heaven.” 

“Don’t fix your eyes on what is seen. Don’t fix them on pathology reports or CT scans or bloodwork or insurance bills or cancer statistics or anything else you can see. No matter what this life brings, fix your eyes on what is unseen.”

“Your purpose in life never changes. It is the same whether you or your loved one has a lot of cancer, a little cancer, or even no cancer. Your purpose in life—and mine—is to know God and love Him more, and to help others know God and love Him more.” 

I will be sharing more content from this phenomenal book soon. Stay tuned…

10 Quotes From “The Broken Way”

All of us will deal with brokenness at some point in our lives. Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way is a brilliant light shining in the darkness of brokenness and pain. Check out my review of Ann’s book by clicking here.

“When the church isn’t for the suffering and broken, then the church isn’t for Christ. Because Jesus, with His pierced side, is always on the side of the broken. Jesus always moves into places moved with grief. Jesus always seeks out where the suffering is, and that’s where Jesus stays. The wound in His side proves that Jesus is always on the side of the suffering, the wounded, the busted, the broken.”

“The body of Christ doesn’t offer you some clichés, but something to cling to—right here in our own scarred hands. His body doesn’t offer some platitudes, but some place for your pain—right here in our offered time. His body doesn’t offer some excuses, but we’ll be an example—right here in our bending down and washing your wounds.”

“A Wounded Healer uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and He never treats those who hurt on the inside as less than those who hurt on the outside.”

“Get busy, get distracted, and you can forget God. Forget God, and you lose your mind and your peace. Forget God, and all you remember is anxiety. Anxiety can give you God-Alzheimer’s. Forget the face of God, and you forget your own name is Beloved.”

“The art of giving is believing there is enough love in you, that you are loved enough by Him, to be made enough love to give.”

“You can be glued to a screen or glued to your schedule or glued to your stuff—and maybe that’s just a bit of lost living. You can be a slave to getting ahead, a slave to the clock, a slave to convenience, a slave to some ill-advised American dream—and maybe that’s a lot of lost living. Maybe even in a bit of brokenness, grace moves in you to get up and give to people you love and people that you’re learning to love, to go to the park and laugh with your kids or any kids, to give an elderly woman a hand and a listening ear and the gift of presence—that’s large living.”

“The world is brokenhearted and full of suffering, and if you listen to what life needs instead of what you need from it, you could fill the brokenness with your own brokenhearted love—and this will in turn fill you. … You are where you are for such a time as this—not to make an impression, but to make a difference.”

“When you are filled to the brim with the enoughness of Christ, the only way you can possibly have more is to pour yourself out.”

“The wondrous order of Christianity isn’t ‘go and sin no more and Jesus won’t condemn you.’ The order of Christ and Christianity is ‘neither do I condemn you—go and sin no more.’”

“The only way to live a truly remarkable life is not to get everyone to notice you, but to leave noticeable marks of God’s love everywhere you go.”

I will be sharing more quotes from The Broken Way soon. If you would like to be notified as soon as these quotes are posted, please subscribe to my blog. And to read other inspiring quotes I share every day, follow me on Twitter or Tumblr (or both!).

Poetry Saturday—O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee,
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee,
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee,
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shalt tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee,
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red,
Life that shall endless be. —George Matheson

Bryan Duncan has beautifully set this poem to music—

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