It may sound like an oxymoron—defiant joy—but it’s a powerful combination that Stasi Eldredge unpacks in her book. Check out my full review of Defiant Joy by clicking here.
“Times of testing can also be times of refining and growth. The counterintuitive truth is that suffering can deepen our hope. It enlarges our hearts so that we can know the love and presence of Jesus in ways that we would not if we did not go through the stretching the process.”
“The waiting can be hard when you are hungry, but when you know a feast is coming, you know that the waiting won’t last forever. Dear ones, the waiting is not going to last. But there is no shame in being hungry while you wait. … In our waiting God often deepens our hunger as well.”
“We are alive. And to be alive means that we will feel. We don’t need to deny it, and we don’t need to have it rule us. We dare not marry it to cynicism, and we must not fuel it with fatalism. It is not the end of our reality. It is instead a clue that we are strangers in a strange land. And we are passing through. Sadness touches us all, but God can use it to enhance the beauty and joy of the lives we are living. Sadness can fuel our hope. It can arouse our expectancy.”
“God displayed His fierce, constant love for us once and for all on the Cross of Calvary. The essence of His heart is no longer up for question. Because of all that Jesus won for us and our choice to receive it, God promises that we actually have nothing to fear.”
“satan comes to rob us of our joy, our peace, and our connection to and faith in God. He whispers lies to us when we are vulnerable and does his best to warp our perception of our lives with his depressing and evil spin. His endless attacks can wear a person down if they are aware that the perceptions being suggested are coming straight from hell.
“satan is very good at stealing. He’s devoted all his malice to separating us from intimacy with our good Father and the experience of deep joy that comes straight from Jesus’ heart. The evil one uses the circumstances of our lives and of the world to bring discouragement and despair. That is why we must remember that though happiness is rooted in our circumstances, joy is rooted in eternity.”
“Depth of character doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come at all to those who refuse to admit the difficulties in their lives are painful. It comes when we fix our gaze on Jesus and the reality that this life is only part of the grand scheme of things.”
“There is something forged in all of us that can only be forged through fire. Perhaps intense periods of struggle, pain, betrayal, persecution, and rejection are the times when the baptism by fire that Jesus talks about occurs. When we cling to Jesus and proclaim He is good in the midst of the licking flames, our spirits rise in a strength that is proven unshakable, and God is glorified beyond reckoning. Our pain becomes the terrain of God. It becomes sacred.”
Check out some more quotes I shared from Defiant Joy here.
…whom shall I fear? … of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
Yet David is not just not afraid, he is filled with joy!
Why? He has heard God, even in the midst of the evil turmoil, say, “Seek My face.” And David responded, “Yes, Lord, I will seek Your face!” In fact, David declared there was nothing more fortifying for him than to be in God’s presence, gazing on God’s beauty and majesty, and learning more of God’s ways.
David’s conclusion is one for all who are experiencing overwhelming problems—
Leonard Sweet explores how revolutionary Jesus Christ’s public ministry was in his outstanding book The Bad Habits Of Jesus. Check out my book review by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes I especially liked.
“As the church we can be Jesus to the world, but only if we are not afraid of the spit in the dirt. To lose our earthiness is to lose our humility, which, in the end, is to lose our humanity.”
“It’s easier to donate money than to put our hand in the hand of a man or a woman who looks dirty, down, and drowned with mud. Yet the church of Jesus is not meant to be a hideaway but a hostel for all of God’s dirtiest who need restoration and healing.”
“Jesus didn’t procrastinate due to slackness or indecision or perfectionism or fear of moving forward. Jesus delayed doing what He wanted or needed to do because the timing wasn’t right, because He was telling time by His Father’s clock and making the most of the time His Father had given Him.”
“Sometimes delay is the best strategy for dealing with a problem, especially problems that have not been prayed over enough in the heart or played about enough in the mind.”
“We especially need to learn to wait on Jesus, which has both a Martha and a Mary meaning. There is the ‘waiter’ meaning of ‘waiting on Jesus,’ which means serving Him by serving others. To put the interests of others before our own is not to be weak but to be strong enough to transcend selfishness. That’s why love is only for the strong, not for the weak. Only the strong can love. … Then there is the ‘await’ meaning of ‘waiting on Jesus,’ which means patiently waiting without hating or wearing out the carpets with our pacing and fretting, sitting at His feet upon His arrival, leaning into His presence, and learning to put on the mind of Christ.”
“We all need the pendulum swing of snatching spaces of solitude and setting tables of sociability. In fact, the more plugged in and connected we are, the more we need to unplug and disconnect. A world of presence needs a time of absence.”
“Sometimes the Prince of Peace was a disturber of the peace so that He could be God’s purveyor of true peace.”
“When political correctness takes over in the church, it’s no longer about Jesus. … The Gospel becomes not God’s Good News but our own good intentions. … Jesus’ bad habit of not being afraid to offend so offends our PC sense of rectitude that He would be liable to be arrested for indecency.”
“When people today work for the church instead of working for God, love a denomination more than they love God, cherish their traditions more than they cherish their relationship with God, then they steal what is due only God.”
I will be sharing more quotes from this book soon. If you would like to be notified as soon as these quotes are posted, simply enter your email address in the box in the right column and click “Sign me up!” You can also follow me on Twitter and Tumblr where I share inspiring and thoughtful quotes ever day.
At the time I have decided, My words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting—it will happen! (Habakkuk 2:3)
Keep on waiting.
You might be able to relate to that statement. Perhaps you say, “I am waiting. And waiting, and waiting, and WAITING…!”
But let me ask you something: What are you doing while you’re waiting?
Did you know that the Hebrew word for “waiting” here can also mean to ambush? That means you need to be doing everything you can do now to capture God’s promised dream when it arrives. As John Wooden used to say, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.”
What do you need to do to ambush and capture your dream?
How do you improve your waiting skills? Check out this well-known verse—
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…. (Isaiah 40:31)
Wait upon the Lord.
This is not a passive activity. This doesn’t mean to put your feet up, take it easy, and just lounge around until God finally decides to show up.
This word for “wait” has a different definition.
Have you ever dined at a really nice restaurant? In those high-priced restaurants, one of the things that makes the dining experience so nice is the staff who serves you. They anticipate your every need, they seem to be there just when you need them. They’re not late in arriving, nor are they rushing you along. They are WAITING on you!
This is what Isaiah is saying: When we wait on the Lord we are actively serving Him. We are trying to anticipate what He wants us to do. We’re not late and we’re not rushing Him along. We just want to give Him our very best service.
So if you are waiting (and waiting, and waiting!), make sure you’re making good use of your waiting time. Serve God with all you’ve got, and then make sure you’re ready to ambush your dream when God brings it to you in His perfect timing. God said it:
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I just hate waiting! Especially when what I’m waiting for is going to be so good. It’s like already knowing what my birthday or Christmas present is going to be, but still having to wait for that special day to arrive.
It seems like it’s taking forever!
Three years ago our neighbors gave my daughter Samantha some iris bulbs. She carefully planted them in our garden and watered them, and tended them, and protected them from all the traffic through the garden. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. The first year: just small green shoots and nothing else. Last year: taller shoots, but not even a bud. This year: the shoots grew taller and we saw buds appear for the first time.
Then—finally!—yesterday the first purple iris opened. It was a long wait, but it finally happened.
Sounds like what God promised His people:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
Samantha’s iris reminds me that God’s promises do not fail, and His timing is perfect. I’m a big proponent of writing down what I sense God has impressed on my heart. Write down His promises, plant those seeds in your heart, water them with prayer, protect them from being trampled, and wait in expectation. Every day, wait in expectation.
God, the One and Only—I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I hope for comes from Him. (Psalm 62:5, The Message)
Are you waiting for God’s promise? Plant your seeds (write it down). Water them (prayer). And wait in expectation, wait in hope. God will cause your “flower” to bloom at just the right time!