Signs of Spring

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For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

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For the wonder of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light:

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Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

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For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above;
For all gentle thoughts and mild:

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Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

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For Thy Church that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love:

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Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

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For Thyself, best gift divine,
To our race so freely given;
For that great, great love of Thine,
Peace on earth and joy in heaven:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the Beauty of the Earth by Folliott S. Pierpoint, adapted text

Learning from My Children: To Dance Like David

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“David Dancing before the Ark” by James Tissot.  The ephod might have been a simple robe like this, or it might have been a loincloth.

Last night as I was making dinner I put on a Fernando Ortega CD.

My seven-year-old began moving to the music, something reminiscent of interpretive dance and ballet, though he has had no instruction and has seriously no chance at all of picking up such graceful moves from his parents.

At the end of “All Creatures of our God and King” my son announced that he wanted to dance to that song for next year’s talent show.

My initial reaction was less than enthusiastic.  I’m a rather reserved person.  I’d be somewhat embarrassed for him if he did something like that, something so…so…contrary to our culture’s gender stereotypes.  I wouldn’t want him to be labeled or made fun of.

And then it hit me:  I was responding in my mind like Michal did to David.

Are you familiar with the story?

And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod.  So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.

Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

My precious boy was dancing before the Lord, in jeans and no shirt, joyfully moving his feet and lifting his hands to heaven, rejoicing in a song of praise that he has long loved.  Not unlike David danced before the Lord to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

And I was thinking about what other people would think of it if they saw it.  Not unlike Michal, who despised David for his exuberant worship and criticized him with biting sarcasm.

My son wasn’t the one missing something–I was.

“I will celebrate before the Lord,” David responded.  “I will be more lightly esteemed than this!”

Oh for the freedom to express our love for the Lord, giving Him the worship that He is due without allowing the fear of man to hinder us.

Am I willing to be undignified in the views of the world?  Am I willing to come to God as a joyful child?  Without reserve?  Without concern?

Am I willing to give my children the freedom to do so?

My boy may not remember this idea by the time the talent show comes around next year, but I at least am taking his example to heart.

Has the Lord ever taught you a lesson through the simple, unreserved faith of your children?  Please share in the comments below!

A Morning Prayer

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O Father,

How great is Your goodness and Your lovingkindness!

Help me today to receive from Your hand

all that You have for me:

the forgiveness and love secured for me by Jesus Your Son,

the grace and strength needed for every moment’s calling,

the disappointments and interruptions that test my faith,

the glimpses of beauty and pictures of truth You provide in their midst,

the confident expectation and hope of all that You have promised,

the peace that passes understanding,

the fruit of Your Holy Spirit as You work to produce it in me.

O Father,

May I humble myself to receive all that You have for me this day

with open heart and hands

with full assurance of faith

cherishing Your love,

and knowing You are good.

Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2017 LAUREN SCOTT

Books Read in 2016–The Wrap-up

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In past years I have shared the books I’ve read based on an academic calendar, because when I started recording what I was reading I was using a planner that followed that format.  I’ve since decided it makes more sense to post my micro book reviews as a round up of all the books I’ve read in a calendar year.

Which brings me to this post.  The transition had to happen sometime, and it’s happening now.  So, without further adieu, I give you the books I’ve read in the latter half of 2016.  If you’d like to see the eight other books I read in 2016, they are at the bottom of my 2015-2016 post.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin  I made the mistake, dare I say, of picking up this novel around 4 o’clock one afternoon when I heard that it would soon be discussed on the Circe Institute’s Close Reads podcast; and, since my husband was traveling and would not be home that evening, had the opportunity (and by compulsion took it) to read the entire thing in one night.  Once upon a time five or more years ago I had tried to read Pride and Prejudice, but found it to be nothing more than the screenplay of the A&E film version of the story, so I didn’t make it more than a few chapters before I felt there was no need of reading it.  Having not seen the movie adaptation in several years, when I picked it up this time the banter and character development of the film which was even more prevalent in the book drew me in at once.  As Miss Elizabeth Bennet learned, so have I:  some things, upon second evaluation, are found to have much more merit than we may judge them to have at the first.  Plainly stated:  I very much enjoyed this book and regretted having not read it in its entirety much sooner.  (The article that provoked my reading was “Don’t Follow Your Heart”.  I highly recommend it and the podcast discussion of the novel.  It was great fun!)

Courtesy in Christ: An Ettiquette Handbook for Christian Teens by Diane Pickup  I found this on our shelf one day and my curiosity got the best of me.  I have little boys, so training them in courtesy is on my bucket list for them.  I enjoyed how the author tied acts of courtesy and consideration to scriptural attitudes and commands to put the needs of others before our own.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame Listening to the Close Reads podcast also led me to this interesting read.  It’s a children’s story, but not just a children’s story.  Some of the vocabulary is very challenging for a children’s book (or for the adult reader, if I’m honest).  But I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out new words as I followed the wanderings of Mole and Ratty and the mischievous escapades of their foolish friend Toad.  The discussion on Close Reads explored similarities between The Wind in the Willows and The Hobbit, The Illiad, and even Shakespeare.  Grahame’s skill in writing and thematic depth make this a thoughtful book for adults, and maybe especially young adults ready to leave home for the first time but who find themselves longing for it once they’re gone.  I do have a major caveat, however:  chapter seven “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” involves Mole and Rat finding a lost little friend with the pagan deity Pan—and they worship him.  While I think some generalized lessons can be drawn from this chapter with its wonder and awe, and while I think that it’s placement by Grahame in the center of the book is perhaps significant, the rest of the story line can be enjoyed without it.  My husband and I agree that there is so much wealth of children’s literature out there that we don’t feel any urgent need for our children to read The Wind in the Willows.  If we do read it out loud as a family while our children are young, we will skip chapter seven.  Most likely, however, we may save this as a fun return to childish anthropomorphism when our boys are in their late teens, where the themes may be particularly meaningful and when our boys could take on chapter seven as an exercise in practicing discernment.

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi  On a much lighter note, we listened to the audio version of this classic on a road trip this year.  Our boys, 4 and 6 at the time, gobbled it up!  What does it mean to be a real boy?  What are the consequences of having your own way and ignoring those who give you wise counsel?  These questions are addressed in a very outrageously funny, though sometimes violent story.  I highly recommend this story, though parents should consider the age-appropriateness of some of the darker elements (Pinocchio kills the cricket, a cat’s paw is bitten off, Pinocchio is hung by his neck from a tree, etc).  For our kids, these were effectively shocking—they grabbed the attention—without causing any bad dreams or inspiring violent play.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder  We read Little House in the Big Woods in the first half of 2016, so naturally we moved on to the next in the series.  We enjoyed following Laura’s family as they traveled to Kansas and set up their home and everything they needed from scratch.  We all gained some perspective from imagining a life in which all of your family’s belongings fit on a simple covered wagon.  And since we live in the country, there have been ample connections for us to make—they set up a garden, and we started our first garden last year; they had to dig a trench in order to protect their home from a prairie fire, and we have discussed fire safety measures like that as well. All in all, this is a series that no child should miss.

What was your favorite read from 2016?  What’s on your list for this year? 

New Year, New Things

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2016 has come and gone.  Another year in the books with no opportunity for a re-write.  But with lessons learned and memories cherished, we move forward.

This year I’m changing things up a bit, both in my day-to-day life and on the blog.  Here’s a run down to let you know what new things I’m taking on for the new year and what you might expect from me in the coming months.

I’m following a new Bible reading plan recommended by Tim Challies.  I’m nearly two weeks in, and it’s been wonderful.  I love that it has readings assigned for only five days a week, and that it has me reading in the Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms most days.  If you don’t already have a plan for this year, check it out.dsc_0005

I’ve also got a new healthy eating mindset.  Having struggled in the past with autoimmune disease, the effects of steroid treatment, and being overweight, I’ve tried quite a few “plans” out there, some more extreme than others.  Two years ago I did a very limiting protocol that made me feel miserable rather than better, and on top of that I gained back all the weight I lost and then some when I rebounded from it.  The past year has been spent stuck at the same weight but just eating whatever–I’ve not had the gumption to try any plan whatsoever, having been burned so badly the last time.  So for this year, and actually starting in December, I’ve been learning to navigate disciplined eating and weight loss from a place of freedom rather than from a place of vacillating between an all-or-nothing extreme plan and a chuck-all-the-rules-I’ll-eat-whatever mentality.  I have a weight loss goal in mind, and I have tools to get there.  I am not ruled by the tools, they serve me.  And ultimately I serve the Lord, not food or body image.  By God’s grace, the scale is beginning to move without rigid rules.

Along with some better eating habits, I’ve also begun to change other daily habits.  My husband has been getting up at 5:30 so he can spend time in prayer and in God’s word before heading off to work, and, though my body has been set to wake up at 6:30 for a LONG time, I’ve made the switch to rising at 6am.  What a blessing this has been!  As a stay-at-home home-schooling mama, I rarely have outside time commitments, so I can either fly by the seat of my pants or set my own schedule.  As I was reevaluating my life and goals in December, I realized that I needed to work on the concept of keeping my appointments–with God (to seek Him), with myself (for exercise and personal development), with my husband (to stay in step with each other), with my kids (for school among other things), and with others (to show respect and honor to those with whom I’ve made commitments).  I’m stoked because these are habits that I began BEFORE January first.  I didn’t wait for the calendar to roll over in order to start doing what I know I need to do.  Making changes immediately rather than waiting for an arbitrary start-date is a new aspect for me, and I think it’s consistent with the idea of laying off rigid rules and learning to simply choose freely to do what needs to be done.

I’m also approaching our homeschooling with a new level of confidence and consistency, thanks, largely, to an opportunity I had last fall to be part of a consistency boot-camp for homeschool moms that helped me evaluate where we are and where we want to be.  Perhaps I’ll get to share more on that in the coming months.  😉

Along with being more consistent in our schooling, I’m also learning the art of taking true breaks from our school schedule.  We had a full 17 days off from school for our Christmas break–normally we would only take off a few days around Christmas and maybe one around New Years, since in past years I have always been trying to cram as many days in as we could (a product of NOT being as consistent the rest of the year).  This time, I had to hold myself back every time I thought, “Oh, I should try to throw in another day of school,” or “Oh, they’re doing something remotely educational, I should write that down in my planner!”  Nope.  I resisted.  We had a TRUE break, and it was glorious.  I plan on carrying this mindset with me as we go forward.  Breaks are awesome.  For all of us.

Along with that two-weeks-plus break came some fun celebrations with family and some newly organized spaces.  It’s like a tradition around here.  My husband’s work load usually lightens a bit between Christmas and New Years, and we usually have a few new things from Christmas that we have to make room for (such is life in a small house), so the last week of the year is unavoidably taken up with massive reorganization efforts!

With greater organization comes greater ability to manage our responsibilities, and my husband and I are optimistic that some of the major projects we took on last year (starting a garden for the first time, organizing our home school group’s Field Day event, and planning and hosting a retreat for college friends) will go off much more easily this year now that we’ve gone through the process once before and can take them on again without having to reinvent the wheel.

Less overwhelm from some of those spinning plates has freed up my sanity to consider moving forward with the blog.  My goal for this year is to post about twice a month (up from once a month last year).  Ambitious, I know.  😉

Over the next year you can expect to see more posts about homeschooling, including some video content, which I hope you will enjoy.  Articles on marriage and parenting, devotionals, practical helps, photography, and book reviews are in the works, too. And speaking of book reviews, I plan on trying on a new schedule, ditching the school-year model I have been following and starting to post my micro book reviews with the calendar year.  So be watching for a 2016 wrap-up post before January is over. (See?  That will make two posts for January!  We’re off to a good start!)

You may have already noticed the new name on the blog:  Life Meets Jesus.  As the name indicates, this will be a place where I share about life–anything and everything–and what it looks like for our family as we wrestle with aligning it all with our Lord Jesus Christ.

And with a new name will come…Lord willing…a new blog domain!  I’m praying that transition will go smoothly.

God is at work in us to accomplish His good pleasure.  And we’re excited.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

How about you?  Any big changes or special plans for 2017?  Are you still going strong two weeks in? 
What are you looking forward to from this blog?  What topics or types of posts most interest you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions! 

The Word Became Flesh, Part Three

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This is the final post in a series on the Incarnation with meditations from John chapter one.  Read the rest of the series here:  Intro, Part One, Part Two

It’s interesting to think that if there is a personal God who is jealous for our worship, and if Jesus is anything less than God, we Christians are in a world of hurt for worshiping Him as God.  And yet, if His claims are true–if Jesus really is Emmanuel, God with us, then we are equally as bad off if we reject Him in favor of worshiping only the Father, as the Jews of Jesus’ day were inclined to do.

He came to His own and His own did not receive Him.

To worship a mere man is preposterous.  Indeed it is treasonous. And to bow down before a tiny baby as the magi did is laughable.

Unless somehow God becomes a man.  Unless somehow that baby was more than just a baby.

But if we stop to think about the incarnation, and if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s about the most unthinkable thing, isn’t it?  The only way we can reckon it even being possible is to say that “with God all things are possible” and that “He does whatever He pleases”.

So often people seem to meditate on the fact that God would become a baby.  We’re reminded of the smallness of His stature, the utter dependence upon His mother, the poverty of His earthly family.

But the marvel of the incarnation is not so much in the tininess of the Infant nor in the lowliness of His socioeconomic status, as consequential as these may seem to us, but rather that He would become human at all.

Would we lose our wonder if He had indeed walked upon the scene as a fully-grown, handsome, rich, powerful ruler?  Those earthly things might impress us, but they don’t impress God.  The gap between the rich and poor, the greatest and the weakest of our world as it is applied to the birth of Christ is a rather silly consideration in light of the infinite gap between the majesty, sufficiency, and immensity of our Creator and mankind’s collective vulgarity, dependence, and feeble littleness.

His humility and condescension would have been on display even if He had come as the most impressive of men, simply for having clothed Himself with flesh and blood.

But we are a bit dense and our values quite backwards, so in keeping with the lowliness of becoming like us, He showed us that the Mighty One of heaven needed nothing of earthly riches, power, or glory.  He was content to empty Himself of the heavenly riches, power, and glory so that He might be like those He came to save.

We see in Jesus, the Word of God, all the perfections of character that are in God Himself; we see what it means to be Emmanuel, God with us.  And we see what it means to be a truly great human being–in the only human life with which God is well pleased.  His is a greatness so far beyond our reach that in the light of the incarnation and the life of Jesus Christ on earth, we see our desperate need for God to enter into our dark mess in order to pull us out of it.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.  Isaiah 9:2

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. 

And so He came.  The glory, the humility of the incarnation is not so much that Jesus was born small and poor, but that He was born into our world at all.

And so we are invited to come.  And see.  And receive.  And worship this One to whom not only the wise men but also the angels of heaven bow down.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 

Merry Christmas.

The Word Became Flesh, Part Two

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This is Part Two in a series of meditations on the incarnation from John chapter one.  If you are new to the series, check out the Intro and Part One

How are we to know God?  Psalm 19 describes how the heavens are telling the glory of God, and how His word works in the heart of man.  Psalm 119 is another ode to the word of God, while Psalm 104 praises the Lord for His creation.  Romans 1 teaches that His invisible attributes are seen in all that He has made.

And yet…

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

The Creator now converges with creation.  The Infinite enters into finitude.  God becomes a man.

But unlike the written word of God which is powerful and yet not personal, and unlike the Creation which reveals aspects of God’s nature but is not inhabited by Him in any sort of pantheistic sense–no, unlike how God had revealed Himself in His word and in Creation, He has now revealed Himself in a Man–in whom all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).  This cosmic intertwining of the spiritual with the material, the eternal with the temporal, is the chief way in which God has chosen to reveal Himself.

“He’s a person not a plan,” Michael Card reminds us.  Jesus isn’t just a ticket into heaven.  He’s the reason you want to be there, the One who created you, the One with whom your soul, if awakened, longs to be.

Jesus isn’t just a means to an end, but He is Himself the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.

How does this impact the way we view that Babe in the manger, so seemingly small, so apparently needy?

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

Have you caught your breath yet?

More tomorrow…

Part Three

The Word Became Flesh, Part One

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This is Part One in a Series of meditations on the incarnation from John chapter one.  If you missed the intro post, you can find it here

Jesus is the Word of God.  I’ve been meditating on John chapter one for a while now (months, actually), and I can’t get passed this description.

Words are essential to clear communication.  But written words alone can’t always give us a completely accurate picture.  Ever sent an email that was completely misinterpreted by someone because your tone and inflection was taken in a totally unintended way?

In Jesus we have a picture of what God is like and who He is–in words, in deeds, in emotion, everything.  We don’t exactly have a visual because we are those who believe without having actually seen Him (1 Peter 1:8, John 20:29).  (Cheesy nativity scene pictures admittedly don’t help, but alas I have succumbed.)  Nothing seen can truly define the unseen God anyway.  Maybe that’s why the bible didn’t come complete with an inspired painting of the Lord.

Still, in Jesus Christ, we have the ultimate representation, the ultimate communication about God.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.  Hebrews 1:1-3

This Word was not only spoken or written, but it was translated into real, live humanity.  To be seen.  To be touched.  To be felt.  To be heard.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

But more than a mere representation, more than just a communication, the scripture demonstrates that this Word has been around since the beginning.  This Word was with God.  This Word was God.  Emmanuel, God with us, isn’t just a platitude or a nice meaning for a nice person’s name.  It describes the very essence of the incarnation itself.

It tells us who Jesus is.

More to come tomorrow.  But for now, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Have you ever longed for God to show Himself to you?  Second Corinthians 4:6 says “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.How does this compare with the description of Jesus in John chapter one?  How does this meet our longing, at times, to see God? 

Part Two   Part Three

The Word Became Flesh: A Short Series of Meditations on the Incarnation from John Chapter One

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The opening of the Gospel of John is a grand invitation to “come and see” who this Jesus, this “Word” and “Light” and “Son of God”, is.  The first sentences to leave the apostle’s pen are some of the most poetic and yet absolute statements about Christ in all of scripture:

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came into being through Him,

and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Three verses, six strong assertions.  They are foundational statements–not merely about this man Jesus, but also about the nature of God Himself and the relationship of Jesus to all of Creation.

This isn’t a passage to gloss over.  It is rich with grandeur.  To simply nod and move on doesn’t seem right.  I have to weigh these statements because they are heavy.

Who is this Jesus?  Do I believe the things John is saying about Him?  Do I also accept the testimony of John the Baptist that “this is the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”?

The apostle John says that “His own did not receive Him.”  Jesus warns in the Sermon on the Mount that few actually believe and follow Him.  And so I have to ask myself these questions and not rush past them.  I have to take time to ponder, to let it all sink in.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (John 1:12-13)

So the invitation is to come and see–and believe.  Come and see–and become a child of God.  Come and see–and receive grace upon grace.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14)

I invite you to join me in meditating on the incarnation over the next few days leading up to Christmas.  Let us sit for a while in John chapter one as we prepare to welcome and celebrate the One who has come and is coming again.  

Part One   Part Two   Part Three

Great Joy

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This is a journal entry from a few weeks ago that seemed appropriate given the theme of joy that characterizes the Advent and Christmas season (or the painful lack of joy some suffer more acutely at this time of year).  I hope that this will encourage and strengthen your heart as it has mine.

Creative Joy

There’s a GK Chesterton quote I have written in my home management binder that got me thinking the other day…

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.  But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening ‘Do it again’ to the moon.  It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.  It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

In Genesis we read that God created everything.  And He said it was good.

As humans we delight in our own creative works—how much more, then, does God?

If our greatest project to date is broken or corrupted, if our best artwork goes unappreciated, we may lose heart, but even though God’s good creation has been broken and corrupted by sin and unappreciated by His creatures, He does not lose heart.  He is being creative still in working all things together according to His will and pleasure.  Like a master chess player takes great joy and delight in taking whatever move his opponent makes and using it to his advantage.  Or how a composer uses all the instruments, notes, dynamics, and dissonance to make a beautiful piece of music.  Contrary to how I might imagine Him at times, God has great joy!  He isn’t some brooding but somehow benevolent grandpa in the sky.  He is a divine, cosmic orchestrator, enjoying and delighting in His own work!

Contagious Joy

Psalm 16 ends with a rather exuberant declaration:

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

At one time in my life I read this verse and thought that the joy to be found in God’s presence was in the heart of the creature delighting in God, but my view was strained because while I had imagined that those who are in God’s presence must somehow be moved to great joy, I still imagined God Himself as somehow still quite austere, even stoic and grave.  But that is not how the scriptures paint Him.  He is holy and righteous.  But He is also love and peace and delight.

If the believer’s love to God is made possible because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), and because He Himself IS love (v. 16), then it seems quite plausible that our joy and delight in Him stems from His own joy and delight in Himself and in His works.

If joy and laughter are contagious, as I am told, then our joy in the presence of God need not be somehow mustered up within us—we need only to see Him as He is, and then we will be like Him (1 John 3:1-3).

As for this side of eternity, where we do not currently see the Lord face to face, we have this promise from Jesus in John 17:  “these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.”  He has given us His word for our joy in this life—not merely as a tool so that we can conjure up our own joy, but so that we would have His joy made full in us.

All of these meditations brought this hymn to mind.  I particularly like the arrangement found here.

Thou lovely Source of true delight,
Whom I unseen adore;
Unveil Thy beauties to my sight,
That I may love Thee more.

Thy glory o’er creation shines;
But in Thy sacred Word,
I read in fairer, brighter lines,
My bleeding, dying Lord.

’Tis here, whene’er my comforts droop,
And sins and sorrows rise,
Thy love with cheerful beams of hope,
My fainting heart supplies.

Jesus, my Lord, my Life, my Light,
O come with blissful ray;
Break radiant through the shades of night,
And chase my fears away.

Then shall my soul with rapture trace
The wonders of Thy love;
But the full glories of Thy face
Are only known above.

 

Continual Joy

God is not merely unmoved or unsurprised when things on earth seem chaotic, upended, or just plain bad.  Our blessed God is joyfully working out His plans through it all.  He is delighting in His children, His creation; and He rejoices when a wayward one comes home to Him through faith and repentance (Luke 15:7).  Though God hates and grieves our sin, and though He sympathizes with our weaknesses and even weeps with those who are broken, no tragedy on earth will steal away His joy—nor, by extension, our joy if it is rooted in Him.

As you hold fast to your faith in Christ, through this season and the years to come, may you serve Him with gladness, awaiting with expectation the day when you hear, “Well done…enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)

Rejoice!  And be glad!

 

These are my own meditations and not meant as a thorough treatment of this subject.  If you want a much better biblical analysis of this topic (seriously, so much better), check out this article at Bible.org:  The Joy of God.  I found this article as I was getting ready to post my own and loved it!