Joy Abounds? Seriously?

Oil of Joy by Stacy Lee Christian Art

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.  Isaiah 61:3

On my recent visit with my sisters, the one I spent the most time with noticed something about me that surprised her, I believe.  She was amazed and delighted to see me with “joy” exuding from my very being.  She used the word “joy” with a sweet happiness on her face. She mentioned it again on the phone this past weekend.

The question is: how can I be exuding joy when I am in the midst of mourning my precious husband?  How can this be? My heart hurts.  It is heavy, filled with sorrow.  The tears come and they go, but they are always right there, ready to leak out.

I have been pondering all of this and believe I know what Annette is seeing, sensing, feeling in and about me.  It is the joy of the Lord It is the Holy Spirit dwelling in me.  It is the joy of the Lord as my strength.  This is the only answer.  Truly, it is!

…yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places.  Habakkuk 3:18-19

שָׂשׂוֹן

sasown

cheerfulness; specifically, welcome:—gladness, joy, mirth, rejoicing

Matthew Henry, in his Commentary writes about Isaiah 61:3

  • Beauty for ashes. Whereas they lay in ashes, as was usual in times of great mourning, they shall not only be raised out of their dust, but made to look pleasant. Note, The holy cheerfulness of Christians is their beauty and a great ornament to their profession.
    • (Me: As God changes the ashes to beauty, He turns sorrow into joy quickly for He speaks, and it is done.  Kenneth has been gone almost 3 months now [amazing for it seems like yesterday].  Annette not only saw this joy in me a few weeks ago, but she heard it over the phone within the first month after Kenneth died.)

isaiah_61_3 1

  • (Matthew Henry):The oil of joy, which make the face to shine, instead of mourning, which disfigures the countenance and makes it unlovely. This oil of joy the saints have from that oil of gladness with which Christ himself was anointed above his fellows,

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”  Hebrews 1:9

oil-of-joy-title

  • (Matthew Henry):  The garments of praise, such beautiful garments as were worn on thanksgiving-days, instead of the spirit of heaviness, dimness, or contraction-open joys for secret mournings. The spirit of heaviness they keep to themselves (Zion’s mourners weep in secret); but the joy they are recompensed with they are clothed with as with a garment in the eye of others. Observe, Where God gives the oil of joy he gives the garment of praise. Those comforts which come from God dispose the heart to, and enlarge the heart in, thanksgivings to God. Whatever we have the joy of God must have the praise and glory of.

garment-of-praise

…looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.   Hebrews 12:2 

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  John 15:9-11

“…may be full” … filled with Him.  What greater joy can there be but the joy of the LORD, the One Who went to the cross for us, to save us, to suffer for us.  He was the joy that was set before Him as He endured the cross.  We ask how?  How did He have joy as He died on the cross, the torturous death which it was?  How?  He is joy.  He endured the cross because He loved us each and all so very much.  The cross was horrible, but the purpose for which He endured that cross outweighed the horribleness of it.  It was the reason He came to earth as a human.  He came to take our sin to that cross and gave us eternal life. Joy is beautiful.  Joy is full.

As I was reading a devotional this morning in Psalm 34, I read verse 5.  It said it all:

Those who look to Him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.  ESV

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  NLT

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  NIV

They looked expectingly unto Him, And they became bright, And their faces are not ashamed.  YLT

psalm_34_4-5_3x5So I ask how can I look like joy on the outside when my heart is broken and so filled with sorrow?  Jesus.  I have Jesus.  He is my joy.  I can live each day because I have Jesus.  I am mourning, and I am comforted.  I am mourning and am filled with the love of God.  I am mourning and am filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord.

joy of the Lord

…And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10b

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Lord, I am truly in awe of Your beauty.  You have so much love for me, Your sheep.  I fail You again and again, yet You never cease to love me.  Thank You, Lord; thank You.  You hold me near as I can feel You right here.  You fill me with unimaginable joy and love in the very midst of grief.  How wonderful You are.  Great is Your faithfulness.  You comfort me with Your touch, Your nearness, Your gentleness.  You change my ashes of sorrow to beauty.  You clothe me in garments of praise, taking the spirit of heaviness away.  And You drench me in the oil of joy while I mourn.  Joy, praise, and beauty that are each and all You projecting from me out into this world.  Thank You for such wonderful gifts, Lord.  I am on my knees before You, loving You.  I pray and I praise in the Name of all names, Christ Jesus.  Amen. 

 

beblacksig

 

 

Credits:

Isaiah 61:3/Joy:  http://stacyleeart.blogspot.com/2009/04/christian-contemporary-art-series-on.html

Beauty for Ashes: https://brandinicolejm.wordpress.com/

Oil of Joy: http://belovedlove.org/

Garments of Praise: https://becomingtheoilandwine.com/2016/06/11/the-garment-of-praise/

Psalm 34:5: http://www.psalmsquotes.com/

Joy of the Lord: https://beingwoven27.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/2adff-joy2bof2bthe2blord.jpg

You Give Me Beauty:  https://mariekalake.com/2014/09/22/beauty-for-ashes/

My Heart — Your Dwelling Place (a Repost)

A Repost of mine from March 19, 2017.  These words of a year and a quarter ago feel like I wrote them today:

David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it.  1 Chronicles 15:1

אֹהֶל

‘ohel

a tent (as clearly conspicuous from a distance):—covering, (dwelling) (place), home, tabernacle, tent

I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar.   Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve Me as priests Exodus 29:44

As the Israelites sojourned from place to place, they would pitch their tents where God called them to do so, and folded the tents when God called them to move on.

And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.  Exodus 25:8

While the Israelites were traveling, God had, as His dwelling place, a tabernacle in a physical tent that could be picked up and moved with the Children of God.  We, too, live in spiritual tents as we journey in this place.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.   2 Corinthians 5:1

heart blog

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.   Deuteronomy 30:6

As I travel the highway of holiness, growing closer to God, I know that my days are numbered.  I know not how many, yet I know that one day I shall be with my Maker.  I see many signs of aging such as my gray and white hair, walking more slowly and limping at times.  I have limitations now that I did not have when I was 20, 30, even 40.  For the time remaining in my life, I walk with my LORD, staking my tent where He says, packing it up as He directs, to carry along as I go.  I am a stranger on this earth, a sojourner here until God’s time for me comes.

We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.  1 Chronicles 29:15

lord I am coming

My heart is a tabernacle for the LORD.  My life is His.  I live for Him as He lives in me.

Father God, You call me to You as we walk this way together.  I pray that I am most willing to follow You, taking up my cross daily, picking up and stretching out this tent each day.  May my heart truly be the tabernacle of Your Spirit, physically as well as spiritually, Father.  The precious thought that Your Spirit lives right in my heart delivers such love and joy to me!  No matter what the circumstances of my life look like from moment to moment of each day, I know that I am Yours and that I am not a stranger to You.  I have been known by You since before I was born, since before this earth came into existence.  Oh, that You created me and have made me Yours.  How joyous I feel all over!  The order of my days is in Your hands.  I pray that I am obedient to You.  You called me to be a citizen in Heaven with You.  So, as I walk the remainder of my days on this earth, I have Your Kingdom to look forward to, my Sweet LORD.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen and Amen. 

 

befuschiasig

 

 

Bleeding Heart Photo (graphics by me): https://pixabay.com/en/bleeding-hearts-flowers-cluster-red-55120/

Painted Heart (graphics by me): by Michal Boubin @ http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/1-painted-heart–symbol-of-love-michal-boubin.jpg

Psalm 27:8 photo: by Lana G @  https://verseography.com/2011/08/25/psalm-278-come-and-talk-with-me/

Praising God from Whom all Blessings Flow

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Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.  Psalm 37:5

Have you ever dreamed of making a change in your life?  Dreamed about it for years on end?  Thought about it so much that the dream changed again and again?  That has been the way for my husband and me.  We felt it was time for us to move to a place where the allergens would be less, different, and the air cleaner and fresher.  We wanted a place where we, as seniors, could feel a bit more at ease regarding finances, weather, taxes, and other senior concerns.

Last Spring, we finally felt that it was time to make this move.  The older we were getting, the more difficult this seemed and we thought we better do this now or we wouldn’t have the ability to move.  We prayed, knowing that God would lead us.  He took New Mexico and Georgia out of the running and headed us to East Texas…Nacogdoches, Lufkin.  We would sell our home in Portland, TX which was tough….leaving the home my husband built himself for us 23 years ago.  We lived in it all but one year of our marriage.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.  Psalm 9:10

So we began the sorting out, having a garage sale and, at the end, a moving sale.  One day, Ken was in the yard taking photos of our home for we were going to sell our home “by owner.”  A car stopped; the man asked Ken if, by chance, he was going to be selling this house?  God brought a man by at that very moment who became the new owner of this home.  G appreciated the beautiful craftsmanship my husband had put into the cabinetry throughout the house and the quality workmanship that went into the building of this home.  G bought a lot covered with lovely trees, Mesquite, Live Oak, Anacua, Arizona Ash, surrounding this home.  We never even listed it.  Escrow went smoothly.

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
Psalm 92:4

My husband’s two sisters opened their doors to us…places to stay between looking for a new town, finding a home, and escrow.  Just where were we going to live?

Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.  Psalm 150:2

After perusing the internet for homes for sale in East Texas, we found more homes in our price range in Lufkin.  A neighbor in Portland guided us to a great realtor.  We like the town of 35,000 pop. with just about everything we could possibly need or want.  We found a house that is now our home.  It is close to just about everything we need.  God stopped us from buying some homes.  We could see He was with us.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  Psalm 95:2

Our new home has issues but we feel God giving us strength and ability to handle them, doing the work ourselves or hiring help when we need that too.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,….  Psalm 92:1-2

We are finding doctors, feeling God’s direction in that as well.  We sense His closing doors when we are headed the wrong way.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.  Psalm 62:8

This truly has been a journey where we have depended upon His guidance…

…a journey where we have had to walk with blind trust, with our eyes on Him.

In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid what can mere man do to me Psalm 56:4

We are so blessed.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.  Psalm 147:5

 

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When thoughts began to rise for this post, the following was nothing we could have known, although God knew.   Hurricane Harvey was yet to develop in the Gulf:

Our home was in Portland, TX.  Hurricane Harvey just devastated Rockport, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Ingleside, all small towns on one side of Portland and wreaked havoc in Corpus Christi which is on the other side of Portland.  We were not there, although we have friends there so feel very connected.  Our friends are okay.  Some houses not, but the lives of those we know are safe.  We had desired to move away from the coast more and more as we aged.  The older one gets, the harder it is to board up, evacuate, and manage through the aftermath of a hurricane.  Our former home made it through the storm in tact, but most of the trees in the yard lost at least one major limb.  G shared that with us Saturday.  We were grateful to God for keeping G safe and his new home in one piece.  We prayed for him in these regards.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.  1 Thessalonians 5:24

We feel so blessed to be here and not there.

For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,

In Whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.

The sea is His, for it was He Who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.  Psalm 95:3-5

God gave us direction and we obeyed.  Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You. 

O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!  Psalm 84:12

Father God, You have blessed us beyond measure.  We are continually learning to trust You, knowing that You know the very path You wish for us.  You keep us sheltered under Your wings.  You hold us near in all times.  May we remember these things, that we would turn to You for all of our needs.  We have seen Your mighty works in our lives so beautifully and clearly.  Oh, LORD, You are our All.  

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From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the Name of the LORD
is to be praised!
 
Psalm 113:3

May I walk near to You and know Your still, small voice.  May I sense Your very Presence with me.  Thank You, LORD. 

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!  Psalm 150:6

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together… Psalm 34:1-3

In the Strong Name of Jesus, I am so grateful.  Amen. 

beblacksig

 

 

 

 

 

My Heart — Your Dwelling Place

bleeding heart blog

David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it.  1 Chronicles 15:1

אֹהֶל

‘ohel

a tent (as clearly conspicuous from a distance):—covering, (dwelling) (place), home, tabernacle, tent

I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar.   Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve Me as priests.  Exodus 29:44

As the Israelites sojourned from place to place, they would pitch their tents where God called them to do so, and folded the tents when God called them to move on.

And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.  Exodus 25:8

While the Israelites were traveling, God had, as His dwelling place, a tabernacle in a physical tent that could be picked up and moved with the Children of God.  We, too, live in spiritual tents as we journey in this place.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.   2 Corinthians 5:1

heart blog

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:6

As I travel the highway of holiness, growing closer to God, I know that my days are numbered.  I know not how many, yet I know that one day I shall be with my Maker.  I see many signs of aging such as my gray and white hair, walking more slowly and limping at times.  I have limitations now that I did not have when I was 20, 30, even 40.  For the time remaining in my life, I walk with my LORD, staking my tent where He says, packing it up as He directs, to carry along as I go.  I am a stranger on this earth, a sojourner here until God’s time for me comes.

We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace..  1 Chronicles 29:15

lord I am coming

My heart is a tabernacle for the LORD.  My life is His.  I live for Him as He lives in me.

Father God, You call me to You as we walk this way together.  I pray that I am most willing to follow You, taking up my cross daily, picking up and stretching out this tent each day.  May my heart truly be the tabernacle of Your Spirit, physically as well as spiritually, Father.  The precious thought that Your Spirit lives right in my heart delivers such love and joy to me!  No matter what the circumstances of my life look like from moment to moment of each day, I know that I am Yours and that I am not a stranger to You.  I have been known by You since before I was born, since before this earth came into existence.  Oh, that You created me and have made me Yours.  How joyous I feel all over!  The order of my days is in Your hands.  I pray that I am obedient to You.  You called me to be a citizen in Heaven with You.  So, as I walk the remainder of my days on this earth, I have Your Kingdom to look forward to, my Sweet LORD.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen and Amen. 

befuschiasig

Bleeding Heart Photo (graphics by me): https://pixabay.com/en/bleeding-hearts-flowers-cluster-red-55120/

Painted Heart (graphics by me): by Michal Boubin @ http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/1-painted-heart–symbol-of-love-michal-boubin.jpg

Psalm 27:8 photo: by Lana G @  https://verseography.com/2011/08/25/psalm-278-come-and-talk-with-me/

Jesus is Our Joy

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‘Tis hard to look at this world and see joy at times.  There is so much going on, near us and far away.  It just looks so terrible.  Yet, God sent Jesus to us and for us.  He sent Joy to live in our hearts.  He wants us to be joyful.  As empty vessels, He can fill us with the Presence of His Holy Spirit.  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love want to fill us up to overflowing so that we can be the joy in this world…the peace in this world…the hope and the love in this world.   He wants us to spread the good tidings of great joy everywhere we go and are.  May this be our prayer.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”  Luke 2:10

εὐαγγελίζω

euaggelizō

  • to bring good news, to announce glad tidings (used in the OT of any kind of good news)
  • of the joyful tidings of God’s kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings (in the NT used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ, and of what relates to this salvation)
  • glad tidings are brought to one, one has glad tidings proclaimed to him
  • to proclaim glad tidings
  • instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation

joy-to-the-world1

This world so needs the joy of the LORD…

The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.  Isaiah 29:18

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.  Isaiah 24:14

…yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvationHabakkuk 3:18

“…And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10b

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He has come…

And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  Luke 2:7-15

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from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke 2: “He furnishes them with abundant matter for joy: “Behold, I evangelize to you great joy; I solemnly declare it, and you have reason to bid it welcome, for it shall bring joy to all people, and not to the people of the Jews only; that unto you is born this day, at this time, a Saviour, the Saviour that has been so long expected, which is Christ the Lord, in the city of David,’ …. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed; He is the Lord, Lord of all; He is a sovereign prince; nay, He is God, for the Lord, in the Old Testament, answers to Jehovah. He is a Saviour, and He will be a Saviour to those only that accept Him for their Lord. “The Saviour is born, He is born this day; and, since it is matter of great joy to all people, it is not to be kept secret, you may proclaim it, may tell it to whom you please. …. This is matter of joy indeed to all people, great joy. Long-looked for is come at last. Let heaven and earth rejoice before this Lord, for He cometh.

“The angels’ doxology to God, and congratulations of men, upon this solemn occasion. The message was no sooner delivered by one angel than suddenly there was with that angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts; sufficient, we may be sure, to make a chorus, that were heard by the shepherds, praising God; and certainly their song was not like that which no man could learn, for it was designed that we should all learn it.  Let God have the honour of this work: Glory to God in the highest. God’s good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds very much to His praise; and angels in the highest heavens….  Other works of God are for His glory, but the redemption of the world is for His glory in the highest.

Let men have the joy of it: On earth peace, good-will toward men. God’s good-will in sending the Messiah introduced peace in this lower world, slew the enmity that sin had raised between God and man, and resettled a peaceable correspondence.  If God be at peace with us, all peace results from it: peace of conscience, peace with angels, peace between Jew and Gentile. Peace is here put for all good, all that good which flows to us from the incarnation of Christ.  All the good we have, or hope, is owing to God’s good-will; and, if we have the comfort of it, He must have the glory of it. Nor must any peace, and good, be expected in a way inconsistent with the glory of God; therefore not in any way of sin, nor in any way but by a Mediator. Here was the peace proclaimed with great solemnity; whoever will, let them come and take the benefit of it.” *

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Father, I come to You this day and sense Your very Presence in my life.  You love me.  You have sent Your One and Only Son, Jesus, to save me from my sins, to draw me near and grow me to be more and more as Jesus, into the image of Your Son.  I can only imagine the blessing that I can be through the obedience to You in my daily walk.  I desire to bless You, Father.  I desire to love You from the very depth of this heart that You created as it fills up with Your Love. 

Thank You for bringing Your Joy to this Earth for our sake.  You give me smiles and hope and peace and love.  You have given me JOY deep in my heart.

I’ve got a joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart, down in my heart…

I’ve got the love of JESUS down in my heart
Down in my heart, Down in my heart
I’ve got the love of JESUS down in my heart..
Down in my heart to stay….  **

Precious Heavenly Father, the joy I feel, as I sing these songs, takes the stress and strain away that this world carries.  You know all and have complete control.  Thank You for sending Your Son to bring us Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and much more.  As I spend time in Your Word, at the foot of the manger, I know that this Joy is real.  He cometh.  Praise You…Praise You.  Glory be to You, the Father, the Most High.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray with Joy…Amen. 

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* Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke 2

**  I’ve Got the Joy (also called: Down in My Heart), George W. Cooke, 1926

With Shouts of Joy

psalm-65-8-barley-field-1684052

You visit the earth and water it;

You greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

You provide their grain,

for so You have prepared it.

You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.

Psalm 65:9-10

God sends His rain to the earth…this place we call home now.  Earth.  He sends rain by His will, by the ways He so pleases.  We may experience drought or flooding for these are part of living on this earth.

Our spiritual lives sometimes suffer drought or flooding as well.  Too much input, busyness can leave us with little room for God.  Too little time spent with God can cause thirst for Him.  Sometimes we do not even know what we are thirsty for, yet we know that we are.  “Our hearts are dry and barren unless God Himself be as the dew to us and water us; and the plants of His own planting He will water and make them to increase.”  Matthew Henry

I recall searching hard and long for something that I was missing, yet I did not know what that was.  Years later, through many trials, through many seasons of drought and floods, I found Jesus.  Jesus was Who I needed.  I needed to know Him personally.  He would give me Living Water and I would no longer be thirsty.  The fruit of the Spirit could grow in me and then be harvested from me, from my field of new plantings.  This field becomes rich in nutrients and water from the One Who is the Living Waters.  I grow and pray I will continue to grow.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

“…; we must lift up our eyes above the hills, lift them up to the heavens, where the original springs of all blessings are, out of sight, and thither must our praises return, as the first-fruits of the earth were in the heave-offerings lifted up towards heaven by way of acknowledgment that thence they were derived.  All God’s blessings, even spiritual ones, are expressed by His raining righteousness upon us.”  Matthew Henry

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You crown the year with Your bounty;

Your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

Psalm 65:11-13

Everything in His world rejoices over the bounty of His harvest…the pastures, the hills, the meadows, the valleys.  There is abundance in all He is and does.  He rains down upon this earth.  He sends His Love to us in His Son.  He grants mercy upon these souls and bodies from on high.  He whispers grace through His wind, through His Holy Spirit.

He crowns all He is and does, encompassing on every side, as a crown surrounds a head; as when something is completed, it is crowned.  The fruitfulness of His world is in His hands, in His power. 

How grateful I am, LORD.  May You adorn Your world with the riches of harvest, both in fruit of the tree and the fruit of salvation.  I shout my praises and honor to You, oh God.  I am so very heartbroken in the broken and breaking shape of this world, of this nation.  I know this is Your world and You know each and every one of Your creations.  I may feel saddened by so much right now, yet I truly can rejoice in the love, the tender care, the peace, the hope I find in You.  I look up to where my bounty and blessings come from.  Hallelujah!

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Let all these common gifts of the divine bounty, which we yearly and daily partake of, increase our love to God as the best of beings, and engage us to glorify Him with our bodies, which He thus provides so well for.  Matthew Henry

Father, I am humbled by the beauty of Your Word, by the bounty of Your fields, by the benevolence of Your mercy, by the balance in all that surrounds.  Father, in this season of giving thanks, I am reminded that offering my thanks daily is my desire and hope.  I lift up my hands in praise to You, the Giver of my soul.  You are my All, LORD.  I love You and sing with joy as I ponder the sun rising, beginning each day anew, or watch the sun set, leaving the brilliance of pinks and oranges across the sky.  You are Magnificent, Father.  I see You all around me.  Praising You and praying in the Name of the Bright Morning Star.  Amen. 

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Photo:  kangbch  —  https://pixabay.com/en/barley-field-sunrise-morning-solar-1684052/

Photo:  Hans — https://pixabay.com/en/wheat-spike-wheat-field-cereals-8762/

The Way of Holiness – Isaiah 35

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God speaks to us through His Word.  I continue to ponder this highway that I am on.  I feel His nearness, His love for me, His joy as I learn from Him.  I walk the road with God.

Isaiah 35:1-10:

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.  John 15:16

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. …. So there was much joy in that city.  Acts 8:5, 8

I desire to abide in You, my LORD, being obedient and submissive to You.  I want to be a fruit bearer, honoring You with joy and song.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  Luke 22:32

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  1 Thessalonians 5:14

May I serve You, my LORD, with boldness and strength, acceptably, with reverence and awe.

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.  For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

“…to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.’  Acts 26:18

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.  Psalm 46:4

Oh, LORD, You are my All in all.  You are the One Who turns me from darkness to light, from blind to seeing, from deaf to hearing.  You set me apart for Yourself.  I am so very grateful.  May the springs flow through me as I walk in this world…that I would be Your witness, Your light, Your salt.

8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.  It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. ….”  Jeremiah 6:16a

This highway stands before me.  I ask for the ancient paths and walk upon them for this is the good way.  I know I shall find rest there.  Thank You, LORD.

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Revelation 7:17

I praise You, LORD.  I sing and rejoice for I know You.  You are my Guide.  You are the Way of Holiness.  Hallelujah!  and Amen!

 
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Photo 1:  Patricio Hurtado from Chile:  https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960126/  CCO Public Domain (from Pixabay)

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero