Monday, January 21, 2008

521 - Joy and Pain, Sun Shine and Rain

Dear Lord - we had absolutely a wonderful weekend. Friday night we got a sitter and went with 5 other couples to Jillian's and to eat. We bowled and that was great! Then Saturday came along and we had 2 ball games and I went to my very first estate sale. It was kind of creepy walking through some one's stuff, but it was so neat too. There is still one sideboard I have my eye on, and it should be 20% off today - IF it is still there! And then Saturday night we went to Burzynski's to have a game night with 4 other couples. It is such an honor to be invited to things when you have not lived in this town very long. People are so .....................inviting! And then of course Sunday school and church were incredible! wow - Luke preached his heart out.

I have to say this......... Over my 35 years of life I have been involved in many different churches on many different levels. I have just passed through a church for a weekend, I have visited churches on vacation, I have been a long time member at a church, and even a short time member at times! (Seems like in college you changed membership every semester.) But I don't think I have ever been part of church with a staff so incredibly humble and with a deep, deep, deep longing to know the Lord and for all of us knuckle heads to "get it". Luke Raczykowski and Brad Vinyard are truly one of a kind. And then to make things even more awesome their wives are totally involved and wouldn't have it any other way. They both help lead music, lead worship, and lead the church. It is..................just wow, I am just so thankful to be there and under their leadership and authority! I just had to say it! We are blessed. AND we recently had another boy come that is Tucker's age. I have finally just put it all together that I know the mom from a school that I went to sale purses. I knew she was so familiar, but I could not place it...

In Sunday School yesterday we were talking about fear and then we got off on this tangent about sin and consequences. There was a brief discussion about how there are some things out of our control and they are really bad that happen to us. When those things happen some times it is just purely a test or trial that we have been chosen to go through. Then other times it truly could be a consequence of our sin at some time or another. We are not the ones to determine the way it is for anyone, but to encourage the person through it. It is hard either way! But i made the statement that I don't think often enough we allow our thoughts to go to the consequences, punishment, discipline side of things. We want to quickly let each other off or more so ourselves by explaining away a bad situation when the person that is going through it knows good and well what may very well be happening. I am not making any sense, but I am to me. But still like i said before it is not "us" to decide the reason someone is going through something, but to encourage them through it. But having said that - in my own life I am much more quickly to say God has been gracious to give me this trial because He thought I could be a good example of how one is to act through a trial than I am to acknowledge to others that I have been extremely unfaithful in my church attendance and quiet time (just an example here!) or whatever my faults may be and God is getting my attention.

Today I went to Job 6. There is man that had some trial, ordained by God, and really had not done much to receive such turmoil. I don't know the whole story completely, but from what I understand Job is replying to his oldest and wisest friend. This guy was actually telling him to hang in there because God would come through and rescue. He will save you, just hang in there. Good advice and wise friend!!

In verse 8-9 of chapter 6 Job is just asking for one request. It has gotten so bad and unrelenting that he does not want to go on any longer. He wants to die. Side note: verse 9 says "to let loose his hand and cut me off!" To me that is so important. Job understood how secure his salvation was. Even though he was going through such total despair he realized that he had not lost his salvation. When we are engraved in the palm of God's hands the only way to be apart from the Lord Jesus would be cut off. He can not just open His hands and drop us as some believe. He can not just say, I'm done and flick us off His hand. No, even Job knows that God would have to cut part of Himself off to be rid of us! Boy, do I love that Lord!

But the part that I am most intrigued about is the statement in verse 10 - "my joy in unrelenting pain". Job is saying that if God did cut him off he would still have joy in the midst of pain - why? Because "I had not denied the words of the Holy One." Wow - that is incredible confidence and joy. To be going through all that Job was, including a wife that was telling you to renounce everything and friends that wanted you to curse God and still have a JOY AND not to deny the words of God!!! Wow - how can I get like that? How can I prepare to have that kind of attitude if I do have to go through something such as that or at least that tragic.

What is the equation for joy - we have to know what we believe and then believe it...out loud! The only way to have joy in unrelenting pain is to know the Word and be able to hang on every Word. We have to be able to call up the Scriptures, characteristics of God, stories of faithfulness, acknowledge the disciplines, and then walk in it!!! Job had major trials and testings - I am not sure I know anyone that has gone through anything so bad. I would say my Aunt Joyce losing her son, daughter in law, and 2 grandsons all at the same time in a tornado would be very close. Job wanted to end life, he wanted to take things into his own hands - very normal reaction in the midst of tragedy. But no, Job pressed on and even had unexplained joy in the unrelenting pain.

That is almost too much for my mind to comprehend!! Thank you Jesus for this example. Thank you Jesus for your Joy!!! Thank you Jesus for your Word. Thank you Lord for You. Oh Jesus, I want to know you more. I want to understand your Word to even greater depths. I want to be changed every time I come to your word! I want to be drawn to You and stay in presence forever. I want to be completely sold out and a Jesus freak!! (Me and Toby Mac) I love you!!


Nicki said...

"Unexplainable Joy".....that is what I want today!!! I'm so glad you are totally loving your rockin church!!! What a blessing that is!!

I can't believe that was your first estate sale...wasn't it fun??!!! I LIVE for those types of "yard sales"!!! I hope you get your table!!

a.Helms said...

The story of Job is one of my favorites. It is an encourager to me. It reminds me that God does move Mountains. It reminds me that living in certain situations doesn't mean He isn't there but rather that He just wants you to come much closer to Him and fall deeper into His arms. I have had to learn this one through all my experiences. I am new to your blog and your energy and enthusiasm jumps through the pages each time I am here. Thank you for the blessings.