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September 15, 2010

A Secret Joy To This Faith Of Ours

I stumbled upon something this morning in my coffee sanctuary....joy. Not like happy-go-lucky joy or giddiness, but a joy that, with it, had peace and a feeling of being loved, like sincere love. Maybe it was more like entering, if just for a few moments, into the shalom of the Lord [For a look at some definitions for "Shalom" you can look here: http://therefinersfire.org/meaning_of_shalom.htm or here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalom].

As I was in those moments, I felt, and still feel, how I wished others could know the peace, the joy, and goodness of knowing Jesus I feel now and have felt my entire time with him. I don't have a testimony where I remember the exact day and time when I first came to really "know" Christ. I do, however, remember that early in my relationship to Jesus that I felt that others really ought to know this feeling too. I instantly thought of all my friends in high school, who weren't apart of my church youth group, and how I knew they would love to know and experience what I had been experiencing. As a matter of fact, it was and still is, to this day, the joy, the goodness, the wholeness, the forgiveness, the the whatever you want to call it that compels me to give my life to ministry. It's the best, the greatest thing in the world. Oh, how I wished people could experience the pleasantness of a retreat in the Lord and the life that dying to yourself can bring with Jesus.

As I was praying some verses came to mind that spoke to me, but here I will keep it short.
Jesus says in John 15:1-17:

*A quick significant note: What follows from Chps. 15-17 are recorded sayings and prayers before Jesus is about to be betrayed. I get the feeling that there is, within these passages, a more urgent spirit within Jesus to share his heart with his disciples. You can almost sense a "Ok Y'all, lend me your ears, because I'm going to tell you something really important."


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 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. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.


This morning I had joy. I really felt loved and cared for by our Heavenly Father.  I felt like I was understanding v. 11 a little more clearly. Oh, how I wish that the world could know this love and acceptance from the Lord. And, Oh, how I wish that the people I pray for and minister to could know the sanctuary the can find everyday in the Lord of heaven and earth.

May you, too, know that without abiding in Jesus we cannot be fruitful. That abiding in Jesus is good, and not only that, but there's so much secret pleasure and fullness in doing so. May you be encouraged to abide. That may mean and look very differently for different people, but no matter what it is, it'll be good. May the joy, wholeness, shalom you experience with Christ stir your spirit and move you to want others to know what you do, that his joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
AMEN.






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