Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
Brief update: I’m back from Florida after seeing Dad with my sisters. I wrote a prayer request about this here. It was a difficult trip because I don’t travel well any more, and dealing with overcrowded airports and airplanes piles on a lot of stress. However, through it all, I felt God’s presence as He filled me with a calm and peace I sorely needed. I’m convinced that was only because of the prayers of His faithful, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers on behalf of me and my family.
It was so good to see Dad again. He has changed so much in the several years since I was last able to see him, and it is evident that soon God will call him home. It was difficult saying goodbye but I know I’ll see him in heaven, and that’s soothing to me.
1 O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
4 In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
5 The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
9 “When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
10 “For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
11 “Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”
I am thankful for so much, sometimes even for things that God is not allowing in my life. I know that sounds strange, but from past experience I have learned that when we pray for certain things and rush ahead of God’s timing on them, we might get what we pray for but it may not necessarily be God’s plan for us, therefore not good for us. I can tell you from personal experience that’s a hard place to be in!
I believe without a shadow of doubt that God desires His very best for each and every one of us. And sometimes that “best” is something so small and seemingly insignificant that it may escape our notice. Let’s try to remember to notice every single thing with which God has blessed us and “come before His presence with thanksgiving.” And then let’s share our joy and thanks with others. We live in a fallen world and all of us sometimes forget those little things in our daily struggles.
Beloved, it is my prayer that all of you enjoy a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
“It’s a Beautiful Day” by Jamie Grace is such an uplifting song and a wonderful way to praise and worship our Creator God. No matter what is going on in your life, it’s a beautiful day because it is a day the Lord has made.
May we all have this praise and worship attitude in our hearts and minds every minute of every single day!
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
—2 Corinthians 4:1-18, NIV
Recently I’ve been contemplating the phrase “quality of life.” Here are some of the definitions of quality of life, also referred to as QOL:
As you can see, there are differing opinions on what quality of life actually means. Some people use it as a measurement of how happy and fulfilled a person is. Others think of it as a way to gauge how someone can enjoy life in spite of physical handicaps or limitations. And many others consider it to be an indication of how much people have overcome in order to enjoy their life no matter what obstacles they face.
Where is God in all of this?
“The world is filled with people trying to adjust to the pain, trying to deal with life without total collapse, break down, burn out, hopelessness, fear, apathy or just giving up. And all of that really is a matter of learning how to endure. And that’s our key word this morning because the passage in front of us gives us the secrets to endurance…the secrets to endurance. How can we endure the pain of life? The profound difficulty of life? The great disappointments, broken dreams, broken bodies, broken homes, broken lives, broken relationships? How can we handle all of that? How can we face life like the Apostle Paul did who said back in verse 8 of this chapter, “We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed”? How can we live like that? How can we be so triumphant?” —John MacArthur, GraceToYou.org
So, how can we think more like Paul? Is it possible to be afflicted and still be triumphant? I have shared with you before that I live with several chronic pain illnesses. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic migraine plague me every single day. Some days are worse than others, but I can honestly count on one hand the number of pain-free days I have had in the last 5 or 6 years and still have fingers left over. And yet I still have more joy than I ever thought possible.
What is true joy? Charles Spurgeon describes it this way:
“The JOY OF HOPE—who shall measure it? Those who are strangers to it are certainly strangers to the SWEETEST MATTER in spiritual life. With the exception of present communion with Christ, the JOY of a believer in this present state must be mainly the JOY OF HOPE. “It does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He is (OUR HOPE).” (1John 3:2) We thank God that we shall be satisfied when we wake up (from the sleep of death) in the likeness of Jesus! This ANTICIPATION (HOPE) of Heaven makes (the hurt of) earth become endurable! And the sorrows of time lose their weight when we think of the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory (Our future HOPE). (2Corinthians 4:17)”
the hope of joy = the joy of hope.
I do not think we can have one without the other because each produces the other. For example, I can have the hope of joy because . . .
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth and after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes— I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
And I can also have the joy of hope because . . .
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
—Romans 15:5-6, 13
Beloved, don’t you see? It doesn’t matter what is happening in our lives as long as we continue to hang our hope on our Savior. That thought alone produces so much joy that it is impossible to stay down or depressed about our circumstances for long.
Choose joy. Yes, joy is a choice that we make every single day. If we have invited Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Savior and Lord, then we have the certain hope of everlasting life in heaven with Him. And if we have that certain hope, how can we be anything but joyful no matter what our circumstances?
My Redeemer lives!
Please enjoy this video of Nicole C. Mullin singing one of my favorite and comforting songs, “My Redeemer Lives.” I know it will fill you with as much hope and joy as it does me!
If for any reason you cannot view the video, read the lyrics here.