Advent Week 3: Day 7 – JOY

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“Promise of Joy”

This weeping.
Your weeping.
You have tried to stop it.
Keep it hidden from those who know and love you.
Not wanting to cast a gloom on the preparations
for the celebration of the birth of the Messiah.

And you have been successful.
Smiling when others are around.
But needing hiding spaces.
to let it out:
The bathroom.
Your pillow.
Your car.

It continues.
This weeping.
This anguish.
This sorrow.
This aching of the heart.
This weariness of the soul.
It has lasted longer than you ever thought it could.
Sapped your strength.
Made even ordinary tasks seem monumental.
But you are holding on with everything you have.
Trying to hold everything together.
And you have not let go of hope.
Even through the tears.

Dear One,
He sees you.
And He is holding you.
Even around the jagged edges.
And whispering this truth to you.
Listen.
“This weeping. This anguish. It has an end date on it.
The night will end. Morning is coming. Morning is coming.
And with it joy.
The joy known only to those who endured the night.
Reached again and again for grace.
White-knuckled hope.
Whispered broken Hallelujahs.
Kept on trusting.
Chose to say, like Habakkuk, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
This is His promise of joy.
And He, your exceeding joy, will keep it.

© E. W. Wright December 2016

Advent Week 3: Day 6 – JOY

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Prayer

Father, we accept the psalmist’s invitation to sing for joy to You, YAHWEH. We shout aloud to You, the Rock of our salvation, even if we do so through tears. Even if our days may seem long and our nights unending during this Advent season. We sing for joy because You are our Refuge and our Fortress and You are with us every moment. Immanuel. And joy is found in You.

 

Advent Week 3: Day 5 – JOY

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Prayer

Almighty God and Father, if there is ever a time for us to shout for joy to You, sing the glory of Your Name, and make Your praise glorious, the Advent season is definitely the time, as we focus on Your incomprehensible love for us.  Halleluiah!

Advent Week 3: Day 4 – JOY

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Prayer

Abba Father, You are our refuge. We chose to trust You, trustworthy God, and today we sing for joy at Your goodness and amazing, incomprehensible love. You cover and shelter us, Father. Your very name is a strong tower into which we run and are safe. We exult in You!

Advent Week 3: Day 3 – JOY

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This song, “Noel,” sung by Lauren Daigle, fills me with wonder and joy, and I wanted to share it. “Noel. Come and see what God has done.” “This is His doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

 

Prayer

Father, this Advent season, let us hear and read and experience this truth as if hearing and reading about and experiencing Your amazing love for the first time. Noel.

 

Advent Week 3: Day 2 – JOY

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Prayer

Father, I thank You that I do not have to manufacture joy. It is the result of Your presence within me. I have joy. Thank You for the grace to choose joy today.

Advent Week 3: The Joy of Advent

 

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Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, AMP)

“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

(Psalm 16:11, AMP)

“Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.”

(Psalm 21:6, NIV)

“… I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:20, AMP)

Joy. True joy. Where can we find it? Its source is the Omnipresent One.  Read again the promise spoken hundreds of years before the Word became flesh.

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, AMP)

And read again the words of Immanuel, the Word made flesh,

“… I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, AMP)

“God with us.” “God with us.” “God with us.” Make it personal because it is true. “God is with me.” Your circumstances may be characterized by uncertainty and pain this Advent season and you may be tempted to ask, “God is with me in this?” The answer is, “Yes.” The answer is always, “Yes. God is with me.” Whisper it like a secret to your wounded soul. Apply it like a salve. “God is with me.” “God is with me and in His presence is fullness of joy.” I have joy, regardless of my circumstances, because of Him. Embrace the truth. Stretch out on it. Wrap it around you like a comforting blanket. Drink it in. Feast on it. “God is with me and He is with me always [remaining with me perpetually – regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” Joy. True joy. It is found in His presence. Fullness of joy. It is based on the Omnipresent One and He is with you always.

Prayer

Father, thank You that, “Immanuel” is not a word; it is truth. You are with me and in the midst of all that is not going well, in the midst of the challenges, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, help me slow down to rest in the truth that You are with me. I am in Your presence right now and I rejoice in You.

 

 

Advent Week 2: Day 7 PEACE

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“Go in peace.” These are some of the words the priest Eli spoke to Hannah after learning that what he had thought were the actions of a drunk woman, were in fact that of a woman pouring out the anguish of her soul to the only One who could give her what she desperately desired. A son. “Go in peace,” he told her, “and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him” (1 Samuel 1:17, NIV). The Bible records that after responding, “May your servant find favor in your eyes,” Hannah “went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast” (1 Samuel 1:18, NIV).

Hannah did, “Go in peace,” and I believe that she was able to do so because she believed that God was going to answer her prayer. And it is our faith in our Father, our knowledge of His character, our confidence that He will keep His promises which enable us to, “Go in peace.” We can, “Go in peace,”  that is, in a state of tranquility or quiet; in freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. We can, “Go in peace,” into new arenas – relationships, careers, business ventures, creative endeavors, life style changes –  into all stages of life’s journey and through all seasons because of He who is Yahweh-Shalom. “Go in peace.”

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Other posts in the Advent series can be found here.

 

 

 

Advent Week 2: Day 6 PEACE

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This verse describes Gideon’s reaction to God’s compassionate response to  his (Gideon’s)expectation that he would be destroyed because he had “seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” “It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” (Judges 6: 22-23, NLT). In the midst of what was likely abject terror, God spoke words of comfort and assurance to Gideon. Out of that experience, Gideon received the revelation that “the LORD is peace.”

God does not only give peace. He is peace. And I am reminded of a truth shared by Ann Voskamp in her book, The Greatest Gift, “God gives God.” He gives us who He is.

In addition, to Judges 6, examples of this truth are found in verses such as Psalm 71:5 (AMP), “For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust and the source of my confidence from my youth, ” and Psalm 28:7 (NIV), “The Lord is my strength…”

Prayer

Father, this Advent season, may we have a fresh understanding of the truth that You give who You are. May it sink deep into our spirits. Also, help us to remember that You, LORD are peace and everything else that we need.

Advent Week 2: Day 5 PEACE

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 On the evening of that day, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.”

 So they sent the crowd home and took Him with them in the little boat in which He had been sitting, accompanied by other small craft. Then came a violent squall of wind which drove the waves aboard the boat until it was almost swamped. Jesus was in the stern asleep on the cushion. They awoke Him with the words, “Master, don’t you care that we’re drowning?”

And He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, “Hush now! Be still!” The wind dropped and everything was very still.

“Why are you so frightened? What has happened to your faith?! He asked them.

But sheer awe swept over them and they kept saying to each other, “Who ever can He be?—even the wind and the waves do what He tells them!” (Mark 4:35-41, PHILLIPS)