Sunday, June 17, 2007

Count It All Joy, Right?


Remind me never to go into antique shops again. Saturday I was out and about ‘garage sailing’ with my Mother, and we visited a new ‘old’ shop, which has many overpriced antiques. I found the local newspaper with my birth announcement. In an antique shop. Ouch.
Count it all joy, right?
With all Hell breaking loose next door to the center of the Universe (Israel, Jerusalem, where Christ will rule His Creation), finding an old newspaper doesn’t seem like much. But it’s all part of the mix.
Count it all Joy. One of the mysteries surrounding Christianity has to be that we are called to be joyful in chains, jails, poorhouses or palaces. A deeper mystery-mysterious to one on the outside of Christianity looking in-is that we are Joyful no matter the circumstance. That doesn’t mean that smiles are painted on, or that we have lost touch with reality-it means that we are very much in touch with the reality of Who God is, how He can be trusted to protect us, defend us, and, when it is time, trusted to bring us home.
“4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Not many would be convinced that I have a gentle spirit as quoted above. But God is working on me. Watch this space.

“the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
That peace, which remains within us even through life’s tumults, guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It is one of His sweetest gifts given to us.
Right now as the world goes to Hell, from Gaza to Iran to China and Venezuela, it would be very easy for a recovering stress junkie such as myself to overdose on the bad news. But I can’t.
“whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
To put it bluntly, take in crap and you’ll feel crappy. I find that I am reading more of the Psalms, and the Epistles. The more the world rages, the closer I draw to God. The closer I get to God, by learning more about Him and His nature by reading His word, the greater the Peace that I feel.
Count it all Joy.

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