Where Joy Resides

“Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.” – (Philippians forward in NIV Study Bible)

 

Paul had plenty of reasons to be unhappy. He wrote Philippians while imprisoned in Rome, yet the concept of rejoicing or joy appear sixteen times in this four chapter letter he had written to the church in Philippi. At a time when most would have been miserable, Paul was proudly preaching boldly before anyone who would give ear to what he had to say. Paul recognized that his purpose was far more important than his comfort, and he embraced every opportunity to speak truth before those who were around him.

 

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. – (Philippians 1:14)

 

Local believers were challenged and encouraged by Paul’s faithfulness, (even while he was imprisoned and in less than ideal circumstances), and compelled to rise up and reach out to share the good new with courage and fearlessness that they had not previously known.

 

When life presses down,

My beautiful Gram - Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

My beautiful Gram – Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. ❤

hope seems far away;

do we reach for Christ,

to show us the way?

For in Christ alone,

true freedom is found;

where joy shall reside,

even when we’re bound.

Happiness happens,

only when life’s good;

but joy’s eternal,

when Christ’s understood.

Let’s run to the Lord,

whether free or chained;

so His joy may dwell,

and His hope sustain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our joy is not dependant on what happens around us, but rather joy depends on You alone. Thank You that we may have joy, despite the most desperate of circumstances, when we are rooted and established in You. Thank You that You utilize our faithfulness in the trials to touch hearts and minds of others. Thank You for those You have placed in our path who have encouraged us, and for the opportunities You provide for us to do the same. Forgive us for our search for happiness, or for depending on our circumstances to bring us joy. Thank You that You are our Source, and NOTHING can separate us from You. Help us to be courageous, as we move fearlessly where You call us to go. Let the lost be found in You, as they come to know You personally, as their Lord and Savior. Be glorified, O God, as we encourage others, even in the midst of our unfavorable circumstances. Let us bring Your love and light to dark spaces that are desperate for Your touch. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.

– Psalm 69:16

 

 

Chasing Dreams

Desires, dreams, the very hopes we hold in our heart that are deeply rooted and established in our faith, are not there by mistake.  God places these things in us, so that we faithfully move forward with Him.  However, there is often a long and winding road to take between that which we long to do, and the fruition of said reality.

Paul was no exception.  He desperately desired to preach the gospel in Rome.  I imagine that Paul’s plan did not include chains, shipwrecks, snakes, arrests, and long delays, in order to actually arrive to his desired destination.  “Although he may have wished for an easier passage, he knew that God had blessed him greatly in allowing him to meet the believers in Rome and preach the message to both  Jews and Gentiles in that great city.  In all things, God worked for Paul’s good.” – (Acts 28:17-20 NIV footnotes)

Like Paul, we can trust that God will work all things out for our ultimate good.  He may not make it easy, nor comfortable, but He will be present, and will provide what we need to do that which He has called us to do.  When all is said and done, we too, will see that God has worked all things together for good, and that though His ways are not our ways, His ways work wonders.  As He moves in us and through us, hearts are moved and lives are changed.  His kingdom is further established in the hearts and homes of all who hear.

What is the dream,Chasing Dreams

that your heart does hold?

Do you pursue,

or fearfully fold?

Are there delays,

obstacles in route?

Are there trials,

disturbing pursuit?

You move forward,

be faithful to trust;

don’t be deterred,

by obstacles thrust.

Often the bumps,

the trials and tests;

grow us further,

to trust in the mess.

When the dream comes,

may hearts recognize;

strength in struggles,

bring hope realized.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place in us, dreams and desires.  Thank You that in You, we have all that we need to move forward in faithful pursuit, as You call us to go.  Thank You that despite the way things often appear, You are working and moving in us and through us, even when we don’t understand how it is possible.  Forgive us for our fears and disappointments when things do not go the way that we imagined they would, and help us to trust You more.  Teach us to see things through Your eyes, rather than our own, so that we may have an eternal perspective.  Lead us to love as You love, so that many may come to know the saving grace that is available in You.  May lives be changed and hearts made new.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14