Joy

Finding comfort in Christ

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favour bestowed on us through the prayers of many. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:5-11

The Apostle Paul wrote this introduction, roughly 3 years after spending 18 months in Corinth establishing their church. In these 3 years and in the years that followed, Paul and his companions had experienced terrible ordeals; beatings, stoning, lashings, dangers from robbers, dangers from the Jews, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the cities, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea and dangers among false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26); he would spend many nights thirsty, hungry and cold outside without clothing. Yet he spoke and wrote with confidence, “our comfort is abundant through Christ”, “we have set our hope on Him”, “He will deliver us”.

(more…)

O For A Heart To Praise My God

I’ve been thinking, praying and writing a lot about the Christian heart lately; I found this hymn written by Charles Wesley in 1742 which sums it all up perfectly….

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Thy tender heart is still the same,
And melts at human woe:
Jesus, for thee distressed I am,
I want Thy love to know.

My heart, Thou know’st, can never rest
Till Thou create my peace;
Till of mine Eden repossest,
From self, and sin, I cease.

Fruit of Thy gracious lips, on me
Bestow that peace unknown,
The hidden manna, and the tree
Of life, and the white stone.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love

My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever ~ Psalm 73:26

Give Him your heart

Give Me your heart, My son and let your eyes delight in My ways ~ Proverbs 23:26

I’ll be blunt, life can be hectic, especially at this time of the year with “the holidays” around the corner. We watch everyone rushing around trying to get things ready for Christmas, going out of their way to buy gifts for loved ones. Of course sometimes we can get caught up in it all too and may not even notice ourselves spending less time in prayer, or being preoccupied with what still has to be done while the pastor gives a sermon, forgetting to read our Bibles daily or even thinking we cannot spare a moment just to be still in the presence of the Lord.

Now as this is commonly known as the season of charity and good will towards men and while our intentions may be sincere, we convince ourselves busyness is a necessity, we strive to do our utmost to give family and friends what they want but are we neglecting to give God what He wants from us?
Those of us who are truly born again have already received the greatest gift possible, one the world could never give and can never take away, our salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection. In return God has asked for your heart, your devotion and obedience, have you given it to Him? He wants all of it, not just whatever we have to spare.

When the Lord asks for your heart it’s not a selfish demand, it’s ultimately for our benefit. After committing adultery, King David fell, a broken man he pleaded with God for forgiveness, crying out “Create in me a clean heart…..” (Psalm 51). David knew that he couldn’t fix his own heart and that in its current state it would never be acceptable to God. When the Lord takes our heart He replaces it with a new one, the old dead flesh is crucified; we are given new hopes, new desires, new loves, new joys through the Holy Spirit and the promises of His Word, we will delight in His ways and no longer in our own. Knowing that God alone can break through the hardened heart, mend the broken one and uplift the downcast one, all He asks is that we give it over to Him.

Unfortunately for many, this season is also a time of sadness and heartache, for others a time of reflection on what the year has brought them, good or bad. This is true of both the Christian and unbeliever, our hearts can still be broken, we’ll still face many tribulations in this world, Jesus said that we would (John 16:33). However we should never despair if our faith is in Him, so whether you’re out rushing around in the weeks ahead or alone in the darkest hours of the night, never forget we can always call upon the Lord, knowing that the One who saved you will never let you go, He will continue to lift up your head, He only asks that you humble yourself before His majesty and give Him your heart. God Bless