"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Friday, December 25, 2009


I finally found the paper where I had the Oswald Chambers quote that I’ve referenced is. I think I have butchered it somewhat in the past, but here it is now:

“What was the joy that Jesus had? It is an insult to use the word happiness in connection with Jesus Christ. The joy of Jesus was the absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice of Himself to His Father, the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do.
Be rightly related to God, find your joy there, and out of you will flow rivers of living water.”—Oswald Chambers

1 Peter 4:12-17 (NIV)
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
13 But REJOICE that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
16 However, IF YOU SUFFER AS A CHRISTIAN, do not be ashamed, but PRAISE GOD that you bear that name.
17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

James 1:2-4 (NIV)
2 Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(the kids are actually memorizing the book of James this year for school. That makes the third year in a room that what we are memorizing is related to what we are going through…maybe I should start looking for something positive to memorize!)

Joy-having it is easier said than done. It is so hard to “count it all joy” in the middle of “it”. But it comes back to perspective. How are you looking at things? Where is your focus? Is it on Christ? You have to ask: are these trials self-inflicted or are they something that is permitted by God to develop faith? Are you doing what God has called you to do, which naturally will bring trials? (Scripture is not talking about the bad choices/consequences type of trials here. It is talking about the trials you get when you are suffering as a Christian, as you obey Christ) But no matter what, it is hard. And it takes discipline to develop perseverance. It is something we are learning and you know what, there is only one way to learn it-that is to go through it.

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