I have so much on my heart this week and hope it won’t seem like a hodge podge of ideas but will flow together in Him. The words the Lord has been speaking to me for the last few weeks are “Joy unspeakable”. What does that mean? I finally listened and looked it up in the Word and it is in 1 Peter 1:8. “You love him passionately although you have not seen him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory”. The footnote says, “a glorification that cannot be described.” Wow! Read that verse again. you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory, a glorification that cannot be described. That’s what the joy of Christmas and all year should look like. That’s what the shepherds experienced. Saturated. Here is the context that precedes the verse. “Through our faith, the mighty power of God constantly guards us until our full salvation is ready to be revealed in the last time. May the thought of this cause you to jump for joy, even though lately you’ve had to put up with the grief of many trials. But these only reveal the sterling core of your faith, which is far more valuable than gold that perishes, for even gold is refined by fire. Your authentic faith will result in even more praise, glory, and honor when Jesus the Anointed One is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:5-9
I don’t know how those verses speak to your heart but they were such an encouragement to me. Sometimes I feel like “I’m failing” in the issues of my life but He just told me I’m not! It’s so vital to listen to Him and get into the Bible for your answers. Anything outside the Word is uncertain. His written Truth is alive and unfailing. “He answered, “The Scriptures say: Bread alone will not satisfy, but true life is found in every word that constantly goes forth from God’s mouth.” Matthew 4:4 The Word of God.
It’s the Christmas season and my heart is desiring to fill my home with lots of lights. I love lights but they do take time to put up. I wish I could freeze time right now and not it won’t rush away as it seems to do at times. I want each day of this special season to glorify Him and bring joy unspeakable, peace that passes all understanding, unfailing love and unshakeable hope.
This past week 6 of us went back to Arizona to work on our cousin’s home and have a memorial service for her. My brother and his wife and Ed’s sister and husband, Tamme and Gary, went on the adventure with us. I may have shared this before when we first went to the house the 1st time, but the Lord showed me her place was a picture of the world. I’m not being disrespectful to Candy, who we loved dearly, but her house was a horrible, hoarding, unbelievable disaster. It represented someone without hope, peace and joy. It was full of sickness and darkness. Someone so lonely who felt so unworthy of love, and looking for answers besides Jesus had lived there. Everything the world is full of. Candy knew Jesus in her heart and we wish she would have let us in her world so we could reassure her of His love and light. But what the Lord is showing me is how 6 people in their 60’s rolled up their sleeves and dug in. In 2 days, we filled 2 30 yard dumpsters. The amazing part He wants me to share with you is we did it with joy, peace, seeing hope for the place and experiencing His love for Candy and us the whole time. It was nasty, dirty work but that’s what the world is without Him. The first time Ed and I went there we cast out the evil and it’s been a place of peace, not fear. Even the rattlesnakes we found in the garage were so nonresponsive that we had their heads before they knew what happened.
So, what am I saying? I can’t totally describe what I’m feeling but He’s showing me how we can’t fear and back away from the trials of this world. We can dig in and get rid of the junk and distractions and know His joy that is unspeakable and indescribable in every situation. We all know Christmas isn’t about what the world has made it. It’s about the birth of our Savior. We can also learn so much from those God used to bring this miraculous birth to pass. The love, joy, peace, hope and faith that Mary and Joseph had. There is also the shepherds who listened and did as the angels said and did it with joy. The life of Christians was not an easy road back then. Christians were persecuted, killed, burned at the stake. That’s when the Messiah was born.
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother, Mary, had promised Joseph to be his wife, but while she was still a virgin she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Her fiancé, Joseph, was a righteous man full of integrity and he didn’t want to disgrace her, but when he learned of her pregnancy, he secretly planned to break the engagement. While he was still debating with himself about what to do, he fell asleep and had a supernatural dream. An angel from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary into your home as your wife, because the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived a child in her womb. She will give birth to a son and you are to name him ‘Savior,’ for he is destined to give his life to save his people from their sins.” This happened to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through his prophet: Listen! A virgin will be pregnant, she will give birth to a Son, and he will be known as “Emmanuel,” which means in Hebrew “God became one of us.” When Joseph woke from his dream, he did all that the angel of the Lord instructed him to do. He took Mary to be his wife, but they refrained from having sex until she gave birth to her firstborn son, whom they named “Jesus.”” Matthew 1:18-25
“Now I’ll listen carefully for your voice and wait to hear whatever you say. Let me hear your promise of peace— the message every one of your Godly lovers longs to hear. Don’t let us in our ignorance turn back from following you.” Psalm 85:8
This is what Joseph did, he took time to listen. This is what Mary and the Shepherds did. The promised Messiah came in full glory and power to reveal God, to rescue, revive and restore us. Because He came, now nothing can or should hold us back or stop us from going forward in what the Lord has called us to do. “And he said to them, “As you go into all the world, preach openly the wonderful news of the gospel to the entire human race!” Mark 16:15
I want to add that we found treasures in Candy’s home. She made beautiful beaded jewelry. We found jewelry she had made that just sparkled. She had hundreds of kits of jewels and beads that she had planned to make and share. We shared those with her closest friends. She loved Christmas and we found beautiful Christmas ornaments. The same is in this world. There are hidden jewels – people needing help and Jesus. As we sort through the garbage, we look for the jewels and treasures. Some people thought we should just pay someone come in and huck the junk. No, we were looking for the treasures of Candy that we could share with others. This is what brings the joy, peace, love and hope into our life and this Christmas season, finding treasures in the mess. Treasures and jewels that are crying out to be found.
I’m so thankful that Joseph didn’t back down but listened to his call from the Lord. Nothing should stop us from doing what the Lord is calling s to do. No mess, no persecution, no fear, no evil government. If over 2000 years ago people would have run from a horrible mess, we may not have Jesus today. We have so much more than they did because now the Savior has come and lives inside of us, guiding us, helping us doing everything we need through us if we let Him. Are we willing and obedient to do as He asks us? He’s preparing us now for what is to come. I want to hear, listen and obey. I want to go out and find the treasures and jewels in this world and help them see the hope, joy, love and peace that only comes from the gift given to us and that we celebrate during this Christmas season. Let this Christmas season be so intimate with your Savior that you can experience that joy that is unspeakable and full of glory!!