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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Thank you for the Hope you gave me

Thank you for the Hope you gave

What if all you’re asking,
Is for me to be set free,
From the bondage I’m weighed under,
From the baggage unforeseen?

You do not ask for pity,
You do not ask for strength,
You do not seek replacement,
Just follow in your faith.

I thank you for your spirit,
I thank you for your love,
I thank you for the Hope you gave,
In pointing me to God above.

Some days are better than others,
Some days I seem to forget,
I’m living life without a mother,
Who lived a life with no regret.

Each year does get easier,
But each year your voice fades more,
I’m not sure if I should cling to all that’s left,
Or finally choose to close the door.

But one thing I know is certain,
I’m thankful for your legacy,
I cling to the faith you stood firm on,
And like you, I hope they see Jesus in me.

-Joy Chambers

P.S. I'm not a singer or a song writer by any stretch of the imagination, but when I wrote this, the voice in my head was singing it.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Who I am is Not Who I Want to Be

Today, as I sat on my recliner in an apartment I call my own, I pondered.  I sat back and let my mind wander.  Set aside the busyness of life and the pile of school work and just reflected.  The conclusion I made is this…..I’m not who I want to be. 

I want to be a woman of God.  I want to be a phenomenal teacher…not because of test scores or classroom success, but because of the impact my life had on theirs.  I want to be a role model.  I want to be of upright character and humble.  I want to have my priorities right with Faith, family and friends.  I want to be in right relation with those three as well….right with God, right with family and right with friends.  I want my job not to be for the paycheck but for the ministry.  I want to be “domesticated” and be able to cook and fend for myself.  I want to trust God in all circumstances and instead of staring at the tidal waves, look to Jesus who will help me not only to stand, but to walk on that water.  I want to be willing to forsake everything and go wherever He leads.  I want to be open to do what He’d have me to do, reach out to whom He’d have me to reach out to, and reveal to those who need to see the scars of my heart because in those scars is a story of healing…a story of redemption….a story of repentance….and a story of restoration. 

I don’t have a husband and I don’t have kids of my own, but I have 42 students entrusted to me and I know I’m not doing the best I can for them….not giving them my all, not pouring in enough, not reaching out, and definitely not praying for them as much as I ought to.  I have the best network of friends a girl can ask for but I know I am selfish, arrogant, rude and a torrential tester of those closest to me. 

Oh, the person I am is most certainly not the person I want to be.  But that said…..I am downright thankful I am not the person I was either.  Yes, I have a long way to go, much to learn, and some of those things I want to be…well, I’ll never make it.  But I can try and part of my trying going forward needs to actually be to *stop trying*….yeah, reverse logic there.  But I can’t do this on my own.  As much as I want to be a strong woman, I need to remember that the strength I must rely and draw from is not my own but it must be from Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9).  Any self-help remedy I try to cook up will very likely only be a temporary fix…a band-aid on the cancer that wrecks havoc within me.  Unless it be from God, then I will very likely fail.  But I am not who I once was because of God’s help and with God’s help I still have tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a gift, if I so get that gift, as tomorrow or even the next minute is never guaranteed.  But assuming I get a tomorrow….another breath……I’m not who I want to be, but I think I may be on the road to get there and I pray to God that He will help me and not leave me here where I am at…and I know He won’t.  May the days that come be used mightily in the transforming process that God has already began in me because as Philippians 1:6 says I can be ”confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  I’m not who I want to be but I am thankful I am not who I was, and I am grateful that who I am today is not where I have to stay. 

Philippians 3:12-14

“12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Until next time,

In Christ,

Joy Lynn

Friday, April 18, 2014

5 Good Things about Good Friday

1.       On Good Friday, 2009, my Joy-Ride became mine.  In the five years that have since passed, we have traveled many roads together…nearly 50,000 miles, 20 states, 1 province and 5 trips from the border state of Texas to another (Canadian) border state (New Hampshire/Maine).  Our trips have been quite the Joy-ride, filled with bumps, hills, plains, valleys and mountains but it’s been neat experiencing this adventure with my faithful car.  I’ve always said home is wherever my car is parked and my pillow is laid.

2.       Now to switch gears to the Good Friday that took place nearly 2,000 years ago.  Christ’s march to the cross at Calvary was one of the most decisive turning points in human history.  It changed the way we see God, the way we relate to God, how we can know God and where God lives.  Instead of being isolated in the holy of holies where only the high priest could meet with God, Christ paved the way to have an individual relationship with the one true God in which He makes our bodies, His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and the priest no longer has to mediate for us because Jesus Christ Himself is our Mediator.  1 Timothy 2:5-6 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

3.       Though it is called Good Friday, it had nothing to do with me.  There is nothing good in me.  Romans 3:10 says “There is none righteous, no not one..”  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  If I’m such a failure, what’s the Good News about?  Well, though Romans 6:23 starts out with “the wages of sin is death” it finishes with “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  And only He could pay that price because though I’m not perfect, He was, so His payment was suffice.  Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness and in Jesus shed blood, He was finally able to say “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

4.         Because of what Christ did on the cross, taking on my sin and shame, I can be forgiven and restored in right relation with Him.  2 Corinthians 5: 17-19 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 

5.       So much good comes from utter brokenness.  Through Christ’s broken body, I can break free from my enslavement to sin and the flesh and be called His.  It so often takes brokenness to be healed.  Romans 6:6-7 says “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”  Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Through brokenness there is a way to freedom.

What about you?  Have you been broken before?  Broken over the wretchedness of this world?  Broken over the weight of your own sin and guilt?  Well, may I invite you, this Good Friday, to hear of the Good News of Jesus.  That He came, He lived, He loved, and then He died, not for any wrong He had done, but because of His great mercy, He saved us sinners by paying the debt of our sin that we could not bear, and replacing our shame with His coat of righteousness (Titus 3:5).  Have you received this gift yet? When Jesus died on that cross conquering death, He did not stay dead, but rather He rose again conquering sin and death.  And someday He is coming again to redeem His children and bring them Home (John 14: 2-3).  Will He call you His own? 

Acts 16: 30-31

“What must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved”

Until next time,

In Christ,

Joy Lynn