The Journey Thoughts

November 21, 2016

Today I am thankful for the joy that our Lord puts in my heart. It's not
that things are just going well, and I have no pains or trials, but this joy
is buried deep within me, and it cannot be moved.  It has become a part of
my character, the fibers of my being.  It's not a joy that makes me want to
go around smiling all the time. That would be false, and with this joy there
is no falseness.  There is nothing that can take this away, for it is now
like a prosthesis, welded to my body, and fixed as a part of me, yet I
recognize it as not an original part, but one that has been grafted in.
This was not so in my younger days, for even in the midst of friends, there
was loneliness and fear, which haunted me daily. On the exterior I would
always put on a brave face, but inside, I was crumbling, with no strength to
remove myself from this kind of situation. I had a void within me, that
reminded me daily that nobody cared about me, and that I was destined to
face a life of being alone.  It was even through the tragic loss of my
brother, that sent me even deeper into the void that existed within me.  I
went searching for something I did not know existed, and it took me three
years before I was face to face with the One I certainly did not want to
hear about, yet something within me compelled me onward toward that person.
That was the living person of Jesus!  Though it was hard for me to believe a
dead man could actually come to life again, at one point, I wanted to be
filled with whatever it was I saw in another person, who seemed to have what
I was searching for.  That void within me called out for Jesus, even though
I fought it every step of the way  I was faced with wanting to be alive so
much, that I surrendered my heart to Him, and He filled me with this joy,
His truth, His Spirit, who completed me in every way.  There was security in
His name, and now I can read things like this, and be comforted, for His
comfort is joined to the joy that is ever-present within my heart: "Sing to
Yahweh, you His faithful ones, and praise His holy name. For His anger lasts
only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but
there is joy in the morning. When I was secure, I said, "I will not be
shaken." Lord, when You showed Your favor, You made me stand like a strong
mountain; when You hid Your face, I was terrified. Lord, I called to You; I
sought favor from my Lord: What gain is there in my death, if I go down to
the Pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it proclaim Your truth? Lord, Listen
and be gracious to me; Lord, be my helper. You turned my lament into
dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, so that I
can sing to You and not be silent. Lord My God, I will praise You forever."
Psalm 31:4-12  This, I found, could not be a decision to change my life on
my own, for we are controlled by something deeper than our decisions.  When
the void  was present, I couldn't fill it with just anything, even though I
tried, nothing would satisfy. When Jesus took residence, He filled the void
like it had been His all along, He was just waiting for me to surrender to
Him, to believe in Him. So now I have this joy, not only in the morning, but
it is present in every and all situations and circumstances.  It goes beyond
the emotion, and becomes a part of who you are.  Do you have this joy? Do
you know Him, the One who has filled the void in your heart, and waits for
you all through the day, to enjoy His company?  I feel sad for those who say
there is no God, but I understand, because I was once just like them, but
now I hopefully can be a light that points the way to have the void filled
in their lives. Now, I can stand, even when alone, for I am never alone.  I
now believe that God has made us all, with the void inside that can only be
filled by Him, and He is waiting for us to recognize it, and choose Him, and
for that I am thankful.

Pastor Andy

Lord, You have put this love in my heart, and this joy inexpressible, and I
am thankful.  I am thankful for the grace that overflows like standing in a
heavy spring rain.  You complete me, and I pray that You will reveal
Yourself so fully to those who have not recognized Your presence; for those
who struggle with seeing only the hurt that surrounds them.  Please open
their eyes.  Please comfort the sick, strengthen the weary, and give hope to
the hopeless.  I also pray for this joy to become the very praise from their
lips, to You. I pray today for: Cindy, Carol's family, Mary, Dillon, our
unsaved family and friends; Tara for salvation, Eric, our military, those
who are alone, and do not feel Your joy.  I pray for those traveling, for
Marcy and Kenny, Carolyn, Gene, Terry, Angie, Isabel, Ellen, Virginia,
William, Don, Dwight, Jim, Vanessa, Becky, the Markle family, the Young
family, Mike and his sisters, Travis, Eva, Max, Rita, Pastor Berkey, Nancy,
June, JT, Candace, Meredith, Barbara, Mike S., Ramona, Loren, Ben, Robby,
Kathy, Montella, Charlie, Kim, Nada, Shelly and her mom, Richard and his
dad, Pam and her son, Kelly and her son, Julissa, Kristena, Abby, Malachi,
Corbin, Ryan, Olivia, Jeremiah, Joanna, Tom, Evelyn, Joy, Ruth, Ada, BJ,
Ida, Betty, Briggs church, Jackie Ann, Tonia, Todd, Liam, Aiden, Alan,
Fisher, Tuly, Michelle, Trevor, Maria, Choya, Alex, Ken, Sandy, Andrea,
Shannon, Robert, Pat, Ryan, Tyson, Wendy, Joyce, Betty, Gus, Lisa, Alice,
David, Phyllis, Devon, Marliana, Cynthia, Johnny, Annette, Kim, Gary, Gavin,
Shawn, Laurie, Heather, Codi, Ron, Deane, Dan, Rheba, Pam, Mike, Austin,
Harriet, Fred, Dotty, James, Scott, April, Craig, Hunter, Asher, Lynette,
Patrick, Kathy, Jenifer, Abe, Trent, Garret, Mayeaux, Ben, Jason, Ashley,
Marc, Macy, Jade, Bob, Tracy, Abraham, Elijah, Japheth, Matt, Liz, Mike,
Megan, Matt, Bethany, Jeff, Laura, Carmello, Kaitlyn, Tim, Michele. Lord, I
am grateful for giving me one to continue this journey with, as I am
thankful for the one You provided for me, who now rests with You. Thank You
for filling the void, and allowing me to live for You. I praise You for the
joy of this morning, and for these in Jesus name.

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