Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Your Presence…My Joy

   Note this amazing nugget from Paul’s love letter to the Philippians (1:25f)…“Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” Isn’t that a wonderful truth about the relationships Christians may have? You see our time together isn’t supposed to disappoint or discourage us. It’s supposed to help us grow in the faith and to overflow with joy in Christ!

   Haven’t you experienced that? Aren’t there Christians in whose companionship you simply delight? Don’t they do good things for your heart? Don’t you look at them and think, “This is what serving Jesus is supposed to look like?” Don’t they influence you to want to be better…without ever verbalizing to you, “Hey, you should be like me!” No…it’s other than that. It’s what Christ has done to them and is doing in and through them! You don’t think of them and conclude, “So that’s what the power of positive thinking can do for a person. I need to find out what seminar they went to and go there myself.” Rather, you think of them and feel compelled to thank your Father God for the gift of such a person. Such a person provides credible evidence as to the difference Jesus can make in a life. There’s something about being in the presence of this kind of Christian friend that helps you believe your life can grow in the direction of Jesus too. And you want that to happen. You want it for your Lord…and you want it for your friends and family too. You want to be to others what Christ has caused your Christian friend to be for you. That’s just how it works. That’s part of why relationships within the family of faith are so very important.

   Following is a poem Judith Viorst wrote for children, that gives us a peek at the importance of a friend…and the keen sense of loss when a friend leaves us.

The tires on my bike are flat…the sky is grouchy gray,                                                              At least it sure feels like that since Hanna moved away.                                                      Chocolate ice cream tastes like prunes. December’s come to stay.                                  They’ve taken back the Mays and Junes, since Hanna moved away.                            Flowers smell like halibut. Velvet feels like hay.                                                                    Every handsome dog’s a mutt, since Hanna moved away.                                             Nothing’s fun to laugh about. Nothing’s fun to play.                                                               They call me, but I won’t come out, Since Hanna moved away.

   Do you know that feeling? I do. It feels like a wound to the heart that will never heal. Now…we aren’t in charge of when, or who, or how God brings such a relationship into our lives. We must simply allow our hearts to remain open to such possibilities. And God may surprise us with joy as He loves to do.

   But we are in charge of bringing our hearts under the control and preparation of the Lord Christ that He might make of us the kind of nurturing Christian He has in mind. We, too, can be joy-bringers to our precious sisters and brothers in Christ. We too may add progress in their faith. But we will have to follow our Lord outside of ourselves. We must want His attitude to become ours, so that we stop looking only to our own interests and needs and look to the interests of others. Maybe you’ve heard the adage, “Some people brighten a room when they enter…others when they leave!” The question for me is, “Which kind of person am I?”

   Dear friend in Jesus, including those of you I haven’t met yet, I do love our together times, whether face to face in warm fellowship, or heart to heart as we read each other’s thoughts about the wonder of our Savior and His goodness towards us…because time spent with you increases my joy in Jesus and my progress in the faith. I love you.

   If you can spare the time, tell us about someone the Lord has brought into your life who always increases your joy and growth in Jesus.

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One thought on “Your Presence…My Joy

  1. This is a beautiful blog that teaches us how wonderful it is to be around people we know who Really Love God. There have been so many I have known who my heart and soul would really miss if they went away. With their Love of God they have shown so much care and love toward me thru my life. I don’t stop and think about it so much.

    There have been people like my Brothers Doug & Allen that even though they might not understand it as they think they are no good sometimes – Doug will say here I am your “No Good Brother” or something like that. I love Allen for his gift to help me and be quick to do things for people when he can. He is a Giver and that is what our God is about you know. I would miss them terribly if they went away. But when they happen to go away I want them to be with God forever.

    There are people like Jim McGuiggan that go back many years when he came to visit us in our home and it stayed with me forever. We were just kids (nothing special really about us) and he took time to love us and talk to us about Godly things and he taught us about Love. Mom fixed us a nice meal when he came and I will never forget that. I remember my Mother always and how it was Wonderful to have her in my life. I think back now without her and remember so many things she went out of her way to do to care for us. She encouraged me to do things like get a job at NCR. I was insecure about doing some things and she helped me think about these things. She enabled us to go to church camp, go to church picnics and keep us together in our little home in Bellbrook Ohio. She wanted good things for us always.

    I have had friends like Rosalie, Grant and Bill who connected with me at a time when I did not care about God very much and I was stuck in sin and I had a hard time letting go of it. It just sucked me in and I was not listening to God anymore and I was really Stuck. I know now how much Sin can keep you a Slave to it. These friends helped me by just being there and ecouraging me and most of all Loving me because of the God they knew. It took some time and did not happen overnight.

    There was Al Stroop and John Wood and Claudia Lawrence, Jo Pugh and so many more that I would miss if they went away. I am not in their lives daily and close physically but I know the Story of Jesus in is their hearts as it is the same with my heart. And like Doug said we are all trying to grow in our Saviors love and help each other grow the same way. You know when those people are around and you feel them saying prayers for you.

    I love Doug’s Family – Vicki works hard does a lot of things for people in the church and out of the church. Doug and Vicki raised some wonderful children and now they have wonderful families. They encourage me
    with the way they do things because of their love of God. Doug Jr calls me on the phone when he is going to work or comes home some days – that helps my heart alot for him to think of me…Jenny is very busy also but she e-mails me and sends me things that encourage…Matt and Christi I love very much…I hear from them on the e-mail or they send a notecard. I love them all and would miss them terribly if they ever went away.

    I love you Doug for helping us meditate and think on these things more and more as we go thru this life. These things you talk about are so Important to us. And I like how you said people don’t have to say anything about being like Jesus for you to see it and know it in their lives. You just GET IT and it helps you to want to be more like them and of course Like Our Jesus.

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