“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him,
you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)
Have you ever lost something valuable?
Recently, I had a conversation with my sisters in Christ and discovered we all had something in common—we had lost precious diamonds. One dear sister told us of the tragic story of how she sat in her car one day and took off her wedding rings to lotion her hands. Afterwards, she grabbed her purse and proceeded to go inside the store, only to rush back half an hour later in desperate search for her rings.
She never found them.
I had a watch my husband bought me in 1987. That beautiful watch had 32 diamonds in it. One day the battery died and I slipped the watch inside my purse with the intent to take it to the jeweler across the street from my office. About two weeks later, I discovered the watch had disappeared.
Had I lost it? Or had it been stolen?
Most women love jewelry. When you lose something so precious, you are sick to your stomach. Sometimes we mourn over these precious minerals for years.
Don’t you feel like this sometimes when you’re robbed of your joy?
We rise in the morning with the intent to follow a schedule, not a rigid one, just one that gives us a sense of direction. We’re open for change. We don’t have preset agendas. We don’t have specific people in mind we need to set straight. Not looking for a fight. Not looking to defend one either.
Our day is highlighted by a nice hard rain from the day before. We smile because it’s sunny, the earth has been nurtured, the flowers are blooming, spring, or autumn is in the air. Birds are singing. Our family is at peace.
Then you get a phone call. Maybe it’s a nasty look. Perhaps someone misunderstood something you said. Or were you cornered into taking the fall for something you didn’t do? In a split second, your whole world comes crashing down. Everything seems to spiral out of control. Whether it’s pent up emotions, or the results of evil hands, you’re in a tizzy.
You convince yourself to take the high road. If you don’t say anything, how will anyone know what you’re going through? So you pick up the phone. You get on Facebook. You send out e-mails. But no matter how many numbers you dial, who you e-mail, or how many social outlets you contact, no one heeds your pleas for help.
The last thing you want to do is sit and cry alone. You’re miserable and you want company—someone to help you muddle through your mess.
I can remember times when a calamity knocked on my door. I won’t lie. I wanted to skip the crying and go right into fight mode. I wanted to park my Christian faith in the middle of a parking lot, or hide it under a blanket. I didn’t want to conceal it for long—just for a moment, until I landed the first blow across someone’s jaw.
It’s times like these that we’re so clouded with what’s going on around us that we can’t seem to remember scripture. For example:
. . .always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just want to stand toe-to-toe with the evil one and have it out with him. By myself, I’d surely lose that fight.
I miss my 32-diamond watch. It’s worth a lot of money. But here is what I’m determined “not” to lose.
I have no plans to put it up for sale. There’s no bid high enough to auction this precious gift God has given me. I won’t loan it out either. There’s not enough room on my bookshelves to hold it, so there’s no room for it among my fiction novels. I won’t hide it under the cabinet or drown it out with secular music. I don’t have plans to throw it in with the wash. And I sure won’t wring it out with mop water and scrub the floors with it.
See, I can’t even mingle my joy with idle gossip, or ungodly movies, dirty jokes and foul language.
And I’m not about to plaster a For Sale sign on my front door.
What I have in my posession is worth more than silver and gold and sparkling diamonds. My joy down plays the hand-me-down rags I wear around the house and causes me to sing. It doesn’t frown at my bad breath if I choose not to brush my teeth until three o’clock in the evening. It keeps me company when things become a bore. It makes me smile at the little things. It tickles me until I can’t stand it, making me cry and roar with laughter when God exposes the many miracles he wants me to see. My need to complain gets lost between the birds’ singing and the sunshine beaming. And instead of curling my hands to make a fist and fight my next opponent, I’m kneeling in prayer with a smile on my face.
I may not be able to stop solicitations for my joy, but I will definitely use my God-given right to refuse any price offered for it.
So, I declare, no matter what circumstances I find myself in . . .
My Joy Isn’t For Sale.
Philippians 1:3-5 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Philemon 1:7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.
1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
2 John 1:12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Poet, Novelist
May 12, 2015
I closed my eyes and prayed. Then I stood at the plate and swung my bat. The ball landed in the catcher’s mitt with a loud pop. I missed. I tucked my bottom lip between my teeth and bore down—HARD. The ball came at me a second time, aiming for the center of my bat. I swung again. Missed. I moved away from the plate then kicked the dirt, telling myself I had to keep my eye on the ball. “Get mean,” I mumbled. I squared my shoulders, took in a deep, deep breath, went to the plate, and determined to hit that ball out of the park.
I hit it alright. Straight up. It landed in the catcher’s mitt before I got halfway to first base. Like the girly girl that I am, I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I snatched my bat off the ground and threw it in the corner of the dugout.
You ever felt defeated?
Sometimes when I kneel and pray for something, I get off my knees determined to do the right thing, knowing that at my next opportunity, if I aim right, I’ll hit God’s message out of the park. But it never fails that just as I am determined to drive God’s message home, I end up missing the ball.
I had an opportunity a week ago to show a sister in Christ how Satan was using her. I started the conversation with good intentions, but when I saw that Satan was using her to get at me, I got angry. Before I knew it, I raised my voice in an effort to penetrate her weakness. If only she’d let go of anger, I thought. “Forgive others and focus on your own sin,” I told her, “instead of focusing on your brother’s sin.” Then and only then would she recognize how much freedom she had in Christ.
At the end of that conversation, I felt her pain through the telephone line. It took me almost a week to fully see what I had done.
I was so focused on her attacking me, or shall I say, Satan attacking me again, that I missed the opportunity to help her. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever get another opportunity to right this wrong.
When we kneel in prayer and ask God for his guidance, we must let him guide. The minute I felt anything other than compassion during that conversation, I should have stopped and prayed for us. I didn’t need God’s answers in the palm of my hands in order to feel useful. People don’t expect you to know everything. What they expect is human compassion and understanding—to know and feel you’ve been in their shoes.
I have no doubt that if I’d offered my sister compassion and a listening ear instead of a mountain of knowledge and scoldings, I would have encouraged her and helped place her in a position to seek God and trust him.
As it stands, she’s still troubled and I’m disgusted with myself.
Prayer: God, please help me to place my will on the altar. Father, may your will be done in me. Refresh my spirit, oh God, and help me to know that even in my weakness you are strong. As you release your love through me, may it also flow from me to the brotherhood of believers.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
I John 3:21-23
21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. . . .
“Is Your All On The Altar?”
by C.L. Fairchild
Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Author, Poet
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love
one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”
I never did well in accounting. As long as assets and liabilities were clearly defined, I’d pass my tests. But terms like “loss contingency,” “LIFO reserve,” or “debt service fund” plummet my hopes of ever successfully completing Basic Accounting.
Often we measure love against our hopes, dreams, and selfish ambitions. As long as others align themselves with our agendas, love is anchored deep. It’s solid. Immovable. But if others succeed in their personal endeavors and leave us behind, they are seen as a threat.
We are to glorify God through our love for one another, not use love as a measuring stick for personal triumph. Think not about how we should gratify our sinful nature, but rather have sincere affections one for another.
Prayer: God, please teach me to love.
Think: For every bill you owe, is your indebtedness to love far greater?
Read: Romans 12:9-10; Romans 13:8-14; I Corinthians 13:1-13
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when
you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. . . .”
Christ fell to his knees in prayer and asked that the cup of persecution and death be taken from him. God remained silent. As a result, Jesus suffered countless hours of torture.
His only response: “I Am He.”
My response would have been to babble endlessly in hopes that I’d say something to save myself.
To endure such gruesome beatings and slanderous accusations without mumbling a word in his defense reads like a prisoner of war tale. It seems impossible to endure so much and say so little. Yet, God never requested the impossible from Jesus. Neither does he request the impossible from us. All that Jesus did we can also do.
Prayer: Lord, embolden me in the face of persecution. Though I am weak, make me strong.
Think: How did you respond to slanderous accusations? Remember how God rescued you from the jaws of persecution.
Read: Hebrews 10:32-39; Revelations 12:17; I Peter 4:12-19; Luke 1:37
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
Did you rush through life to store up for yourself fancy houses, educated children, and a nice nest egg for your retirement? Then, years later, downsized, watched your retirement decrease, and contemplated whether your kid’s education was worth it.
Did you neglect to care for the house that really mattered?
You have a house bought at an immeasurable price—God’s holy temple. (I Cor. 6:15-17) Your spiritual body is the temple of the living God. Jesus died for it. Just as a solid foundation supported your home, you must support your spiritual body by feeding on God’s word. Fill your heart and mind with his word until his glory consumes you. God lives! He’s anxious to walk and talk with you.
Prayer: God, help me to commune with you and place my heart on things above.
Meditate: Imagine a garden, a lot like some homes, filled with all the food you could possibly want. No tending, no tilling, no sweating in the hot sun to maintain it. All you do is walk side by side with God in his garden. Stop and think what that might feel like.
Read: Haggai 1-3; John 15:4-10; Act 17:27-28 (NIV)
“. . . I will show my love to the one I called ‘not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘not my people,’
‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Some of us can trace our genealogy as far back as two hundred years. It’s fun to go on these fact-finding adventures. While going through your genealogy, did you discover an adopted son or daughter? How did that make you feel? Did you feel some resentment over the fact that a member of your family isn’t really a member of your family; not by blood anyway. Well, we too have been adopted, spiritually adopted, through the blood of Jesus. And with this blood-stained, spiritual adoption comes an inheritance.
God declares it’s the children of promise who will be regarded as Abraham’s offspring. Not the children of natural birth.
Too often we get caught up in pedigrees, losing our spiritual self-worth to lowly men of stature. I have a father who has more wealth than any man. He provides me with loads of forgiveness and isn’t stingy with his mercy. He protects me, soothes me, sends ministering angels when I’m in despair, and provides a hedge of protection when danger nears.
My greatest of grandfathers are Abraham, Moses, Isaac, and David. A host of my brothers come from their loins, but Jesus is my favorite. Through him we are made special.
Prayer: God, please help me remember you care about me and that I’m loved by you.
Think: If someone stripped you of all your accomplishments, what would you have left?
Read: Romans 9; Romans 2:28; Galatians 4:23
Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Poet, Novelist
New book: “Selfish Ambition” – http://www.bn.com
A Christian Romance