The gift of mourning

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Ps. 30:5)

The Lord teaches me the way of the Cross and part of that journey is the gift of mourning, or the gift of sorrow. He wants to gift to me the heart of the Father. I can’t have that heart without knowing sorrow. It’s not all about “happy”. The joy is sweeter when the sorrow has been deeper.

Some last words

We are now down to TWO DAYS before movers show up and haul out the last of our worldly possessions.

Tomorrow… Sunday… I get the privilege of preaching one last time at Heights Church.

I have talked about how I have loved the city where I was able to live the past 20 years. But to pastor this church for almost 20 years… I need a book to explain how I love this church! The change that has happened in that time period… and all that is possible in the days ahead as they ready a transition to their next pastor… my heart is full.

All that God has done in the lives of these incredible people, and what that will mean in Columbia Heights for years to come, creates thankfulness in my heart.

Thank you, Heights Church.

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The choice of joy

We live in the midst of huge cultural shifts. Mentality in so many things has shifted.

Sometimes we forget, or maybe didn’t even know, that in any shift… we have choices. We can choose “doom and gloom” or we can choose joy. Joy doesn’t mean “lack of problems.” In fact, it may compound problems. But we can still choose joy. We can choose the way of blessing, not cursing.

Choosing joy does not mean abandoning truth. It does not mean abandoning allegiance to the Kingdom of God. It may mean a less firm hold on our cultural allegiances and long-time framework.

We need to learn to lose. We need to learn to lose a few “cultural battles” because ultimately those things fade away. They will blow away like sand with time. We just may not like the way things are blowing right now.

Daniel was faced with unbelievable upheaval. It wasn’t just a cultural shift. It was a political, military, life shift. But he chose to live in blessing, even while standing for truth. He risked. And God rewarded. He ended up blessing his captor’s culture. By the time we get to Daniel 4 he is desiring good for Nebuchadnezzar! He wants the king, his captor, to choose the way of life. He mourns the thought of Nebuchadnezzar choosing wrong.

In these hard shifting days, may we have the strength in our lives to choose joy. The enemy robs through anxiety. Jesus restores through joy.

It is About God WITH Us

Life in Christ isn’t about being burden free. Life hits us hard. Life in Christ is about knowing he is God with us. We don’t bear those burdens alone.

We need to know the One who is with us. We need to know the One who is for us. 

There are times we sow in tears. There are times when grief is so overwhelming we don’t know if we can bear up through the mess.

But there will be that time when we sense in our spirits that God has come down. He is with us. The tears of sorrow give way to tears of joy. The load gets a bit lighter.

1 When the LORD changed Zion’s circumstances for the better,
it was like we had been dreaming.
2 Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter;
our tongues were filled with joyful shouts.
It was even said, at that time, among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them!”
3 Yes, the LORD has done great things for us,
and we are overjoyed.
4 LORD, change our circumstances for the better,
like dry streams in the desert waste!
5 Let those who plant with tears
reap the harvest with joyful shouts.
6 Let those who go out,
crying and carrying their seed,
come home with joyful shouts,
carrying bales of grain! (Psalm 126, CEB)

Joy can still come. God is with you.