Joy that bursts open closed doors

asleep-on-the-hay

“Joy abides with God, and it comes down from God and embraces spirit, soul, and body; and where this joy has seized a person, there it spreads, there it carries one away, there it bursts open closed doors…

The joy of God has gone through the poverty of the manger and the agony of the cross; that is why it is invincible, irrefutable. It does not deny the anguish, when it is there, but finds God in the midst of it, in fact precisely there; it does not deny grave sin but finds forgiveness precisely in this way; it looks death straight in the eye, but it finds life precisely within it.

What matters is this joy that has overcome. It alone is credible; it alone helps and heals.

cross 2We are called only to gaze full of joy at the One who in reality suffered with us and became the Redeemer.

…we are enabled to believe that there was and is One to whom no human suffering or sin is foreign and who in deepest love accomplished our redemption. Only in such joy in Christ the Redeemer shall we be preserved from hardening ourselves where human suffering encounters us.”

(Letter written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, November 29, 1942 — This excerpt is from a personal letter that was passed among persecuted Christian leadership during WWII in Germany. It was written a few months before Bonhoeffer was arrested by the Nazis, taken to prison and eventually executed because of his faith. Pastors and Christians who would not bow to Hitler’s regime were being imprisoned and killed, and Bonhoeffer writes to encourage and strengthen those who are still alive, but know that they are facing probable, imminent arrest. This excerpt taken from The Invincible, Irrefutable Joy, by Tony Reinke, Dec. 12, 2012)

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Engraving: Asleep on the Hay, from the Young Folks Bible in Words of Easy Reading: The Sweet Stories of God’s Word in the Language of Childhood, 1890.

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About Jill

I'm a wife, mom to three beautiful children, and currently work at two jobs for which I'm very grateful -- part-time at my kids' school, and as children's ministry director at Redeemer PCA in Athens, GA, a place our family treasures as our church home. It's been thirty years since the Lord saved me, and to this day I'm astounded at His steadfast love shed upon unfaithful me. My hope would be that I might speak and write in ways God would use to soften hearts toward Him, that we would together be enamored by the glorious beauty of Jesus and awakened to His love unimagined. Thanks so much for reading!
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