Presented with Great Joy

Presented with Great Joy

I have good news!

As I was reading Jude, a few words from verse 24 struck me and I can’t get them out of my head.

Many of you know that my book Grief Unwrapped: Discovering Joy in a Season of Sorrow talks about having joy even in our sorrow or difficult circumstances. And Jesus is the source of that joy.

I admit I don’t typically think about Jesus having joy over me. Yes, I think He is pleased when we follow His will and His work for as long as we’re here on earth. But Jude takes it a step further. Read this.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy —  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.  Jude 24-25 (NIV)

Did you get that? For those who know Jesus — those who claim Him as their Savior — He will present us to his glorious presence, the Almighty God. He will present us without fault and with great joy.

Blameless before the Father

I have been taught all my life that Jesus is our advocate, that He redeems us and that because of our relationship with Him, we will be blameless before the Father. But to present us with great joy?

The ballroom dancing world offers a similar picture. For the guy, it is a presentation. It’s not about him. His sole purpose is to present his partner on the dance floor. Every turn. Every step. Every dip and twirl is to show her to others.

That’s what Jesus will do for us one day. With pride, He will present us to the Father.

This means that not only can we live a life of joy through a relationship with Jesus Christ, but He will also have joy because of us.

I am unworthy of God’s grace, yet I am presented with joy. Wow.

Friend, that just made my day. I hope it makes yours too.

“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” Jeremiah 17:7 (NLT)

Additional verses for reference and reflection 

Colossians 1:22, John 10:28-30, Philippians 1:6

Live humbly, receive grace

Live humbly, receive grace

When I was 16, my then-boyfriend told me that if I couldn’t ride a skateboard, I’d never learn to slalom. (That’s water-skiing language for skiing on one ski.)

I thought, “I’ll show him.” And I did – that same day – with sheer determination and my dad’s 50 horsepower bass boat.

Not a picture of humility, I know.

However, learning to slalom began my love for skiing. We would even get creative with it. One summer at my uncle’s camp on Bayou LaFourche, we found an old piece of plywood and a rope. Hardly a skiing body of water, we skied the length of that stump-filled section of the bayou.

What does humility look like?

Taken captive by the King of Babylon, Manasseh was in distress. Granted, he brought this on himself. He was the son of Hezekiah, a good king who did right in the eyes of the Lord. But Manasseh was far from the king his father had been.

He did much evil, practicing sorcery, divination and witchcraft. He sacrificed his two sons in fire, plus much more, leading the people of Jerusalem astray.

God brought the army of the King of Assyria against him, who put a hook in his nose, bound him with shackles and carted him off to Babylon.

Do you ever think that God’s not listening?

We can be in distress for different reasons. It doesn’t have to be the result of sin, as it was in Manasseh’s case. Even in this evil man, the Lord was moved by his appeal and listened to his plea.

In his distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God.  2 Chronicles 33:12-13 (NIV)

Not only did God listen, but He also restored Manasseh’s kingdom.

A change of heart

What made the difference? A humble heart. Manasseh had committed terrible sins. But when he cried out to God, God knew his heart.

There are others who acted humbly, and God provided restoration.

  • God had declared disaster on King Ahab. The Bible describes him as someone who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel. Once Ahab humbled himself, God decided he would not bring disaster on Ahab in his day. (1 Kings 21:25-26)
  • Hezekiah cried out to the Lord when he learned that God had said he was going to die. Because of his prayer and tears, God extended his life by 15 years. (2 Kings 20)
  • Manasseh’s grandson, King Josiah, was only 26 when Hilkiah, the high priest, found the Book of the Law that had been handed down from Moses. Josiah’s heart was responsive to the words he read in the book and he humbled himself before God. (2 Chronicles 34:27)

God sees us and He listens. He knows our hearts and responds accordingly.

What is the cry of your heart today? Do you need to turn away from sin or seek the Lord in humility? Does sadness or disappointment hold you captive? Does the pressure you face keep you from living a life pleasing to the Lord? Take time today to humble your heart and hear from God.

When we respond in humility, God responds in grace.

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All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 4:5 (NIV)

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