I met Hunter Beless at the beginning of the summer, sort of.
My middle name is Joye. It’s pronounced “Joy,” like “Joy to the World” or “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” or “joy unspeakable that won’t go away.” There’s just an E on the end because I am unique.
I guess everyone wants to be happy, buy I’ve always had a particular desire to live up to my middle name. I want to overflow with joy. I want everyone around me to know that the joy of the Lord is my strength. But I often fall short of this goal.
This is never a fun thing to say, but I have to say it.
I was wrong.
In February 2015, I wrote a post called Pray without Ceasing? in which I questioned necessity of praying over and over for the exact same thing. In this post, I said that after hours of searching, “I found only one valid example [in the Bible] of a person praying multiple times for the exact same thing.”
And I left it at that. For two years, the content of this post was in the back of my mind, but I never found an example (other than Paul) of someone who repeatedly came to God about the same issue.
A few days ago, I read Luke 18 which tells the story of a begging widow and an evil judge. The judge had no concern for the widow’s wellbeing; he “neither feared God nor cared what people thought” (verse 2). Because the widow was desperate for justice, she came to the judge regularly to plead her case.
She came regularly. The exact translation says, “she kept coming to him.” She didn’t make one earnest plea. She didn’t hang her head and walk away. She came, and when he denied her, she came again. She kept coming.
After some time, the judge thought to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, I will see that the widow gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”
Jesus explained the parable this way in verses 6b-8a:
Listen to what the unfair judge said. God will always give what is right to his people who cry to him night and day, and he will not be slow to answer them. I tell you, God will help his people quickly.
If an evil judge is willing to help a poor widow, surely our compassionate Father will help His children. This parable shows we can keep coming before the throne of God. We can keep asking over and over again.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Today I am writing about a topic that is often difficult to believe…mostly because I am a little bit like all of these people.
However, the truth is that I don’t have the right to do whatever I want.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
– I Corinthians 6:19-20
I spent my entire shower tonight trying to find the correct way to explain this passage (we all know that the best ideas come in the shower), and I am going to use a short, fictional story to teach this truth from God’s Word.
Once upon a time there was a young slave boy named Caliban. Caliban’s master, Cy, was very cruel, and Caliban suffered greatly as Cy’s slave. One day, a woman of the village named Gracella saw the hardship that Caliban endured under the lordship of Cy, and she felt very sorry for the boy.
Boldly, she approached Cy. “I would like to buy Caliban from you,” she said.
Cy gave a haughty laugh. “You don’t want this boy! He is useless! Besides, you could never afford to buy him from me.”
Gracella did not relent. “How much would I have to pay to buy him?” she asked.
Cy scratched his head, as if he were thinking hard. “I would say that he is worth 50 gold coins.”
“Ah!” Gracella was shocked at the high price. She had 50 gold coins to her name. If she bought Caliban, she would be completely money-less. Yet, to Cy’s amazement, the woman handed him every coin that she owned.
Gracella took Caliban back to her home, and she fed him. Although she had paid so much for him, she never treated him like a slave. She raised him as her own son, and he was free to live as he pleased. Gracella never asked Caliban to do anything for her. Yet, he was constantly with her. Even when she grew old, he cared for her day and night. He served her more carefully than he had ever served Cy.
The same story is true for us. I Corinthians 6:11 says,
And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
We were once enslaved to the devil, listening to his endless lies. Then we were bought with a price–a high price–the blood of Christ. Now we are free from bondage to sin. Because we have been bought with such a high price, we should desire to serve our new Master, the Master that set us free. This service is rooted in love, not obligation.
Christ is my Redeemer. I am bought with a price.
Last week, I shared my first post in a series that I am writing with Emily and Naomi, and I discussed finding identity as God’s Workmanship. God personally made every individual that is on the earth, but not everyone can find their identity in Him because not everyone has a relationship with Him.
These are just a few of the many false identities that we are urged to embrace.
I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds. – Psalm 77:11-12
I would be lying if I told you that student teaching is easy. On the days that I make students cry, on the days that I forget to give full instructions, on the days that my lessons fail, I am convinced that I should just switch majors.
If I had a dollar for every time that I wanted to quit…
Hanging above the desk in my dorm room is a quote from Nicki Koziarz:
Sometimes you just need to look back and remember the places God has brought you through.
Surrounding the quote are dozens of pictures. There are pictures from Africa, from when I wanted to completely give up on ever making a decent video. There are pictures taken only days prior to my overnight stay in the DFW airport. There are pictures from all 4 years of college when I was anxious for a multitude of reasons.
And the Lord brought me through all of it. So every time that the Enemy says that I am flailing and aimless, I must look back and see what the LORD has brought me through. If He brought me through those struggles, he will bring me through this one, too.