Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Joy In the Overwhelming-The Ladies Conference Message

Sometimes you walk away from something with your arms raised high and tell the whole world, “Oh yeah! Nailed it!”

I didn’t feel like doing that after I shared a short Bible study at my friend’s ladies conference last January.  I felt like doing a silly jig and saying, “Oh yeah!  I’m a dork!  And I really hope those ladies were blessed despite my blunders and imperfect elocution!”

Here is the blog version of the Bible study that I shared from Psalm 16.  The theme was joy and my title was Joy In The Mundane which for some reason I thought I should change to Joy In The Overwhelming.  Mundane…Overwhelming…whatever.  It’s hard to find joy in either of those things so who cares what the title is.  The blog will be mostly the same as the study I shared except for the part where I misquoted the most famous hymn of all time. 

My misquote was “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now I’m fine…”

Now I’m fine…I can’t believe I said that.  I’m sorry John Newton, I really am.  It made for quite a few good laughs though.  I think one of my friends snorted coffee up her nose at that particular part.  I guess I’m here for the laughs not the elocution. 

I’m sorry you missed the live version with all the blunders but just pretend you were there and enjoy some encouragement in the blog version.  Ahem…

JOY IN THE OVERWHELMING…a look at how David chose joy in his overwhelming times.  Please turn to Psalm 16.

Your tear-starter is your own.  Don’t tell me what it is unless you want to.  It may be hidden or it may be obvious for all to see.  It may be a result from your disobedience or just simply that we live in a fallen world.  It could be raising toddlers, fighting with your husband, a debilitating disease, prodigal children, the death of a loved one, wanting to be married, laundry, money, the boogie man, acne…
Whatever it may be that sends you to dark secluded area and starts the tears.  Whatever it may be!  I pass no belittling on whatever is overwhelming you at this time.  King Solomon said there is a time to weep.  This message is not me telling you, “GET OVER IT AND PUT YOUR BIG GIRL PANTS ON!”  I cry all the time.  I feel like crying right now just thinking about crying.  Life is dog gone hard.  Being a grown up is a pain in the butt.  Sin is everywhere and it’s annoying.  I’m strapped to the mast of a sea-torn vessel.  The waters are calm one day and they’re ripping me a part the next.
What ho, Christian woman!  It’s what your heart is doing in the midst of those overwhelming waters that I want to talk about.

My husband had to leave to serve his country for a 14month tour overseas.  My first child was 3, my second was 2 and I was due with my third baby in one month.  My  husband had to leave.  I stayed home and screamed at my toddlers and cried in my bathroom. I was completely overwhelmed.  I walked outside one afternoon and found my neighbor working in his front yard.  He very awkwardly avoided eye contact with me.  I realized he probably just heard every word that I just yelled at my toddlers.  I was horrified.  I felt so convicted.  
Well the next deployment was only a short year after the first.  After he came home, my neighbor told my husband, “I don’t know how she does it.  The kids will be running around like crazy in the backyard and I just here her singing away doing her housework.”  Wow.  Two completely different Rachels. 

That is exactly what joy is for me.


Shepherd boy David absolutely originated the modern day musical.  He just sat down and sang whenever he darn well pleased.  He wrote a song every time he felt overwhelmed.  He sang randomly and with his whole heart just like Gene Kelly.  He even danced when the Ark of the Covenant came back to Jerusalem.  King Saul was freaking out and hiring sooth sayers and making unholy sacrifices and there was David pulling out his harp and singing to sheep and soldiers. 

Think really hard right now about what your overwhelming thing is that sends you to a hiding place to cry.  What’s your tear-starter?  What’s your thing that you really want to find joy in but it’s so overwhelming?  Where’s your cry corner?  Pretend you’re there right now…hiding and crying.  Let’s look at what Psalm 16 would have you do when you’re overwhelmed.

Verse 1… “Preserve me, O God, for in You I trust.”
The first thing out of David’s mouth is “Save me!”  So not fancy!  Just simply “Save me!”  David says, “for in You I put my trust.”  When you are strapped to the mast, the mast is Jesus!  Oh how strong and true and mighty to save is He!  Do you trust Him?  I don’t mean I’ll-trust-Him-in-calm-waters-but-not-in-the-storms but I mean trust-Him-in-absolutely-every-kind-of-weather-condition-fluffy-clouds-and-cumulonimbus?!?!  If not, then take off the straps and let your rebellious little butt slide around the boat.  Have fun with that.

Verse 2… “O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from you.”
You are crying in your cry corner and you have asked God to SAVE you and you have decided to completely trust him and behold the next glorious step is to declare that you are NOTHING a part from Him.  You will literally feel the weight of life roll off your shoulders and out the door.  God is good and perfect and loving every moment of your life.  He is the strong, firm, comforting mast of hope against your back through every up and down of the waves.  You are a floppy, land-legged nincompoop without Him.  Tell Him so like David did. 

Verse 3-4… “As for the saints who are on the earth, “They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”  Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, Nor take up their names on my lips.”
You are in you cry corner and you have asked God to SAVE you and you have declared that you are NOTHING a part from Him and now it is time to choose to be his saint and to REJECT how the world would deal with your cry corner problem.  In David’s day, the world would make sacrifices to idols and bow and scrape and plead with their gods to take their problems away.  They would have a freak out party.  King Saul became a rotten, bitter, hollow shape of a man because of how he dealt with his overwhelming problems.  What did David do?  He would sit down and burst into song. 

Verse 5… “O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.”
“The portion” in David’s time meant “the very most important part”…it would be like getting your own parking spot, right up at the front door of Target.  That parking spot would be your portion that Target set aside just for you.  You are in your cry corner and you have asked God to SAVE you and you have declared that you are NOTHING a part from God and you have chosen to REJECT what the world does when they are overwhelmed and now you make God your portion.  What a sweet life this is with Him strong against my back and the wind in my face and my destination before me!  Jesus, thank You for being my portion!

Verse 6-10… “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.  I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.  I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.   Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”
You’re in your cry corner and you’ve done all that cool stuff that the other verses talk about and you need to make just one more declaration before you rise up and face the world. 
Life is lonely…but you are not alone.  Life is painful…but He bore the ultimate pain for you.  Life is ups and downs, storms and calms…but He is steady and strong.  Say this out loud…
I know You are here and you hear.  I know You are here and you hear.
You ready now leave your cry corner now?  You can’t stay there forever like Saul did.  Stand up.  Memorize this last verse.

Verse 11… “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Sweet heaven.  We will be there so very soon.  No more cry corner.  No more fighting, or laundry, or sickness, or sin of any kind.  Just sweet heaven and His perfect presence. 


Please sit down and write a song in those overwhelming times.  Sing someone else's if your song writing stinks.  Maybe one of these song writers who weren’t really officially song writers!  They were regular hurting people like us!

John Newton spent most of his younger years as a slave ship captain.  He would take his ship to the coast of Africa and idly stand by while hundreds of innocent people were ripped from their homes and packed into the bottom of his ship like animals.  Then he gave his life to Jesus.  God forgave the captain of a slave ship.  He did what David did in his overwhelming time.  He sat down and wrote a song… “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…”

Louise Stead stood on the beach and watched her husband try to save a boy’s life.  They both drowned.  Over the next year, her church family came together and carried her and her son through the financial burdens and extra cares of life.  She did what David did in her overwhelming time.  She sat down and wrote a song… “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word…”

Horatio G Spafford first lost his son to scarlet fever, and then most of his wealth to the great Chicago fires. Two years later the steamship Ville de Havre sank in the Atlantic ocean taking all four of his daughters with it.  On the voyage to retrieve his wife who survived the voyage he did what David did in his overwhelming time.  He sat down and wrote a song… “When peace like a river attendeth my way.  When sorrows like sea bellows roll.  Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say...It is well.  It is well with my soul…”

Cry Corner Prayer
Jesus I’m overwhelmed
Save Me
I am Nothing Without You
I Reject How The World Deals With The Overwhelming
You Are My Portion
I’m Getting Up From Here And I'm Going To Sing A Song

I’m sorry if you’re in a storm right now.  I rejoice with you if all is calm.  You have a Savior and His name is Jesus.  Sing a song to Him!  Right now while your strapped to that mast and the waves are crashing into your glorious face!

It will all be okay.  Maybe not until Heaven but it will all be okay.  

 In His perfect, precious, presence is fullness of joy.  That joy is coming soon and very soon.

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