John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:27-29**
His joy was fulfilled. He didn’t just have a day of joy or a week’s brush, not a year when all things seemed to work out “just so”, but he had mark over his life of joy fulfilled.
He stood beside You. He watched You in all Your glory. He heard Your voice, as King and Savior, this once-babe who leapt in his mother’s womb at the mention of Your coming mystery. And he knew joy.
John knew joy — not merely external happiness, but joy fulfilled within.
I adore You, Father, who gives us cravings You intend to fulfill. I worship You, Father of joy.
Who was this man whom You chose to precede You? He feasted on You, alone, his eyes were fixed on Your dawn. He was estranged to the world, yet known by You.
He called himself Your friend.
The core of his longing was met on that day. He was aligned with Your plan.
Oh, Father, what joy, that we can play a part! John walked, foreign, declaring a mystery of which many eyes were veiled. What must he have thought on those dark, waiting nights? Yet he held out for You.
And then You arrived. Even more than glory and splendor and majesty, he knew You as one he could call friend.
Your friendship allows us a role. What crazy mystery is this? You give pieces of Your story to fallen man and You impart joy when they walk it out.
John knew sin, and yet he knew joy. All because of You.
You reach in, through and over the severed state of man, and You align — us, with You.
I adore You, Father who meets me, undeserving, right where I am and calls me higher … just then, in that moment.
Joy is freedom from the world’s limitations. Joy is when my expectations, buried deep within, are given permission. Joy is when I not only see all that is available in You, but I take infant-steps to walk it out.
I praise You, Author of joy who is ever-alluring me to walk in alignment with You, so that I might not only have a brush with this joy, but one day have it fulfilled, within.
I adore You as One ever-synchronizing my heart with Your ways.
I find freedom’s joy under Your leadership.
**So what do I do with these posts, you ask, other than just read them? First, if you haven’t yet, read: Why I Adore and Morning Chai, Explained to give you a context for this little space on my blog.
If you are compelled, I invite you to participate. Set up a space and time in your own life to begin adoring. Over laundry or dinner dishes, on your commute to work, or in the wee morning hours — five or ten minutes is a great start. You can use the verse I list here every day or two as a launch pad for your own adoration. (Showing Up gives you some practicals.)
Then practice praise.
I promise your weary soul won’t regret it.
You can see all of the Morning Chai posts with this link: http://www.EveryBitterThingisSweet.com/posts/chai/ and you can easily subscribe to these devotional meditations as they are delivered, by using this feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MorningChais or by entering your email address in the second box on the right-hand side.
And a note: Photos compliments of Mandie Joy. This girl has also set me up on instagram. Friends, it took several sittings for me to know exactly what that means and I still don’t quite get it …except, that you can now find updates and useful graphics on Instagram @everybitterthingissweet. Mandie keeps me in the 21st century.