When Joy Doesn’t Come Naturally

by Cathy Baker

So here we are on the final day of our April theme and the one post I didn’t want to write refuses to loosen its grip. 

Truth is, I selfishly chose this subject because I feel like a total failure when it comes to exuding joy. I look at others who seem to naturally tap into that particular fruit of the Spirit with such ease and wonder why it seems more difficult for me. Is it because I’m a bona fide melancholy introvert?  

While preparing to kick off the April series, I said to a friend, “I’m not a naturally joyful person.” And there it was — my answer. 

There’s nothing natural about biblical joy. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds… James 1:2

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…1 Peter 1:8

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Be joyful always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Biblical joy isn’t grounded in a particular temperament 
or swayed by outward circumstances.
It is the supernatural manifestation of Christ
that flows in and through us.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. There’s still much exploring to do on the subject of joy so maybe we’ll pick it up again another month. 

Coming Up in May…

In the meantime, let me give you a sneak peek into May’s theme: Save the Date – Engaging God and Your Creative Senses. You may just be surprised by the ideas that unfold next month. The new posts begin Monday, May 4th. Hope to see you there!

What Scent Remains in Your Wake and April’s Giveaway!

by Cathy Baker

Why can’t perfume be banned?

It’s the question I ponder when my temples balloon to planetary proportions thanks to those who bathe in their perfume instead of spritzing it. I’ll skip entire aisles at the grocery store to avoid their sillage. (Hey, there’s a new word!)

I recently learned that in the perfume industry the word sillage is used when referring to the trail left by a perfume in the wake of its wearer. I immediately thought of Fragrant Ink as the very premise of this blog is to encourage and challenge myself, along with others, to leave a Christ-infused sillage wherever we go.

No sense remains in the
memory like scent. There is nothing we remember more strongly than pleasant
smells, except perhaps unpleasant smells. “Thus the apostle wished that
his life might be a sweet perfume, floating on the air, reminding me, and above
all reminding God, of Christ.”

As this month’s theme on joy comes to a close this week, I can’t help but ask myself:

What scent remains in my wake? 
The sweet aroma of Christ or the stench of flesh? 
For nothing is more joyful or eternal 
than the fragrance of Christ. 

April Giveaway! Speaking of senses, this month’s gift from me to you is a Signature Soy candle with the fragrance of Lavender Fields? Simply leave a comment and your name will be included in the random drawing set for Monday, May 4th. The winner will be announced on the blog! (US winners only, please.)

The Fragrance of a Faithful Walk

by Cathy Baker

A mother whose teenage son is battling cancer but relentlessly clings to her faith, giving God glory in all things.

A US pastor, Saeed Abedini, has now been in an Iranian prison for two-and-a-half -years. He suffers from prolonged internal injuries from beatings and recently witnessed his six fellow inmates be executed, and yet he holds fast to his Christian faith. (Click here to sign the petition for his release.)

Weary parents of four who recently had a baby and welcomed another in need to their home, volunteer to help watch a room full of restless children so other parents can celebrate Good Friday services. 

When I see Christ followers living out what they believe on a consistent basis, joy takes hold of my soul like spring tendrils clinging to worn wood. This 3 John 1 kind of joy can’t help but refresh and revive us!

It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.  
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:3,4

Consider the last time a fellow Christ follower’s consistency in living out truth made you rejoice. What if we all contacted the person who just came to mind and shared why the simple mention of their name evokes such joy within us?

And finally, the hard question…

Is my walk consistent with truth (albeit not perfect) to the point that it would cause someone else to rejoice? 

True Joy: Guest Blogger, Edie Melson

by Cathy Baker

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Edie Melson as my guest blogger today. She’s a prolific writer who has poured herself into numerous writers, such as myself. But more importantly, Edie is a woman of prayer. 

If you know or love someone serving our country, you’ll especially resonate with Edie’s story. Welcome, my friend. 

When Music and Joy Mingle

by Cathy Baker

Few things have profoundly affected my life more than music, especially as a Christ follower. 

Its power comes as no surprise. Music was present at the time of creation
(Job 38:7) and it will be present once again when every creature sings
to the Lamb who was slain. (Rev. 5:13)

One musician, Michael Card, has left an indelible mark on my life, as well as many who’ve participated in Bible classes I’ve led over the years. He’s sometimes referred to as “a thinking man’s musician.” If you know his music, this comes as no surprise. 

Michael Card

One particular stanza in the song, “Joy in the Journey” has never failed to move me to tears. Not once. Perhaps it’s because I chased after happiness for years but captured only heartache. 

Forget not the hope that’s before you
And never stop counting the cost
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost?

It’s only when we can recall the hopelessness of our life without Christ that we can we truly rejoice. 

When joy rises to the surface and mingles with the music on our lips, a divinely infused fragrance of Christ invades the soul and cannot be contained. 

Joy in the Journey
-Michael Card
There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

And all those who seek it, shall find it
A pardon for all who believe
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind

To all who’ve been born of the Spirit
And who share incarnation with Him
Who belong to eternity, stranded in time
And weary of struggling with sin

Forget not the hope that’s before you
And never stop counting the cost
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost?

There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey
And freedom for those who obey

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