Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

There are certain people in scripture that really appeal to me and King David is one of them. Not because he became king, but because he believed the LORD would do what He said He would do no matter what. David believed the LORD even when he was living in caves and it looked like there was no way ever that he would become king.

He is referred to as a man after God’s own heart, and despite all that he did, the wrong decisions, the breaking of Torah law, the self-reliance, he always came back to the LORD, and quickly too. Not only that, but he shared everything with the LORD, he praised Him in his sorrow, his fear, his joy and his love.

He shared everything with the LORD, it just bears repeating doesn’t it?

In Psalm 56 David states that the LORD collects every tear we cry, that He collects them in a bottle and cherishes them because they are ours, and I dare say because they represent all of our life’s emotions.

Just recently I was thinking about this very thing, tears in a bottle, and that David was talking about the sorrows of life. All of us have shed more than our fair share, Christ Himself said there is trouble in this world, but not to fear because He has overcome the world.  If Christ Himself says you’re going to have trouble, you’d better believe it, and you’d better believe that it will come with tears.

Yet tears don’t always come with pain do they? Although that’s the most common thing we think of when we think about tears, they also come with great joy, with laughter and with love. They express the full spectrum of our emotions from the unbearably painful to the unbearably lovely.

And, I’m sure that the LORD catches those joyful tears too. Not just the ones we shed in our pain, but also the ones we shed when we are overwhelmed by love and the beauty of life. He is there with us in them all, experiencing every emotion with us, catching every tear that slides down our cheeks because they are precious to Him, and that’s because we are precious to Him.

“Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears;….”

2 Kings 20:5a

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Sharing Is Caring - Fotosöndag

Image by Niklas Wikström via Flickr

Have you ever seen a really good movie that you just had to share with your friends? Or, a book that you couldn’t stop talking about? Or, just about anything that was really good and you just had to share?

A friend of mine is totally like this. Whenever she sees a good movie, reads a great book or goes to a really good restaurant, she tells you all about it with no hesitation whatsoever.

This sharing of hers goes all over the internet too. She makes comments on blog posts she likes, news stories she thinks are worth commenting on and just about anywhere else where she can provide encouragement for the one who has posted the work.

We were talking about this propensity of hers recently, and, she said she and her brother and sister were always sharing all the good things they liked with each other and others from an early age. It was just a part of their family dynamic to share. But then she said an interesting thing, she said that what all of them have found as they’ve gotten older and seen how people are, is that most people don’t share.

I asked her what she meant. She said that she’s found that most people don’t share if they’ve seen a good movie, read a good book, gone to a good restaurant, they just stay quiet and don’t say anything about it at all, which is really foreign to her because there’s no risk in sharing those sort of things.

She said she and her brother ands sister have often discussed this and they just don’t understand it at all, as she put it ‘Why wouldn’t you want to share good news?’

I don’t have an answer for that, because when you’re excited about something and it’s good, you naturally want to share it with someone, whether it’s a really good friend or just an acquaintance. But, for many of us the reality is even if we have the inclination to share something stops us, and, I’m sure for each of us that something is a little different.

Sharing good news should be as natural to us as breathing because it’s an exciting thing to share something good that we’re excited about with someone else, which includes sharing the good news of reconciliation with God through Christ. I mean, it just doesn’t get better than having a way to be in a relationship with the person who created everything, and the LORD is just so amazing that sometimes it’s hard not to talk about Him.

Yet, the reality is that we don’t talk about Him, or, for most of us, very much that we we’re really excited about and think is good, which makes you really think about the question, why don’t we share?

“This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written: “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”

Mark 1:1-3

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Sasquatch Yeti Bigfoot Bugerbear Yowie

Image via Wikipedia

I’m constantly amazed at how different we all are from one another. We seem like we’re really very similar, and we are, to a certain degree, but our likes, dislikes and just our ways of being are really unique to ourselves.

There’s a saying that I’ve heard many times, and maybe you’ve heard it too. It goes something like, ‘You’re a one of a kind, just like everyone else is.’ I’ve always took the saying to mean that although we are all unique in our own way and everyone else is too, somehow that uniqueness is diminished because we all are the same in that way. But, when you really think about it, it doesn’t.

I was reminded of this today when my son and I went into the local Western wear store, (Turners Wild West for any of you that are interested) here in Angels Camp to look for a belt. Now, I usually don’t go into the store, frankly because the world of Western Wear is not really within my vernacular of living, but it is a really cool store that has a lot more than just Western items.

The minute we walked into the store I saw a t-shirt that had nothing to with Western anything and everything to do with BigFoot. Yes I do mean BigFoot, otherwise known as  the reclusive Sasquatch that has eluded many a Sasquatch hunter for years. The t-shirt had a giant foot on it with the words “Bigfoot Hunter” emblazoned across it.

I pointed it out to my son and asked him what he thought. He looked at it and immediately laughed because he was thinking of the same person I was, a friend’s husband who absolutely loves Sasquatch and the mystery that surrounds the elusive creature – who may, or may not, actually exist. In fact, just last week, my son saw Sasquatch beef jerky at WalMart and said we should get it for our friend.

Now, if you met this guy you’d think he was a really friendly guy who loves the Lord, and along with his wife he does amazing things in the community. Both of them have real servant’s hearts. But, you would never think in a million years that he is super interested in the legend of Bigfoot.

Every single one of us has that thing, or things, that we really like or are really interested in. These things, along with our personalities and ways of being, really do make each of us unique from one another, even though we all have that trait of being individuals in common.

I always think that some of these things really do make the Lord smile, and more than that, He delights in them because we do. I mean really, who would think that His children would be bungee jumpers, twitterers, race car drivers or even fans of Sasquatch?

“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;”

Psalm 149:4a

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Smile 2

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes it take the smallest thing to make your heart smile.

Earlier this week, I was waiting in the foyer of my church for my son’s jr. high youth group to finish up.  Awana and a couple of Bible study groups are held on the same night. So, at the end of the night it’s not unusual for a small contingent of parents to be waiting in the foyer until all the groups are out.

When we saw the Awana kids file into the sanctuary for their closing, we all knew the wait was almost over. It had been silly string night, and because of this the little guys were all dressed up in Western wear. You could see they had a root-tooting good time shooting their teachers with Silly String until their teachers looked more like Cousin It from the Addams Family than anything else by the time it was all over.

So, we were waiting, making small talk, chit chatting, and waiting some more, when all of a sudden someone said, “the cubbies are singing, Oh, Happy Day.” At those words, all of the parents mobilized and rushed into the sanctuary to see the cubbies singing their hearts out on the stage complete with the song’s hand motions and cowboy hats perched precariously on their heads.

And, everyone else got in on the action too. Even if they didn’t know the hand motions, it’s hard to mess up the words, “Oh, happy day” was repeated with enough regularity to make anyone feel like they could join in.

In the few minutes those little cubbies sang that praise song to the Lord, and everyone else joined in, there was no one within earshot who didn’t have a smile on their face.

Take a listen to the song yourself.

After the song was over all the parents filed out to the foyer to wait some more, and even though we were in the same situation we were in before, you could just see that everyone was just a little more joyful.

It’s amazing what happens to your day when you look at the Lord and realize what He’s done for you because of His immense love for you. No matter where you are, what you’re doing or what you have to contend with, you can say, ‘it’s a happy day because You, Lord, are with me.’

“And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!'”

Nehemiah 8:10

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Paper planes in Book Week 09

Image by rhondda.p via Flickr

The last couple of days, I haven’t been able to walk around my house without almost stepping on a multi-colored paper airplane.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill paper airplanes, they have been folded in a variety of ways that look more like origami than planes. Each way of folding them gives them each their own aerodynamics, their own way of flying. So, they all fly a little bit differently. One will swoop straight up before turning around and gliding into the ground, while another will fly like a whirly twirly in a straight line until it slowly loses height and sets itself on the ground.

In the very welcomed spring evenings, my son has been calling me outside to see how this one, or that one will fly. When he launches each one, it’s pretty evident that unless you know what that particular plane will do you have no idea where it will land. So, we watch it expecting it to do something unique and wonder where it will perch itself on its landing. Sometimes it’s in an easy to get to spot, sometimes not, but my son has become very adept at gathering them from their various landing zones.

What’s kind of interesting in his newly discovered paper airplane making state of being, is that until this week he’s never been particularly keen on the little flying bits of paper. In fact, many people might say he’s a little too old for such a thing, but you just never know at what age something will strike your fancy. You could just as easily get interested in making paper airplanes at 6 as 12 as 30, or even older as far as I’m concerned.

Yet, it was the way his interest was piqued that was a little interesting. My father had given my son a book about making paper airplanes complete with beautiful paper and instructions detailing the intricate way to fold some of them a few years ago. The book has been sitting on our bookshelf ever since. Until this week, that is, when my son pulled it out and started folding.

He has taken great delight in making the airplanes and watching what they do and don’t do. Like I said earlier they look very much like the origami sculptures you see of birds and such, so they’re actually quite pretty as well. And, I must admit that I’ve taken great delight in them too.

Yet, there has been this incredible lag time between the time my father gave him the book and the time that he’s picked it up and enjoyed it. I think part of it is that it just didn’t catch his interest at the time, or he just didn’t have the patience to sit and down and make them, or maybe they were a little beyond his ability – like I said some of them are incredibly detailed, and if you have ever tried to fold a piece of paper into something looks like more than just a folded piece of paper you know what I mean about needing to develop the ability.

Many times this is just what happens to us with the Lord. He gives us something that doesn’t quite catch our attention at the time, whether it’s because of a lack of interest or ability, and we put it on the shelf. Then, at just the right time, when we are the most ready to use or develop that which He has given us, He causes us to somehow “discover” that very gift that we’ve had all along.

“For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.”

Psalm 84:11

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Turkeys on path

Image via Wikipedia

Living in a place where agriculture reigns, there are just some things that you take for granted after a while.

Cows in the road for one, and the cow herder running around the road swinging his hat with fervor trying to get said cows back into their field.

And, turkeys for another. Until I moved up here, I never really thought about turkeys, except at Thanksgiving, but now I see groups of turkeys running around. When I see their scrawny bodies, I often wonder how anyone thought they would ever have enough meat on them to be worth killing and roasting.

I rarely think about cows and turkeys together. But, that all changed earlier this week.

I was driving home and saw that a herd of well fed cows with red coats were lingering near the fence to the left of the road. This in itself isn’t unusual because this particular herd of cows can be either in that location, or not, depending on how much grass there is to eat and whether or not they take it into their minds to wander that far down the hill for a few blades of grass. This is the long way around saying I know this herd of cows, and generally they’re very docile, just eating their grass or standing staring blankly straight forward, looking at who knows what.

What was unusual was the fact that there were two turkeys on the road. The fact that they were around at all in the cold weather, let alone during a break in the rain was an oddity to say the least.

I immediately slowed down and wondered if they would be startled enough by the sound and bulk of my truck to fly. Strangely enough just the day before, one of my son’s friends, who is in our carpool, asked me totally out of the blue if turkeys could fly. She was surprised when I told her yes, if they had cause to, which was when they are startled or very frightened.

Apparently, they were a little of both the closer my truck got to them, because they flapped their little wings and flew over the wire fence right into the field where the cows were. As I watched them make this strange looking flight, I happened to catch sight of one of the cows who was a little too interested in the turkeys. He twitched his ears forward and trained his eyes on them as they flew over the fence and landed about six feet in front of him.

Then that cow did the strangest thing, he began to chase the turkeys. The turkeys took off at a quick pace when they saw that furry red bulk gaining on them. Then when the other cows saw the one, they took off after the turkeys too. Never in my wildest imaginations would I have thought I would ever see cows chasing turkeys. It’s not like they are meat , or poultry, eaters, I mean what would they do with the turkey if they caught it?

I watched them as far as I could, until the turkeys crested the hill and ran out of sight still chased by their unlikely pursuers.

Then I thought, isn’t that what so many of do in our lives? We chase after something that catches our eye, something that we can’t even use in any practical way if we catch it, but we chase after it anyway. It’s just a waste of our time, effort and energy to chase after those things, but it’s so instinctual with us that it’s like we don’t even think about it, we just do it.

When you think about it shouldn’t our pursuit of God and His Kingdom be like that? Instead of pursuing worthless things that we can’t even use, shouldn’t we be instinctively pursuing the only One who has everything we need for life?

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”

Psalm 63:1

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