Category Archives: Joy

Backside of Nowhere

reaching hand

Just as I stopped at the traffic light, the Cathedral Quartet sang the following words: “On the back side of a place called nowhere, forgotten by humanity…” How appropriate, I thought with a chuckle, because that’s pretty much how it feels to be stopped at a red light in this city.

As I waited and waited ……..and waited, for the light to turn green, I joyfully sang along with the guys. I’m just glad they were on tape and couldn’t hear me. Truth is, I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I do love to sing right along with any southern gospel music.

The words to the song were meaningful to me. “When they talked about potential, they did not refer to me…” Yes that was the story of my life before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Messiah. But everything changed “When He reached His hand to where I was….”

Can anyone relate? Have you, dear reader, despite your faith, ever felt that you were on the back side of nowhere, forgotten by humanity? I know you already know this, but today I just want to remind you that Jesus promised He would never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5).  He will reach his hands down to where you are, whether you are stuck at a red light – or stuck in one of life’s ruts.

That should make you want to sing with the Cathedrals and me, “So now you know the reason I lift my hands so willingly…..”

And we would all be in good company, for King David, when he was stuck in the wilderness, did just that, while singing the following Psalm:

Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands  thy name. (63:4)

Happy, Twirly-Dance

dance praise

King David danced before the Lord with all his might. Though I wasn’t alive to witness such a joyous sight, I am blessed to see my sweet little Maltese do pretty much the same thing every time I return home, even if I have only been gone for a very short time.

Everyone should be so loved!

A few days ago, I returned home thoroughly exhausted from running errands in the August heat. As usual, my sweet little fur baby, standing erect, paws upraised, welcomed me with her happy, “Mama’s home,” twirly-dance. My heart melted!

My fatigue melted-away also. There is something so very energizing about being showered with love and kisses from a beloved pet; and that doesn’t even compare to being cherished by another person.

Likewise, cherishing others, and showering them with love, is just as invigorating. Perhaps this is why worship melts all of our cares away. Whether we worship the Lord with a happy, twirly-dance or quietly on our knees, we always reap a blessing even though our worship was truly all about Him.

Dear reader, we are living in perilous times. Perhaps you are hurting and find it difficult to worship, let alone dance for joy. That’s okay. Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us that there is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” Thus, if the joy of your heart is ceased and your dance is turned into mourning (La 5:15), just know that the Lord will see you through this difficult time and there will come deliverance from sorrow; a time when you can proclaim, as did the Psalmist:

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness (Psalms 30:11).

When that happens, dear reader, I hope your dance is a happy, twirly one. Like King David, may you dance before the Lord with all your might!

 

Psalms 150:4-6  Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.  Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

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Smile Awhile

smile

You’ve probably heard it said that it takes twice as many muscles to frown than it does to smile. That may or may not be true, but one of the muscles used for smiling is called the levator labii superioris. On the other hand, the muscles used to frown include the depressor labii inferioris. Personally, I find it amusing that you use the depressor muscle to frown and that it is an inferior(is) muscle, but that’s just me.

Joy is one of the nine-fold attributes of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22-23), and smiling is the natural result of joy. If you can not think of any other reason to smile today, let me give you a very big one. You can say, as did the prophet Isaiah:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (61:10):

A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown

Shofar So Good!

shofar

Have you ever heard the sound of a shofar? There is just something deeply stirring about the deep trumpet-like sound that erupts from this (ram’s) horn, signaling either a solemn or joyous occasion.

This week, folks around the globe celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, starting with a shofar blast. Tabernacles is a time of great rejoicing because it is one of God’s appointed times and according to Scripture, it is the true time of the Savior’s birth.

As I listened to the sound of the shofar this week, I couldn’t help but think of a time, many years ago, when the sound of a shofar greatly excited my daughter, who was only three or four years old at the time. As we travelled down the road, I popped a new music CD into the player. Unbeknownst to me, the very first thing to play was the very long blast of a shofar.

“THE RAPTURE!” she squealed with delight.

Even at that tender young age, my precious knew that in the near future, a heavenly shofar will sound when the Messiah, Jesus Christ, returns at the last trump, or shofar (I Corinthians 15:52).

Of course, no one knows the day or the hour that our LORD will return, but we know He will; and that, I believe, very soon! When he does, saint and sinner alike will hear the shofar blast and every eye will see Him coming in the clouds (Revelation 1:7).

Whether that shofar blast will be solemn, or joyous, will depend on the faith of the hearer. I pray, dear reader, you are ready for His return, and like my young daughter, waiting with great expectancy for that glorious day when He catches us away to be with Him.

If not, it is never too late to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you have any questions, or would like someone to pray for you, I would be honored; just drop me a note.

Matthew 24:44 – Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Strength of Flight

flight

Sampson slowly made his way to the edge of the lawn, surveyed his unfamiliar surroundings once more, then rocketed into the sky majestically, with great strength of flight. Had I not been nursing this beautiful pigeon back to health for the past week, I would never have known that he had recently been too injured and too frightened to fly.

In addition to a gash across his torso, a great many of Sampson’s breast feathers had been pulled out so that his strength was diminished, much like the biblical Sampson who lost his strength when his hair was cut; thus the bird’s nickname. But on this beautiful spring day Sampson was flying superbly like the strong racing pigeon he is, even before his feathers had a chance to fill back in. Words simply cannot express how much joy I felt at seeing him soar through the air, happy and free.

Seeing how quickly Sampson regained his strength brought to my mind Isaiah 40:29:

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

Actually, we can all glean a little lesson about trust from Sampson –the bird, not the Israelite.  While caged, he may not have understood that he was being temporarily restrained for his own good; he probably didn’t perceive that in just a little while he would be as strong ever, yet he was still very calm and trusting the whole time he was under my care. And once healed, Sampson did not let fear stop him from immediately soaring to great heights.

Dear reader, perhaps the situations of life have left you wounded in some way, perhaps even feeling caged in. Be of good courage, for the LORD has everything under control and He is as anxious as you to see you soar to greater heights. And in His perfect time, He will give you the necessary ability and fortitude for incredible strength of flight!

Paradise Dreaming

hammock

Here it is, the end of January, and I have fresh-washed laundry hanging outside to dry. While the clothes dance in a warmish breeze, I daydream of lounging with my beloved on a Hawaiian island; our hammock swaying lazily in the tropical sun. Oh, how I long to hear my husband speak the same words to me that Jesus spoke to the repentant thief on the cross: “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” speaking of some exotic hideaway, of course.

Even if we could manage such a vacation, however, we wouldn’t really be interested in any of the popular tourist packages; both of us have always been the type to wander off the beaten path and enjoy the solitude and raw beauty of nature. Sometimes, getting to those places takes a little work, but it is always worth it!

Speaking of the road less travelled, I am thankful that the LORD is walking with me on my life’s journey. You will recall His instruction to enter through the narrow gate…. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to [eternal] life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13,14). Had it not been for the LORD’s infinite mercy, I would never have found the narrow road, let alone been able to navigate it.

As you probbly know, dear reader, traversing the narrow path is not always easy. In fact, the path often seems insurmountable with its many obstacles and dangers. But praise be to the LORD, He has promised: To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God Revelation 2:7).

This is the paradise I dream about most. How about you, have you been dreaming of Paradise? Perhaps you will be able, in the near future,  to slip off for a relaxing getaway at some tropical island, perhaps not. But know this for certain, there awaits a reward for those who follow Jesus; and it is far more splendid than any exotic paradise this world has to offer. I leave you now to dream about this for a few moments:

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (I Corinthians 2:9).

The Arbitrary Song of the Wind Chime

photo: windandweather.com

Although quite windy, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. I had several errands to run that day, but they would just have to wait a little longer. Nothing seemed as important, at that moment, than stopping to enjoy the arbitrary song of the wind chime.

The tune varied from gust to gust, but each was distinctly beautiful. I couldn’t help but think: Sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.¹ My heart swelled with joy as I breathed-in the fresh spring air and watched the trees dance to the song of the wind chime.

Then another pearl from God’s word came to mind: For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.²

It is true; we are living in very disturbing times. However, Scripture says: let all those that put their trust in thee [O LORD] rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. ³

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to sing for joy. My voice may not beautiful, and sometimes my songs are nothing more than spontaneous words of praise, but that which is not perfect can be beautiful too, like the arbitrary song of a wind chime.

¹Psalm 96:1
²Isaiah 55:12
³Psalm 5:11,12

Smile Awhile

smile

You’ve probably heard it said that it takes twice as many muscles to frown than it does to smile. That may or may not be true, but one of the muscles used for smiling  is called the levator labii superioris. On the other hand, the muscles used to frown include the depressor labii inferioris. Personally,  I find it amusing that you use the depressor muscle to frown and that it is an inferior(is)  muscle, but that’s just me.

Joy is one of the nine-fold attributes of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22-23), and smiling is the natural result of joy. If you can not think of any other reason to smile today, let me give you a very big one. You can say, as did the prophet Isaiah:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (61:10):

A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown