Friday, June 20, 2014

Joy, Gladness

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;
 come before him with joyful songs.” Psalm 100:1-2

We have forgotten how God wants us to show our joy in worship. In a lot of churches the people do not say ‘amen’ when the preacher makes a strong point in his or her sermon. The psalmist tells us to shout for joy.

We should be glad that we can go into our churches. Some places in our world do not allow churches to be open. We should be in prayer for those people who risk their lives to worship God. When we begin to think of worshipping our God as a chore, we should spend time in prayer about our relationship with Him.  God gives us free will because He wants us to want to worship Him. 

Have you noticed that a lot of Christian churches devote the beginning of each service-Sunday morning and Wednesday night-singing hymns, praise songs, and choruses? The music we sing at church becomes ingrained in us. One of my friends has said that I don’t need a hymnal; she thinks I know all those songs. She is not entirely right. I know a lot of the first verses of those songs. I love the traditional hymns. I also like the praise songs of modern times.

I was once at a Holy Week service at a sister church. One of the hymns we sang was unfamiliar to me. I likened the music to a funeral dirge. But the words spoke a message of the week. I remember not very many people seemed to be singing this particular song. It may have been unfamiliar to them, as well.

As we go through our daily tasks, we should all be on the alert for signs that God is with us and working for us. We can count those blessings throughout the year, not just in the month we celebrate the holiday known as Thanksgiving.

Shout to the North and South


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rejoice Always

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; rejoice.”
 Phil. 4:4 (NIV)

The Apostle Paul challenges his readers to express joy at all times. He even repeats his advice. He must mean it!

This thought interests me. Paul wrote this while he was in prison. Was Paul rejoicing because he was in prison? That’s not what he tells us.  He tells his readers to ”rejoice in the Lord.”

How can we find joy in circumstances the world looks at as dire? We know the Lord God is with us as we go through our daily routines. We also know He is with us when we happen upon things we can’t handle.

A friend of mine lost her sister a few weeks ago. Two weeks later, her brother suffered a heart attack. When people heard of the brother’s ordeal, they immediately thought of the fact that she had just been through the loss of her sister.

When I saw her later in the day, she said she could feel the prayers. She could rejoice over the fact God was with her.

When we find ourselves backed into a corner by harsh circumstances, we have to learn to search for ways God is able to act on our behalf. Will he allow us to sense His presence? Will He cause us to remember a song of praise or a passage of scripture? Will he send someone to come alongside of us and support us through prayer? Yes, because we know He does these things for us, we can rejoice in the Lord. We can do it as Paul advises-always.

Last year I read the book, 1,000 gifts by Ann Voskamp. She learned to trust God more by recording His gifts to her in a journal. I tried this last year from late May until the end of the year. I enjoyed the exercise so much; I started over on New Year’s Day. I am thankful to know that I have already recorded 522 gifts from God this year. I give praise to Him each time I record a gift.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Overflowing Joy

“And now, brothers we want you to know about the grace that God
has given the Macedonian churches. Out of their most severe trial,
their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
2 Corinthians 8:1-2

Paul uses the Macedonian church as an example of how God’s grace can grow in His church. He shows that the Macedonian believers. We have written proof that God loves a cheerful giver.
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart,
not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7

It is a basic Christian thought that we can’t out give God. Jesus pointed out the widow who gave her offering to God out of her poverty. He commended her by saying she gave more than the people who had more.

God gave His Son. When we give our all, whatever that might mean, we need to be thankful that we are able to give.

I recently left my key ring- the one with the fancy key fob- in the pocket of my good summer white slacks. I woke with a start around midnight and realized I might have left the car unlocked and the windows down. I asked Hubby if he had taken care of the car windows and locked the doors. Yes, he had. I had the thought I hadn’t checked the pockets of those slacks before I put them in the machine.

The next morning I had some laundry to do. As I opened the washing machine, I saw the ‘missing’ key fob on the bottom of the tub. I knew I had to find out if the buttons worked. I climbed the stairs and headed to the front door. At first, the unlock button didn’t cause the parking lights to ‘wink at me.’ The second time I tried to unlock it, the lights did as they were supposed to. I tested the trunk button and the locking mechanism. They worked! I felt as if I had climbed a mountain.

I called a friend and related my story to her. I recorded the results of this story in my EUCHARISTEO list. It’s number 521.I was overflowing with joy and gratitude to God for watching over a simpleton like me. Only a simpleton would forget to empty the pockets of her slacks.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...