Friday, June 22, 2018

Rays of Joy

What is it we know about joy?

            The prophet Isaiah described the joy of those who had been ransomed and freed as everlasting. When we have been caught in something and we are freed, we are joyous. (Isaiah 51:11)

      As David and his men returned from a victory over the Philistines, women came out in the cities of Israel singing and dancing. Their joy was so great. When we are spared from ruin we feel joy in our hearts. (1 Samuel 18:6)

            When Jesus came to earth as a baby. The angel described the news of that birth as being “good” and “of great joy.” Just think, the knowledge of God coming down to earth gives us great joy. (Luke 2:10-11)

     After Nathan told David of his sin, David wanted to “hear joy and gladness” from God. He wanted God to “restore…the joy of (God’s) salvation” God’s forgiveness does bring about joy. (Psalm 51:8, 12)

            When we have been going through trials, we can have the joy that our faith is being strengthened and will become more evident and will result when Christ comes again. An author friend equates going through those trials as suffering for Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-8)

            We have seen joy in different books of the Bible. We may have seen the joy in our world around us.  We hear good news about a friend. We receive a blessing. We get respite from the heat in the summer or from the cold in the winter.

            However, due to our humanity, we have times of anxiety and depression enter our lives. These times cause fear and uncertainty for us and for those around us.  “Weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:6)

            When we are emotionally down, we need to learn to look for ideas or events that bring out the joy that has gotten hidden by the negative.  That joy might be a very faint glimmer of something that brought peace to us earlier. It is those glimmers of joy that help us through the times we are burdened.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jesus’ Compassion to the Weary

Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me. For I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

Have you ever worked hard and hoped for a good end to a circumstance? Did that project not end like you thought? Did it wear you down to where you could not function?  

 Jesus invites us all to come to him when we feel overburdened from work or anxiety. He promises to give us rest. Some weeks, I am so busy that I almost crave a day when I can hang out at home and sit around and ‘chill out.’

He tells us He is gentle. That helps when we are overwrought about issues around us. Jesus does not put on airs. He doesn’t point fingers at us when we are low. He gets down there with us and listens as we tell Him what bothers us.

Jesus also tells us we will find rest. When we do, we begin to feel better emotionally as well as physically. 

He also tells us to take His yoke on us. In olden days the farmers plowed their fields with oxen working side by side. They were connected by a yoke. Jesus wants to work side by side with us during our walk with Him, especially when we have issues plaque us. When we listen to Him, He makes the load lighter for us. 

Thank You, Jesus for your great love, the grace we don’t deserve, and mercy we truly don’t deserve during our times of complete exhaustion and dismay about issues in our lives. AMEN

Monday, June 18, 2018

Neighborly Compassion

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But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. Luke 10:33-34 (ESV)

A lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers caught him off-guard and beat him, leaving him for dead. Two ‘respected’ members of society came by where the traveler lay. Each of them had their own schedules to keep. They looked at the man and hurried on about their business.

A Samaritan came upon the scene and took mercy on the befallen man. He cleaned and bandaged up his wounds.  He put the injured man on his own animal and took him to an inn that was nearby. This angel of mercy stayed with the man through the night. The next day he paid for the travelers lodging, promising to repay any further debt the injured party would incur.

Jesus then asks. “Who was the neighbor?”

In our modern world, we see people who are neighbors in the sense that they live near to us. We also may have people who live a distance away and may have backgrounds different from ours but who go the extra mile to help those in need.

Sometimes, in the movies I watch, a kind and compassionate person gets fooled by some less than honorable people by staging what looks like an accident alongside the road.

We have new neighbors. Something one of them said to my hubby didn’t set very well. Recently, they had a fire pit in their backyard. Hubby went out and offered to let them use our hose if they needed to ensure the fire would be out later. The next morning, both of our cars and our son’s car had ash all over them. Hubby got out the hose and got most of the ash off of all three cars.

Later in the afternoon, I heard knocking on our front door. The man standing outside looked like our new neighbor. It actually was his brother. He apologized for getting ash on our cars and offered to pay for their washing. I went and got Hubby and the man explained again. Hubby talked with him about the issue and finally accepted half of the amount the man offered.

This man is living next door to us temporarily. Although we didn’t expect it, he did the right thing, he was a good neighbor.   

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 ...