Joy – 25 Positive Words, Day 14

25 words day 14

Joyfulness is a deep sense of delight mixed with an unexplainable peace within our hearts. It transcends circumstances and is a fruit of God’s Spirit. The apostle Paul told early believers to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” We may not be able to rejoice in every circumstance, but we can always find joy in God’s goodness and mercy. May the joy of the Lord be your strength this Season, as you rejoice in the celebration of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.

3 Things to Forget, One thing to Remember

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Thanksgiving is all about remembering. It’s about reflecting on what God his done and His blessings in our lives. When it comes to life, we never want to forget the goodness of God. Our thankful hearts show that we trust His love and believe He can bring good even out of the worst situations.

As important as it is to remember and reflect on God’s goodness and blessings, there are several things we need to forget. The apostle Paul put it this way, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

So what past things should we forget? Here’s three that come to mind:

Past mistakes – Most of us tend to beat ourselves up over mistakes we have made even years ago. We must recognize that we all make mistakes, but we can always learn from them. Don’t let your mistakes define you. Move forward and be who God created you to be.

Past sins – As believers in Christ, our sins are forgiven. Paul wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s not a license to continue to sin, rather with a thankful heart we turn and repent and go a different direction. Christ came to free us from the burden of guilt and allow us to live in the joy of forgiveness.

Past offenses by others – It’s easy replay the hurts people have done to us in the past. Bitterness, anger and unforgiveness can fester in our memories for years. Let’s stop replaying the hurts and wounds. As forgiven people, we too must live a life of forgiving others. This Thanksgiving, may we release the right to hold past offenses over someone else.

I love to see the pictures on Instagram of Thanksgiving tables as people gather with family and friends. Although the food and decorations are lovely, keep in mind that there is nothing more beautiful than a thankful heart, and nothing more ugly than an unforgiving heart (whether it is not forgiving yourself or others). May your table be stunning as it overflows with thankfulness this year, leaving the negatives of the past behind you.

 

Photo by Cala on Unsplash

Why? Where? What?

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In these last few weeks, the terrible tragedies in our nation have surfaced heart-felt questions from many people:

Why would God allow this?

Where is God when these things happen?

There are no easy ways to answer these questions. Even Job in the Old Testament came to the conclusion that there are certain aspects about our circumstances we simply can’t comprehend. But there is one question we can answer:

What does the Bible tell us about God’s heart?

In the midst of our sadness and grief, there are many truths about God which we can hold onto in our lives. I want to mention two:

God brings comfort in our pain. The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) His presence is with His people even in the midst of tragedy. His Spirit is our comforter and healer and is a very present help in time of need. God doesn’t promise us a life without tragedy, but He does promise to be with us through the hard places.  David wrote,

Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

God gives us hope in our despair.  The Bible refers to God as the God of Hope. If He can bring hope from the tragedy of the cross and the brutal death of His Son Jesus, He can bring hope and redemption to our lives as well. We may not be able to see it now. It may take time to work through our grief, but He always brings hope. The ultimate hope He has given us is to be in heaven with Him one day.

Paul prayed, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13) As you walk through grief or questions, my prayer is that His Spirit will bolster you with a hope and a peace that the world cannot comprehend.

 

I encourage you to search the scriptures yourself and find comfort, wisdom and strength in getting to know the God of the Bible. 

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Only Takes a Spark

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Many of us remember when we were teenagers, sitting around the campfire singing, “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going. And soon all those around, can warm up to it’s glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love…”

Just the thought of that song revives fond memories with my church friends at Mt. Lebanon and with my campers when I was a counselor at Pine Cove.

Recently, I read an article on the topic of leadership that made that old familiar camp song pop back into my mind. The author, Sean Lynch, used the word “Sparks” to describe people who exhibit behaviors consistent with a leader. He wrote, “A Spark is a doer, thinker and innovator whose unique approach to creative problem-solving betters the lives of others.”

I believe that each of us, whether we think of ourselves as leaders or not, have the opportunity to influence others. We can be Sparks by using the gifts and talents God has given us to share the hope and love of Christ. We “better the lives of others” by shining His light into their lives.

The question is, do we let His love shine through us through our words and actions, or do we hide it, afraid of what people may think? Or worse yet, do we spend most of our time putting down others?  Let’s be bright sparks. Let’s love boldly. Let’s stop criticizing, and let’s start letting His love shine through our words and actions to help build up others and point them to Christ.

May God use each one of us this week to bring His light to dark places.

 

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Broken Clocks, Broken People

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In our house, my husband is the one who does the decorating. I love the fact that he enjoys the hunt of finding just the right items to make our house an inviting environment for us as well as our guests. Curt loves to visit antique stores. I must admit here, before I met Curt I had never stepped foot into an antique store. Now, its become a regular routine.

Antique clocks grabbed my attention when we first started visiting old shops. Unique and beautiful, most of the rare clocks we purchased had long since stopped working. But that didn’t matter – they made lovely accents to the ambiance of our home.

There was one clock that I especially loved because of it’s classical design and features, yet this clock was old and of course, not ticking. I wanted to fix this particular clock because I had a feeling the chimes would add beautiful music to our home. I asked myself, “What do you do with a broken antique clock?” I suppose I could try to fix it myself, but I don’t have any knowledge of the inside workings of an old clock.

I tried to take it to a clock repair shop, but the repairman told me, “I’m pretty sure the only person who can fix this clock is the clock-maker himself.” Hmmm…..Since this was one really old clock, I am pretty sure the clock-maker is no longer available. Currently, the clock sits on our shelf as beautiful and silent decoration.

When it comes to fixing antique clocks, I know I’m out of my league. In my case, the only one who could repair the clock was the one who made it. Isn’t it interesting that when it comes to clocks, I recognize my limitations, but when it comes to people, I often think I can fix them. When will I realize that I can’t fix broken people, but I can lead them to the gentle touch of their Maker?

Consider who you are trying to “fix” right now in your life. It may be one of your kids, or a co-worker or your spouse. Could it be that you are not equipped to fix them? Maybe, instead of doing it yourself, you could consult the Maker and point them in His direction.

When we pray for the broken people in our lives, we begin to have a fresh perspective. And as we use our words to point people to the Lord, we give them hope beyond what we can provide. Let’s begin taking people to the Clock-maker, rather than trying to fix them on our own. God may give us the insight and tools to help them on their journey, but only God can do the greater work in their hearts.

Besides, aren’t we all broken in one way or another? Don’t we all need the Lord to do a work in our lives?