Devotion

Why God Calls Us To Laugh and Love

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When was the last time you had a good laugh?  Not just a ha ha chuckle laugh, but a big fat hurt your belly, producing tears kind of laugh? While you are pondering that question here’s another one for you, when was the last time you laughed at yourself?

As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, there is so much we can be thankful for in our lives.  But have you ever stopped for a second to consider being grateful for laughter, and being able to laugh at yourself?  It’s not something everyone can do alone, but with God’s help and our faith in Him, I believe it’s possible.

You might be asking, “Why do I even want to laugh at myself?” Well, several studies have shown that laughing and not taking ourselves so seriously is better for our hearts and minds.  Also people who have the ability to laugh at themselves seem to handle difficult situations with less stress and turmoil.  When one can chuckle at himself they, according to Ursula Beermann who is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Innsbruck, says “the ability not to take yourself too seriously also can mean you’re prepared to acknowledge that you are not the center of the universe.” (Beermann, 2011, TIME)

Which brings me into the other part of this devotional, Love.  As Christians, our center of attention should never be ourselves it should always be Jesus.  We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

If we can’t love ourselves as God loves us, then how will we ever learn to love others, forgive those that have harmed us, find joy in our day-to-day lives or learn to laugh when we make a mistake?  When we make God the center of our lives we will be blessed beyond anything we can imagine.   But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33)  Even the ability to  love yourself and laugh with yourself.

I love that Sarah was able to laugh in her old age after she birthed Isaac.  She didn’t believe God would give her and Abraham a child, but He did.  Sarah laughed and she knew it was a laughter brought from God because He loved her.  I can only imagine the joyous sound of her laughter as others joined.  My friend, this wasn’t just a little giggle, but a I can only guess for others to hear a pretty hearty voice of merriment.  She may not have believed in herself, but God did.  He believed in Sarah and Abraham that their lineage would lead us to Jesus.

Friend, we need to have faith in God’s yearning for us to love as He loves us.  Not only to love others, but to love and care for ourselves.  By being  able to take ourselves less serious, getting up when we stumble, wiping off the dust, learning from our mistakes, asking for forgiveness, and laughing a little.

Here are a few verses to help us have an attitude of gratitude towards God’s Love for us, so in turn we can love in His image:

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10

“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.” Ephesians 5:29

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9

My prayer this Thanksgiving season is for all of us to Love and Laugh because God first loved us.  Have an attitude of gratitude for all of God’s blessings He has poured out on us.  Sing a joyful noise of laughter and love to Him.

Just think friend, if we all could just start spreading the love of Jesus to our neighbors, communities, cities, and so on, what a difference we can make.  We are living in a world that needs this kind of powerful love.  As Mandisa sings, “We all bleed the same, we’re more beautiful when we come together.”

Let Go, Live Now, Live Joy, Friend!

Oh, and if you happen to trip walking into the in-laws or spill a little gravy down the front of you this Thanksgiving, just laugh it off and love those around you.

 

Devotion

Calling God, Calling God!

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“Just keep moving”, was the distressed voice I heard coming behind me as my family and I started our Sunday journey through Wal-Mart. I thought I was a little wigged out from the experience with two kids and a husband,who had just driven the two-hour drive to see our son who is a Sophomore in college, trying to maneuver through the carts and crowd, but this dear lady had four kids ranging from upper tweens to lower twins!

I shot up a little prayer right then and there for that precious mom of four.  I asked God to keep her kids moving and for her stress to be relieved.  I never saw her again, but I know in my heart, God answered that prayer, because when we call, he answers.

Not twenty minutes later, I got a text from one of our other adult children who is trying to “do life” on his own will and accord.  As I am sure you can guess, it isn’t working out too great for him, but he is learning lots of lessons, the hard way, and this momma is learning a lot of “tough love” lessons in the meantime.  Well, this text went something like, “I am going to get something cheaper”.  He was referring to his car.  The car he had to have, the one he knew he could afford two jobs ago, 4 months ago.

Can anyone relate?

My blood pressure, which when I go to the doctor they usually take twice because it is so low, was rising rapidly.  I shot up a couple of prayers this time, one for myself asking God to give me peace to enjoy today with my family and our middle son who we came all this way to visit, and not to react to the one acting out of fear.  The second prayer was for the “Texter”.  I asked God to open his heart, which is a daily prayer, and to guide his lost soul to say no to the fear driven decisions he was wanting to make, and to say yes to God’s Will for him.

I called, God answered.  Peace.

A fun day was had by all.  Our middle son is the manager for the girl’s soccer team at his college.  Come to find out they were playing my husband’s Alma mater.  Centre College wins 3-1 over DePauw, sorry honey.  Way to go Colonels.

You might be thinking, “So you just left the one son hanging with the car decision to make while you went and had fun?”  My answer would be no I didn’t leave him hanging,  I left him with God.

God will take care of him when I call.  God will take care of you and me when we call.  He hears all of our prayers and he answers.

Now, it may not be instantly like my peace on Sunday.  Sometimes, most of the time, we wait patiently for an answer.  During September I am going to be writing about finding Joy and being patient. For me September is a time in which I tend to get a little impatient for the weather to turn cooler, waiting on autumn leaves to turn, and my favorite… wearing sweaters and sweatshirts.

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I hope you will join me each week in September and share my blog with your friends as we learn how find patience while waiting for answers.  He will answer when we call in our times of distress.  In the meantime, we can find Joy in today knowing that he hears us when we call.

 

 

 

 

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The Confidence of David

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Has there ever been anything in your life that has shaken you up? We are human, people, there are things in this world that happen that can get us a little or a lot riled up.  Did you Act or React?

Before I go on too long, I want to tell you a little about what I have learned about Psalm 16, which I find quite interesting. (If you are a bible scholar who has stumbled onto my blog reading this, it will be no new news to you, but I found it interesting none the less.) This particular Psalm is called “A miktam of David”.  My curious mind wanted to know what a “miktam” was so I used my trusty Google and found that miktam is sometimes referred to as “Golden Psalm” , as covered in gold, precious.  The root word having the meaning of being engraved. (Psalm Blogger).  Most bible scholars though think that it is probably a technical term for a song, which many of the Psalms were songs of David.

I love the thinking of Psalm 16 as being precious and engraved, possibly engraved on David’s heart.  My grandfather was a jeweler.  I remember as a little girl going to his jewelry store and going to the back watching him engrave beautiful pieces of jewelry for customers with intricate lettering.  I remember picking through all the engraving stencils noticing which fonts I would choose to have my jewelry engraved with one day. (Ok, this was the Seventy’s folks, didn’t you want an I.D. bracelet? Come on, admit you did!)

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I can’t help to think as I am reading this Psalm and writing this Blog that God wants us to have His words engraved on our hearts.  Not just a few of the Psalms labeled, “miktam” but all of them.

So back to fixing our eyes on God.  David had the confidence to keep his eyes on God when he was in trouble or something was happening that could really shake him up.  When we have that same confidence, keeping our eyes fixed on our Heavenly Father, we too will not be shaken because he will give us what we need to act instead of reacting to our circumstances.  We make mistakes, we say the wrong thing to someone we love, we lose jobs, friends, our children make choices we don’t agree with and violence and war continue all around us.  We can choose to react to these unfortunate incidents or we can, to quote Of King and Country, “but above it all Fix my eyes on You.”  God, Yahweh, Father, who loves us so dearly. That is Joy!

 

 

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Align

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This week I have been focusing on delighting in the Lord and what that might look like in our daily lives.  On Monday in, “Heart’s Desire” I wrote about how when we delight in the Lord He gives us our heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:4) We discovered that this doesn’t look like when we delight in God he will send us a genie in a lamp that will grant us three worldly wishes.  No, when we are followers of Jesus, genuinely praising Him and giving Him the thanks for all things our hearts desires are no longer worldly.  

Today’s verse shows us what we need to do to align our will with God’s will for us to begin to see this change in our hearts.  First we need to surround ourselves with positive relationships.  People that will build us up, not our egos, but our spirits. 

Next, to be aligned with God’s will we need to be in His word, studying, meditating, and learning.  Jesus said,  “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).  We can’t know our Lord and Savior if we are not in the word.

Finally, no matter what we set out to do, whether it be a new job, a new hobby, a mission trip ( if you go, I will for sure pray for you) we need to ask God to come along with us to give us the strength and perseverance to continue what we have started , doing it all for His glory, then we will prosper.

  I ask today, Lord, that you will see over all of your people who are struggling with letting go and letting you be in control of their heart’s desires.  Lord I thank you for this day, may you have all the glory!  Amen.

 

What are your heart’s desires today?