Posts tagged: joy

Blessed

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By , March 15, 2015 1:24 pm
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Please join us for the remaining sessions of our series “How Relationships Work.” We will meet these Tuesdays: March 17th and 24th, April 7th and 14th. Class times are 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.–or follow online anytime!

 

 

 

BLESSED

 

I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing.

 

Genesis 12:2 NRS

 

It was another gray March day, the sky threatening yet more rain. Only an occasional glimpse of sunshine had graced us these last 2 weeks here in the supposedly sunny South. My internal climate mimicked the external one. I wasn’t exactly gray inside, just lacking a bit of joy.

 

I dreaded my afternoon chore: catching up on my bills and putting my finances in order. That’s one of those tasks that I push to the bottom of the list repeatedly until the point when late notices threaten to arrive. I finished them all until I had to stamp the bills. We only had 2 in the entire house; they weren’t nearly enough for my stack of envelopes.

 

A glance at the clock told me that five o’clock was fast approaching. If I hurried, I might be able to get my bills in today’s post. To my irritation, I didn’t make it to the nearest post office before it closed, so I had to fight rush-hour traffic and head to the larger USPS downtown. I pushed through the afternoon rush hour traffic to get there.

 

I arrived and stepped into a long line of customers. I pulled out my smart phone to check messages when I heard a strange sound. It was something between a scream and a cry. My eyes followed the sound and landed on a boy sitting in what I can best describe as a large baby walker. He was pitching his head back and yelling at the top of his lungs. He seemed too old to be in a stroller; his sprawling limbs told me that he was disabled. His mom was the picture of patience as she bent down to quiet him. I noticed a Cross on the front of her t-shirt as she turned my way.

 

My mind immediately went to what the Bible teaches about blessings. I’ve been learning that we have the capacity to receive every spiritual blessing from God. (Ephesians 1:3) It immediately brightened my day to realize that I could impart a blessing to this precious family out of the overflow of God’s blessings to me. I put my phone down and under my breath began to speak blessings over the boy, his mom, and his sister. What love and mercy sprang up inside as I began to tap into the greatness of the Father’s love for them!

 

My blessing session was interrupted by the attendant who was ready to sell me my stamps. It made me smile to realize that my primary purpose for being there was not to complete this transaction and my little project for the day. How wonderful that my Sovereign Lord gave me this special Kingdom assignment. His plans for me were so much more satisfying that what I had in mind for myself that afternoon!

 

As I walked back to the car, the little boy zoomed right past me in his walker. When his mom came running after him I got a glimpse of the back of her shirt this time. It announced in a cheerful font and bright colors the message of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Now it was my turn to be blessed! I blurted out without thinking, “Lady, you’ve got on the perfect shirt!” She turned to me with a smile and said, “Yes ma’am, I do.”

 

This busy mom was clearly accustomed to questions about her son. She introduced me to 5-year-old Mason and shared his story with me. Her face blazed with passion as she told me how the doctors predicted he would never survive when he was born at 24 weeks gestation. “They said he would be a vegetable if he lived, but look at him. And God is not finished with him yet!” It wasn’t hard to see that her joy surpassed all the world has brought her way and it was contagious.

 

It was all I could do to get to the car before dissolving in tears. I prayed, “Forgive me, Father, for my selfishness and ingratitude earlier today. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see this stunning example of what it looks like to be blessed and to be a blessing to others. I want the same thing I saw on that woman–a joy that comes from deep down inside and that can only come from You.” I believe God will give me that same joy even in my most difficult circumstances. In fact I’m overjoyed now as I remember that He is not finished with me yet!

Trumpet Call, 11/11/14

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By , November 12, 2014 4:52 pm
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Yesterday was Trumpet Call, a time when we dig a little deeper into what we’ve been learning and receive some one-on-one (or 2 on 1) prayer time around an issue God is targeting in our lives. We sang “More and More of You” by Selah, “Always Good” by Kathryn Scott, and “All My Fountains” by Chris Tomlin.

Dana walked us through the worksheet, leading us to seek the Lord regarding how we may have shut off the flow of the fruits of the Holy Spirit into and through our lives. She shared personal examples of what it has looked like in her own life. She also showed some parallels between growing wine grapes and growing spiritual fruit as sometimes the gardener trains, prunes, and positions so that the fruit is more abundant and sweeter.

How Relationships Work: Practicing the Presence – 10/07/14

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By , October 7, 2014 3:25 pm
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We started our morning with some listening prayer led by Kathy to get our mind, will and emotions surrendered and ready to worship. We sang “Draw Me Close To You” by Michael W. Smith and “In Christ Alone” by Kristian Stanfill.

Today we learned the role of the soul and discussed how to renew our minds with God’s truth. Kathy showed us today how our lives can be a VICTORY CYCLE of allowing God to produce the fruits of the spirit in us, acting out of those fruits and then offering up our good works to the Lord. Again, it all boils down to CONNECTION. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Re-Thinking Play, 04/22/14

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By , April 23, 2014 7:56 pm
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This week Dana led us in Trumpet Call. We praised the Lord with 1) Children of Light by Passion 2) Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher 3) The Same Love by Paul Baloche 4) He Knows My Name by Tommy Walker.

Dana helped us to redefine play as an exchange of heart-swelling joy between you and your Abba Daddy. We looked at the joyful emotions God expresses toward us and we were challenged to ask God how He wanted to incorporate play in our lives. Dana also shared her personal testimony of how God brought play into her life through art and how “Jehovah-Sneaky” was actually teaching her to trust in the process.

Join us next week for our final lesson of the year!

The Gift Of True Joy

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By , July 22, 2013 5:05 pm
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This summer I’ve posted a series of articles exploring praise and worship. While researching this topic, a friend introduced me to the writings of Peter Ogle. In his 7-year journey of living with cancer, Peter discovered what it meant to truly rejoice in the Lord.

 

 

THE GIFT OF TRUE JOY

 

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

James 1:2 NLT

 

Just as there can be no real joy in life without first knowing sorrow, those who experience the depths of sorrow also know something about the gift of true joy. Joy and sorrow are, in effect, two sides of the same coin. I’ve found that those who have truly known sorrow—their own or that of someone they love—are often the most joyful people in the world. It’s the emotional flat-liners, those who succeed at cutting off the peaks and filling in the valleys of their emotional lives, who are most to be pitied.

 

Sorrow never comes invited into our lives. I did not choose to become a cancer patient. But by accepting the darkness that comes with a sense of loss, and knowing that the darkness is neither permanent nor complete, I can enjoy the light more than I ever imagined. It’s the kind of joyous light for which you had better leave your car at home. Joy, too, is transient, but while it lasts it’s intoxicating. Its memory brings a form of second-hand glow to the darkness when it descends. It can be a nightlight to the soul.

 

When I say that cancer has been a blessing in my life, this is one way I mean it: it has forced me to work and fret less and to open up time in which God can both bless me and allow me to bless others. It has both raised and deepened the spiritual topography of my life.

 

The joy that I have felt in these months can be described as a lightness of spirit. When you face the prospect of a premature exit from this earthly stage, but are in otherwise good health, you are unencumbered by many of the cares that otherwise weigh on us. I have little drive to achieve. I need prove nothing to others. I have completed my career. I have no desire to seek payback from those who I believe may have wronged me. I have no complicated schemes for the future. I desire less. I am at peace.

 

There was a moment last month when I was in England that brought my sense of joy in life to a brief pinnacle. By design, I planned my travel in the U.K. to include visits to a couple of the great cathedrals. The soaring spaces of these churches in which man reaches up to God in stone are counterbalanced by magnificent stained glass in which stories of how God has reached down to mankind are communicated in visual art. What I felt missing in these great churches, however, were the actual people of God. Everyone there, myself included, was a spiritual sightseer.

 

But when I reached Lee Abbey, I discovered a community of believers that not only spoke of God in personal terms, but…worshipped together in a manner that brought me to tears. People from more than a dozen nations ranging in age from 15 to 85 raised their voices in prayer and in song to the God of all creation. It was exhilarating. The joy we experienced together had little to do with the space we occupied, and everything to do with the object of our adoration.

 

This, I’ve concluded, is the truest form of joy: the praise I lift to the Creator. The lightness I’ve felt at other moments in my life is the lifting of burdens by the God who loves me, and who loves to be loved in return. True worship is this connection with the source of all light and joy. My life is not only about worship, as much as I might wish it to be. There are other things in this world that I need to be about. But I do know that some day I and everyone in His presence will worship God ceaselessly. Our joy will be complete, and all darkness will be subdued. His light will fill the universe. We will be in a cathedral without walls, and his stories of grace will have only begun.

 

Adapted from “Nightlife to the Soul” originally published October 9, 2010. To read more about Peter’s story, beginning with a cancer diagnosis in 2006 until his home going in May 2013, visit Theogler.blogspot.com. 

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