Tag Archives: blessings

Joy

say-yes-to-the-live-2121044_960_720I’ve been carrying around this scrap of paper in my shirt pocket for more than six months.  Scribbled on it are some random thoughts on the subject of joy.  Here they are.

Perhaps you know someone who possesses an ever-present, unforced smile or kind demeanor.  These attributes in our increasingly self-centered and angry society make these persons stand out in a crowd.  They seem to have such an optimistic outlook on life, suggesting they know something we don’t, or possess something we don’t have.  So what is it they do have?

You might just have to call it “joy.”  Defining joy can be a tricky proposition.  I’ve seen joy on display independent of a person’s happiness or circumstances.  Joy seems to be the opposite of regret and feeds on “blessings” (those things most of us take for granted).   That being said, contentment and joy appear together often.  Those possessing joy seem intent on sharing it, and don’t shrink away from helping or serving others. 

Where does joy come from?  Some would say an inner peace creates an environment where joy can be discovered.  Others say joy comes from hope placed in something, or someone.  Who wouldn’t benefit from a peaceful life relieved of some stress.

Consider making 2020 a year to discover and embrace joy.  Remember to encourage and support those who already possess it.

 

Psalm 119:1-16 (Blessing and Cleansing)

books-1155565_960_720How many of us have attempted to read through the Bible in a year and happened upon the 119th Psalm.  Its 176 verses can be quite daunting.  There are others who attempt to skim through this psalm in one sitting and find it hard to digest. Thankfully, the psalm is divided into stanzas of eight verses each. Each stanza is linked to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet making more practical for the ancients to meditate on and memorize. I have been taking my class through Psalm 119 a couple of stanzas at a time.

Here we go. You get the impression from reading this psalm (believed to be written by King David of ancient Israel) that it’s a compilation of life experiences.  Throughout these experiences David has tried to stay true to the teachings of the Jewish Law found in the Old Testament. I would like to emphasize that this involves more than just complying with the 10 commandments. “Following the Law” would require adherence to the Jewish faith, which includes the observance of all required laws, rituals, sacrifices and festivals described in the Old Testament.

Virtually every verse in Psalm 119 references the Word of God. Synonyms such as the law, God’s word, commandments, statutes, way, judgments, precepts and testimony all reference the awesome nature of God’s Word, placing it on the highest pedestal imaginable.

Stanza 1

The first eight verses highlight the blessings found through obedience to God’s Word.

vv1-3               Those who walk in obedience (whole-heartedly) are blessed.

vv4-6               Highlights a desire to be more obedient in light of God’s commands.

vv7-8               Vow to give thanks as one learns about God’s statutes.

Stanza 2

The second stanza (9-16) focuses on the cleansing aspect of God’s word.

vv9                  A person cleanses his way by obeying God’s Word

vv10-14           A person purifies his way by internalizing God’s Word

vv15-16           We must continuously meditate on God’s Word in order to be transformed by it

Way (v9), the word conveys the idea of transgressing repeatedly, creating a sinful rut of the sort made by the wheel of a cart.

These two stanzas encourage us to go beyond simply reading God’s word and seek to internalize it or meditate on it. Pick one of the first sixteen verses of Psalm 119 and meditate on it daily this week.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Ps 119:11

tranquility-base-2906699_960_720

My Provider

Hitchens

An interesting quote isn’t it?  Funny too!

This quote makes me think of people who truly have a heart for God and readily acknowledge that everything they possess is a blessing from Him.  Those who maintain this attitude remain humble and grateful, and elevate God to his proper place.  These same folks, brimming with gratitude, find themselves passing on a blessing or two to others.

A Second Key to Happiness

hands-1926414_960_720Dr. David Jeremiah in his book, Searching for Heaven on Earth, offers this key to finding happiness – an open pair of hands. He assures us that the Christ-centered follower can experience happiness in wisdom, wealth, work and pleasure (under the sun). God is the dispenser of pleasurable pursuits and we are the receiver. Our Lord can bless us with possessions, wisdom, pleasure, and employment. Our job is to keep our cupped hands open and resist the human urge to close them selfishly. When we keep our hands open we are allowing God to give and take his blessings as he chooses for his glory. We must remember that God’s resources are limitless. Don’t close your hands and cut yourself off of from His blessings.

Remember to pray with your hands open.