Monday, September 18, 2017

Joy in Song (Isaiah 49:13)

Today’s scripture: Isaiah 49:13

I’ve written this before, but one of my favorite ways of praising and glorifying God is through song. There is something that just touches my heart in a way that few other things can.

I really love singing the scriptures. We often think of such songs coming from psalms, and indeed they do, but so many other words of praise could be set to music. And although I’m no composer, I sometimes find myself putting verses I read to a random tune … and those words become a song of praise.

Words like those in today’s verse. I start out loud and boisterous: “Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains.”

Then the meter slows. Forte quiets to pianissimo … “For the LORD has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.”

If you’re a musician—and even if you’re not—try composing your own songs of praise. And you will find joy!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Eat with Joy (Ecclesiastes 9:7-8)

Today’s scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:7-8

We do a lot of our socializing over meals, don’t we?

One of my favorite things to do with friends is eat. Whether we’re having a few people over for dinner, going out with the BFF, grilling at friends’, I love eating “with joy.”

I think that’s a gift from God. I mean, He gave us taste buds for a reason!

Even the Bible talks about how we’re going one day to sit at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). One day, every person who has committed his life to Christ will feast with Him.

So, it should come as no surprise that eating is so important—beyond what we need to survive.

The next time you sit down for a meal, eat with “joy,” thanking God for His provision—and if you’re eating with friends, find even more joy with them!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Joyful Words (Proverbs 15:23)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 15:23

Are your words always joyful? Are your words “spoken in due season”? Does what you say build up others? Or cut them down? Do others find joy in what you say?

Words can bring a smile to another. Or they can reduce one to tears.

The old playground rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is so untrue. Verbal abuse can be just as painful as physical abuse. And sometimes the scars inflicted by a word spoken in anger can last a lifetime.

Someone coined the phrase THINK before you speak:

If you want to speak joyful and good words, then I would agree. Think before you speak.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Enter into Joy (Matthew 25:20-23)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 25:20-23

Each of us is put on this earth for a purpose. For Christians, the purpose is to serve others and glorify God. To fulfill the plan He has for us. To do His will.

Each of us has been given “talents.” It may be money, giftedness, or time. We may have gifts that are being used to touch thousands across the globe … or to those across the street.

It doesn’t matter the number of “talents” we’re given. What does matter is how we use them.

Do we hoard the time, talent, or treasures with which we’ve been blessed? Do we refuse to do what God calls us to do?

Or do we willingly use everything we have to serve others and glorify God?

Someday, we’ll stand before the throne of God to give an account of what we’ve done with the “talents” we’ve been given.

I don’t know about you, but my greatest desire is to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant … Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

How about you?

Friday, September 08, 2017

Joy from Mourning (Psalm 126:5-6)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 126:5-6

I’m a crier. Seriously.

I’m one of those that cry at movies, at books, at commercials, at videos of men and women returning from deployment, at weddings, at babies’ births.

I cry at sad things. I cry at happy things.

Yep. I’m a crier.

Tears can be expressions of joy or sorrow, and they often can be cathartic. I mean, who doesn’t sometimes just need a good cry?

But when someone is grieving, deep in the heart grieving, sometimes it seems like the tears will never end. The loss of a spouse, a parent, a child … how can one ever find joy in those tears?

In the moment, in the heart-ripping, never-ending pain, joy seems so far away.

If you’ve been there, though, you know that joy does come. Maybe it’s tempered with pain, but it does come.

The memories never fade. The good times are never forgotten. The tears of today gradually become the joy of tomorrow.

If you’re sowing in tears today, keep your focus on the Joy-Giver. One day, you’ll reap with joy.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Increasing in Joy (Isaiah 29:18-19)

Today’s scripture: Isaiah 29:18-19

One day, every person, past and present, will recognize the one true God. As Paul wrote to the church in Philippi:

… at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (2:10-11)
While this is certainly true, only those who have committed themselves to the Lord God of the Bible will “increase their joy in the Lord.” Those who have denied Him will be separated from Him for eternity.

We who know Christ and have received salvation through grace should be eager to share the gospel. The day is soon coming when Christ will return to receive His church, and we should urgently tell others.

So that everyone we know and love will “rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”

Monday, September 04, 2017

"Barren" Joy (Psalm 113:9)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 113:9

This verse is especially dear to me.

If you’ve been reading this devotional for a while, you may know that the Lord didn’t bless my husband and me with children. Severe endometriosis caused infertility, and we decided against adoption.

However, while I don’t have children of my body, I have many children of my heart. Not only do I have wonderful nieces and nephews of whom I am very proud, but I also have several “adopted” young women whom I have been able to mentor. Even more, I have spiritual children who have come to faith or have grown in faith through God’s work in me.

So, when I read verses like today’s I know that, although I am “barren” by the world’s standards, I am a “joyful mother of children.” And I can truly praise the Lord!

If you don’t have children, whether by choice or circumstance, know that the Lord can use you to influence the lives of young people. Look for those opportunities to speak love and truth.