Monday, August 21, 2017

Shout for Joy and Be Glad! (Psalm 35:27)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 35:27

I’ve chosen to use the New King James Version for scriptures of joy, but as I often do, I like looking at other translations and paraphrases for emphasis or added flavor. I especially like the The Message paraphrase of today’s verse:
But those who want    the best for me,Let them have the last word—a glad shout!—    and say, over and over and over,God is great—everything works    together for good for his servant.”
Each of us has a group of people—great or small—who “want the best” for us. Those cheerleaders who have our backs. When they see God doing amazing things in our lives, they rejoice with “a glad shout!”

And we do the same for others. I know how excited I get and how blessed I am when God blesses my friends and family. I rejoice when He works in and through them. I too want to “say, over and over and over” how great He is and how wonderful are His works.

Take a moment and see what God is doing in the lives of your friends and family. And give a “great shout!”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Joy in Refining (1 Peter 1:6-9)


Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 1:6-9

No too long ago, we talked about how trials offer refining, just as gold is refined by fire.

The apostle Peter expands on this in today’s scripture.

Gold, when it’s first mined, is full of impurities. It takes a process, whether by fire or by chemical, to remove the impurities. The process is time-consuming and, in the case of refining by fire, quite dangerous:
Refining with flame is one of the oldest methods of refining metals. Mentioned even in the bible, refining by fire is the preferable method for larger quantities of gold. In ancient times, this form of refining involved a craftsman sitting next to a hot fire with molten gold in a crucible being stirred and skimmed to remove the impurities or dross that rose to the top of the molten metal. With flames reaching temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees Celsius, this job was definitely a dangerous occupation for the gold refiner. The tradition remains largely untouched today with the exception of a few advancements in safety and precision. (www.gold-traders.co.uk)
Fire bringing purity. Pain bringing joy. Storms bringing rainbows.

From an eternal perspective, faith is absolutely more important than gold, and if I must go through difficult times to purify my faith, then I believe it’s well worth it.

Are you in the refiner’s fire right now? Then be confident that the Refiner is stirring and skimming to remove the impurities or dross to make you the person He created you to be.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Joy Comes in the Morning (Psalm 30:5)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 30:5

Over the last few weeks, several of my friends have lost loved ones. A husband. A father. A child.

They’re in mourning … and rightfully so.

Others have experienced some godly discipline with consequences from poor choices or pain from the choices others have made.

They’ve wept … and rightfully so.

We all go through seasons of pain, of suffering, of sadness. We all experience times of godly discipline.

But we’re promised that these seasons are temporary. We don’t live in perpetual, never-ending mourning or pain.

Joy does come in the morning. It may not be today … or tomorrow … or even in the next few weeks. But each of us begins to find those splashes of joy as God offers comfort and peace.

If you’re in a night of mourning, be assured: Joy will one day come … one not-so-distant morning.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Joy in Salvation (Isaiah 12:2-3)

Today’s scripture: Isaiah 12:2-3

A couple of days ago, I wrote about making a “joyful noise” and praising God. Today’s verses give another reason for singing for joy.

God is our salvation. Salvation comes from no other. He saves us from our sins, and He saves us from harm. And even if—or should I say when—we experience trials, we can be confident that He will give us strength.

We can indeed “trust and not be afraid” no matter what comes our way because He has been so faithful in the past.

I often write about the gift of hindsight. It’s usually when we look back that we see how God worked. The more we see how He worked then, the more we can trust now … and in the future.

So sing along with the prophet: He is my salvation. He is my strength and song. I can joyfully “drink deeply from the fountain of salvation” (NLT).

Amen!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Worshipful Joy (Psalm 66:1-3)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 66:1-3

I’ve written this before, but one of my greatest joys is worshiping the Lord in song. There’s something about music that touches my soul.

That’s one of the things I love most about the psalms. So many of them are love songs to the Lord. Readers are invited to:

Make a joyful shout to God …
Sing out the honor of His name …
Make His praise glorious …
We can sing of His grace, love and, mercy. We can tell of His “awesome works.”

And hymns and contemporary praise songs remind us of His love for us. Hymns like “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “It Is well with My Soul” speak of His faithfulness and care. Favorite songs can touch our hearts with words of hope and peace.

So even if you can’t carry a tune, make a “joyful shout” or, as the King James Version says, a “joyful noise” and praise the Lord in song!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Joy of the Whole Earth (Psalm 48:1-3)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 48:1-3

When I pray, I often begin with the first sentence of today’s verses: Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.

And He is!

He is the sovereign Creator of the universe. He is the beginning and the end. He is the giver of strength, peace, and comfort. He is merciful and gracious.

He loves us everlastingly and abundantly.

He is everything!

So, how can I be anything other than joyful? I am a daughter of the Most High King! He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Comforter, my Refuge. He is my Abba on whose lap I can crawl.

I find so much joy in knowing Him, in learning more of Him, in knowing He has a plan for my life.

Stop a moment. Think about how very blessed you are to know the Great God. Find joy and give praise to Him.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Joy in Trials (James 1:2-4)

Today’s scripture: James 1:2-4

We’ve already talked about how counter-intuitive it seems to find joy in pain or in trials.

James, the brother of Jesus, certainly knew what it meant to experience trials and suffering. Those following the new “Way” were ridiculed, arrested, beaten, and martyred for their faith. Tradition holds that James was arrested and martyred around 69 AD.

Yet, he wrote that his readers (including you and me) could find “all joy” because he knew the end result of trials was Christ-likeness.

Just like gold is made pure as it’s refined through fire, we are also refined and made “perfect and complete” through trials.

I’ve written many times of the various trial I’ve experienced throughout my life, and I know—beyond doubt—that I’m a much stronger, compassionate, and kind person than I would have been had I not gone through storms.

So, I can truly find joy in trials knowing that God continues to refine me into the woman He created me to be.

Are you going through difficult times? Ask God for strength—and joy.