On Wings Of Eagles

free counters

Friday, November 16, 2018

Jesus’ little friend

Matthew 18:2-4  (ESV)

2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus’ disciples on occasion were a little too full of themselves. Jesus was a child magnet—they loved his tone and presence—but the disciples viewed the children as a nuisance and tried to shoo them away. They thought that discussing the faith was grown-up business.

Jesus saw children as his champions: “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’” (Mathew 18:2-4).

Jesus praised child-faith for two powerful reasons: 1) its simplicity. Children haven’t yet learned all the scientific reasons why the Christian faith is unbelievable. They don’t stall and argue. They just accept it. 2) its humility. Children are used to being marginalized and ignored by adults, and so they don’t think too highly of themselves. Jesus’ tone was sharp with his disciples. Not only could children have saving faith, but their faith was to be a model for adults. In fact—outrageous concept—without childlike faith it is impossible to enter the kingdom! Not only do children bring value to God through their service; their humble posture is to be a model for big people.

Does Jesus have any child champions in your life who can inspire and guide your mind-set?

Dear Lord, thank You for those little champions that You have placed in our life. Help us to take the time to nurture them and help mold them into the Young men or women You have planned for them. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Josiah, the boy king

2 Chronicles 34:1 (ESV)
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.

Was there ever a child champion like Josiah, who became king of Judah as a second grader? His father, an evil man, was assassinated after a short two-year reign, and suddenly Josiah’s little head had to bear the weight of a big crown: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years” (2 Chronicles 34:1).

This little guy had no normal childhood. He had to grow up terribly fast. And though he obviously had advisors and personal tutors, his youth did not hold him back from a reign of enormous and positive impact on God’s people. At the age of high school sophomores, he began a serious quest to learn about the God of Israel. At an age when American college students are drinking a lot of beer, Josiah led a huge spiritual reformation in the country, tearing down the shrines and altars of Baal and Asherah that had been corrupting the Israelites for centuries. And at age 26 he led a capital campaign to rebuild the temple of the Lord, which had fallen into sad disrepair.

King Josiah’s personal leadership, authority, and example brought about spiritual renewal throughout Israel, brought God’s protection and blessings, and undoubtedly extended the time of Israel’s independence. He was the last good king; the evil of his four short-lived successors brought about Israel’s collapse.

Keep your eyes peeled for the talent that God has loaded into his child champions in your world.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the children in our life. Help us to remember to lift them up in our prayers so that they may become the people You would have for them to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Little Samuel

1 Samuel 1:21-22 (ESV)
21 The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.”

A woman named Hannah, living in the tribal territory of Ephraim in the 11th century b.c., had a tough life. Not only was she unable to have a child; she was part of a polygamous marriage, and her rival wife had many sons and daughters and taunted poor Hannah cruelly because of it. Hannah prayed repeatedly for a child and nothing happened.

But then—her miracle. She bore a son, a gift from God, and she named him “Sh’mu-El,” Samuel, which means “heard by God.” Whereupon she decided to do the most amazing thing, so great was her overwhelming gratitude to God: “When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, ‘After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always’”.

Astonishing! She took her little miracle boy to the town of Shiloh, current location of the ark of the covenant and altar of sacrifice to the Lord, and placed him into the care of Eli, the high priest. What a sacrifice! Even more amazing is the child champion who made the best of his new home. What a brave little man! Do you suppose he ever cried, “I want my mom!”?

Samuel grew up to be one of the greatest prophets in Israel’s history.

Dear Lord, help us to be like Hannah and see our children as gifts from You. Help us to teach them to love and serve You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Naaman’s servant girl

2 Kings 5:2-3 (ESV)
2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman's wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

The Bible’s main characters are almost all adults. Almost. But there are some amazing children in the narrative of God’s plan of salvation. One of them is a little Israelite girl (name, alas, unknown) who had been taken captive by raiders from Aram (Syria). What of her parents? Were they killed? captives also? safe back home grieving over their lost daughter? We are not told.

What kind of mind-set would you expect the girl to have? Brooding over the injustice of her forced servitude? Seeking to sabotage operations in a military household? Crafting plans for an escape as soon as the opportunity presented itself? Plotting to assassinate the Syrian general as an act of patriotism? None of the above. Hearing that her master was plagued with leprosy, she offered information to help him: “Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy’” (2 Kings 5:2,3).

It could not have gone better for General Naaman the Leper. He met the great Israelite prophet Elisha, who put him in touch with Israel’s God. He was healed completely, and in gratitude he exclaimed, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel” (verse 15).

Amazing! Never say, “Only a child.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for the children. Help us to look at the children around us with Your eyes. Help us to take the time to nurture them and bring their potential out. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, November 12, 2018

A legacy of character and faith

Joshua 4:21-22 (ESV)
21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’

Ruth Bell Graham was raised in China where her parents were medical missionaries. During this time, the Chinese people resented all foreigners, calling them “foreign devils.” It was common for Ruth to hear of Chinese Christians and missionaries laying their lives down as martyrs for their faith.

In spite of the chaos around them, singing and laughter was often heard coming out of the Bell home. Ruth learned from her parents’ example of prayer and Bible study. Ruth’s parents had the priority to heal souls and bodies of the Chinese, but little did they know, they were helping shape a little girl to become a great woman of God. Their faithful service to their Savior was impacting their daughter. They were leaving a legacy.

In 1937, shortly after Shanghai fell to the Japanese, Ruth said goodbye to her family and left China for Wheaton College. A few months later, she accepted a date with a young man named Billy. After that first date she prayed, “Lord, if You’d let me serve You with that man, I’d consider it the greatest privilege of my life.” The Grahams went on to have perhaps the most well-known evangelistic ministry—Billy to the masses and Ruth to the individual. Their deepest core desire was for people to come to know Christ in a personal way.

The couple had five children. Billy was often traveling for months at a time, so Ruth put her heart into raising their children. Her children watched their father reach the masses and their mother love people—one by one—into God’s family.

Billy summed up her passion well:

"The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

We see the Israelites crossing the Jordan after 40 years in the wilderness. God rolled back the water and they walked across. What a poignant moment! The barren wilderness behind them and a new chapter before them. God gave specific instructions to bring 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan. Following God’s instructions, they piled them as a sign, a monument, of the miracle God had done. In the future, when the children asked, “What do these stones mean?” they could share the legacy.

What legacy are you leaving your children? How will your children remember you? Will it be a legacy of character and faith—a legacy that shares of God’s goodness?

Dear Lord, we pray that we would leave a legacy for our children. Help us to do the things that would bring honor to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mr. Rogers’ Hero

1 John 3:11 (ESV)
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Most of us remember that kind-hearted, gentle, soft-spoken man who invited us into his neighborhood each day. Suddenly, we weren’t sitting in our living room watching TV. We were transported to his world where we were surrounded by puppets, trains and kindness. We learned that kids matter and are worthy of love and acceptance. We learned about anger, trust, courage and sadness. Rogers, an ordained minister, used media to teach kids about morals.

Motivated by the way television addressed children, Mr. Rogers set out to change how people viewed children. Over 3 decades, he became an icon to some and a friend to millions.

Behind the cardigan was a message that is encapsulated with this quote by Fred Rogers,

“Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me."

We learn the importance of love in our families and relationships. The early church was a great example of this sacrificial love. They met together and immediately started meeting needs. They even sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need (Acts 2:44-45). It was an example of love in action.

When we show loyal love and kindness to our kids, they notice. We are teaching them how to be kind to others. Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Our children are watching and they notice whether we love others—in words and actions! Jesus is the prime example of this kindness. In love, He laid down His life for us. While we were sinners and completely undeserving of mercy, Jesus died for us. As our passage today points out, He calls us to be sacrificial toward our brothers and sisters in need. That is how God’s love is shown to others—in actions and truth!

Dear Lord, help us to love the children. Help us to find ways that we can love them and show them Your love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Reflections of Dwight L. Moody

Deuteronomy 11:19 (ESV)
You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

As a graduate of Moody Bible Institute I always love reading stories of Dwight L. Moody who was one of the great evangelists of the nineteenth century. His father died when Dwight was only 4 years old, leaving his mother to raise 9 children who were under the age of 13. With only a fifth-grade education, Moody moved to Boston at the age of 17 with the goal of making a lot of money. Shortly after his move, he found faith in Jesus Christ and came to the realization that his goal of making money may not be honoring to God. He spent the rest of his life in various evangelistic and discipleship causes, becoming one of the more effective evangelists of all time. It is thought that he presented the gospel to over 100 million people.

Moody surprised many be saying:

"If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God!"

Even after all his countless accomplishments, how can the evangelist have said that he would throw all that away to devote it to reaching children for God. In fact, many have reported that Moody came back from a revival and reported that 2 ½ people were saved. His listener responded, “You mean two adults and one child?” Moody responded, “No, two children and one adult. When you save a child, you save a life—a whole life.”

Perhaps Moody knew that people are most open to the gospel when they are children. They absorb biblical information easily and they are moldable. They are formulating their perceptions of God, the world, and people. In general, they have longer to live and impact others for Christ.

God’s instructions to the Jewish people were clear. He wanted them to teach His commands to their children and reiterate those teachings often—when they sat at home, when they walked along the road, when they lay down, and then they got up. Each event of the day could be used to teach God’s principles to a child.

The children in your sphere of influence will only be children for a short time. Will God use you to change the spiritual course of their lives?

Dear Lord, we pray for wisdom today so that we may know how to reach the children. Give us the words that will touch their life for You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Divine Appointment

Mark 9:36-37 (ESV)
36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Wess Stafford was raised in rural West Africa, the son of missionaries. He grew to love the African people. While witnessing poverty firsthand, he watched many of his friends die of easily-treatable diseases. Wess’ childhood was a difficult one due to the abuse and hardship he endured at a boarding school. He recounts being beaten 17 times a week on average during those years. The abuse was horrendous and went on for several years.

The abuse and hardships provided Wess with a heart for the most vulnerable of children, a passion that would benefit many. He served as the president of Compassion International from 1993-2013 and helped release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

"Every child you encounter is a divine appointment." – Wess Stafford

We read that Jesus valued His interactions with children as well. Throughout His ministry, Jesus highlighted the value of a child. In fact, Jesus said that when we welcome a child, we welcome Him. Young ones are often void of pride, hypocrisy and haughtiness. Instead they are teachable and humble. They are indeed a divine appointment!

How would our lives be different if we lived with Stafford’s quote in mind. Instead of seeing children (our own or others) as a distraction or an inconvenience, what if we view them as a divine appointment?

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’”.

Let’s follow Jesus’ example and pour into the life of a child today.

Dear Lord, Thanks You for the children that are all around us. Help us to not look at them as distractions but as a divine appointment form You to make a difference in their life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Let’s build strong children.

Proverbs 22:6  (ESV)
Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.

At 13-years of age, slave Frederick Douglass longed for someone to confide in; he longed for a father and protector. A pastor encouraged him to cry out to God because He would always be such a friend. The pastor explained about sin and repentance and how to be reconciled to God. As a result, Frederick cast all his cares on God and accepted God’s gift of salvation. He suddenly saw his world in a new light. He began to love all men, including slaveholders, though he abhorred slavery more than ever. His desire to learn increased, especially when it came to the Bible.

He began to teach himself how to read and write and he passed his knowledge on to other slaves by teaching them how to read the New Testament. More than 40 slaves would attend his weekly instruction. Eventually, the study was discovered by the slaveowners, who violently forced the slaves to stop.

This abolitionist and statesman is considered by many to be the most influential African American of the nineteenth century. Douglass is quoted as saying,

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."

Solomon shares the importance of giving children a strong foundation in the faith while they are young. Training up children in “the way they should go” means directing them toward the Savior and teaching them the ways of God. Even at a young age, children can comprehend their need for a Savior and accept His gift of salvation.

Discipline is also an integral part of raising godly children. Godly discipline is rooted in love and the Bible says it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).

As Douglass said, it is easier to be diligent in raising strong children than to repair broken adults. How are you training your children up in the ways of the Lord? Are you giving them a strong foundation in the ways of God? Consistently share your faith with your children and encourage them to make it their own in a personal and intimate way. 

Dear Lord, thank You for the children that are in our life. Help us to train them in a way that You would have us to. Give us the strength to mold them into fine young men and women. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Memory Banks

Psalm 127:3 (ESV)
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.

Did you have a piggy bank when you were a kid? Perhaps you saved spare change or gifts from the tooth fairy with the goal of buying the latest comic book or the toy you saw during Saturday morning cartoons. You had to have that coveted item!

Pastor Charles Swindoll says,

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."

Just like that piggy bank from long ago, we make deposits into a much more valuable place—into the lives of children.

As a child, Chuck Swindoll suffered with stuttering so severely that when he started high school, he could hardly finish a sentence. Chuck was self-conscious about his speech impediment and learned to stay quiet. A drama teacher named Dick Nieme found Chuck at his locker one day and asked him to be on the debate team. Of course, Chuck declined, but the teacher wouldn’t take no for an answer. Starting the very next week, the two met early each morning for speech therapy sessions. Gradually, Chuck learned to pace his thoughts and concentrate on starting the words he wanted to say. Because of that instruction, Chuck became effective on the debate team and in school dramas. As an adult, he became a successful Christian broadcaster heard on over 2000 stations and an inspirational preacher. Many consider Chuck Swindoll to be one of the most influential preachers of the last 50 years. He credits his drama teacher Dick Nieme for seeing his potential and investing in him!

Our verse today reminds us that we are to pour into the lives of children. We are called to invest in teaching our children God’s Word for it will make them “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

You can have an impact on a child’s life. Will they remember that you saw them as a heritage from the Lord, a blessing from God, and a person of immeasurable worth? Or do you send the message that they are a burden or inconvenience? Tell children often that they are a divine gift.

What are you storing in your children’s memory banks?

Dear Lord, we thank You for the piggy banks that You give to us. Help us to make good deposits into them each and every day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Person’s a Person

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)
13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

The great children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as “Dr. Seuss,” is known for his whimsical children’s books, selling over 600 million copies. Although a comical writer, Seuss took children seriously and was known to say, “I don’t write for children. I write for people.” He valued children and considered them just as important as adults.

One of Dr. Seuss’ most famous quotes is,

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

In today’s verse we learned that God creates each of us personally. His eyes saw our unformed bodies and ordained all of our days.

David explained that God created his inmost being and knit him like a skilled craftsman would create a beautiful tapestry. Amazingly, God’s Word also says He knew us even before then. In Jeremiah 1:5 God tells Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”

While society often devalues the smallest, weakest or most vulnerable among us, God calls us to not despise these little ones. God is concerned for children’s welfare so much that He mentions their angels in heaven are always watching the face of God. It is implied here that these angels are on active duty and ready to intervene at the command of God.

Why do all humans, no matter how small, contain intrinsic value? At creation, God created humans “in His image” (Genesis 1:26). Simply, it means that we were made to resemble God. Since God is spirit and doesn’t have a body, this refers to the immaterial part of us. Our value as human beings, who are created in His image, is an amazing concept.

Each person has value…no matter how small.

Dear Lord, we thank You that we are all great in Your eyes no matter our size or position in life. Help us to treat others in the same way that You do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Choose Joy

James 1:2-4 (ESV)
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

One of Compassion International main priorities is releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Their work revolves around kids, so you better believe that they keep laughing! The kids in the program around the world write to their sponsors and they often hear from sponsors about the funny things kids say in their letters.

Kids in the Compassion program are growing up in poverty. By the world’s standards, they have every right to be angry at their situation. Quite the opposite is true though! These children are a great example of what it means to have joy despite their circumstances.

In today’s verses, we learn that joy is an essential part of walking through trials. How is this possible? How can we have joy in the midst of illness, financial hardship and other painful circumstances?

First, we see that the joy provided by God’s Spirit is different from the joy of the world. Worldly joy isn’t something you can cling to when your world is falling apart. In contrast, the joy God offers is available in a never-ending supply. It will never run out and it can never be taken away. John 15:11 says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

Second, this joy is a free gift! It is offered to us as a lifeline and we can reach out and grab onto it. We can either choose bitterness and anger or we can decide to express joy. First Thessalonians 5:16 reminds us, “Rejoice always.”

We can choose joy… no matter what comes our way.

Dear Lord, we thank You again for the joy we can have in You. Help us to always live in that joy and to share it with those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

My Kidney Rejoices

Psalm 16:8-11 (ESV)
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being[a] rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Sara, age 7, had recently memorized Psalm 23. She asked her mom, “Why is your friend Shirley going to follow me around for my entire life?” Of course, she was referring to Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” I am pretty sure her mom had a belly laugh at that comment!

Have you ever noticed that laughter is designed for relationship? It’s often a lot more fun to laugh and experience joy with others, rather than while we are alone. In the verses we read today, the psalmist declares God to be his guide. God goes before him and serves as his guide. He guides the psalmist along a secure path. Due to this security, he can declare, “I will not be shaken.”

He can sing out with a heart that is glad and tongue that rejoices! The literal word for “tongue” here is “kidney.” In that culture, the kidneys represented the inner indicators of emotion. No matter how it’s translated, the psalmist was filled with joy because He was secure in His God. He knows God will not abandon him and will continue leading him along a secure path. This results in great joy!

Where do you find your security? Can you say along with the psalmist that your eyes are always on the Lord and you will not be shaken? Can you say that God fills you with joy? When we have God in our lives, do those insecurities and fears melt away? No, but we are empowered to find joy as we walk with Him through the hard times of life.

It is through the relationship with God that we find true joy!

Dear Lord, thank You for being the author of real joy. Help us to put our security in You and enjoy the Joy that You give. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Best Medicine

Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)
A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

When you think back on your favorite memories of your kids, how many include laughter and joy? Maybe it was their first time eating spaghetti (followed by a much-needed bath) or their joy when they received their first pet! Or maybe they said something that caused everyone around to break down in laughter and tears to roll down your cheeks.

Kids love to laugh and they love to make others laugh. Kids love to spread joy! As adults, we get caught up in the stress of our day, but kids have a way of putting those stressors in perspective. Laughing seems to make life easier.

When those uncontrollable belly-laughs happen, the stresses of the world roll away and we often feel a sense of release. Perhaps that’s what Proverbs 17:22 refers to when it talks of laughter as a good medicine. Our sapped strength can be re-energized by a good dose of laughter.

As we read todays verse we see that it presents a dichotomy of emotions. On one side, a cheerful heart is good medicine, while the other side presents a crushed spirit that dries up the bones.

Let’s start with the happier side. A cheerful heart does not mean LOL, but it does mean “a glad heart.” In a word, it refers to happiness. This emotion becomes a healing element in our bodies. We may feel stronger. God, our Great Physician, uses joy to lower our blood pressure and fight stress.

The other side of the coin is a crushed spirit. It may reflect in the emotion of sadness or sorrow. It’s a depression that can’t be cured with trite words. This emotion dries up the bones. We feel withered and drained.

God’s Word gives numerous examples of how God rescues people from the pit of a crushed spirit. Job suffered tremendous loss. David cried out his heart to God. Even Jesus sweat drops of blood in anguish before His death.

Jesus said that He wants our joy to be complete. Share your emotions with Jesus today. Let Him lift your crushed spirit and fill you with joy.

Dear Lord, help us to no matter what we face not to let it crush us. Give us the joy that only You can give. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fullness of Joy

John 17:13  (ESV)
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Kids often get their words mixed up, making for a funny result. Take for example Kate when she was 5 years old, she would ask for “sand hanitizer.” Of course, she meant hand sanitizer, but the mix-up always resulted in laughter from those who heard her. Another time, Jenny’s kids were hanging up solar system decorations and calling out the names of the planets, “Mars, Earth, Uterus…”

We love how kids bring us joy and laughter! As they watch and listen to us, they pick up words. Those words don’t always come back out of their mouths correctly though!

Jesus is the embodiment of joy. We imagine there were evenings around the campfire where Jesus and His disciples shared stories. Perhaps the night sky around them was filled with sounds of laughter and joy. Maybe contagious belly laughs spread around their group.

Some people think that Jesus never laughed. In fact, most paintings of Jesus represent Him in a somber way. We know that Jesus suffered a great deal, cried at His friend’s death, and experienced a horrific death. Even so, this does not mean that Jesus never experienced a light-hearted moment or a fit of laughter!

Rejoicing was often a theme in Jesus’ message. He said, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:12). His parables also had the theme of rejoicing. Remember the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son? The result is a lot of rejoicing when the items are found.

Did you know that Jesus prayed for you? You can read his prayer in John 17. He desires that His followers have the “full measure of [His] joy.” He didn’t say a “half-measure”! He wants you to live in the full-measure of His joy.

Dear Lord, help us to live in a full measure of Your love. Even when times look bleak help us to keep Your joy in us and let it shine forth. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Joy of the Lord

Psalm 126:2 (ESV)
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”

Kids and laughter tend to go hand-in-hand. In fact, author Mignon McLaughlin said, "Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun." We love to hear about the funny things kids say. Like the time when Will, age 4, was asked, “What is your doctor’s name?” He replied, “Dr. Appointment.” Makes sense, doesn’t it?

We think the world needs more joy and laughter! In fact, you may have heard the phrase, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” That phrase comes from Nehemiah 8:10. Do you remember the context of that verse? God’s people had returned from exile in Babylon and they gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate with a big feast. Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks…This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” No longer in exile, the people were delirious with joy!

Many scholars believe that Psalm 126:2, the verse we read today, was written about this return from exile. The people’s mouths were filled with laughter and their tongues sang for joy. This revival was so apparent that the unbelieving nations declared that “the Lord has done great things for them!”

The same is true today! Joy and laughter are contagious and those around us notice our countenance. We can share the “joy of the Lord” when we know God, abide in Him, and are filled with His Spirit. Jesus wasn’t a glum person. He is described as a groom enjoying a wedding feast! We can follow His example and let our joy shine!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the joy in our life. Give us the opportunity to share it with someone today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.