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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dance a Joy Jig!

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  On occasion, it’ll make you feel like singing and dancing!

Psalms 96:1 says: “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.”
Have you ever done that?  Our Disaster Response Team witnessed a great example of this as our  Louisiana brother and sister, Leonard and Mildred, danced a “joy jig” (as I like to call it.) When they saw the improvements made to their flooded-out home, their hearts were overflowing.  We actually witnessed with our own eyes the joy of Leonard as he danced and praised the Lord on the front stoop of the home.

            As I pondered that sweet memory, I had to ask myself the question: “How often do I stop to give heart-felt thanks to our Father for the basics of life, for the blessings of provision, for the many extras that I take for granted? The air that we breathe, good health, more food than we really need, relationships, clean clothes, soap and hot water to bathe every day……so many, many blessings for which we may forget to thank God.

            One way to increase our awareness of how grateful we should be is to seek out someone less fortunate. Find out how to help them.  Our perspective changes.  We see more clearly our own blessings.  Our problems diminish as we focus on the challenges others are facing.  You don’t have to go on a mission trip to reach out and help. Opportunities are all around us!

            Sing a new song as God reveals who He has ordained for you to help today.  Then get ready to dance your joy jig!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Be Joyful in Hope"

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  God’s grace comes with a sweet serving of joy.

            Witnessing the flood damage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana recently was an eye-opening, heart-tenderizing experience. Each person on our Disaster Response team was touched by the gratitude and genuine joy which exuded from those we were honored to help. Even in that bleak situation when things might have seemed hopeless to some, we met many who had a smile on their faces. 

  •  A smile of gratitude for God sending “help”.
  • A smile of hope, knowing that the clean-up and rebuilding process had begun.
  • A smile of love for strangers who instantly become brothers and sisters.

Isn’t it incredible how God does that?  When people love the Lord, they see evidence of His joy scattered throughout the tough challenges. They put their faith and hope and trust in HIM, rather than in worldly things. And in when they do, the peace of God transcends. Hearts are strengthened, perseverance takes over; and love for others becomes a precious “joy jewel” that is obviously a blessing from God.

Scripture tells us in Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”   Our faith will be tested.  Let’s determine to call upon the Lord at all times and remember that His grace is sufficient!

    Please join me in praying for those affected by disaster…. that they will trust in the Lord and “be joyful in hope”.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Turn...and Find His Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Be grateful for each drop of joy God adds to your day.

             Recently, my husband and I joined a disaster response team from our church as we ministered to flood victims in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  There we witnessed heart-breaking, life-altering devastation. Many of the residents had lost every material thing they owned…, furniture, cars, keepsakes….even their churches.  But the amazing resilience that we often saw, first-hand, amazed us! Their faith was strengthened and their joy in the Lord was obvious! Our team had gone to help…yet, WE were the ones who were truly blessed and encouraged.

            From their examples, we learned much! Often we heard these precious people, who had been stripped of all their worldly possessions, not lamenting but giving thanks! Instead of focusing on all they had lost, they were looking toward Jesus, their Provider.  It reminded me of the beautiful song, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” (written by Helen Lemmel in 1922). Remember the words?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

            That is how, my dear friends, we can “rejoice in the Lord, always”.  May we keep our eyes focused on the face of Jesus even while facing difficult challenges.  His glory and grace are sufficient; and truly He will sustain us through all times.

            Turn your eyes upon Jesus….and find His joy in all things.