Happiness

Experience the Joy!


Jesus

“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)

Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalm 28: 6-8)

Have you ever experienced the joy? I don’t mean momentary joy. I mean true joy that never ends no matter what circumstances arise. Take a few minutes and think about the times in your life when you have been joyful, filled with happiness and overflowing with excitement. What comes to mind?

Some things that come to mind for me are my wedding day, the births of our children, the day we finalized the purchase of our first home, confirmations, graduations, family weddings and on and on. There are many. But how long did those moments last before becoming overshadowed with the disappointments of life and become only distant memories?

My husband and I were blessed with almost 45 years of marriage, but that joy we experienced on our wedding day is now overshadowed for me by a funeral – his funeral. He was called to his eternal home not so long ago. There were times during his illness when we both wished we could go back to happier days – when our children were small and life was fun and exciting. I am comforted by the fact that through faith in Jesus, he is with the Lord and I will see him again, but I still miss him. Every beginning here on earth also has an ending.

So, where can we find true joy – a joy that will never fade or end in disappointment? There is only one place to look for pure, never-ending joy in this life, and that is in our Savior, Jesus. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1: 3-5)

The joy we find through faith in Jesus is never-ending. In Jesus, we have peace for this life because we know He has paid our debt of sin. We are recipients of God’s wonderful grace which will never fail us no matter what we have done or not done. In Jesus, we have hope for eternity. We are covered in His holiness and He has reserved a place in heaven for us. We need not fear death. For those who love God, death is not the end, but the beginning. At our death, we will step over the threshold into a new life forever with the Lord.

As Christians, we walk with the Lord daily. His Spirit lives in us. We belong to Him. God is our loving Father. He will never forget us. He knows our needs before we do and He gives us what we need when we need it.  He doesn’t only meet our spiritual needs, but also our physical needs. He even cares about the small things in life – things which we would consider to be unimportant to an Almighty God and the Creator of our universe.

I recall one day losing my car keys. I was all ready to leave for an important appointment and my keys were nowhere to be found. In desperation, I prayed; “Lord help me remember where I put my keys.” After I prayed, I thought for a minute and remembered I had been searching through a little basket in my hutch for something. I bent over and pulled out the basket and there they were. I had dropped them there without thinking.

Often we are so busy trying to figure things out for ourselves that we miss God’s loving and divine intervention. But as we grow in faith and become more in tune with His Spirit, we will slowly become more aware of His presence in our lives.

I encourage you in the days to come, to ask God each morning before you begin your day, to make you aware of His presence and touch you with His Spirit. You will be amazed when you look back at the end of the day. I can pretty much guarantee that at some point; you will realize His divine providence. It will draw you closer to Him in your daily walk.

God is good. He lives in you. He loves you as if you were His only child. He, along with His holy angels, walks by your side daily, waking and sleeping. He will touch you with His power and with His Spirit when you least expect it. If you are not tuned in, you may miss it, but when you do see it, you will be filled with joy. Your heart will soar with amazement.

Seeing the Lord at work in our lives fills us with joy and confidence. That doesn’t mean there will never be sorrow, sadness or disappointments. It doesn’t mean that each day will go without trouble and irritation. But knowing that your God who is much stronger and bigger than you are is by your side, will give you confidence. It will lift a huge weight from your shoulders.

Remember, He has your back, and no matter what happens in life, you are a winner. He even cares about the little things, like misplaced car keys. He is a “Good Good Father”. Take a minute to listen to the recording below by Chris Tomlin.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:11,12)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

My son, Robert, who has terminal brain cancer, inspired me to write this blog post. As we were driving home from a Dr. appointment one day he began sobbing. I asked him; “What is wrong?”, thinking he was in pain. He replied; “I am so blessed to see the Lord’s hand working in my life. It is amazing that He loves me so much.  His tears were tears of joy!

This is true, incomparable Joy! Gloria Dei! Amen.

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Categories: Eternity, Faith, Happiness, Prayer, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Car


The New Car

 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

I am not a fan of Black Friday, but on November 29, 2013 I went shopping. I didn’t do the kind of shopping most people do on Black Friday. I went car shopping. My daughter went along in place of my husband who is ill. I didn’t really plan to buy a car that day, but we all know how that goes… I ended up leasing a brand new 2014 Chevy Cruz. I was so excited. In our 43 years of marriage we had never afforded ourselves the luxury of a new car.
We had always bought used. But now in our senior years, with not a lot of money coming in and my husband disabled, I felt that a lease would be a good way to go. We don’t put a lot of miles on our cars and it would alleviate the worry and expense of keeping up with the many things which can go wrong with older cars: ie: brakes, tires, transmission etc. Almost everything is covered by warranty and with the lease I would get free maintenance for the first 2 years or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first. The color of my car? – red. The official name of my car’s color is “Pull me over red”. I didn’t know that at the time however.
Well I haven’t been pulled over, but several other things have gone wrong which cause me to wonder if the Lord is trying to make me realize that new and pretty is not always all its cracked up to be. And so, I would like to tell you all the story of my new car.
About 2 months after I drove it off the lot we were in an accident. It was not our fault. I was driving and had the green light. We were hit in the passenger side by a driver who ran the red light. I was just beginning to enter the on ramp to the freeway and was maybe going 35 mph. The other driver was doing about the same. Unfortunately my husband who was on the passenger side got the worst of it.

Damaged Goods

He was/is sick as it is. He didn’t need anything else to go wrong. He was jolted pretty hard. He spent the night in the hospital and came home with bruised ribs. What we didn’t know was that his lungs were also bruised, which led to non-viral pneumonia and hospitalization almost 2 months later.
The insurance company determined that the car could be repaired. So 2 months after getting my new car I ended up driving a loner car for 6 weeks. The loner was an old (2006) Pontiac G-6. Remember the ignition switch recall?? Yup the loner I drove had ignition switch issues. It would just turn off unexpectedly at times and I wouldn’t be able to steer it. I reported it to McFall’s collision who owned it. They told me they could find nothing wrong with the car, but to satisfy me they did the right thing and paid for a rental car for me to drive.
I got my new car back about the middle of April. I was so happy and excited to have it back. I thought that finally I would be able to enjoy it. Two weeks later someone backed into me in the parking lot at work. uhg…. I couldn’t believe it! It was just a scratch, but still very irritating. So I went to the dealer and bought some touch up paint to cover it up. That is when I discovered the name of the color, “Pull me over Red”.
All was good for awhile until one weekend my daughter, myself and my 7 year old grandson took a trip up north. We got stuck in stop and go traffic and pretty soon my daughter looked back at my grandson and realized that he didn’t look so good. He was not tolerating the stop and go traffic with the hot sun shining on him too well. You already know the end of this story… Yup, you guessed it. He threw up all over the back seat of my new car.
But that’s not all. About 6 weeks ago on my way to work a gravel truck threw a stone at me and chipped my windshield. I was stunned. I thought to myself…this is getting to be ridiculous! My new car has been in a serious accident, my husband was injured, the fender has been scratched, its been thrown up in, and the windshield has a chip. I don’t think all this bad stuff has ever happened to one of our used cars. The accident was a first for us. I don’t remember ever having to repair a windshield or a scratched fender in our used cars. We raised four children and now have 15 grandchildren. This was the first time anyone had thrown up in our car.
I think I get the point Lord! New is all good and well, but like everything else in this earthly life, it doesn’t last. New cars don’t stay new, new clothes get old and wear out, new houses become old houses, babies grow up to be children, then young adults, then parents, Seniors Citizens, and before we know it, in the blink of an eye it seems, we are called to our eternal home.
Thank you Lord for using my new car to remind me that this life is only temporary and that eternal blessings are waiting for all who love you on the other side. The moment we step over the threshold from death into life in heaven all things will be new, and will stay new for eternity. It doesn’t matter what car I drive here, what kind of clothes I wear or how beautiful my home is. What matters is that I know and am sure of what awaits me in eternity because eternity will never end. I want to spend it with you Lord. Keep my eyes focused on the prize and help me to run my race with perseverance, trusting that through faith in Jesus my crown is waiting for me at the end of the road.
When my lease for the “new” car is up I will more than likely lease another new car, but with a different attitude. I will enjoy it, but at the same time, I will keep in mind that there are more important things in life than a new car. I will remind myself that every material possession I have, comes from God and belongs to God. Earthly possessions are only temporary because this life on earth is only temporary. In heaven God will provide me with all that I need. In heaven all things will be new for eternity.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13,14)

Gloria Dei! Amen.
by Christine

Categories: Eternity, Faith, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tunnel of Grief


Death brings sadness

Death brings sadness

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40: 31).

But there is hope in Jesus

But there is hope in Jesus

At some point in our lives we will all face the loss of someone dear to us – someone we love deeply. As Christians we are never without hope. We know that if our loved one was a follower of Jesus we will be reunited with him/her again when we ourselves are called home. This is true hope. This is a hope that no one can take away from us.

But we still grieve and grieving is not fun. We miss that person who God called home. He/she was a big part of our life here on earth. Now we must learn to go on without him/her, and remind ourselves that our work here on earth is not yet finished. God has a plan for our life and we must keep moving forward. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Over the years I have experienced the deaths of several people who were very close to me and played an important part in my life. Now that I am in my mid sixties I am able to sort through the feelings of grief which I myself have experienced in the past, and hopefully be able to reach out and help others who are going through it.

While traveling through the Rocky mountains in the western U.S. with my family when I was younger, we drove through a tunnel which passed through the side of a mountain. The entrance to the tunnel was very dark and foreboding. The tunnel was long, and because it curved through the mountain pass, no light could be seen at the other end. It was a little unsettling. We almost felt like we were driving into oblivion, but my father turned on the headlights and moved forward. It seemed like forever, but we finally reached a point where we could see light shining at the opposite end. Before we knew it we were back out in the bright sunshine and all was well.

Everyone grieves differently, but grief is a healing process and it takes time. When I was grieving the death of my mother in 2007 it occurred to me that the grieving process is very similar to that dark tunnel which we traveled through in the mountain pass. It is a tunnel which we can’t avoid by moving around it or skipping over it. The only way to the other side is to face it head on and move through it.

The entrance to the tunnel of grief is dark and foreboding. We wish we could go around it or over the top of it and skip it all together, but we can’t. The only way to make it to the other side and back out into the sunlight is to travel through it. The road through the tunnel is dark and lonely, but Jesus has promised to be with us. Each new day is a step closer to the end of the tunnel and the welcoming light.

After the loss of a dear family member or friend we may feel sad and lonely and lost for awhile (some longer than others). It may seem like life is just a matter of going through the motions. But when we trust in Jesus, He will bring us back into the light of life here on earth. It may take some time, but we must be patient. Our life will never be the same, but the scar on our heart will heal and we will be able to sing again. We will be able to laugh and have fun and move forward serving our Lord in whatever capacity He sets before us.

If you are one of the unfortunate people moving through the tunnel of grief at this time, take courage. Jesus is right by your side. Pray to Him and ask Him to make you aware of His presence and to hold on to you as you move forward. Remember that each new day is a step toward the light, even though you may not be able to see it yet. Time is an important part of the healing process also. The days will turn into months and the months into years. Suddenly you will wake up one morning and be able to say to yourself, “life is good”. You will be able to smile again from the heart and know that you have finally reached the welcoming light at the end of the tunnel.

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever (Psalm 30: 5, 11,12).

Gloria Dei!

by Christine

Categories: Faith, Happiness, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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