Category Archives: joy

Pay Attention

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One of my goals for this year is to PAY ATTENTION. I simply want to be more aware of simple joys; to tune my ears to hear God’s whispers; to pay closer attention to kindnesses as well as to the needs of others. As an exercise to pay closer attention, I’m keeping my camera handy to capture a few things.

So…in that spirit…here are this week’s “Things that made me smile.”

 

For the pure joy of it

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Joy-Hebrews 12:1-3

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Hebrews 12:1-3, The Message

"Makes No Sense" Joy

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2 Corinthians 4: 6-9, 16-18

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body…16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

A few days ago, things looked pretty bleak for someone that I love. And when you love someone through a tough time, let’s face it, you go through it with them. But as I was driving one day, it occurred to me that while my heart was heavy and I felt the weight of sadness, I had this inexplicable hope. Weird as it seemed, I even had joy. What was that?

Then I recalled this passage from the Book of 2 Corinthians. Paul is a man who knows conflict. Chased out of more than one town, usually running for his life, he was well acquainted with adversity. Once he was stoned by a mob and left for dead. He was dragged in and out of courtrooms, jailhouses, and was even shipwrecked. Remarkably, though, he did not despair. He holds on to those “things unseen” with joyful hope in his heart. And as I felt the weight of my own sadness, I realized that my hope and joy arise from the same source of Paul’s certainty. It is certainty and hope in a God who is at work in and for us, no matter what our circumstances. This is a God who never allows our sorrow to be wasted, and who has already demonstrated, in Christ, what his love for us (and his glory) looks like. That, my friends, is a reason for hope and joy.

 

© 2009 L. Kay Johnson, L is for LaNita. All rights reserved.