True Joy

” . . . laughter does not exclude weeping. Christian joy is not an escape from sorrow.”

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Today is Thursday, January 19, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Word of the Day

Whimsical – full of, actuated by, or exhibiting capricious or eccentric and often sudden ideas or turns of the mind : relating to whims.

Today is Popcorn Day! I love popcorn! It is one of my favorite foods. It goes with anything, kind of like chips.

It was a happy day in Texas, yesterday, as Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The thing that makes it special is that it was his first time he was on the ballot. He is only the second catcher in history to be elected on his first try. Congratulations to one of the favorite Texas Rangers!

Not much else happening, to speak of. I made the mac and cheese recipe in the Instant Pot, again, last night. I think it may have been better than the first time. C and I mix tuna in with ours. It was delicious.

Tonight we have our “missional gathering” for the Night of Worship team. This will be a bi-weekly meeting to share a meal, talk about plans for NoW, and just basically hang out for a bit. Personally, I’ve never liked that word, “missional.” It’s a made up word.

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TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:2-4

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. Psalm 69:1

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— Psalm 18:46

(From Living the Message)

And now, GOD, do it again— bring rains to our drought-stricken lives 
So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, 
So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
Psalm 126:4-6 (The Message)

The people represented in Psalm 126 are “no strangers to the dark side of things.” There are painful memories carried within them, memories of exile and “scars of oppression.” These people knew what it meant to sow in tears.

As Christians, if we are being true, we learn that “laughter does not exclude weeping. Christian joy is not an escape from sorrow.” We still experience pain in our live; hard times still come. But these things are unable to drive out our joy.

Some attempt to carry out a futile strategy of trying to eliminate all pain, suffering, and anything negative from their lives. They try to “get rid of pain by numbing the nerve ends, get rid of insecurity by eliminating risks, get rid of disappointments by depersonalizing . . . relationships.” Then they try to buy joy “in the form of vacations and entertainment.” There is nothing wrong with vacations and entertainment, but we certainly don’t see that kind of attitude represented in Psalm 126.

I would add some somewhat famous words of M. Scott Peck to that. “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Father, I pray for the ability to maintain this joy. I know that life is hard. I figured that out years ago. And it doesn’t get easier. We make plans, we have goals, and then “life happens,” we say. It is true. So help me to maintain my “Christian joy” in the face of all that life can throw at me. This joy does not exclude pain; rather it celebrates in the face of pain and difficulty. And we know that these pains and difficulty will cease when we reach our final destination.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

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