Archive for September, 2006

Shouts of Joy

Friday, September 8th, 2006

A friend of mine has been helping her six-year-old daughter (let’s call her Alicia) memorize the Ten Commandments. After a few minutes of Thou-shalt-nots, the little girl asked in frustration, “Mommy, is there anything we can do?”

Of course, you know that God speaks directly to and through mothers, sometimes when they don’t even know it. “Well, baby,” she said, “we can smile and laugh and be thankful as much as we want to! Isn’t that great?”

Wow! Inspired words, no? Licia loved them. She laughed and laughed. She lay back on the bed, kicked up her heels, and laughed. She clapped her hands and laughed. She hugged her Mom and laughed. So of course, Mommy laughed along with Licia. Maybe she didn’t kick up her heels, but she laughed her way to a wonderful feeling of thanksgiving.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongues with songs of joy (Psalm 126:2).

God is good, yes? So we can join Licia in her experience of pure joy. Let’s laugh it up!

A cheerful heart is good medicine (Prov. 17:22).

Learning from History

Monday, September 4th, 2006

Lately I’ve been reading lots of Old Testament history. If you don’t get bogged down in the genealogies, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell a fascinating story of how God worked through events and people to make things happen. I’m still a little foggy about some stuff. I have questions like:  Exactly who did what and where? Which prophets and which kings are contemporaries? Was it Isaiah or Jeremiah or Haggai–or maybe all the above–who prophesied that Cyrus would jump-start the temple reconstruction? But the historical record answers two questions very clearly:

  • Who is in charge?
    I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens…who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers…I, the Lord, do all these things (Isa 44:24b, 45:7b)
  • For those of us who are not running things…what’s the smart thing for us to do?
    Listen to the One who is in charge. I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river…(Isa 48:17b, 18a).

The thing is, I already knew the answers to those questions.

The next thing is the problem; there are way too many things in my life–busy things, responsibility things, fun things, anything but God things–pushing that knowledge from the center of my heart to the edges of my mind.

But the important, mind-blowing, preconception-shattering thing is, God is faithful even when I am not. This is my prayer:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Ps 51:10). Give me a heart to love you without reservation and to love others–all others–as You love me.

After all, just as He directed the actions of kings, God can manage the things in my life. And that’s a good thing.