And The Winner Is . . .
Thanks so much to the giveaway participants! I counted up each comment on the blog, each Facebook share, each new blog follower and used random.org to calculate the winner. And the winner is . . . Lynn Holt! Congratulations! Lynn, I’ll contact you about your prize choice!
I appreciated every comment, share, and follower. Thank you for walking on this devotional journey with me. We may have been celebrating my 150th post on this blog, but really I learn so much from what you have to say. I hope you all continue to share your thoughts and post comments!
Now on to today’s devotional . . . .
“Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions”
What kind of school does a ladder go to?
I don’t know. What kind of school does a ladder go to?
A High School! Get it? High . . . ladder.
It was the first joke my five-year-old daughter ever invented that made sense. I was so proud! At dinner that night, I made her tell it again to my husband.
We were mostly proud because for years we had endured the nonsensical joke creations of our two oldest daughters. My six-year-old still thinks every single joke has to begin with knock, knock.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
We’ve tried to explain joke construction and the basic tenets of verbal humor, but to no avail. The thing is, to them it’s funny. Even if we simply eke out polite fake laughter, they collapse into squeals of amusement at their own joke concoction.
We just don’t get it.
In the same way, we Christians should have a joy that people who don’t know Christ just don’t get.
This Good News that we have—that God Himself came to earth in human flesh, that He received the punishment we deserve for our sin, that He died in our place and rose again, offering us eternal life with Him in heaven . .. well, that really is good news. It’s certainly something to get excited about again and again and again!
On Sunday mornings, I’ve been teaching Christmas songs to young children at church. They are supposed to be angels delivering Jesus’ birth announcement to the shepherds.
At first, these pretend angels sang their song with little gusto or excitement. They mumbled out the lyrics as if it were a painful exercise. After weeks of reminding them that this was the greatest announcement the world has ever received, finally they sang with joy: “Hey! Don’t be afraid. I’ve got some great news. Christ is born today in Bethlehem!”
The angel himself on Christmas night promised that “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10).
Unfortunately, we become immune over time to the message’s impact. We forget the joy. We forget the wonder and excitement.
And when we imagine Jesus Himself healing people and teaching them, so often we picture Him as a melancholy savior, all staid, straight-laced and serious.
Surely, though, he must have smiled a bit as Nicodemus puzzled out the meaning of “born again.”
When Jesus deftly sidestepped the theological traps laid by the Pharisees and Sadducees, I imagine He did it with triumphant joy.
As He delivered the captivating and totally revolutionary Sermon on the Mount, Jesus could not have been a boring monotone preacher. He held the crowd’s attention for two solid chapters worth of teaching in Matthew 5-7. There must have been some joy there!
If Jesus never smiled, surely the children in Matthew 19 would have run away rather than willingly climbing onto His lap for a blessing.
Not that our life circumstances always make joy easy. Sometimes we feel like our “cup runneth over” and sometimes we feel like our cup is all poured out. What then?
Nehemiah faced a crowd of Israelites who felt too overcome by their sin, too full of repentant sorrow to feel joy. Yet he told them, “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
At times, it’s difficult to experience joy, when we feel weak, out of control, confused, worried, uncertain, scared, or sad . . . Yet, the joy of the Lord is where our strength lies. Without joy in all circumstances, we can become paralyzed by weakness.
So, we rejoice together when we consider the Good News of the Gospel. We rejoice in God’s presence, in His accessibility to us at all times, in His compassion, in His faithfulness and unfailing love. We rejoice in the journey of our faith, knowing that wherever He takes us, He will always be there.
Still we have joy. We determine to “always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NLT)
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King