Monday, July 23, 2012

Devotional 94 - Happiness

"God is actually happy...He's rapturously happy...He lacks for nothing...Imagine the pleasure He must take in everything He's made."    When God Weeps by Tada and Estes

"People should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God."           Ecclesiastes 3:13

I watched her eat- a young, thin woman with sandy blond hair swept to the side and tied in the back. Her swan neck and aquiline nose were raised with the anticipation of each bite of  her toasty, cheese sandwich. She ate politely but with joyful intensity. Her dark eyes sparkled as she brought the sandwich to her mouth -open, closed, and crunched. Every chew smiled. Her tongue quickly slide across her lips to retrieve each salty crumb.

Slender fingers of both hands balanced the brown crust of her treasure as she eagerly opened for the next gift to her taste buds.

With half a sandwich done, she licked each finger and wiped her lips with her napkin. She resolutely placed her hands down around the plate holding the second pleasurable half of her golden sandwich. She stood up and threw it away. Her smile disappeared and she walked away.

I was disappointed. The show was over and I didn't like the way my people-watching adventure ended. What did I want to see?

I wanted to see this thin woman pick up the second half of her buttery sandwich with delightful abandon. I wanted to see her take bites large enough to fill her mouth with peppery, meaty flavor.

I wanted to see her eyes dart up to heaven and her head nod "yes" to the Creator who made her 1,000's of taste buds, and the smile to continue to creep across her face the closer she came to cleaning her plate. When no morsel was left, I wanted to see her lean back in her chair, pat her bulging tummy and laugh- "Ah, that was good!"

I wanted to see a woman who received this gift of food and drink as gifts from a loving, and happy God.

I want to be that woman who eats and drinks and works all for the glory of God, all for the joy of God, all for a happy God. I want to see this life as His gift to treasure ...even the day of adversity.

May God help you and I to embrace all that He gives.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Devotional 93 Suffering

"Hardships press us up against God."    When God Weeps  Joni Eareckson Tada 

1 Peter 5:6-7 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 

I was communicating with a friend the other day on the internet about the goodness of God. She had experienced a divorce years ago. Shortly after that, one of her sons died of diabetic complications in his twenties and another twenty-something son was in a car accident which paralyzed him from the waist down. I wrote: 

"With divorce, death, paralysis, and I don't know what else in your life, do you still trust God? Is He still loving to you? Are you ever mad at Him? 

Are you able to say as Job did, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." and in verse 1:10 Job says: "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"

Are you able to bless and praise His name when you know full well God had the power to stop the tragedy? Is God always working out His perfect and precious will when we suffer? Could suffering actually be a part of His good and glorious plan for us?

May the Lord continue to grow you closer to Him and all His beauty. May no trial pull you away from His loving embrace. May you look at the hard truths in scripture and still lift you eyes to heaven and cry, even in the midst of pain, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord!' "

Amos 3:6 When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?

Lamentations 3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?

I Samuel 2:6-7 The LORD brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts.

Ephesians 1:11 God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.

I am asking the Lord for you, my reader, and for myself, that God might give us the grace to respond to trials with  joy. They come to all of us in differently wrapped  packages. May we open this unsolicited gift with a thankful heart, trusting in the love of God.