Archive for the ‘Joy’ Tag

Grave Clothes   3 comments


Image provided by thecherriodays.blogspot.com

Image provided by thecherriodays.blogspot.com

One of the passages in the Bible that I find great meaning in is found in the story of Lazarus’ death.  Lazarus was a friend of Jesus.  Jesus had become close to him and his two sisters.  When Jesus received word that Lazarus was very sick, he waited a few days before going to Bethany where Lazarus and his sisters lived.  Lazarus died before Jesus arrived.  Jesus speaks to the two women and cries at Lazarus’ tomb.  Then in a stunning move Jesus tells them to remove the stone covering the entrance and calls to Lazarus to come out of the tomb.  Lazarus does come out of the tomb but remains wrapped in the cloth that his body was covered with according the burial customs of that day.  Jesus then says, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”  This statement is what intrigues me the most in this passage.

I think that the reason that I am so fascinated by what the Lord says here is that it appears to be very applicable to the lives of many people, including myself.  Last month I wrote a post about removing the layers which life places on us (See “Removing Layers“).  The thoughts which I shared in that post is similar to the thoughts which the line from John 11 evokes in me.  However, I think that this line takes it a step farther than what I was referring to in the earlier post.  This line reminds me that we often get wrapped up in the garments of death even while we are living.  Beyond the concept of the resurrection after death, I believe that Jesus communicates to me in this statement the importance of removing the grave clothes while I am still living so that I may be free to live the life which God has so graciously given to me.

Over time, I have found that there are situations, settings, and individuals who seem to suck the life and the joy of life from me.  There have been many books written on the subject of toxic situations and toxic people.  Many times even after we have removed ourselves from those situations and relationships, we still wear the grave clothes that were placed on us during those times in our lives.  We need to hear the words Jesus speaks at Lazarus’ grave.  We need to remove those grave clothes so that we are free to live life.  This removal may take time or it may occur with a dramatic cutting away of sorts.  Whichever method, it appears to me that Jesus is indicating that we must do the removal.

I am confident that God has given us life to enjoy and to bring joy into the lives of others.  We all must labor but I believe that God desires us to be joy-filled.  Life is an awesome gift given to us.  I encourage all of you to remove any grave clothes you may be wearing and live in the freedom of the life which you have been so graciously given.  Live the resurrected life today; it is not just a future event for which you must wait.

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Returning To The Past   Leave a comment


Today I did something which I have not done for a very long time…. I baked banana bread.  Now I realize that this is not some profound activity.  My making of banana bread will not alter the events in the world or even be remembered by anyone.  However, it has had an impact on me for two reasons.  The first reason is that I pulled out my hometown cookbook to find the recipe which took me down memory lane as I recalled the people whose name appeared with the different recipes.  The second reason is that I baked for the first time in a long time which is something I used to love to do with my mother and shortly after college.  I had stopped baking and cooking because life became hectic and there was someone else in my home who did these activities.

The reason that I share this with you today is due to the memories and the sense of joy that returning to this past activity has brought to me.  Sometimes in life we become distracted by the new activities and new demands on our lives.  This can lead to us abandoning some activities which brought us joy in the past.  I think that when this occurs, we lose out on a piece of our life that can bring meaning to our lives.  Thinking of this actually brings some sadness into my heart.  However, when we resume such an activity, we can regain the joy.  The memories bring happiness to our hearts.  The connections are recalled.  We can relive some of our previous life.

I encourage you today to take some time to think about some of the things which you used to do but are not doing any more.  Why did you discontinue the activity?  Can you resume the activity even for a short time?  How might you return to your past and bring the joy into your present?

Image provided by finedininglovers.com

Image provided by finedininglovers.com

Posted October 6, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Activity, Experiences, Family, Life

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An Adventure   1 comment


Image provided by dreamitjustdoit.wordpress.com

Image provided by dreamitjustdoit.wordpress.com

Some people see life as an endless series of challenges, disappointments, and burdens.  Individuals who view life in this manner often struggle through each day just hoping to survive.  They tend to have a pessimistic view of matters.  They often are the ones full of complaints and struggle to find something positive to share.

Other people view life as an adventure.  For these individuals, each day is filled with unknown opportunity.  They see challenges as a way to grow and learn.  They view disappointments as a way to build perseverance.  They experience burdens as a means to a better end.  These individuals often are optimistic about life.  They find the positive in situations which can appear very negative.  The twists and turns of life energize them and they anticipate the surprises which lie ahead with an eagerness.

I strive to view life as an adventure.  One of the self-discoveries which I have had in recent years is that I yearn for adventure.  I am energized by new experiences and new discoveries.  I enjoy challenges and view them as opportunities to conquer and move ahead.  Now, I would have to admit that when I am feeling overwhelmed or tired, I can easily slip into the other viewpoint.  So it is important for me to make sure that I have times of retreat and recharge.  However, overall I would have to admit that I love the adventure which comprises my life.

Which viewpoint do you choose?  How do you approach life?  I hope that you can find the great joy of the adventure.

Permeate   Leave a comment


Image provided by eatwell101.com

Image provided by eatwell101.com

Recently I was at one of my favorite coffee locations.  The person behind the counter was doing some prep work for an item they would be selling during the lunch time.  He was cutting up onions for whatever he was preparing.  In a relatively short time, the onion smell began to permeate the who place.  My eyes started to become irritated and all I could seem to smell was onion.  This experience led me to think this morning about what it means to permeate.

I think that we have the opportunity to permeate the lives around us.  The question is with what would we permeate those lives.  As a believer, I feel that one item I have to share is my belief.  Many times throughout a given day, I can share my belief with others.  There are many different ways to approach this but I think the best way is to do this sharing without words most of the time.  The way that I live my life and the manner in which I interact with others is at least a starting point for sharing my belief. When others view my life and interactions, it should lead them to see something different and then ask me about it.  Given that opportunity, words could then come into play.

I think that another way we can permeate the lives around us is in our attitude.  I have blogged before about the impact attitude can have.  A negative attitude can permeate a room and have the effect similar to the onion in the coffee shop.  It can cause irritation and be disruptive.  An attitude of joy, or a positive attitude, can feel the room in an uplifting manner.  This attitude can bring pleasure into the lives of others.

So today, I would challenge all my readers to think about permeating the world and people around you.  With what are you permeating your surroundings?

Keep the Nugget   Leave a comment


This time of year it is so very easy to become overwhelmed.  There seems to be so many tasks to get completed.  There is a long list of activities in which to engage.  There are traditions to uphold and a hunger for some new ones.  In all the hustle and bustle of the season, being overwhelmed can lead to a distaste for the season.  Instead of having the joy of the season which we had at childhood, adults can become more eager about the end of the season.

So here is my advice…..  Reclaim the nugget of joy from which the season came into existence.  Christmas was intended to be a time of great celebration.  That celebration, as a result of great joy, was due to the realization that a child had been born many years ago.  This child was no “ordinary” child.  This child was the incarnation of our God.  This child would grow to be a man who reached out to those who had been rejected, who had brought healing to bodies and spirits, who did not only speak about love but demonstrated it in the way he lived.  This man would give the ultimate demonstration of love by willingly dying so that any punishment for sin would be erased from anyone who believed in him.  This man would defeat death through the power of the Spirit and open the opportunity for all people to defeat death.  This is the nugget that must never be lost.

So whenever you are feeling overwhelmed in your preparation for Christmas, reclaim the nugget of joy which began all of this.  Then you will still be busy and have many tasks but the joy will carry you through them.

Not Ready Yet   Leave a comment


Cold windThe first cold snap of the fall has arrived today.  The cool wind from the north is a not-so-gentle reminder that winter awaits us.  All I want to do is scream, “I AM NOT READY YET!”  I am becoming less and less enamored with winter; the cold temperatures, biting winds, and endless snow.  So I would like to delay the onset of winter as long as possible.  This cold temperature change is not giving me confidence in a delay.

As I thought about not being ready for winter, I began to turn to what types of life experiences that most of us truly are not ready for even though we have no control over their arrival.  I would have to admit that I am sure that I truly was not ready to be a parent.  While the concept of having a baby seemed a bit exciting, I had no idea what lay ahead for me as a parent.  There truly have been great joys which accompanied having children but there also have been some challenges and frustrations.

I was talking with some college students yesterday and they were discussing what changes awaited them when they graduated from college.  I indicated to them that there would be some wonderful aspects of making this transition in their lives.  I also mentioned that there would be some challenges which they would have to encounter.  One of the significant changes would be in all the decisions which they would have to make and the reduction of “things being provided for them.”  Again, I would say that I was not ready yet for this transition when I was younger (although at the time I thought I was more than ready) but I managed through the challenges and grew in the process.

So while I am not ready yet for colder weather and the changes which accompany the temperature change, I will be able to manage through it.  Just as I manage through temperature changes, I can and will manage through whatever life changes may lay ahead for me whenever they occur.  Even if I AM NOT READY YET!

 

Posted September 11, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life

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Soul Peace   Leave a comment


This morning, this song just keeps playing in my head so I thought I would share it.