Serving joyfully


I've been doing a word study on joy. That is, I looked up every time the word joy occurs in the Bible, and then I am studying that passage to see what is happening and try to learn from it.

It has been so good. I am by nature a glass is half full kind of person, so any help I can get with joy I'll take!

One of the most powerful lessons I learned came from 1 Chronicles 15:16. "Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy."

Here, David is bringing the ark of the covenant to the city of David. They tried this once before and failed. 

David puts it this way in verse 13 of the same chapter "because you did not carry it at the first, The Lord our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek him according to the ordinances."

They hadn't done it God's way, and so they were punished. 

Now, they were doing it God's way. And a part of that doing it God's way was joy

Notice, doing it the right way didn't produce the joy; joy was a key ingredient in doing it the right way. 

Paradigm shift. I shouldn't think of joy as a result, but an element. In other words joy is an ingredient in the recipe of godly living

I've had it backwards. I've been serving, serving waiting for the joy to come as a result instead of serving joyfully, all along. 

Here is another verse that emphasizes the importance of serving God joyfully. 

"Because thou servesdt not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which The Lord shall send against thee in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck until he have destroyed thee." Deuteronomy 28:47-48


What happens when the obstacles on the track are people?

Photo credit - run.com

I have started running. And, because of the nature of winters here, I've been running at the gym on an indoor track most days. 

Which can be aggravating. 

Here's why. In spite of a very clear sign posted in several spots around the gym, to walk on the inside of the track and run on the outside of the track -  people don't.

In other words, there are obstacles, and they are all human.

I've tried to think of clever phrases to throw out as I pass. "Walkers on the inside."  "Read the sign."  "Passing."

But then I thought better of it. 

I'm not the indoor track police. And I don't want to be. Really. 

I just want to run and relax and enjoy myself.  I can't be responsible for them.  I can only be responsible for me. 

I decided to adopt a new philosophy, just run. Dodge the elderly and the teenagers who can't or won't read. And the primpers who are swishing their hair as they glance in every reflective surface they pass. ;) 

Just run. 

It reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses:

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12


Mom Heart Conference 2014

My littles. 

I recently went to the Mom Heart conference in Denver, CO.

 I enjoyed every minute of it -well except for maybe the panicky few minutes I spent fearing they were only going to feed us a salad for lunch on Saturday and trying to figure out how to sneak out to get something more substantial to eat - but I digress. (They served chicken too, whew!)

All of the speakers were terrific, but my favorite talk was the one Sally Clarkson gave on Friday evening. I really hope it is available to purchase soon because I could listen to it over and over and learn something new each time. 

I'm a big note-taker, but I'm afraid I didn't even take very many notes because I was so mesmerized by her passion and energy and vision of motherhood. It is beautiful. 

I did take away one thing though, that I want to share here. 

Raise your kids in a way that they want to be with you. Not just now, but in the future too. Make a home so great that they want to come back to it - that they want to be in it now. 

My sister in law and I had a conversation over the holidays about asking older women if this is as good as it gets. If this time at home with our little kids is it, then maybe we want to pay closer attention or enjoy it more. 

I think Sally did a beautiful job of answering that question for me. Not only is NOW the only time God gives us -so yes, we should enjoy it more - but NOW sets the tone for everything that comes next. NOW turns into days, which turn into weeks, which turn into months, which turn into years, which turn into a childhood. And then they are gone. Will they want to come back?

And no, you can't possibly do it alone.  But with God you can do any thing. I can do anything. 

"Build generations of people who take over the world with the kingdom of God message." Sally Clarkson Mom Heart Conference. Denver, CO 2014

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish woman with her own hands tears it down. Proverbs 14:1


The Snow Shoveling Good Samaritan

Where I live, it's snowy. As you can see from the photo above. 

I live in a neighborhood, as you can also see from the photo above. And that is new to me. Yes, I used to live in a neighborhood before, kinda, but we were on 1 acre lots with no sidewalks and no city services. 

So, when I went to check my mail in this neighborhood, where I now live, with all the services, I was not sure if what I was seeing was normal or not. You see, the area around the mailboxes had been shoveled. 

I was perplexed. 

The roads hadn't been plowed, the mail hadn't been delivered. Had the city sent out a special crew just to shovel around the mailboxes?  

Absurd. Besides, mail is like a federal thing right?  And we all know how bad the federal government is at executing things. (Think Obamacare.) Can't be them. 

So who was this mysterious snow shoveler?  Who on earth would shovel snow voluntarily? 

Well, it took a few weeks, but I finally caught her in the act. I saw the woman who lives across the street come over and shovel the area the last time it snowed. 

How lovely. How kind. How thoughtful. 

Now, we could spend a lot of time speculating as to the motives, but really, it doesn't matter. I have an actual Good Samaritan living in my neighborhood. 

And I want to go and do the same. 

"Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by the bandits?" Jesus asked. 
The man replied, "The one who showed him mercy. "
Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."  Luke 10:36-37