Monday, December 31, 2007

Laughter in the House

There was laughter in my house this last few weeks. There was joy and happiness. And that produced laughter. And I think that pleases God.

Psalm 126 says:

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.

Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

How many times when we see the glorious work of God, it's just like, well... it's just like a dream. It's just hard to comprehend. As we were together as a family this Christmas season, I was like someone who was dreaming. I look at what God has done for our family, and it's like a dream. The reality has not yet sunk in.

And so the psalmist, “When God worked, delivered Zion, we were just like those that dream.” So excited in what God was doing. It is just that the reality of it hardly seems to register in my feeble brain.

“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD has done great things for them”
Psalm 126:2

Oh, how special it is to just have that kind of joy and freedom to just be able to laugh over the good things that God has done.

“The LORD has done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”
Psalm 126:3

Is that an understatement, or what?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

If I get nothing else for Christmas I will be happy!

I have received the greatest gift that I could have received this Christmas when it became clear that we were all going to be together as a family for Christmas. It is going to take a lot to top last Christmas in terms of material gifts since last year was the Beach House experience with our best friends in the world, the Woods.

But, this Christmas is already shaping up to be more blessed and more precious. We are together as a family and we are experiencing God's blessings and His presence in our lives like never before. We look forward to celebrating the birth of the Babe in a manger and thinking about the impact of the gift of that Child on the world.

As a father I cannot help but wonder about all the thoughts that went through the head of Joseph of Nazareth. There must have been lingering doubts. Even after a supernatural visit from an angel. Nevertheless, Joseph took Mary to be his wife and became the earthly father of our Heavenly Father. Wow! What a responsibility that must have been for Joseph. History does not really record much of Joseph's life. We don't know how much of Jesus' life Joseph was able to experience. There is no mention of Joseph in Scripture at the launch of Jesus' public ministry at the wedding feast. In fact we do not hear anything of Joseph after the trip to the temple when Jesus was still a young boy. Perhaps Joseph died soon thereafter. Again, we don't know.

But, I am blessed with the gift of seeing both of my children loving and serving God as adults. What more can this father ask for this Christmas?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fallout from the "Rule of Life"

How is it that I get a homework assignment when I am not even taking the class?

My best friend Dave is taking a Masters of Ministry class at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. As part of his Spiritual Formation Class he was given an assignments to write a paper entitled, Rule of Life. In that paper he was to outline some rules of life that will aid him in cultivating various Spiritual disciplines.

One of the disciplines that he will be cultivating is Spiritual journaling. That's great. He needs to do that. He's a pastor and we all know pastor's need to be doing all kinds of that religious stuff.

So how do I figure in to all of this? Well, part of the discipline is to have someone hold you accountable. That's where I come in. Which is great, because I am really good at holding people accountable for stuff. It's kind of like bossing people around. (Yet another thing I am good at!)

But then the Holy Spirit began to minister to me and speak to me about my level of Spiritual Discipline. He sort of asked me how I would hold someone accountable for something that is so valuable to your Spiritual growth and yet have no real experience with that activity myself? That was a very good question wasn't it? (I guess the Holy Spirit is pretty good at this sort of thing too!)

So, this morning I began a journal. I sat down before we left for church and began to write some things that I felt led to write at that particular point in time. I am not sure if I did it
right or not. But I know I made a start. My goal is to spend some time each day journaling. I don't know where that activity will lead. But I know that something positive will come out of spending more time in a new Spiritual discipline.

I am open to any suggestions or comments about journaling. Feel free to share them with me. Email me or comment on my blog. Certainly it will become more fresh as I am spending more time in the pursuit of Spiritual growth.

Oh yeah, and it will most certainly help me to help Dave as he lives out his newly written rules of life. Dave is my closest friend. We are very heavily invested in each others lives and families. We are brothers in nearly every sense of that word.

Pray for him.

Pray for me.