By Bridgette Langford
Chapter 150 of Psalms verses 1-5 reminds us to always give thanks to God, sing unto to Him, and to rejoice always for the wonderful works of His hands. Knowing His judgment is Seeking His Glory, His strength and His face always.
As I am about to close a chapter of my life by graduating Seminary, I am constantly reminded of just how blessed I am by His mighty works in my life. The road has not always been easy and sometimes the burden heavy, but seeking Him at every step has been my strength.
Today as we prepare to celebrate our risen Lord, I want you to take moment and reflect on this passage and think about what Christ has done for you. Our God is so mighty and loving and I hold tight to that knowing if I just seek His will, He is going to provide for me. My hope and prayer for us today is that we keep seeking His face, rejoicing in song to Him, casting our cares on Him and allowing Him to strengthen us.
God is so good. Have you let Him know how thankful you are today?
Here is a prayer you can say:
Heavenly Father, today I thank you for providing me the strength to overcome the struggles in my life. I am so blessed to call you my risen Lord!!! Thank You for paying the price of giving your life for mine. Thank you for allowing me to cast all my cares on you. Father, help me to seek you not just today but always. Father, I love you and thank you for the life I live in you. Amen.
By Lance Mayes
Joy seems elusive at times; sometimes non-existent for long stretches of me. Such is the case for Israel. These were dark times. No joy. No hope. No way out of the mess they were in. Captivity was no fun for God’s chosen people. Where are you, God?
Many of us today can relate. You want a child and you wait. You pray and you wait. You hear nothing except for happy and crying babies. Moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, friends and admirers oohing and aahing over the little ones. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are times of isolation and hiding. Where are you, God?
Maybe it is depression or another mental illness. No light. No hope. No activity. No joy. It takes everything in you just to get out of bed. You let things you used to be passionate about slide. Darkness rules your nights and days. Where are you, God?
Both of these are not just in my imagination. They are real experiences to me and my family. We prayed and waited for a long time before we adopted Nicholas and then Leah. We are so glad God answered our prayers in God’s time. We love our kids! We are honored to be their parents! God brought light to our darkness through them.
We also face depression and other mental illnesses. Parenting is not for wimps, especially parenting kids with challenges. Many days are dark. And then, God sends some light through a loving friend, a caring teacher, a wise doctor, and many others.
This promise of light and joy for Israel came in the form of a baby years later. This baby grew up and as the Messiah brought us grace and joy. Thank you, God for your grace, your light and your joy in our lives. We rejoice together!
By Barbara Higdon
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Many years ago, I cross-stitched verse 24 of Psalm 118; it still hangs in our bedroom. Even as a young wife with no children yet and few responsibilities, I knew I needed to be reminded daily that every day is a day that God has created. Some of us seem hard-wired to always look for the positive side of things; some of us– not so much.
This reminder that I can choose to rejoice and be glad often comes as I’m dreading a day filled with odious chores or fretting about a problem. My sampler hangs above my comfy chair in my reading corner, so I see it as I’m going to sit down. It makes me pause and express gratitude.
Psalm 118 is such a joyful hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God, that it was sung frequently—even by Christ and the disciples as they went to the Mount of Olives. It’s often quoted in the New Testament as well. The repetitive phrase, “his love endures forever” hammers home the fact that God actively loves without ceasing and He’s the one who’s watching over me.
Life’s tough, but “The stone the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone.” If Christ could sing this hymn before he faced what he had to face, then so can I.
Bob Morrison, my Sunday School teacher, loves to quote Tony Campolo, who said in one of his more famous sermons, “Remember, it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” As we go through the final week of remembrance before Easter Sunday, may we face each day with the knowledge that God made this day for us—let us rejoice and be glad in it.
By Garrett Vickrey
Nobody does joy like a toddler. And right now nothing makes my (almost) 2 year-old daughter, Zetta, happier than hippos. There is no place that Zetta is happier to be than at the zoo in the hippo exhibit standing in front of a giant glass wall where she can watch the hippos underwater and above the waves on their little riverfront habitat. The hippos (or Ah-ppos as she would say) waddle from the rocks around their pool and flop into the water. And most of the time they float right up to the glass and press their gigantically pudgy face up against the glass.
The joy this brings is too much for a toddler. Zetta scrunches her face into a smile, squeals with joy, bobs her head side-to-side, and jumps up and down. Sometimes I get something near this response from her when I come home from work, but for the most part only the hippos receive this joyful response.
Can you remember the last time you were so joyful you lost control of your body? Maybe you jumped up on your toes. Maybe you responded with a laugh or a shout. Maybe a tear.
This Sunday we light the pink advent candle. It’s the Sunday we celebrate the joy of the hope we have in God coming among us. It’s the day we celebrate with the Shepherds. The day we marvel with Mary and Joseph. It’s the day we revel in Isaiah’s words coming to life before our eyes.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Christmas is almost here. Hope and peace are about to be born among us. Angels are singing. Shepherds rejoicing. And hippos are flopping into the water. What else can we do but rejoice?