Rejoice always

What is joy? Is it the same as happiness? To an extent but not really. Joy is oft-times a misunderstood concept. We get the picture of someone “jumping for joy,”dancing for joy,” “or having tears of joy.” But joy is something different.

Joy is not the same as happiness because happiness depends on circumstances. In fact, the word itself comes from the same root word as happening. It means that something (good) has happened (to you). For example, if you were to buy a new dress, you would be happy about the new dress; If you were to have your palate satisfied at a nice restaurant, you would be happy about the dining experience, and so on. There is nothing wrong with being happy; We encourage each other to get as much happiness as you can ( don t worry, be happy); but we should realize that happiness is always based upon circumstances, or happenings in life.

Happiness is not the same as joy. Because circumstances allow happiness, they can also make happiness dissolve into thin air. Joy however, defies circumstances. It can coexist with doubt, uncertainty and pain. It is a contentedness beyond circumstances, and an indestructible kind of confidence. Joy is related to happiness, albeit rather loosely.

The apostle Paul understood that joy does not depend upon circumstances, possessions, or people. It is an attitude that’s determined by confidence in God. An attitude that says, in  spite of my present state of affairs, I have confidence in God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit that I will prevail.

In Philippians 4:4,6, Paul says,” Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice…Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

 Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians to rejoice in everything is a call to walk in faith, unwavering. For if the Christian sister believes that her life and all its circumstances are in the hands of a sovereign, wise, and loving God who is always working  to do good for her, then she can indeed “rejoice always.”

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boys with guns

Unfortunately another senseless shooting rampage taking away the innocence of children trying to learn in a setting that was once safe for them to do so.

We have young boys (and girls) who pick up guns which have more intelligence in the making of the weapon than they have in their minds. Is this what we are teaching our kids when it comes to conflict resolution, bullying and stressful situations? Any animal can and will kill to resolve their problems, and most do.

Yet the world laugh and ridicule some of the greatest leaders in the past concerning their non-violence positions in life; Really ?

It appears that Mahatma Gandhi, M. Luther King, and Jesus Christ had it right, whether you agree or not, “love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” luke 6:27

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

   The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky.

   But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

   The caged bird sings with fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sing of freedom.

   The free bird thinks of another breeze and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

   But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

 The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.

 Ms. Maya Angelou (Author)

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lessons of the Sage

                ‘If you want to become full, let yourself be empty,
If you want to be reborn, let yourself die.’   Tao Te Ching

            ‘To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.’ Eccl. 3:8

                 Rabbi Levi saw a man running in the street, and asked him, “Why do you run ?” he replied, ” I am running after my good fortune!” Rabbi Levi tells him, “Silly man, your good fortune has been trying to chase you, but you are running too fast,”

“All that is needed to make a happy life is within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

 M. Aurelius

” You need even the rocks in the road. “

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Rejoice always

What is joy? Is it the same as happiness? To an extent but not really. Joy is oft-times a misunderstood concept. We get the picture of someone “jumping for joy,”dancing for joy,” “or having tears of joy.” But joy is something different.

Joy is not the same as happiness because happiness depends on circumstances. In fact, the word itself comes from the same root word as happening. It means that something (good) has happened (to you). For example, if you were to buy a new dress, you would be happy about the new dress; If you were to have your palate satisfied at a nice restaurant, you would be happy about the dining experience, and so on. There is nothing wrong with being happy; We encourage each other to get as much happiness as you can ( don t worry, be happy); but we should realize that happiness is always based upon circumstances, or happenings in life.

Happiness is not the same as joy. Because circumstances allow happiness, they can also make happiness dissolve into thin air. Joy however, defies circumstances. It can coexist with doubt, uncertainty and pain. It is a contentedness beyond circumstances, and an indestructible kind of confidence. Joy is related to happiness, in that, happiness is most times a requisite for joy. 

The apostle Paul understood that joy does not depend upon circumstances, possessions, or people. It is an attitude that’s determined by confidence in God. An attitude that says, in  spite of my present state of affairs, I have confidence in God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit that I will prevail.

 In Philippians 4:4,6, Paul saysu,” Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice…Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians to rejoice in everything is a call to walk in faith, unwavering. For if the Christian sister believes that her life and all its circumstances are in the hands of a sovereign, wise, and loving God who is always working  to do good for her, then she can indeed “rejoice always.”

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Forgive him, ? no way

Speaking with a friend the other day, he informed me of a betrayal incident that he is having trouble coming to terms with. Although he understood his friends reason, and motive he just could not forgive this person for such an egregious act. Therefore, I shared with him my recent musings from the priest/monk H. Nouwen ,ah perhaps not in these words; “To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free form the negative bond that exist between us. We say,”I no longer hold your offense against you.” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worst, pull them as a heavy load.” That is, they continue to live in our mind rent free. My friend nodded his head in agreement as if he understood, but his actions stated the opposite.
I begin to think, I too, have and at times carry a heavy load, when its unnecessary. And, come to think of it, so do a few of my co-workers.

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Got Prayer ?

There are at  least 6-7000 (6912)  spoken languages in the world today; And God understands them all because he is the Creator of them all. God is able to speak languages that people are aware of, and he can speak languages we’re not aware of. He can speak English, French, Spanish, Italia, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, or Swahili in whatever dialect necessary to further the Kingdom of God.

God speaks through the trees and leaves, flowers and showers, cold and snow, mountains and valleys, rain and sleet, cattle and deer, sky and sea, tortoise and porpoise, whale and snail, hurricane and sugarcane, little baby boy and little baby girl, grand ma and grandpa, noon day hour and midnight hour, God speaks to people !

Yet, the ability to talk to God (prayer) and listen to God, is a gift from God – and not everybody can hear what “Thus saith the Lord”; The Psalmist tells us, “every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord.” Knowing that sometimes you just have to glorify his name for who he is, “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all th earth. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy finger, the moon and the stars which thou has ordained. What is man, that thou art mindful of him, or the Son of Man that thou would visited him…O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth (Ps. 8).”

Listening to God encompasses more than a listening ear. It requires ones presence before God, and to earnestly seek him. A) It requires you  to know the voice of God- Jesus said, ” my sheep know my voice “. B) It requires that you, “be still and know that I am God.” C) It requires that you “taste and see that the Lord is good.” D) It requires that you establish a relationship with God. E) It requires that you believe that he answers prayer; Jesus says, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” God communicates with his people anytime, anywhere, in all situations you may find yourself in; He is there if you would just call upon him. Whatever you’ re going through God can speak you through.

 Communication in general means more than words; The verbal part of communication is only the tip of the iceberg. It is only what we would like to believe, or would like the other (person) to believe. It is a dressed up version of our basic feelings designed to display us in the most favorable light – like an attorney presenting his best case to a jury – i.e. in a heated disagreement , very often, the more you talk the more you alienate and antagonize the other; Most attempts at communication are self-serving, self-justifying, self-glorifying, or simply recriminatory ( to counter one accusation with another). Fortunately, this form of communication does not affect God, in that, he sees through the disguise.

Many us throughout the journey, find ourselves feeling like an AM radio station; As long as we are in proximity to the 50,ooo watt signal, we’ re strong, we ‘re clear, we attract and reach a lot of people. But when we drift to far from the power source our signal becomes weak and fuzzy, our purpose/ministry becomes unclear, and we repel and push people away. It is when this drifting, weak and unclear disposition comes upon us that He poses the question, “Do you have prayer”?

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…”the Lord is with me”

   A drunk man and a preacher were driving on the expressway. The preacher tried passing the drunkard and as he did the drunkard would swerve in front of him; the preacher tried passing again, to the other side, again the drunkard would swerve in front of him. On down the road a bit, the drunk man pulls up on the side of the road (because there is a commotion off to the side), and he sees the preacher in a ditch; The preacher appears OK yet the car is a mess. So he ask the preacher,”Are you OK.” the preacher says, ” I’m alright I’ve got the Lord with me.  The drunkard looks closer at him then the car, and says, ” Well sir excuse me, but the way you’re going maybe the Lord would be safer with me.”

   Just perhaps, the Lord God would be safer with the lost and undesirables of the society. Afterall, he does invite all to the great supper (Lk.14:13). And he invited them/us – “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame”- because the (A) guest list of folk all had excuses as to why they could not attend the feast. And even after the poor and lame attended the supper, there was “still room” for more to attend.

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when in exile, live

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all you heart, I will let you find me, says the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven
you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile (Jer. 29:11-14).

As Jeremiah warns the Israelites not to listen to the false prophets predictions of an early return from exile, God reminds us of similar misleading commentary in the public media today. Many people are taken aback by the recent cataclysmic natural disasters; the hurricanes and tsunami’s, unusual proportions of rain, snow and cold temperatures around the world;

Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile (registering 8.8 and 6.6 level), and recently in Taiwan (a 6.0 level). These events devastating though they may be, are used as fodder by some to promote their own prophetic agenda, among them being that the end time (eschatology) is near.  And unfortunately, as in todays text, some of the false prophets are within the house of God. However, the Bible that I read says over and over be ready ,for “..about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mt.24:36)

Therefore if you are in the world and believe in  God, you are in exile because this is a hostile land for those who strive to live a righteous God-fearing existence here on earth. But,”be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude, the battle is not yours it’s the Lords”.

Moreover, the good news is that God knows his plans for you ,and for your welfare, that you may have a healthy and productive future. God’s word is immutable, yet he desires to change situations and people that he may be glorified. His most incredulous changes though occur in the hidden places of the soul and spirit. He rejoices in changing tears to laughter; of changing happiness to joy; of giving life to the dead and calling into existence the things that do not exist; of making the lame walk ,and voiceless talk. God loves changing things! 

I once heard a story about a couple held captive by their surroundings, which frustrated and stymied their walk of faith with God. This couple bought an abandoned house that had been empty for years. As the wife stood in the living room doubting why they purchased the house, she examined her surroundings. The carpet she stood on was filthy and molded; mildewed wallpaper hung on the walls. She could see through gaping holes in the plastered walls. The windows were broken and dislodged; The furnace no longer worked; and all the electrical circuits were dead, and beyond repair.

Standing there she begin to cry as she thought to herself, ‘these rooms are too dirty to clean, they are gross and disgusting. Immediately, she realized God was speaking to her. It was like God was saying,”you know that is how I feel about your house; the house of your heart.” In agreement with the revelation, she begin to clean away the filth, one room at a time she cleaned away the dirt and grime. The more she cleaned, the more she felt God encouraging her to let her work be a witness to what he was doing in her own life. As she continued to clean, she discovered that she would actually have to make the house look worse than it is, before it could look better, and that scared her. Nevertheless, she realized there was a profound lesson in the work, so she pressed on.

Finally, taking a breather, she thought to herself,” many times we think something has to come (to us) perfect, but it’s when God works on us ,and through us that the work that he started becomes beautiful and charming.

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I m not allowed to…

   I m not allowed to drive this train or say how fast it goes, it’s not my job to drive this train or make the whistle blow.

It’s not my job to be in charge, while hurtling down the line. If anyone asks how things are going, My answer is “just fine in due time!”

I m not allowed to say how fast this train can go, and I m not supposed to know.

I m not allowed to shoot off steam nor can I clang the bell, but let this old train jump the track and see who catches  HELL .

Author unknown

   A man/woman must know his limitations !

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