Let’s Cause Others to Rejoice

“May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:74 NIV

Do people rejoice when they see us coming? Does it make them happy to get to spend time with us?

If so, why? If you’re like me, it might be because you carry chocolate at all times. Ha! Hopefully, though, it’s something more meaningful than that. Maybe we always have a smile for others and freely share encouraging words. Or perhaps we’re good listeners. Think about yourself for a moment. Why do people rejoice when they see you?

On the other hand, if people don’t rejoice when they see us, why not? Could it be that we tend to have a negative attitude or are always criticizing others? Are they afraid we’ll slam them with a sarcastic remark or perhaps pass them by, treating them like they’re invisible?

None of us want to become a person that others dread interaction with or try to avoid. Instead I think we all hope to be someone that others are drawn to and want to be around. We all want to be liked.

The verse above from Psalm 119 holds one of the keys to being a source of joy for others. It tells us that if we put our hope in God, people may indeed rejoice when they see us.

This could be true for a variety of reasons. If we’re trusting in God and his Word, we may radiate a sense of peace and joy that naturally spills out onto others. We may have a reputation for honesty and dependability or inspire confidence and hope in others. We may have the wisdom of God’s Word stored up in our hearts, making us a welcome source of encouragement and advice.

I don’t know about you, but I want others to rejoice when they see me. I want others to see the love, the peace, the power, the wisdom, and the hope of God when they look at me. And the only way that can happen is to stay very close to him.

I bet you’d like others to see glimpses of the Lord in you as well. To be honest, we’ll fail at times, but that’s no reason not to try. Let’s surrender our hearts to him each day and let him fill us. Let’s cause others to rejoice when they see us coming!

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?” 1 Thessalonians 3:9 NIV

*What do you want others to see in you?

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*Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Looking At the Pros

Have you noticed how almost every situation or circumstance in life contains both pros and cons? Sometimes when we’re battling with the cons, it can be difficult to see the pros, but it’s always possible if we try. If nothing else, we can see how the negative situation can help us grow in some way—patience, perseverance, forgiveness, trust in God, etc.

I’ve had to put this principle to work lately concerning our neighborhood. If I’m not careful, I can let a couple of cons—and I don’t mean crooks, I mean negative things—really get on my nerves and suck the joy out living where we do. And it’s nothing horrific—just a lack of consideration.

So to keep the negative thinking at bay, I try to remember the positive things—the pros. If I step outside at the right time in the morning, I can hear church bells calling children to school. And nothing says “fall” like being able to hear the high school marching band practicing a few blocks away. We also have some nice neighbors, and we’re in a convenient location for the most part. As I look at the pros, I’m reminded how good we actually have it in our neighborhood.

Are you faced with a situation where it might be helpful to balance the cons out with the pros—a situation where some time spent looking at the positive might change your outlook? I’ll fess up to another. I have an ongoing struggle with my attitude concerning our community and all the things it doesn’t have to offer. Maybe it’s time I come up with a new list. Maybe it’s time I start looking at the pros, huh?

“. . . if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8b

*Flickr photo by Wiertz Sebastien, Creative Commons License

Warm Welcome

How many times have you experienced the blessing of a truly warm welcome? Don and I got to watch one as we helped Kristin and Shawn move into their new neighborhood during spring break, and I must tell you, we were amazed.

Neighbors from up and down their street popped over one after the other to introduce themselves and extend a hand of friendship to our kids. The warm welcome and spirit of unity and camaraderie displayed as these kind folks made an effort to get to know Kristin and Shawn immediately and assure them — and us in the process — that they were moving into a great neighborhood was indeed priceless.

I think I’m safe in saying that this just doesn’t happen that much anymore in today’s world, and what a blessing it was to watch it happen to Kristin and Shawn. What parent wouldn’t be thrilled to know that there are friendly, caring people living near their kids? And yes, I remember that my kids are grown adults who have been out on their own for several years now, but it still made me happy :) And I think it made Kristin and Shawn feel pretty happy as well.

After seeing the positive impact of such a warm welcome, I’d like to encourage us all — me included — to be ready to offer equally friendly welcomes to those in our own circles. I realize every neighborhood has its own personality and most won’t be like Kristin and Shawn’s (ours isn’t), but we can do our part to welcome newcomers there and in other areas of life as well.

For example, do we help others feel not only welcomed but included in relationships and groups through our workplaces or at church? Do we go out of our way to make sure they know a great community stands ready to support and befriend them?

Just think of the loving welcome Jesus extended to so many — the crowds, the little children, Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, the thief on the cross… Opportunities are all around us. Let’s not miss them. Let’s take the time for a loving touch. Let’s take the time for a warm welcome.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

*Flickr photo by briannaorg, Creative Commons License

Love for our Fellowman

**Family update: We are still hanging in there. Don’s mom’s kidney function is ever so slowly improving, but the overall picture still doesn’t look good–probably because even with the improvement, the kidney is not working well enough to keep the toxins filtered out of her body. On a happy note for us, our kids have been home this weekend as well as all of Don’s siblings. So-o-o good to see them all. I told my girls I drew strength from their hugs alone. As you can imagine, I hugged them a lot :) Thanks so much for your prayers. We’ve seen so many tiny things that are just blessings from God, and I know they have been carried to us on the wings of your prayers. Thank you!

With all that’s going on in our lives right now, I may not have time to write the kinds of posts you’re used to finding here, but I will try to share something with you a couple of times each week as usual. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, I thought you’d like to hear what another well-known American from the past had to say about social justice. Think on these words from Helen Keller:

“When indeed shall we learn that we are all related one to the other, that we are all members of one body? Until the spirit of love for our fellowman, regardless of race, color or creed, shall fill the world, making real in our lives and our deeds the actuality of human brotherhood — until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.”

How do you think we as a nation are doing today where social justice is concerned? Closer to home, how are we doing as individuals?

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.” James 2:1

*Flickr photo by hoyasmeg

Ready To Go

I don’t know how he pulled it off, but Don managed to get a new “toy” for himself on my birthday last weekend. To be honest, we spent that day shopping for several things, and he did try to dissuade me (weakly!) from spending any time at all looking for a new lawnmower for himself. But I insisted we take advantage of the fact that he actually had the time and opportunity to look that day, and so…voila! Don is now the ridiculously proud owner of a new TROY-BILT 3 in 1 Push Mower. It has a mulching feature that has him in Lawn Man heaven :) (First, he was Canyon Man, then Paint Man, and now his predominant identity comes out — he can most often be seen as Lawn Man!)

I must admit it was time for an update. His old push mower has been, I’m sure, driving the whole neighborhood crazy all summer with its sputtering death rattle. Or should I say Don has been driving everyone crazy as he ran the engine and worked on the dying mower for hours on end. After trying everything he knew — as well as a few things others suggested — he decided it was time to let go of some cash and get something that could actually cut grass :) (By the way, he uses his rider on most of our yard but still needs a push mower for certain parts of it as well as for the lawn he mows for an elderly neighbor. What a guy, huh?!)

I wish you could have seen him as he got his new mower set up and ready to go. He could barely wait to get it out into the grass and give it a test run. Just like a kid on Christmas morning, he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as he stopped just long enough to give me his first report. “Man, this thing just glides through the grass. It pushes so easy — it doesn’t shake and vibrate like the other one did. This is great!” And then he was off again, even mowing parts of the lawn he usually does with the rider. When I caught his attention long enough to ask him what in the world he was doing, he just smiled. Before I knew it, he had taken off to do our neighbor’s yard. I began to wonder if he would do the entire neighborhood before he came in :)

It was neat to see how excited Don was to get to work and use his new piece of equipment. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if we all displayed the same kind of zeal over using the talents and abilities that God has given us? Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”, and Paul tells us in Romans that “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us…” (12:6a).

What gifts has God given you? What did He create you to do? Let’s get excited about using our God-given equipment. Let’s be ready to get to work. Let’s be ready to go!

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received…” 1 Peter 4:10a