Holding Still for God

It was a God-given moment. Several years ago on a winter morning, I decided to brave the cold and take care of an outdoor chore so Don wouldn’t have to do it at the end of a long workday. As I stepped out on our back porch, a surprise awaited me.

A beautiful mockingbird perched on our nearby evergreen. I expected him to whoosh away as soon as he caught sight of me or heard the cat-like squall of the screen door. But he stayed, holding still, allowing me to marvel in his beauty from just a few feet away.

As he continued to linger, I thought wow, I wish I had my camera. Would he stay long enough for me to dash back in the house and get it? Would he be there when I returned? Would he hold still just awhile longer?

I took a chance and slid back inside, as carefully as my noisy door would allow. After grabbing my camera, I turned it on while still inside so there would be one less noise to startle my little outdoor visitor away.

In spite of another screech from the door, the bird remained perched in the same spot. I raised my camera, zoomed in, and took several shots while he continued to hold still. He looked this way and that, almost as if allowing me to work a little more magic with my camera. He eventually flitted away but not before I was thoroughly blessed by this unexpected God-given treat for the soul.

For a few brief moments, I was an artist capturing a subject—a subject who was willing to hold still and let me do my work. I can’t help but wonder if I do the same for God.

When God wants to work on me or just spend time with me and rejoice over his creation (yes, he wants to rejoice over me!), am I a willing subject? Do I hold still for him and cooperate with his plans? Do I allow him to work his magic?

May the Lover of our souls always find us willing to hold still for him!

“The Lord your God is with you . . . He will take great delight in you; in his love he . . . will rejoice over you with singing.“ Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

*When did you last notice God working on you or rejoicing over you with singing?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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The Season of Rejoicing Is Here!

Anyone else ready to kick off Christmas—the season of rejoicing—in song? If so, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve often celebrated the yuletide season here on the blog by inviting you to join in a favorite Christmas carol, and I’d love to do that again this year. No better way to welcome the season of rejoicing, right?

As always, I encourage you to sing all the verses of the carol and to consider its words with fresh eyes. As you do, you’ll find a wealth of treasure in its message and your spirit will soar in worship of the One whose birthday we celebrate this month.

This year let’s raise our voices together in worship as we sing “Good Christian Men, Rejoice.” It has become a favorite of mine in recent years as I sing it during my own personal worship times. I think you’ll understand why as you refresh your memory with its message.

So join me, friends—the season of rejoicing is here! Let’s rejoice together!

Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say:
News! news!
Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before Him bow,
And He is in the manger now:
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Joy! joy!
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door,
And man is blessed evermore:
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall:
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save!

(Latin carol, 14th century; translated by John M. Neale)

“‘. . . my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,’” Luke 1:47

*What Christmas carols help you ring in the season?

*Flickr photo by ishane, Creative Commons License

God Delights in You and Me

8894717141_7c321496d6_z“He will take great delight in you; in his love he will . . . rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17 NIV

Isn’t it amazing to think that God love us so much he delights in us? In fact, as the verse above points out, he actually rejoices over us with singing. Now that’s some kind of love, isn’t it?

Over the years I’ve had trouble comprehending how deep God’s love for me is and how he does indeed delight in me, but I read one example recently that has helped me better understand God’s great love.

In the Bible study Living in God’s Will, author Janice Mayo Mathers told how she delights in her little granddaughter. She then pointed out that God delights in us even more. As she described how she delights in everything from her precious granddaughter’s personality to her smiles to her eyelashes, this was something I could understand. Finally, a way that helped me truly feel God’s love and, yes, his delight.

Thinking of how deeply I love and delight in my own sweet grandsons, I can now understand how God delights in me. I’m in awe when I think of how his eyes must light up when he sees me smile or how his heart warms as he watches me love on all my grandbabies. When he hears me call his name, his heart must leap for joy, and when he sees me lift my tear-stained face toward him, how he must delight in my faith during heartbreak. How, in his great love, he must long to hold me and comfort me.

 Yes, God delights in me—and in you. Yes, he loves us more than we can comprehend. Join me, won’t you, in learning to trust and rest and bask in that love each and every day.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1

*How has God shown his great love for you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out in early February. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by mugenai, Creative Commons License

Sharing the Excitement of Those We Love

2745010680_a8a1d2d989_zOur twin grandsons just turned 15 months old, and life couldn’t be more exciting for them. They’re at a stage where they are experiencing and learning so much and are super excited about absolutely everything.

For example, Isaiah and James love to stand and look out their bedroom or living room window. If a bird hops by or a doggie runs past, you’d think the most exciting thing in the world happened. And if the mail truck pulls up, forget about it. It’s too wonderful for words. Life is one amazing adventure after another for them right now.

And of course, that means life is also super exciting for those of us who love them. We ooh and ahh and squeal right along with them. Their excitement and joy brings the same to us in equal measure—not only because we love them and it thrills us to see them happy, but also because seeing things through their excited little eyes is like seeing them with fresh eyes ourselves. Life is indeed an amazing adventure!

Must not God experience that same joy where we his children are concerned? I can’t help but think he gets a special thrill over the excitement we feel when we see the mountains, the ocean, or any of his other amazing creations for the first time. And even if they’re not completely new to us, if we take great joy in them, don’t you think he rejoices as we rejoice?

And how must God feel over our spiritual firsts and joys? When we were children, his heart must have swelled with joy over our first prayers and early renditions of “Jesus Loves Me.” And the day we gave our hearts to Jesus? I bet his joy was off the charts. Even today as adults, God’s heart must overflow with excitement and joy when spiritual light bulbs go off for us as we read his Word or as the joy of serving him in a new way puts smiles on our faces and songs in our hearts.

So let’s take joy in knowing that our excitement and joy brings our heavenly Father great joy. And let’s keep sharing in the excitement and joy of our loved ones. Let’s live life fully. Let’s remember that life is truly an amazing adventure.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice . . .” Romans 12:15a

*When have you recently shared in a loved one’s excitement? When was the last time you think God must have shared in your joy?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by bloody marty mix, Creative Commons License