It begins with a smile on my computer keyboard and it ends with arms raised high in praise.
It’s a habit, perhaps not one of which my favorite English teachers, my mother and mother-in-law would approve, but I know they’d be happy at the fact that I have this three-letter word in my vocabulary. (Hey Mother and Mom, I did that “of which” to prevent my participle from dangling, and to make up for the improper writing of this word.)
J – o – Y!.
Even when I journal or write out Scripture, there it is. There I am. Here I am, now. Me in the midst of smiling praise.
J – o – Y.
I’ve got JoY for so many reasons:
That’s my J – o – Y.
J – o – Y!
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You say in Leviticus to Israel,
“You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from all the peoples, that you should be mine.” (Lev. 20:26, ESV)
You possess the land for the people you possess. Will they reciprocate this steadfast love of yours by obeying your statutes of a set apart life? Obedience is required of them; obedience to separate themselves from those things and people that would defile them.
It is no different today, this requirement for those whom you possess. A set apart life of obedience to your holy ways is a part of life with you.
In the midst of this present culture that continues to worship other gods and embrace the unclean sin things you call us to reject, it can be difficult. Confusion abounds as ignorance of your words in Scripture goes unchecked among those of us who claim to know you.
“Tickle my ears with things that make me giddy and feel good about myself and my life right now. It’s the best for me!”, echoes in the Church’s worldliness. “Skip over the passages in the Bible that have no relevance to us today!”, is the cry from the pews that so many pastors obey above the solid meat and difficult passages of your word that could lead so many down the narrow path to you.
Sexual immorality is avoided so often as a topic in the Church.
Killing the unborn is a cultural okay that the Church ignores.
Not offending others in the school or workplace with sharing the Gospel of Christ takes precedence.
Avoiding the topic of hell is the norm.
We are loving people to death, eternal death and separation from you.
Here I am, no better. When do I get out of my own comfort zone to speak to others about what you say on all these issues?
I mess up daily as I can often be caught up in the culture’s desire for more of the world and less of you, bowing to ignorant words that distort what you say and what you mean. Failing to correct false teaching or nodding when someone I respect speaks inaccurate words out of context of all you have to say.
God, forgive me.
It is a challenge to my relationship with you.
So, today, I declare once more that I am yours. I will love the LORD my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength while loving my neighbor as myself. (Luke 10:27, my rough translation).
I belong to you. I pray I will live that out all my days, with grace and solid commitment to you. I pray that I will be salt and light in my family, church, city, nation, and world.
No compromise. I am yours. May I boldly live that out.
I so often grumble rather than telling you that what you have given me for this minute, this hour, this day, ultimately this life is just right. I want to be more intentional with recognizing and telling you that what you have given me for today is just right. Everyday.
I was reminded of this as I was reading the biblical account of Moses leading Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 16). You parted the Red Sea for them to cross and shortly after they survived and watched their Egyptian pursuers drown from the water’s release, they grumbled.
The drinking water was bitter. They reported this to Moses. He came to you, you took care of it. Sweet water came. Ahhh.
They had no food. They grumbled to Moses and he came to you and you rained down quail that night and then manna the next day.
Your reason? So that the people may know you were the Lord their God.
Manna never seen before. It even means, “What is it?”, so foreign was it to them.
Manna enough for each day. What is it? Your provision for the grumbling wanderers for the entire time they wandered.
Forty years of manna. 40 years of what is it? Enough.
Fourteen thousand, six hundred days of manna. 14,600 days of what is it? Enough.
One day at a time of what is it. Too much manna collected gathered rot and worms. My selfishness over wanting more of your provision has eaten away at my heart (better this and that, more of this and that), rotting away my thankfulness for your just right provision for me that day. My stinky attitude festered when what I wanted from you didn’t come my way.
Fresh manna for each day. Just enough of this good gift from God. Do I see it? Do I take it for granted?
Manna for each person based on what he or she needed for living that day. Daily bread.
We taught our boys the simple prayer:
“God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food. By his hands we are fed. Give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen.”
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9-13 ESV).
Moses recognized their grumbling at him was ultimately them grumbling at you and what you had done in bringing them out of captivity. Your provision was to show them that you were the Lord their God by whatever means it took.
Thirsty? Living water. Your provision.
Hungry? Sustenance for that day. Your provision.
Adversity? Your plans for protection.
Darkness? Pillar of fire to lead the way at night. Your presence.
Sunlight? Covering cloud for the day. Your presence.
And I ask myself, what about me? How do I handle my daily bread of what you lay out for me to gather today? You are mine. I am yours. Do I treat your provision for today as a means you use to show me you are my Lord? Do I bend the knee (bless you) to recognize you provide all I have and all I need because you are aware of exactly what I need? You provide the just right amount for me each day.
What is this, Lord? It’s enough. It’s just right. You chose it for me because you have my best interest at heart.
Thank you for my what is it. It’s just right. It’s enough.