Tag Archives: joy

But I Don’t Want to LOL!

10 Jun

I had to laugh when I read about a little girl who asked her mom for frozen stuff for Christmas — meaning from the movie Frozen.

She wasn’t too happy when she got a bag of frozen peas.

There are some days I’m not too happy either.

Life gets hard or I’m disappointed. Or I mess up for the umpteenth time.

I just don’t want to LOL.

I know the Bible tells me to give thanks and rejoice (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), but sometimes it’s just hard.

We must choose joy and gratitude as we walk in the spirit, because our fleshly desires sure don’t want to cooperate (Galatians 5:16).

When Pam Farrel and I co-authored the women’s devotional, LOL with God,* Pam included this wise and practical page titled, “10 things to Do When You Don’t Feel Like LOL.”

I want to reprint part of that page here — mostly because I need it today!

#1. Be Proactive. 

Do something you know you’ve enjoyed in the past that is healthy and good for you: a bubble bath, a walk on the beach, checking out a favorite book from the library, watching a favorite movie, reading a joke book or an online joke page (the clean ones only!).

#2. Be Relational.

Call a friend—or your mother! Make a connection with someone you love and who loves you: your husband, son, daughter, mom, dad, sister, brother, in-law, friend or mentor.

#3. Be Productive.

Work! Often, accomplishing something will help you feel better about yourself or life.

#4. Be Organized.

Spring cleaning or revamping a drawer or closet can be cathartic. A fresh start can come with fresh, clean surroundings. We know it’s hard to believe that cleaning house might make you feel better—but it can!

#5. Be Active.

Get off that couch and move! Exercise releases endorphins that will make you feel better after working out.

#6. Be a Model.

Do a personal makeover. Go to the mall and request a free makeover at the cosmetic counter of a department store, or invite a friend over and have her mix and match your wardrobe for some new looks.

#7. Be Relaxed.

Have a spa day (at a spa or at home). Give yourself a facial, a manicure, and/or a pedicure, or sit in a Jacuzzi. If you have funds, splurge for a massage at a spa or health club.

These practical suggestions can do wonders to lift your spirits, but the best suggestion ever for a “struggling to LOL” day is to allow THE Spirit to teach you joy.

Being filled (walking) with the Holy Spirit is the equivalent to allowing the Word of Christ—the Bible—to dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16a); and the result will be gratitude, a singing and worshipful heart, and joy (Ephesians 5:18-20; Colossians 3:16b) as well as the “fruit” of the Spirit living and working in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

Struggling to LOL today? Which of these seven practical suggestions might help? Does the Spirit of God live in you? Consider how He might give you lasting joy.

– Dawn

* Note: LOL with God: Devotional Messages of Hope & Humor for Women by Pam Farrel and Dawn Wilson is no longer in print, but some are still available here.  The information included above is from p. 113 in that book.

  Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay

Are You ‘Excited’ about Jesus?

10 Oct

In their excitement, people do some really over-the-top things at athletic events. Think about it:

  • They make  and raise huge signs (to be seen on TV?) – blocking the view for people behind them.MinnesotaVikingsFan_SourceUnknown
  • They mysteriously show up in the same color or wear “costumes” to identify with their team (some better left to Halloween).
  • They raise their hands together and do “the wave.”
  • They show their support for their team with yells and mantras – “We will, we will Rock you!”
  • They aren’t afraid to taunt the other team … or the refs.
  • With passion for their team, they shell out money for symbols of their support (like giant foam fingers).
  • They get crazy about their team … and nobody thinks they’re weird!

I wondered recently, why don’t Christians show similar excitement about Jesus?ExcitedAboutJesus_LOLwithGod

In all fairness, we do sometimes.

In September I attended an Air 1 tour concert. The music and lights, the crowd’s enthusiasm … it wasn’t hard to be carried along in the musicians’ high praise to the Lord of Heaven!

People got into the music, their hands swaying back and forth overhead. (A Christian version of The Wave?) They shouted out responses at musicians’ cues. Many rushed to the lobby to purchase rainbow-colored lights (used like metronomes in the darkness, keeping in time with the beat). The excitement level in the auditorium was as high or higher than any ball game I’ve experienced!

I’m sure the room was filled with many kinds of people that night. Some were there just for the music. Some were there to experience an event. Others were there to worship, or hoping to connect with God in a new, fresh way.

It was a great, exciting night! But it was just one night. And I wondered the next day, how many are still excited to know the Lord as they go back home, or to school or work?

The Christian life isn’t a one-night, one-event, one-conference “high.”

The Christian life is joy filling the heart regardless of circumstances. It’s excitement about who Jesus is and what He has done for us. It’s faith and faithfulness, appreciating God’s goodness and grace. It’s abiding in Christ. It’s the outflow of the Spirit.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says (answer #1) one of our main goals in life is to “enjoy” God forever. Maybe “enjoyment” is a better word than “excitement,” but anyone who’s been in love knows the two are linked. 

Enjoying God doesn’t just happen. We have to know Him. We have to understand what He’s done for us. And to experience lasting joy, we have to hop on board with His plans for us. 

Just as when we go to an athletic event, we have to “get excited” about Him and being on His team!

Here are some scriptures that speak to me about why I can enjoy God:

Psalm 16:5-11. . . . I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices. . . You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 144:15. Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

With that in mind, here are just 10 ways I’m nurturing my enjoyment of the Lord, which lead to greater excitement about Him.

  1. seek His presence and read His love letter and guidebook (the Word).
  2. I spend time with others who love Him too, so we can enjoy Him together.
  3. I find new ways to appreciate Him – to praise and adore Him (singing, writing, etc.)
  4. I talk to Him about everything, because He is my Lord and my friend.
  5. I view my life as an adventure with Him, with opportunities to grow and serve.
  6. I cooperate with His work in my life, knowing I am becoming more like Jesus.
  7. I embrace the freedom I have through His grace and transformed thinking.
  8. I use the gifts He’s given me to make a difference in the world and for the Kingdom.
  9. I rejoice in His work in others’ lives, the progress I see as they trust Him and obey.
  10. I am amazed whenever I see His handiwork in creation.

How do you “enjoy” God? How do you build excitement in your life for Jesus and what He is doing in the world?

* I could not find the original source of the Viking Fan photo. If you know the source, please tell me so I can properly credit.

“Excited” Graphic adapted: Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 – Dawn

It’s OK to Laugh, Christians!

3 Oct

I stood behind a woman in Walmart and God taught me a lesson. It’s fair to say God teaches me many lessons at Walmart. There are such interesting people there!

The woman checking out grumbled about everything.WalmartCheckout

  • She complained about some do-dad she couldn’t find in the hardware department.
  • She whined about the store being too hot.
  • She had a fit over the price for a carton of eggs.
  • She fussed that her daughters braids were a mess and “I didn’t raise you to look like a pig!”
  • She grumbled about her husband who was sitting out in the car (who’d blame him!) when “he should be in here helping me.”

Trying to lift her spirits, the poor checkout girl ended the transaction with a cheerful “Have a nice day, Ma’am!”

“Yeah, right,” the nasty lady said. “Not likely.”

And it was then I noticed the “Jesus First” pin on her shirt collar. 

Oh great.

Another “Christian Loonie” for all Walmart to see.

I wanted to shake her and say, “Lady, if Jesus is really first, why don’t you act like it?”

I think the world is soooooo hungry for authentic Christianityfor people who are full of faith, courage and vision. And yes, JOY too!

It might surprise you to know John Calvin, an influential French theologian and OK2Laugh_JCalvinpastor during the Protestant Reformation, once said, “We are nowhere forbidden to laugh….” *

Calvin would remind us God created laughter. It’s a good thing. Clean humor is a godly thing.

So why don’t more Christians laugh?

Christian comedian Dennis Swanberg says, “It’s almost as if those folks think, ‘If I’m not suffering, I’m not doing this Christian thing right. I’d better not ever look like I’m having fun.'” **

How sad.

I’ve found when I’m not responding to the circumstances of life in a godly way—when I am selfish, angry, prideful, discontent, stressing my own rights—it’s pretty hard to express joy.

Joy is part of the “fruit” of the Spirit,  and Galatians 5:22-23 says there is “no law” against this fruit! Joy is one of the evidences that the Holy Spirit is working in and through us. If we’re not exhibiting joy, we may need to consider whether we are yielding to the Spirit’s control in obedience to the Word of God (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18).

Life can get tough. Though we’re not forbidden to laugh, it just might not be possible sometimes. But we can always be filled with true joy that comes from a close walk with God.

Have you laughed at something funny today? Here’s some clean humor for women, a short video by Chonda Pierce called “The Truth.”

– Dawn

* Calvin was writing about Christian Liberty–Institutes of the Christian Religion, III, 19, 9

** http://www.cbn.com/entertainment/books/swanberg-love-tank-full.aspx

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