Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

The joy of the Lord

I am sitting on my porch this afternoon reveling in a great lunch I just had with my best friend. Talk was easy. Laughter abounded. We caught up, sought advice, shared worries, encouraged each other in ministry, and then off she went. And I just decided that the day was so good, and the breeze was so nice that I should finish my day's work right here. The birds are chirping, and I can hear kids playing next door. I have work that I love to do and I feel so grateful in my spirit.

This all made me  want to encourage you to seek out the simple things in life that fill up your soul. For, when we spend time engaging in good actions that bring our hearts joy, the Scriptures tell us that God gives us strength.

In Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah is speaking to the people of Israel, many of whom had been crying as they'd finally listened to the reading of the Scriptures after their return from exile, and he said to them:

"Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

I remember reading that one of the best protections against sin is allowing yourself to engage in the things in life that bring you happiness and joy. And I don't mean things like watching tv, playing computer games or shopping .... I mean deeper, truer, better things than these.

What good activities bring your soul joy?

What people do you love spending time with because they bring out the best in you?

How do you most love to immerse yourself in God's good creation?

Whose words do you love to read because they inspire you?

What do you love to do that truly refreshes you?

Do. These. Things.

And remember that these good things, these gifts, come from God. And God will fill you with His joy ... and you will find yourself strengthened. God is so good to us.

We were made for God

Well, how do you start something like this ... your first blog post?

I suppose I'll just start in, and won't worry too much about making some kind of grand entrance. I'll just say I'm glad you're here reading this, joining our little community that started last fall (2013) with about 40 people in a couple of classrooms at our church. We started a journey together in a course called A Way of Life.  We spent 9 months exploring how to deepen our friendship with God, with each other, and with the world around us. This blog is meant to be a continuation of that community, but I also hope and pray it becomes much more.

This blog is for my friends from the course. But it is also for anyone who wants to join us. Anyone who desires to know God in a deeper way. Anyone who needs a community around them to help them do this.

The purpose of this blog is much more to remind than it is to teach. Don't we all need to be reminded to keep our eyes and ears open for God? To pay attention to our life?  To really see the world and the people in it, rather than just walking around with our eyes glued to screens? So, read these posts as gentle reminders that God is at hand and that He deserves our attention. My hope is that they wake us up to God!

Something to ponder today, and a good way to start:

"We were made for God; not for service for Him, but for Him." (Oswald Chambers)

What do you make of this statement? Do you believe it? And if so, do you live as if this were true? Do you actually believe that even more than your service for him, what God wants is you ... your heart? your mind? your soul? your strength? You.

He made you. He loves you. He redeems you. And he desires a deep and growing friendship with you. One that will last for all eternity.

I hope that makes you smile. And I hope it keeps you awake for his presence around and within you today.

See you soon ...