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Where’s the Smile?

What are we to make of joyless religion or faith?

We’ve spent quite a bit of time emphasizing that the goal of Christ is love for our neighbor. So what about joy?  What if we find that we don’t know what to make of the words of David when he sings about a kind of life and God that come with a promise of joy and everlasting pleasures (Psalm 16:11)?

This isn’t an easy question. The same Bible talks about how God groans with us in our loss and suffering. You get the sense that David sung many of his songs in a minor key. He was not a stranger to fear, anger, suffering, and recurring days and nights during which he could not understand why God hadn’t shown up.

Yet who can miss that so many of David’s songs end in a major key, or doubt that his faith would some day find fullness of meaning in One who would be known not only by his tears, but for his smile (Psalm 16:10)?

 


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47 Responses to “Where’s the Smile?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    As of this writing I pray all is well for so many in the path of this winter storm in the North East and its coastal regions. I have lived through many such storms and they are never pleasant yet as our subject goes “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

    God always give us hope in the midnights of our souls.

    Several years ago a friend of mine said that his wife had been to town and she noticed looking on the faces of people no one was smiling. All had a frown or stone face. No joy expressed as they walked along or drove along their way.

    Here in my home there are plenty of reasons to frown and be sad, but though it takes effort we try and enjoy what we can and even when depression shows up hugs laughter and love are the elements we counter it with. Though only temporary, it always works.

    I have had to watch as Matthew bounces between having given up all hope and yet still hoping for *something* to improve in his life. It takes a lot of effort and work not to slide into a mutual state of depression. It is amazing how just a smile or a word of encouragement at the right time can lighten the heaviest load.

    It is recorded that Jesus’ purpose was the cross, also recorded was a moment when a man in the crowd helped up a stumbling Jesus and then carried that cross for him a distance.

    I can’t imagine Jesus ever having true joy or total peace going through the events of His life and death only to see so many souls choose to not accept it and be sent into eternal punishment.

    But there in this one story a man helped Him carry His load if only for a little piece of it still this is what all of us should do whenever we can. Help another carry their load for whatever distance we can, lighten their load a little and encourage them that in the morning *joy* will come.

    Steve

  2. rxman says:

    I too have “been thinking” about this topic for a while now. First, I have to look at my own life and wonder why there isn’t the joy that David speaks of in his Psalms. When I think things are going the way I think they should be going, I guess I am happier then. Is this joy?

    Then I have to consider how I perceive my fellow believers. I mostly perceive different denominations trying to sell their “brand” by telling us how “right” they are and how “wrong” someone else is. This can be overt (Westboro Baptist) or subtle (so many ways).(not joy!)

    I think I feel joy when I hear of someone loving someone else with no strings attached. i.e., they aren’t trying to manipulate them into something they want back. I can also feel joy in very simple things like a smile, a laugh, or a hug.

    The search continues.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Wanted to also say I hope to hear from Narrowpathseeker soon as she seems to be at ground zero in this winter storm, and pray she and her family are ok.

    Steve

  4. narrowpathseeker says:

    Thank you Steve..all is well here. It is still snowing.. I have 8 foot drifts on my balcony and anywhere form 7inches to 4 foot drifts on the railings alone, so I don’t know how much we actually have as yet.
    I saw the poor little birds trying to find the suet cages beneath the snow. I opened the door to clear the snow and about 3 feet of it fell inside…:-) now there is a flock of birds waiting their turn to feed…mission accomplished.

    I am praying for my sons and grandsons that have to go out in this…a police officer, a utilities supervisor, a grocery chain store manager(hope they closed..I haven’t heard back from that one) and maintenance manager at an apt complex. Only emergency personnel are allowed on the roads, visibility is very poor. THANK YOU again for the prayers. I sent a text message to all of them….”Pray, pray, and then pray some more, and be very careful.I love you…Mom/Gram”

  5. swwagner says:

    JOY! My very favorite topic! Joy is one of the lessons that God taught me soon after I left home for college fifty some years ago. As stated by Mart, the Psalms of David often start with pain but end with joy and praise even though the circumstances of the pain have not changed.

    When I was homesick and lonely and trying to find my own way in the world, I learned from the Psalms that God does not recoil from our emotional outbursts. He does not scoff at our pain and panic. When heart and mind are exhausted from outpouring of grief, disappointment and anger, I am then able to hear the still, small voice of Jesus. He whispers comforting words of hope and gently prods me to see my sin and wrong thinking. Together we walk hand in hand, through the pages of His word. Soon the promises of God are loud and clear. JOY! JOY! The pain does not always go away, but it pales and shrinks considerably.

    The joy of God has seen me through many dark places in life…an on-going difficult marriage, the pain of child birth, the loss of loved ones, chronic illness, exit from a brain-washing fundamental church, loss of physical and mental ability…to name a few. HE is my joy…HE is my all…HE is my savior! Praise Him Oh My Soul!

  6. SFDBWV says:

    I am so very pleased to hear from you Narrowpathseeker, police officer and utilities supervisor are certain to be busy during this mess and too often we forget how important it is to have a grocery store open when we need it. Apartment maintenance is bound to also keep one busy insuring those who live there are ok.

    Ain’t it neat how God takes care of the little birds in such weather, and neater still it is through us that His little sparrow is fed.

    Glad to hear you’re safe.

    Steve

  7. billystan says:

    1) God hates sin
    2) Psalm 16:10 ends with these words, “Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see coruption.
    My question is this: does that mean we need to be free of wrongdoing in order to approach God?
    I honestly believe to some extent the answer to that question to be yes. When we come to the foot of the cross, are we not under conviction to change? Are we not willing to chage eveything in our lives? A good friend said to me one time, as we were discussing sobriety and my need of salvation: “You only need to change one thing–everything!”
    Before I knelt at the foot of His cross, I lived life as a glum lot, constantly negative. Even when things were going my way I was not joyous. When, after years of fighting God’s call, I asked Him into my heart; I began to experience somthing I had not felt since childhood. It got to a point where I thought I was experiencing a nervous breakdown. I explained to the best of my ability what was happening to my pastor. He simply said, “It’s nothing to fear, they call it joy.
    Since then I have had up days and down days, but even the worst moments I knew God was there, I simply needed to ask. Psalm 56:9 says, “When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; this I know, because God is for me. Steve your staement, “God always gives us hope in the midnights of our souls.” reigns true throughout my experiences. Thank you, you helped me restart my day.

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    I thought I was doing my good deed filling the bird bath this morning, until I read of others treadging through drifts of snow to uncover a feeder.
    Kind of rings along the lines of feeling sorry for yourself becsuse you don’t have any shoes, and then you see a person with no feet.
    God has a way of focussing us all.

    Sure would love to hear from Pooh today, but I know she feels our prayers.
    Thank you Lord for all who come here to hear from you.
    Gary

  9. oneg2dblu says:

    biilystan…That is my point… we come here, and God uses a word from one to help another.
    His timing is always perfect, but it is also not always our timing.
    Even in the throes of darkness, comes a light that comforts us, for We know we are not alone. Gary

  10. narrowpathseeker says:

    God has answered our prayers and rather swiftly, I might add. It is 11:20 am here, it stopped snowing and the sun is out and visibility is clear.

    Gary, I believe your deed was every bit as good as those trudging through snow drifts inasmuch as it was done in the same act of love and concern for God’s creatures and it was what God put before you this day. Had he given you snow, I believe you would have done the same…well, maybe not to fill the birdbath but to clear a feeder.

    I’m off to help my son in law clear the back porch.. Again thank you ALL for your prayers.

  11. BruceC says:

    I once read a short study on joy that went a little like this if my mind does not fail me(and sometimes it does LOL).

    The joy of a Christian is the assurance of his salvation, the knowledge that Christ is with him through all things, and that a day will come when we will be in His presence for eternity. It is knowing that all His promises in His eternal Word are true and it is knowing beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Creator of all things; the eternal God loves us and died for us. The “world” cannot know this joy because it is separated from God because of unbelief; just as we were at one time. Our joy is a by-product of the peace He gives us.

    The world, the unbeliever, those who reject Christ; they have happiness for a season, but not true joy. Happiness is based upon the word happenstance and it shows that being happy occurs when good things “happen”. When they don’t happen happiness usually leaves.
    We don’t have to be giddy and run around with a smile on our faces 24/7 saying “Praise the Lord!” continually. I don’t think our Lord expects that or demands it (although He does want praise from us) and I do not think many who are lost would be attracted to it.

    I have been through rough times as we all have and likely will be through more but I have joy in the hope of Christ and that Day.

    We only received 6-7” and dodged a bullet so-to-speak. About 10 miles northwest where my good friend lives they about a foot.
    Several years ago we received 39” in 24 hours. Now that was a storm even by upstate NY standards.

    I pray pooh is well and for all those still struggling with the weather.
    At times like this I often wonder how the Iroquois tribes that once thrived here got through it all.

    God bless all!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  12. BruceC says:

    Forgot to mention a little saying I heard years ago.

    Joy is not the things that happen to you;
    Joy is what God does in you.

    Also:

    J: Jesus
    O: Others
    Y: Yourself

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  13. BruceC says:

    “Where’s the smile?”

    Well a few hours after my last post I went out to start the blower up and clear the driveway. The starter is shot. It’s the kind that plugs into the wall to start.
    Called around and checked the web too. The machine is around 10 years old and they no longer make the starter.
    (Did ya hear me scream? Smile gone. LOL)
    Called locally and a hardware store has thre and they will save me one. For $190. Smile not back yet.
    called a neighbor and her son came over and plowed me out and would not take anything but I put $25 in his hand. Smile back now. His dad died a couple of years back and his folks did a great job raising this young gentleman. The Lord answered our prayers and met our needs. And that is where the joy is, smile or not.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  14. narrowpathseeker says:

    Here Bruce :-) Your story made me smile. Thanks

  15. saled says:

    In the 15th chapter of John, Jesus talks a lot about abiding in Him. Once I heard a pastor say that ‘abide’ means ‘to feel at home in.’ God has been working on this area of my life, and I think maybe I need to feel at home in Jesus before I can feel the joy. In fact, at this point I am desiring the feeling at home more than the joy.

    There have been some setbacks in my life recently, one of which was a scary medical issue for a loved one. I felt paralyzed and hopeless. I realized that I felt ‘at home’ only when all was well with my world.

    My hope is in Jesus, and I have faith that his death on the cross will redeem His creation. So why is it so hard for me to find the peace and comfort of home in Him when things go wrong? I’m thinking that abiding in him is to be cultivated, and that true joy comes along with this.

    My area of Eastern Maine is still under a blizzard watch tonight. I think we have maybe 18 inches or so of snow, much of which is still blowing. Our only damage so far has been a shed door torn off its hinges. I’m especially thankful that we haven’t lost electricity.

  16. bubbles says:

    I spoke with Deb last night. She is now home, the surgery is over.

  17. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    Again, one must be in tune with the Lord to feel the true, fulfilling joy. There’s no joy in the world like it. However, if we are in sync and turn our eyes inward, it quickly dissipates into the negatives in our life.
    In James 4, I believe there’s an example of what is meant by turning laughter into mourning. When we are caught up in the world, making excuses for sin, we are in grave danger. We are called to repentence, to flee from sin and live a life pleasing to the Lord. We often times need help in asking God to help make the sin detestable, undesireable, etc because of the web we are caught in. Sexual immorality I believe is the toughest to flee from. Once God’s Spirit convicts you or you willingly repent, the mourning begins. This produces a repentive cleansing and a door for joy.
    If that didn’t come out clear, my apologies. I’m actually in the midst of several writing projects!
    My eyes were opened a bit the other day when I felt fairly good about myself standing up to a church when they were not seeking God’s glory but peoples favor. Also, I stood my ground in Christ on a family issue and it almost had a devastating event. I had a “I passed the test, my white robe awaits me,” attitude. It didn’t take long before the Spirit of the Lord let me know that attitude was an epic fail. My thoughts should have been mourning for the lost church and family, praying fervently that their way is of the Lord.
    I’m a product of my own demise some days!

  18. SFDBWV says:

    Living in a small town close to and among other small towns, I am privileged to know many people. Before my parents died I was on call to be a Pallbearer at many funerals of the people of my parents generation or even older. Only until Matthew’s disablement I continued to be a part of many funerals.

    At the funeral home there is always a parlor where people gather outside of the room with the casket and even though everyone is there to pay respects to the deceased and their family the rooms are often filled with smiles and laughter.

    I remember one such occasion where I and some other men attended the funeral of a friend who had died in the mines where we worked. The four of us looked like mafia figures as we were dressed in dark suits and it being winter had on long black coats as well, a couple of us even had on fedoras.

    As we entered the room where the casket sat, it was closed and on top of it was a picture of the deceased when he was an 18 year old solider; we stopped at the casket the room all quiet and somber all eyes on us. Without even thinking I said looking at the picture of a young John “Are you kidding me, John never looked that good.”

    The entire room erupted in laughter as I would suppose all who knew him knew I spoke the truth.

    Point being even in or especially during the most serious and somber times a smile a grin even laughter can begin the healing process and make the most intolerable a little less painful.

    I pray no matter where you are today you can smile at your unhappiness and know that somewhere ahead lies something better.

    Steve

  19. BruceC says:

    saled,

    Sorry to hear about the troubles you have had lately.
    But I am happy all is well after the storm. It got below zero here last night an d should get to the mid-thirties by afternoon. Just warm enough to change that expensive starter on my blower.

    bubbles,

    Glad to hear Deb and that she is well. Hope to see her post soon.

    Steve,

    You are right about laughter and humor in bad times. Sometimes when one thing after another happens my wife and I just break out in laughter. It’s like an admission that bad things can happen and will; but that all is still okay. But we also need to realize that sometimes a smile can “plastic” and it hides our true feelings. Sometimes when I see a friend with an unhappy look it causes me to ask what is wrong. Had a smile been there instead I would never had known. I think balance is key. A time to laugh, a time to cry.
    Last night on TV I watched one of the ministries that looks after the Jews in Russia that survived the Holocaust and the poorer than poor conditions they survive in. A time to cry. And a time to search my heart and pray whether it is here or another ministry where God calls me to help. I can’t help everyone and that is what breaks my heart.
    But God is always good. I smile at lots of little things that many folks take for granted. Last night as I walked our dog the sky was crystal clear and I smiled because of the wonder of God. When I say “Pet yer belly” to our cat BooBoos he lays down and rolls over; using his paws to play peekaboo with his little face. When I rub his little pink pot belly it reminds me that all is well and God will make all things right. He squirms and purrs loudly with contentment. A trait that few people in our world know today. Let us all smile because of God’s goodness; and mourn for the world rushing towards its end. And may He help to catch as many as possible before that.

    God Bless All!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  20. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    I almost laughed during my dads funeral because I realized something we did that was so hilarious. Truly, this would have been quite fitting as he was one to find humor in anything.
    However, we’re talking of two different levels of joy and mourning. This type is worldly. The bible speaks of mourning that brings one to repentence and an inexpressible joy from the Lord which harvests more fruits of the Spirit.

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    AmazedbyHis grace… that was really a wonderful outpouring of truth that some sins take longer to flee from and we need to keep repenting knowing that the Lord has called us to do it, and that He hears our plee and is actively working on us, and in us, to bring us out of our Egypt.
    That you for sharing, great word. Gary

  22. oneg2dblu says:

    BruveC… yes a plastic smile can hide many sorrows.
    There is a great difference between that smile and a laugh that is here and gone in a flash, where Joy lingers in the Heart of those whom God has blessed.
    Joy is not brought on by momentarry circumstances it is a deeper hidden in the heart manifestation which may or may not be expressed because one feels momentarilly sick or well, in comfort or distress from outside the body or produced by the world around us, it is an inner peace that surpasses worldly understanding, it is internal and eternal at the same time, constant and new “every” morning.
    The Joy of the Lord resides in the heart of every believer, and like the Lord, it is both constant and but a prayer away. Gary

  23. oneg2dblu says:

    bubbles…Glad to hear pooh is home and on the mend. :)

  24. oneg2dblu says:

    Repenting to the Lord for a particular sin that is deeply rooted is most difficult, and like a recent surgery takes time to come to fruition.
    We can’t expect an immediate healing, or rule one out, but many times full repentance, like full recorvery, takes longer than expected.
    It is after all, another thing we place in God’s Hands and in His timing as well.
    Just as we can be free from your most difficult sin, we know we can be healed as well.
    Keep the faith, keep on praying, and keep your conscience always open to His conviction, and your will under His influence.
    There is no better place to be. Be Blessed!
    Yesterday’s God at Eventide on the Two Listeners site was very enlightening.
    To live with an expectancy and a hope that only a servant can feel toward His Master when he is under His Influence, that is Joy! Gary

  25. fadingman says:

    “… The same Bible talks about how God groans with us in our loss and suffering. …”

    My reading today was in Romans 12. I came across verse 15 (“Rejoice with those that rejoice, weep with those that weep.”). Here Paul is not talking about me communicating my joy or sorrow, but about me rejoicing or commiserating with others. The rejoicing part is easy, but some of us have difficulties helping people who are grieving. We feel the need to say something to offer encouragement or to cheer someone up. But grieving with the person and listening in silence is usually more appropriate.

    When I lost a best friend in 1995, I sat next to his shocked and grieving wife at the gravesite, wanting to say something but at a loss for words. Afterwards she said she appreciated my just being there.

  26. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bubbles, thank you for the update on Deb. Hopefully we will be hearing from her soon that the surgery was very successful.

  27. narrowpathseeker says:

    AmazedbyHisgrace, when I read your post from 8:38 last night, I was filled with joy for you and for me as well. I see your swift awareness of veering off the path of a job seemingly well done, as close communication with the Lord. I was then able to see my own frustrations in a different light. As many times a day that I am made aware that I am in the wrong are as many times a day that the Lord is STILL with me, teaching me, forgiving me, nurturing me, molding me, and doesn’t give up on me. I am thinking that the time to be REALLY upset would be if I stop being made aware when I am in the wrong and stop making any effort to rise above myself.

  28. billystan says:

    AmazedbyHisgrace, last night you made a referral to James 4, thank you and amen. As I was going over that chapter it became to me that what is offered to us is a recipe for avoiding sin, and pleasing God. Verse 9 tells us, “Lament, and mourn, and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
    You also mentioned confession and repentance. Verse 9 speaks to both, it tells us how hard, the change that is needed, will be hard to stick to. It tells that when we have idols in our lives quite often walking away from it will take dedication, and hard work.
    For well over half of my life I was at war with God because He wanted me to quit drinking. I had an addiction that was so fully in charge of my heart, mind, and soul that it became a false god in my life. Until recently I was doing the same foolish thing with cigarettes; the only way for me to make these changes was with God’s help.
    Until I quit fighting against God I was spinning my wheels in knee deep mud. I had to have help I had to admit to myself, that on my own power change was not going to happen.
    Thanks for the recipe,
    Bill Janus

  29. SFDBWV says:

    Joy. There is one type of joy that comes from being connected to God it usually comes in very small very limited encounters and in my experience usually connected to trials either I am over my head in or ones that are coming.

    That particular style of joy meant to encourage and enable me to endure.

    When I think of every single Disciple with the exception of John, they all died violent deaths and spent the remainder of their lives in a constant struggle. There is little joy found in the struggle and trials of life if all you look for is it to end believing a better existence awaits you after death.

    However you can have joy here on earth while awaiting that final hour, but that precious gift like any other can be stolen or taken from you, if you allow it.

    Usually it is other Christians who attack your peace and joy by *straightening out your views* to align with theirs. Too often that type of Christian never has a smile on their face and wants life to be a sour apple for everyone.

    They will hand you Bible quotes and packaged answers for your views or in the midst of your suffering and feel quite lofty in doing so, most never realizing the damage they have done.

    An Irish wake is notorious for its laughter and music and yes merriment, because the deceased is free of the pain this world offered and is now finally at peace.

    Most of us here in this conversation are immersed in some form of worldly misery albeit suffering of their own maladies or suffering the maladies of another. Most of us have lived long enough to realize there is little true happiness in the world, but and it’s a very big *but* we look for reasons to smile, to laugh, to enjoy the life God has given us.

    It may be in the faces or touch from a loved one, or perhaps in friendships, maybe in the starry night or babbling brook or the little visit from the humming bird. All a gift from God, and all meant to be enjoyed.

    Look rather in the eyes of another and see the smile there shown from the window of their soul, for the inner man can smile even when the face won’t.

    Steve

  30. BruceC says:

    Steve,

    You said:

    “Usually it is other Christians who attack your peace and joy by *straightening out your views* to align with theirs. Too often that type of Christian never has a smile on their face and wants life to be a sour apple for everyone.

    They will hand you Bible quotes and packaged answers for your views or in the midst of your suffering and feel quite lofty in doing so, most never realizing the damage they have done.”

    I have personally experienced that in my walk as a Christian. In fact, I think my wife and I have the T-shirt. Reminds one of Job’s “friends”. It still to this day amazes me how flippantly some throw verses at you like you are some kind of fool “that you should know better” or you are on the same level as the basest sinner. Some even treat some of the unsaved with more kindness than the brethren. I’ve seen it.

    All have a blessed day. Freezing rain here this AM and I hope it warms. I have to get a bolt for my snow blower. Sometimes I wonder why folks design things the way they do. But then again, it’s a fallen world so why should we even wonder at all about how things go.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  31. SFDBWV says:

    Bruce I have been in maintenance my entire working life, as I am fond of saying “It is immediately obvious to the most trained of observer” that things are engineered to break down.

    It looks like the snow that all of the upper North East got was similar to what we got back in October. Wet heavy and destructive people here had no electricity for as long as 10 days and others even longer.

    As hard as it was to believe that snow was gone in a couple weeks of warm weather and rain.

    I know you have a personal unpleasant association with the Catholic Church, but I was shocked to read this morning that the Pope is resigning. I didn’t even know one could *resign*. Read where the last Pope to resign was some 900 years ago.

    It also reminded me of one of those prophesy TV programs I seen once that stated this was the very last Pope??? I wonder if that prophesy will go the way of the Mayan colander? Or is the rapture imminent?

    It was 31 degrees at bedtime last night and 40 this morning with the threat of rain today. We still have 8 inches of snow on the ground.

    Be at peace.

    Steve

  32. SFDBWV says:

    Oops that is supposed to be *Untrained* of observer…

    Oh well.

    Having a bit of trouble getting this site up as well as posting this morning.

    Steve

  33. narrowpathseeker says:

    I don’t know what the technical problem is here on this site, but it has been an ongoing thing in recent weeks. I had a very strange experience last week when I was finally able to get on..there was no log in window. I finally noticed Gary had a new post for several subjects back. I went there and was able to log in and replied to Gary. When that reply posted, Gary’s post was not there. When I posted a comment about that, when it posted, MY comment was gone!! and back and forth it went…disappearing posts…here, gone, back, gone….

    I have asked specific people here certain questions to which they never replied..I have to wonder if the posts containing those questions were even visible to those people.

  34. oneg2dblu says:

    goodmorning all… I wonder why we do not take the advice from another Christian who already supposedly shares the Lord and may want to share their understanding and scripture with us for our edification or possible misunderstanding they feel we may have being we are all not on the same level of maturity or understanding in our walk.
    Why not see it as a sincere loving concern, and not feel threatened in our position, while holding them as acting lofty?
    Perhaps it is us who do not understand them or their intentions because they have shared something we are not yet ready to accept, or change about ourselves.
    Like an unwanted wake-up call.
    Of course, if they are speaking in unscriptural or untruthful extremes, or trying to lead you away from the foundations of your faith, then wouldn’t the Lord protect us and not have to give give us labels to apply to them as our way of not accepting their message?
    Today’s Discover the Word, covered something similar where a person left an organization because of doctrinal differences, and could have bad-moothed, or labeled them as being wrong, or lofty, for his own revenge but instead he only spoke well of them, thinking that is what Christ would want us to do, and he even went as far as supporting them when he could have easliy just walked awsy, feeling they deserved it.
    Instead, he found healing in his Christ honoring actions instead of returning worldly harsh words or labels.
    Just a thought…Gary

  35. dja says:

    I’ve so appreciated reading this morning all the entries on “Where’s the Smile?” I have been pretty sick for the last few days, so I haven’t kept up with the reading. Steve, your writings are such an encouragement. Your remembrances of funerals brought back a particular wake I attended, and it made me smile and laugh all over again about something my Dad said over 45 years ago.

    I read something awhile ago. I can’t remember where I read it. It may have been written here, in a devotional or something one of my friends wrote on Facebook. I read a short piece that said, “comparison robs us of joy”. It really made me think, because so often I get down when I compare what I have, am doing,my trials, etc., etc. with others I know. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s conviction and encouragement and the contentment He gives which is joy! What a Father we have!!

    So thankful Pooh is home. I have been and continue to pray for her as well as others here.

    Icy this morning. My dear husband fell on the ice, but thankfully, he is okay. In fact, he got up and started putting ashes out for our neighbor so he wouldn’t fall. It is starting to melt now, and, I with others am looking forward to spring:-)

    Have a blessed day!
    ~Della

  36. Rocky says:

    What are we to make of joyless religion or faith?

    For one no one is really talking about it, kind of like the elephant in the living room.

    The Bible says that Jesus went to His own, & His own received Him not. Was He sadden by that, or was He joyful as a result?

    I believe the Word, I work hard & intentionally at living by Biblical principles and values, but it appears that when I learn something new that is not being taught in church, and I ask questions, I seem to push people away by my curiosity, causing a loneliness that I never knew existed.

    Yet, I believe that obedience is better than sacrifice, but in all honesty sometimes my loneliness overpowers my joy.

    I know the truth, I know that I can only change my self, I know that I should always have my armour on and secured, yet I’m sadden more when those close to me reject and shun the truth and joy that I have found and desire to share with them.

    Rocky

  37. poohpity says:

    My joy and rejoicing is not saying that I am able to find joy in my suffering, pain and trials because I do not. I can honestly share with God the groaning of my heart and the joy is found in knowing that He is there to listen, to understand because He has experienced suffering the smile comes because I can talk to God. The God of all creations cares enough to listen to me. That should bring joy and a smile to anyone’s face.

    Thank you for your prayers. The hospital stay was like the twilight zone on steroids and the pain is more than I can tolerate so I am unable to sit at the computer very much but knowing that you were thinking of me has brought a very big smile to my face and warmth to my heart. I now understand fully no pain no gain as I go through therapy that pushes beyond reason sometimes.

    When I try and put human reasoning on anything from God especially His love I have already limited something that has no limits. When I am asked to love others the way God loved me, to me means to show everyone grace like I have been shown. Only God can see into a heart and my heart has so many areas that still need work for be it from me to judge the heart of another. God has all in His hands so trusting Him to clean up that which displeases Him in my heart keeps me from looking at the heart of others. God loves those who are so unlovely and that is me without the covering of the Lamb and God loved us enough to send His son for all mankind. Talk about not paying attention to circumstances but the Love shown by God to us would bring a smile to anyone’s face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace (sounds like a song, lol).

  38. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, welcome home..I’m so sorry that you are experiencing so much pain, but glad to see you back.

  39. phpatato says:

    Welcome back Deb! I am praying that you have a full and speedy recovery! Keep at the physio. I dear friend told me it’s painful but so worth it in the end. Take one day at a time knowing that each day you are one day closer to being pain-free and mobile.

    (((hugs)))

    Pat

  40. oneg2dblu says:

    Hi pooh… glad you still have your voice. It is a welcome and very missed sound.
    I liked your description of twilight zone on steriods. The meds can bring a whole new perspective on life, one you wish to get over verey quickly. I remember telling my doctor after a surgery a few years ago that the only thoughts I had on that medication were very bad ones. Halucinations galore in full color with the volume turned way up! What a trip… to a place I do not want to ever revisit.
    I told him I hope I never have to take Darvocet again.
    Gary

  41. BruceC says:

    Glad to see you back Deb! The Lord be praised.

    Gay,

    I hear what you say; but many times the “help” you speak of is given in an unkind, put-down sort of way. And it is very easy to see the difference. I recall those who were truly interested in someone’s welfare and those who thought they knew it all. Amongst those were the “God told me to tell you “type.

    Steve,

    I read that also about the pope. I also recall something I read about a bishop from the RC church and his prophecies concerning the popes. I did a Google on it(not that Google searches are the standard of truth) and found that according to him the next pope will be the evil one he spoke of. According to the site he was correct on all his predictions concerning the men who held that office. Makes for interesting reading anyway.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  42. BruceC says:

    Sorry for the typo. It’s Gary. Again sorry.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  43. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Pooh! Feeling your smile through the pain. Blessings on your healing journey — and your courage. Hoping for swift healing and lessening pain real soon.

    Happy you are home again.

    Maru

  44. poohpity says:

    Gary, had nothing to do with medication the twilight zone had to do with the horrible care I received.

  45. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… sorry you did not receive the best of care.
    Thoughts of any bad care never came into my mind.
    I only shared my Twilight Zone on steriods, because to me steriods are drugs, and my bad experience was brought on by them.

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    BruceC… no problem.

    Many times when I sign a receipt or something too quickly my signature looks like it says the word Gay, instead of Gary.

    Typos can sometimes foster great amusement! :)

    I know the things I bring into the conversation are very convicting to some, and will bring out the worst in them.

    That part I cannot control and sometimes doggedly feed at times myself, to make the conviction even more revealing.

    Carrying the load the extra mile if you will, My Cross!

    I am not however immune to having my humanity challenged either.

    I did try to offer some form of reconcilliation to those I’ve offened by explaining the “intent of my heart,” which may not be so apparent in the use of my words, but I speek to only about the docrtinal truth about the consecquences of our human behavior as defined by Paul who also was speeking to the clearly saved, those churched who had already received his message on salvation and embraced it.

    That is exactly where the OSAS proponents, will reject me, and reject his message as well, and then have the most heated of disputes.

    Go figure!

    Christ and Paul were both concerned about our sinfilled ongoing choices, and disobedient behaviors.

    So, I’ll even use their very words through supporting scripture, but after setting off someone’s ire, they no longer are open to any rational discussion, and start throwing around their demeaning labels instead.

    Others, who do not identify my use of words as being a personal attack on them or on their belief system, or do not register any conviction within them just because I use stern warnings along with scriptural backing which is clearly another possibility to some, but not to them.

    Thus, our humanity once offended then becomes a quickly uncontrolled tongue.

    It always seems to present itself in the same way,
    always the killing of the messenger, if one does not like the message.

    I wonder why that is?

    “Crucify Him.” becomes the new call of the masses, who many times are really led by their own selfish desires, “free Barnabus.”

    Some will wash their hands of any fault finding and find no need to crucify, and others will lead the charge with their attempt of uncovering of every assumed faulted word, whether backed by any truth or scripture.

    Mart on the other hand, for the purpose of full discussion, will many times allow both sides to be vented, and allows the heated opiions to have their moment.

    Usually the heated part disipates as the Holy Spirit comes into play, and things will cool off!

    However, he does step in when things need further clarification, seem to miss the mark he has presented, or needs a new direction.

    All those are waranted, but none are meant to stifle the scrpitures self-revealing truth.

    For the sake of all the others here I now concede the issue at hand, which is out of hand, and not further the efforts of discord.

    Although, some apparently have no interest in asking for any of those verses I have freely offered, but would rather pick apart, or add to my every thought, or opinion.

    The greater spirit in me, the Holy Spirit, will not sllow me to answer any more opinionated demands right now, although my flesh is ready, willing, and able.

    I still choose, with my free will well in tact, to concede.

    Gary

  47. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    Oneg2, Narrow, Billy, thank you for taking time to state how the Lord blessed you through what He blessed me to write.
    Oneg2, I suspect one reason we don’t take advice from other Christians is because some times we are caught in the sticky web of sin and don’t want another Christian around less hear advice. If not, sometimes we tend to be jealous that the Lord gave them attention, therefore a wall goes up. Lastly, I believe personally seeking God and His answers is a far better route. Perhaps this is why He sets the lonely in families? I don’t think He’s talking as a group here, I think He’s talking individually in a family. (Psalm 68)Look what happens to the rebellious and watch your step!
    Bruce, we are given signs for the end of times, so who’s to say there wasn’t a prophetic message pointing to a church member? It is God’s love for us all to be saved and in this fast paced world. Sadly, I believe it may take extreme hardship to get people’s attention.
    I find it interesting that this is the Chinese year of the snake. Did we come full circle?

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