Monday, September 24, 2012

Choosing Joy

Lately I've been posting oodles of my younger boys' funny antics and expressions on Facebook. It seems hardly a day passes without true belly laughs over something they say or do.

While visiting with my siblings and parents this weekend one of my sisters asked if we were so funny as kids. My dad thought a bit and said, "Oh yeah, you were pretty funny."

But, time passes and you forget.

Life gets serious. Sorrows multiply. Important matters surface. Smiles get scarce.

Well, not all smiles disappear. Most adults are pretty good at the artificial "so good to see you" smiles that greet us everywhere from Walmart to the church lobby.

A child can remind you how to genuinely laugh. Set aside the cares of the world and giggle a bit.

My precious Eli smiles with his whole face until his eyes turn into half moons and you can't help but smile along even if the source of his mirth makes no sense to anyone over 3.

Even when the adult in me can think of nothing humorous about the day, they choose joy and fill our house with its echos.

I have the choice of where to put my focus each day, and gratefully I have a 2 year old theologian that reminds me often of my God that kept his eyes on the joy even in the midst of incredible heartache.

Choosing joy, again today. How could I refuse those eyes anyway?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Verse of the week -- Romans 12:21

Evil lurks for an opportunity. Throughout history people have made the wrong choice and have lingered too closely instead of running away.

God himself gave the first warning. Cain should have known better. I would imagine his parents told of their own linger too long experience. When God saw the anger and jealousy creeping in He said, "If you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."

Instead, he gave in. He was swallowed up by his self-centerdness. He wouldn't be the last.

Israel grumbled and wandered til they died.

Samson also fell.

Judas didn't let himself live long enough to tell his story.

Solomon married into it (again and again and again).

Book after book warn of the extreme danger of dancing with temptation.

History books verify the risk.

Book after book encourage the pilgrim to embrace the good. Psalm 1, Genesis 4, Romans 12, and on and on it goes.

One of the joys of reading the Scripture multiple times throughout the day and drinking from it through various vessels is the stunning themes that explode from its pages despite the different authors, different millennia, and different subjects.

Romans 12:21 wraps it up well, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Cain, Samson, Judas, Solomon, and many more let the evil overcome them.

How can I have a different outcome?

Certainly not in my own strength. Rather, I prayerfully continue to walk in His.
Today I walk with an extra dose of caution, remembering all those that fell and how I am no better than they.

Evil continues to hover. Sometimes I feel the breath of it threatening to overwhelm, the stench of it seeking to overpower, the claws of it fighting for a foothold. Yet, God has given me a way of escape, a promise always offered.

Instead of lingering, we march on surrounded by a great cloud of others who have done the same.

Choosing today to walk in defiance to the undeserving prince of this world and join ranks with Abel, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Daniel, Paul, Polycarp, Luther, Carey, and many more.

Are you with us?
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
~Romans 12:21~