Joy and Praise

Aug 02

This is some pretty cool scripture. I had to read it a couple of times before I could get it. But now that I get it, I understand it and like it.

Read 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

The psalmist wrote, “I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”

-Psalm 9:2 (NRSV)

DURING life, there are times when dark clouds crowd in, times when we don’t know what to do. God seems to have vanished completely. During one such time in my life, I decided that I needed to get away to think; so I left on a trip to explore Hokkaido by bicycle. As I pedaled the snowy mountain road, the cold wind pierced my skin and numbed my hands. It was quiet and still as death with no one around. “God, why?” I cried out as I rode. Exhausted, unable to pedal further, I walked and pushed my bicycle. I was feeling miserable and beaten.

Then, not knowing what else to do and with as much voice as I had, I praised the Lord. As I did, my eyes were opened to see what the Lord had done for me. And when I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “My grace is sufficient for you,” I felt as though the fog around my heart had suddenly cleared away. At that moment, I was given the sense that things had been settled, that it was time to go home. The struggle of four weeks had ended. I had come to see that offering up praise is our strength. When we don’t know what to do, we can praise. In the same way as in my life, God will give you strength and lead you to a solution.

Nose Makoto (Tokyo, Japan)

Lord, in those times when we don’t know which way to turn, teach us to praise you. Amen.

Thought For The Day
When you don’t know what to do, pause and offer praise to God.

Prayer Focus
Someone feeling defeated

What a Great Story.

Aug 02

I know that it is long but it is well worth the reading…enjoy.

The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five.

Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle
of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

“Oh mommy please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?”

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then
looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned

“A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them,
I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save
enough money to buy them for yourself.

Your birthday’s only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar
bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out
pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she
went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick
for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar
bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up.

She wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed.

The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a
bubble bath.

Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for
bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her
story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love

“Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls.”!

“Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse
from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The
you gave me. She’s my very favorite.”

“That’s okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed her
cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again,
“Do you love me?”

“Daddy, you know I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new
one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow
blanket that matches her sleeper.”

“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy! loves you.”

And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed
with her legs crossed Indian style.

As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear
rolled down her cheek.

“What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?”

Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy.

And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a
little quiver, she finally said, “Here, daddy, this is for you.”

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s daddy reached out with
one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand he
reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a
strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the
dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure. So it is,
with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap
things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures.

Isn’t God good? Are! you holding onto things that God wants
you to let go of? Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary
partners, relationships, habits and activities that you have come so
attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard
to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing .

God will never take away something without giving you something better
in its place.