Let’s be Hilarious!

Today I would like to make a case for humor.

Have you ever met someone with no sense of humor? You know the type – those who find it difficult to laugh at themselves, at life, or at circumstances. I feel sorry for those people, for there are so many times in life when nothing helps quite like discovering the funny side of things.

There is nothing as infectious as the laughter of a child. The pure innocence of it! their laughter is not caused by innuendos or suggestions of vulgarity, but by their simple delight. How refreshing it is!

Photo: "Laughter" by Pete Stacey

Photo: “Laughter” by Pete Stacey

Jesus stated we must become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Could there be anything in his statement that has to do with the things that make us laugh? I wonder.

Some people laugh at other’s misfortunes; some at ethnic jokes; others over risque areas of life. It seems our society has lost its innocence. We are becoming a fierce people and our humor, vividly expressed in the media, graphically reflects the change. Gloom and sadness are prevalent.

But there is a special blessing in being around Christians who can find humor in the ordinary things of life. These believers follow the apostle Paul’s suggestion to think on the things that are of “good report.”

The scriptures never record Jesus laughing, yet they do inform us that little children loved Him and were drawn to Him. Our Lord must have had a quiet, pleasant, smiling demeanor. Jesus even said He came that our joy might be full. The Bible talks a lot about joy, and I have never seen it without a smile or a pleasant face, have you?

Nehemiah wrote, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Wouldn’t the opposite of that be, “A gloomy countenance (disposition) will rob you of strength?”

We are even told to be “hilarious” in our giving (2 Corinthians 9:7) Have you lost the joy of giving? It could be a key to gloominess in your life.

I AM NOT making a case for silliness. I AM making a case for joy and good laughter. Joy ought to bubble from our innermost beings like rivers of living water. As the surroundings become darker, let our hearts become arenas of light and joy, always looking for the blessed hope, the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Allow me to share this prayer with you:

The Lord bless you.

May you carry the glow of His presence with you. May He meet every need in your life. May He richly provide you with the abundance of his blessings.

May the Holy Spirit who comes alongside you be your Helper, and minister to you the things that are of God, for those things will not ever pass away.

May you walk in glorious victory. May there not be a day when you say, “It’s dark today,” but may there always be the light of Christ shining in and through you, brightening the lives of others.

AMEN!

(This post by Gladys was originally published in Foursquare Advance magazine, June, 1989)

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IT IS ENOUGH

We have written much about our Mom and Grandmother Johnson lately. Obviously she had a good influence on us all the days of her life.  During the last couple years of her illness Mom shared with me often about waking up in the morning with a Christian song in her mind and heart.  Many times we would sing it together; sometimes it was such an old one from her childhood that I did not know it.  She even wrote those hymns or choruses down each day.  I am blessed with the gift of music in my head like Mom and her sister, Norma, sometimes so much that it is there in the middle of the night!

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There is a hymn we sang at church that has stayed with me the last two weeks.  One phrase in particular repeats over and over in my head…”It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.”

I know that those of you who are much younger than I, or that have not grown up in a church that sings the old hymns could not possibly know this song.  The new songs are great and I have them in my head and heart too, but most of the old hymns have so much good doctrine in the words that I am sorry you may be missing out on them!

Anyway, the point is today that we all go through difficult times.  Life is hard.  God did not promise life on this sinful earth would be easy.  God did promise that He would guide and direct us “through it all” (another great song by Andre Crouch). The point is that no matter what – it is enough, it is enough that Jesus, my Savior died for my sins, and that He lives and is preparing an eternal home for me.  How awesome and humbling is that?  No one, or no circumstance can take that away from me!!!

If you do not know Him and the power of His resurrection, I pray that as you read this you will ask Him to be your Savior.  It is so easy!  Our human minds try to figure out God, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  Don’t go there, it’s not possible!  Just accept that it is enough that Jesus died for you.

     MY FAITH HAS FOUND A RESTING PLACE

1/ My faith has found a resting place, not in device nor creed; I trust the Everlasting One, His wounds for me shall plead.  

2/ Enough for me that Jesus saves, this ends my fear and doubt; A sinful soul, I come to Him, He’ll never cast me out. 

3/ My heart is leaning on the Word, the written Word of God; Salvation by my Savior’s name, salvation thru His blood.

4/ My great Physician heals the sick, the lost He came to save; For me His precious blood He shed, for me His life He gave.

 Chorus/ I need no other argument, I need no other plea; It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.

Words: Lidie H Edmonds,  1891     Music: Norwegian Folk melody, 1891

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BLESS YOU in the New Year

Gladys wrote this blessing in 1987. It seems appropriate to share it now as we start another New Year. May you be blessed with health, prosperity, and amazing new adventures in your faith in 2014. Absorb it. Read it over and over again. Claim it.

“May the Lord bless you. May you carry the glow of his presence with you. May he meet every need in your life. May he provide you richly with the abundance of his blessings.

May the Holy Spirit be your helper, who comes alongside of you and ministers to you the things that are of God, for those things do not ever pass away.

May you walk in glorious victory, and may there not be those days when you say, “It’s dark today”… But may there always be the light of Christ shining in you and through you.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Gladys College Grad

Gladys as a college graduate in times when being a wife and mom with no college education or career was the standard. She did it all, plus pastoring, missionary trips, counseling, being a great friend and changing countless lives. You, too, can be this kind of a person. May you ask God for more than you think possible and exceed all your expectations for 2014.

Ephesians 3:16-21
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

 

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PURE JOY!!!

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3

One evening last May, my little godson Matthew called me to ask if he could have his 6th birthday party at my house – a dance party! You see, I am an “auntie” to a lot of my friends’ kids since I don’t have any of my own. All of them like to visit Auntie Kristin’s house because I have a cool basement filled with disco lights, electronic drums, bongo drums, games and DJ equipment with big speakers – and my buddy Matt is no exception.

Well, of course I said yes, and told Matt that we could plan a disco dance party at my house and he could invite all his friends. He started designing invitations that day. The funny thing was, he had over 5 months to wait until his birthday in October! This fact did not dampen his excitement, so the countdown began.

FINALLY, the day of the party arrived! I had spent many, many hours planning and preparing my house for a flock of tiny people to come have fun and go crazy! I was so excited and proud of what Matt’s Mom and I had done to prepare. I couldn’t wait for Matt to arrive and see what I had created JUST FOR HIM! I did all of it just because I love him so much and wanted to see him enjoy his big day with his friends!

Matt’s family arrived early before the guests. I was outside in the back yard setting up tables and chairs. Once the car parked I assumed Matt would see that I was in the back and that he would come straight to me. However, he hopped out and ran to the front door, which I had left unlocked. I quickly went back into the basement hoping to meet him when he came down the stairs to the party room.

As soon as I got inside, Matt burst through the other door and there we were, just the two of us. I already had all the lights on and some music playing. The disco ball was spinning, and birthday decorations were everywhere!

He looked around and took it all in, then he began hopping and clapping and squealing with glee! He ran to me and jumped into my arms, bear-hugging me and whispering, “THANK YOU AUNT KRISTIN” in my ear.

It was a special, intimate moment I will never forget. The pure joy and gratitude of a 6-year-old boy who knew I loved him so much that I would go to any lengths to provide him with the birthday party of his dreams.

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Isn’t this how we should be every day when we see what our Father God has created for our pure enjoyment?

God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die and give us life. And beyond that, look at the beautiful earth He created for us to inhabit! We tend to get complacent about the everyday – a shining warm sun, green trees, flowers, lakes and streams, animals, food and clean water, family, a job – the air we breathe and a beating heart every morning we wake up.

Webster’s defines Joy as: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; delight; the expression or exhibition of such emotion; bliss; enjoyment.

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Take a look around today, soak it all in, and JUMP FOR JOY into your Heavenly Father’s arms, expressing your deep gratitude for His gifts to you. He not only provides enjoyment for you on this earth, but He has also prepared for you a boundless eternal home as well. His love for you is overwhelming, unconditional and limitless! Unbridled joy and gratitude is appropriate!

1 Corinthians 2:9 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

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The Lord Will Provide

MEMORIES…they can be hurtful or delightful. As I get older, my mind is often filled with memories of the past.

I was a depression kid. My father, a farmer turned city boy, worked for small wages that were never enough to pay the bills and feed his growing family of 6 kids. But never despairing, I can hear him sing, “I’m a child of the King, A child of the King. With Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King….”

My Mother, too, was not one to let her circumstances control her. I fondly remember an event that happened in my early school years:

We always came home from school for lunch. One day when we got home, Mom seemed to have nothing to feed us. She sat us down at the table, with nothing before us. Just then, we heard a knock at the door. We children sat still, while our Mother went to the door. There stood a man with a large loaf of bakery bread in his hands. He represented a new bakery in the community, and was handing out FREE samples!

bread

My Mother came back to us, her face beaming. Holding aloft the bread, she said, “The Lord will provide.”

Memories – make good ones, for your family will recall them.

Gladys wrote this and shared it with her granddaughter Kristin on July 8, 2003. What a wonderful example of how our Lord, Jehovah Jireh, always provides for us. At this time of the year, Christmas, that has become so commercialized and tempts us to want “things” we don’t need, let us remember how God cares for our daily needs and that His supply is never short. Remember also, to share with others as God spurs you on to do so. He provides for us through each other time and time again.

1 Timothy 6:17-19
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” NIV

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Every Leaf is a Blessing

I just spent a weekend with my friend Natalie, about 70 miles from my house. As I left that Sunday morning I told her I’d let her know when I made it home safely and that I had to do hours worth of yard work as I was severely behind on my fallen-leaf management. UGH.

I arrived back home and sent her a text that I had made it and thanked her for her hospitality and a fun weekend.

Her reply text said, “Awesome, glad you made it safe. Have a great day, enjoy every leaf, it’s a blessing!” 

I sort of laughed sarcastically as I read it and got geared up to work outside for dreadful hours on end.

I live in North Carolina, a deciduous forest. (Deciduous: the dropping of a part that is no longer needed, or falling away after its purpose is finished. In plants it is the result of natural processes.) As you can imagine, this means autumn is a gorgeous time of red, yellow and orange leaves that eventually translates to untold numbers of leaves on the ground and bare branches through the winter. I used to get all bent out of shape if I didn’t get all my leaves cleaned up out of the yard and put in bags by the street for the City to pick up. After years of this, I finally settled down and stopped worrying so much about it. After all, the leaves disintegrate and go back into the earth from whence they came, giving more nutrients to the soil. Why not leave some of them? Why not mulch most of them and let nature take its course? Why do people get so obsessed with “cleaning them up” and resenting every minute of it?

As I worked hard at mulching, raking and bagging leaves, I could not stop pondering what Natalie had said. “Enjoy every leaf, it’s a blessing!” I began to really think of them that way. On my own property there are millions of leaves. Translate that into blessings from God. WOW! His love for us is overwhelming!

There are leaves of different sizes and shapes and colors. Every single one is different from every other. Some are perfect in shape, some are cute, some have already begun to break down and are ugly. But when they all return to the soil, fertilizing it, they all create nutrition and give life to the grass, trees and plants they feed.

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Isn’t this the same with each blessing we receive every single day? Every breath is a blessing. Every moment shared with a loved one. Food, clean water, shelter, family, friends, pets, jobs, opportunities to serve others. Some blessings don’t look like blessings at first glance. They may be ugly and painful as we deal with them, but they still end up feeding our soil (soul) and we grow because of them.

Suddenly I experienced such joy raking and mulching the thousands and thousands of leaves in my yard as I thought of each of them representing a blessing in my own life. Some are ground up and return back into my own soul to help it grow, and some are bagged up and put up at the street as if I am giving them away. If you look, you will see an over-abundance of blessings in your own life, even amidst your most painful struggles. Some are to be absorbed and enjoyed, and others are to be passed on to bless another life.

I will never look at leaves the same again – they will always remind me to be thankful to God for the unlimited supply of blessing that He has given me, and remind me to give as He unfailingly gives to me.

As we approach Thanksgiving, be sure to notice just how blessed you are and how you can speak life and blessing into the lives of the ones you love. Every moment is a gift. Every leaf is a blessing.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

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