Tag Archives: joy

I’ve Got the Joy!


Some cousinly joy


Remember the song called “Joy In My Heart”?

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…”

What has brought you joy lately?

There are plenty of things that have splashed pain and suffering, caused disillusionment and disappointment, spurred anger or brought on bewilderment, horror and grief. Hurricanes, earthquakes, threats of war and more war, heartaches, surgeries, accidents, deaths….

But stop right now and consider what has caused you joy.

Here are a “couple” of joy moments I’ve experienced lately.

Six-year-old Charli, my granddaughter’s daughter, asked Jesus to be her Savior a few weeks ago. I was privileged to be the one to talk to her and pray with her the night she announced she wanted to give her heart to Jesus. We all rejoiced with her and her big sister the day they were baptized. Last Sunday was her first opportunity to participate in taking the elements as our church gathered for what we call “The Lord’s Supper.” Charli sat beside me and I explained to her the meaning of this symbolic meal and manners for same, stressing that it is a time to remember what Jesus did for us. It was a joy to receive unleavened bread and grape juice with this little girl for her very first time. She was filled with awe and was very careful to hold her tiny glass steady until the very right moment to drink.

Another joyful moment occurred this week when I made my weekly visit to a nearby assisted living facility. We talked about fears. We all have them, some worse than others. Following our discussion about how we need so much to trust in Jesus when we are afraid, we sang “He Keeps Me Singing.” These folks usually enjoy the singing but not all of them open their mouths and actually sing. That day everyone, even Jack, sang the words: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know. Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.” Some of their voices were weak and quavery, but their faces were full of light.

One morning recently Charles called me to see something out the breakfast room window. I didn’t get there in time. He described the bird, said it had been swinging on the hummingbird feeder. A few minutes later I saw the bird myself, and incredibly beautiful black headed bird with orange breast, similar to an orchard oriole or a black headed grosbeak but not matching either one. The sight of that beautiful bird brought me joy as did the sharing of that special moment with my soulmate.

The phone rang. My friend had called to tell me our mutual friend’s son had just died in Washington State. As Sue and I prayed and cried together, the word joy didn’t come to mind. But later, as I thought about the sorrow we shared, I realized what a joyful thing it is to have a Savior Who understands our deepest griefs–and to have human friends, too, with whom to cry.

I turned 75 last Sunday. I have received such thoughtful gifts, cards, phone calls, and Facebook messages. What a joy to have dear caring friends and family! Charles even took me on a jaunt to the sea coast which brought us both joy, mystery, and adventure. More about that another time.

What has been your most recent moment of joy? Think about it.

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10d

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Keep Your Bell Ringing

Imagine you have a bell in your hand and that when it rings it gives out the most beautiful silvery tone. Can you hear it? It might sound like bells ringing across water assuring everyone that all is at peace. It might be a joyful ringing announcing good news. It could be even a warning bell alerting everyone to take precautions and be safe.

Now imagine that your enemy doesn’t want your bell to be heard. Your enemy, in this case, is Satan. He doesn’t want that bell to ring at all and he’s going to do all he can to keep it from ringing. If he can just fill your bell up with balls of cotton it won’t ring any longer.

Here are some of the “balls” of cotton Satan will try to insert in your bell so that the ringer won’t hit the side and make that beautiful silvery sound:

If Satan can just kill your joy that will be a silencer in your bell. Joy in your Saviour, in life eternal, in the beauty of God’s good earth, all joy is taboo with Satan. He can’t stand joy. And the way he kills your joy is to make you feel guilty or doubt your salvation or for some reason stop trusting Jesus. If he can kill your joy your bell will not ring as clearly any longer.

Another “ball” to dull the clear sound of your bell would be to make you yield to temptation. There’s no way any Christian can avoid yielding to temptation without the help of Jesus. So Satan tries to get us to yield and then feel so guilty we end up yielding again. Result: a dull sounding bell.

If he can’t get your bell stopped by killing your joy or making you yield to temptation he will try other means of taking away your faith. In a crisis he will whisper in your ear and tell you the pain and heartache you’re experiencing came straight from God and you need to just turn your back on Him. And when you listen to Satan your bell goes duller still.

If Satan can keep plugging in balls of cotton such as making you ignore danger signals, taking away your peace, destroying the wonderful fruit God wants you to produce, he will be triumphant. Your bell will go silent so that no one around you will be able to hear the music God intended you to make. You will still be safe for eternity because when you become God’s child, no one can snatch you away. But your bell will be silent.

But wait! There’s a “recipe” for keeping your bell ringing clear and bright, sounding joyfully from hill to hill, and making a difference for those who are hopelessly lost.

Put on the whole armor of God as spelled out in Ephesians 6:10-18. Putting on His armor will make us able to stand against anything Satan throws at us. He won’t have a chance to plug in those cotton balls!

What does the armor include?

First of all, the belt of truth. (v. 14) Snug that belt around your waist (or loins) and breathe deeply of God’s own truth. Know that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Next, put the breastplate of righteousness (v. 14)in place. Listen to the Lord’s commands, both in scripture and from the Holy Spirit, and obey. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)

Then put on your gospel shoes (v.15), have your feet fitted with preparation which comes from the gospel of peace. When you start on any journey, you select carefully your shoes, don’t you? If you’re hiking, you want the very best sturdy hiking shoes or boots, if you’re going to a tea you want appropriate beautiful shoes. So if you’re starting on a day when you may be battling Satan, be sure to be prepared. Wear those gospel shoes which are put together with peace so that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

In addition to the above, pick up the shield of faith. The shield of faith will keep you safe from the fiery darts Satan wants to hurl at you. How else but with faith can you keep him from silencing your bell? The breastplate of righteousness may seem like enough, but you need the shield of faith also. If you lose all the other pieces of your armor, hang onto that! “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Your hat is usually the last thing you put on. But that doesn’t mean it’s less important. If you don’t have the helmet of salvation none of the rest of your armor is any good. You must have consciously repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your Saviour. Jesus never forces His way in so you have to invite Him! So now, remembering the time you said, “Lord, I want to follow You,” you place that helmet firmly on your head and prepare to go out into the world.

But wait! There’s one more piece, an oh-so-important piece: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Entering spiritual warfare without our Bibles (actually in our hands ready to read or memorized in our hearts) would be like handing Satan a whole bag of cotton balls and our saying “Have at it!” We are under the command of Lord God Almighty. We have to know His words! We have to stay in touch both by His word and through prayer.

What can God do with one little silver bell? You will be amazed!

So go, ring your bell!  Let the whole world know that Jesus Christ is Lord.

(I wrote the above after hearing Brother Carl Harrell preach so effectively at First Baptist Church, Cairo last Sunday on putting on God’s armor– and then hearing the Sons of Jubal sing, ring bells, and play instruments to the glory of God on Thursday night at First Baptist Church, Thomasville.)



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Christmas Bells

Edgar Allen Poe wrote about bells. He wrote about silver bells, wedding bells, alarm bells, and frightful knelling bells of funerals and other solemn, terrible times. Think about all the kinds of bells there are–sleigh bells, elevator bells, door bells, victory bells–so many, many bells. I’ve never ridden in a sleigh. I think it would be such fun. We do have a door bell. When it rings we know that either a stranger has come or the children are playing. An elderly friend has told us about when he was a little boy and lived in this very old log house where we now live. He remembers standing at a northern window and listening to the ringing of the courthouse bells at the end of World War I. What an awesome memory!

But I’m here to remind us of Joy Bells. They’re little knitted Christmas bells so fun to hang on your Christmas tree, wear on your sweater or coat, or to decorate a package, or simply give as a gift. They remind me of the joy God gave us when He sent Jesus, His Son as a tiny helpless Babe to grow to manhood and die to save us from our sins. “God loved us and sent His Son.” (I John 4:10) KJV)

I first learned to make little knitted bells from a very talented, dear lady in our church named Emogene Harrison. It was about 1975 and she, along with some helpers, made bells enough that every participant who came to the international missions prayer meetings received one. The directions were printed in our mission magazine. Ever since I’ve enjoyed making these little bells and giving them away. I’d like to pass along this fun little pattern to all of you who knit. If you don’t knit, you can buy a beginners’ kit from Joanne’s, knit shops, even some Wal Mart stores. It may take a while to make your first one but when you get the hang of it you can make one in minutes. Have fun, God bless, and spread the joy!

Joy Bells

Materials you will need: size 5 knitting needles, red (3 or 4 ply) yarn, a yarn needle (needs to have a very large eye for threading with yarn), a pair of scissors, and a  little jingle bell (such as you might put on children’s shoe laces) for each bell you want to make.

cast on sixteen (16) stitches

Knit four rows

Fifth row: purl

sixth row: knit

Continue in purl/knit (known as straight stitch) for nine rows.

Tenth row: knit two stitches at once all the way across.

Eleventh row: Purl

Cut off yarn about fifteen inches from your bell. Thread end of yarn through your yarn needle. Run your yarn needle through your remaining eight stitches and draw up tightly. Fold bell inside out and sew side seam. Run your yarn up through the seam to top of bell. Attach jingle bell to this strand of yarn. You may have to thread it through the bell opening by hand as your yarn needle may be too big for the bell. With yarn through yarn needle pull thread up through top of bell which you’ve now turned right side out. Make a loop if you want to use it for a Christmas tree ornament. Thread an extra eight inch strand of yarn through the top of the bell making it even on both sides. Tie into a bow. The bell naturally lends itself to having the bottom turned up and your jingle bell should barely show at the rim. Merry ringing of the Joy Bells!!!!!

Questions? Let me hear from you!

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