Running Through Puddles

The U.K. has been having some consistently warm, and even record breaking hot weather.  Last week, after the hottest day so far this summer, we had a day of cloud and rain.  It was a welcome relief.  My dog, Jack, and I, got in the car to drive to one of our favorite walking places.  The air smelled of fresh rain, the wind picked up and suddenly a spray of mist was blowing in our faces.

I headed toward the shelter of trees, but Jack, mouth open and eyes dancing with delight, started running in large loops, expressing his joy in the weather.  Then he saw a puddle and zoomed through the middle of it.  Great streams of water shot into the air.  His wild abandon was infectious.  I pushed back my hood, stepped into the rain and began running after Jack.

It never occurred to me what we looked like; a sixty-two year old woman and her dog zooming in circles and splashing through puddles.  I only knew what I felt inside — exhilarated!  After several minutes of our sprinting and jumping, we both eased into a walk, still smiling with our water soaked hair, and lungs heaving from the adventure.

While we ploughed on in our weather joy, the verse in Psalm 16:11 sprang into my mind: “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasure of living with you forever.”  I pictured Jesus running with us.  I envisioned His own joy in our delight.  I imagined being with Him for eternity.  I can only imagine now, but the reality is not far away when the children of God will be running and jumping and praising and living in perfect joy in a place where there are no more tears — forever!

I hope every person reading this is one of God’s own.  If not, remember His promise in Romans 10:13, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  This is the most wonderful promise ever, allowing us, because of Jesus, to live in absolute jubilation for eternity.

 

A Wisdom Like No Other

We would all like to be wiser.  There are ways to gain wisdom.  Education gives knowledge, and practice of things learned brings about wisdom.  Life situations are better walked through when wisdom has been gained through experience.  The study of psychology explains emotional tools we can use to make us stronger in mind and behavior as we face the uncertainties and hard knocks of relationships with ourselves and with others.

All of the above helps us to attain knowledge that may lead to wisdom, but does it give us lasting joy, peace, meaning in life, and hope that never fades?  What is the difference between wisdom learned on earth and wisdom given by God?  Let’s take a look at Proverbs 3:13-18: “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.  For wisdom is more profitable that silver, and her wages are better than gold.  Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  She offers you a long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.  She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.  Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.”

Wisdom we gain on earth is profitable.  It will help us in difficult situations.  It will help us to be stronger in broken relationships and in dealing with circumstances that frighten us.  Learning and practicing wisdom through education and practice is not a bad thing, but it will never take us to the heights of hope and joy that the wisdom from God can take us.  You see, the wisdom of the world is incomplete.  The wisdom of the world cannot help us to understand the riches of life in the spiritual realm.

In the spiritual realm we learn to take hold of a joy that surpasses any other happiness found on earth.  In the spiritual realm we come to understand the value that God Himself places on each one of us; we know that we are precious to Him and loved beyond measure.  This love surpasses any earthly love.  (If one has not experienced the personal love of God, the above will make no sense, because spiritual wisdom can only be gained by those who know Jesus Christ personally.)  Spiritual wisdom gives us insight to life after death; the light that those in Christ will live in for eternity, and the darkness that those who reject Christ will live in, also for eternity.  Do you see the explanation of the above scripture in Proverbs 3:18 ; “…wisdom is a tree of life…”  

There are many ways to gain wisdom to help us educationally and relationally on this earth, but there is only one way to gain the wisdom of God that will let us soar the heights of splendor, dive deep into pure love, and embrace hope for an amazing, eternal future.

Such wisdom is available to anyone who reaches out to take this gift from God; given through receiving His Son Jesus, believing He died and rose again, conquering death, forgiving all sin, granting eternal life with Him.  This wisdom is literally from out of this world.

Happiness Barometer

We all respond with happiness when certain things happen.  For some it’s bumping unexpectedly into a friend whom we haven’t seen for awhile.  For others it might be receiving a simple gesture of kindness, like an invitation to come for coffee, a box of candy, or just a day out browsing the stores with friends, or taking a walk in the countryside.

For me, it’s spontaneous responses from my canine friends.  For example, just this morning I was taking a friend’s dogs to the park to play ball.  One dog was in the backseat while the other one was in the passenger seat next to me.  As we were riding along, I suddenly felt the lightness of the front seat dog as she slipped onto my lap and lay there until we reached our destination.  I had lay my hand on her.  When we came to a stop I glanced down to find her staring up at me with a look of what I define as sweet adoration.  My heart soared.  “I love you, too, Tilly,” I said while sticking my other arm to the back, feeling for the other dog.  “I love you, too, Poppy,” who licked my hand as she began to prance about in anticipation of the ball game to come.

That happiness of this morning has lasted even until now as I sit typing out the story.  That’s when the reminder came to me about how I respond to my Heavenly Father.   If I get all glowing and overcome with tenderness in response to a dog’s love, how much more must my Father be glowing when I crawl into His lap of love, just because I want to, and let Him know that I love Him.

Have you ever wondered why we are instructed to give praise to God?  Is it because of some ego trip of God to be so adored?  Of course not; it’s for our need, as much as for His delight.  When we take time to enter into His presence with praises and words of love and appreciation, it strengthens our own resolve, puts our thoughts and understanding into proper perspective, and fills us with peace and joy that is so vast it cannot be measured.  Praising God is an absolute delight to Him, but it is a tremendous joy builder for us, too.

When we praise Him when we are sad, downcast spirits are lifted.  When we praise Him when we are glad, our joy buckets are so filled they overflow into that “peace that passes understanding.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Just as I adored those little dogs showing affection to me, our Father cherishes our love shown to Him, but the joy He receives is bounced right back to us to overflowing.  Taking time to praise our Heavenly Father is always a peace and joy builder; always, without exception.

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done.  I will be filled with Joy because of You.  I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.”  Psalm 9:1-2