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

Yum Yum, Garbage!

The title may have led many of you to rightly know that this is a story about our dog, Jack.  I love this adolescent, sweet, lovable, crazy, energized dog — even when he eats garbage, but oh! how I wish he would end this curiosity!  Whenever we go for our walks, I have to be on my guard, watching every sniff to try and pull him away just before he devours something disgustingly gross!  Garbage!

At home he has clean food bowls filled with good food with proper nutrients.  Even his snacks are healthy.  (Never rawhide!!) His water bowl is kept clean with fresh water throughout the day.  His blankets are washed each week.  He is groomed and bathed.  I even brush his teeth!  In other words — he is clean and eats clean — so why on earth is he drawn to garbage!!!!!

As I look at my dear, crazy, Jack, I love him.  How thankful I am that our heavenly Father loves us, too; even when in the midst of all He provides, at times, we too, choose garbage.  The world is filled with the garbage of temptations that will entice us away from what is holy and good for us.  We look, consider, and like a dog, we sniff and grab a chunk!  Gross!  Nothing this world has to offer can ever come close to the wholesome and delicious food our Father has to feed us.  Still, we take the time to yield to the temptation.  We devour what is not good for us.

Jack often vomits after his frenzy of garbage tasting.  He is then lethargic.  All is not well with him.  It’s the same with us when we succumb to eating garbage.  We lose peace because guilt sets in.  We then lose joy because guilt has stolen it away.  It’s not fun.  It’s not healthy.  It’s not emotionally uplifting. Why on earth do we take on gross habits like a dog and eat garbage!

Jeremiah knew the sheer delight and excitement of eating God’s food.  He tells us in Jeremiah 15:16, “When I discovered your words, I devoured them.  They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Oh Lord God of heaven’s armies.”

Eat garbage — not a good result.

Eat God’s goodness — sheer delight.

Happy feasting!