Rebecca Duvall

Blog

Love

May our thoughts, words and actions always be centered around love.

Work

WorkHave you noticed that God puts things on our heart long before He reveals it to us? I really struggle with this because I have a strong desire (need) to know exactly what is expected of me so I can figure out precisely how I will get done what needs to be done. I like to have a plan, an organized detailed plan.

Thankfully, God is always giving me opportunities to be patient and trust His timing and His plan. Of course I always have dozens of questions for Him as to how He plans for this and when. I also have many, many, many suggestions how He can get things accomplished in ways that I feel would be best. These are the times God is usually quiet, waiting for me to be silent so He can speak through His gentle loving gracious merciful whisper.

In the spring of 2002 my husband and I decided it would be best for me to stay home with the kids and be a Stay-At-Home-Mom. I was thrilled at the idea, mainly because I was bored out of my mind with ‘work’ and needed a change. About 13 years later, while in the midst of Chaplain training, God gave me the desire to ‘work’ again.

What would I possibly do? Go back to Accounting? Work as a Chaplain? Open a business? How would I have time for my family, friends and the church? What? How? When? Why? These are just a few of the questions I asked God while trying to figure it all out myself. So exhausting! The thought of creating a resume after, now 14 yeas of not ‘working’, overwhelmed me. I convinced myself no one would every want to hire me, so why bother.

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.~ Psalm 94:19

Then, the funniest thing happened. A position for an Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper became available at the church I attended. I mentioned I MIGHT apply and the next thing I knew, the job was being offered to me. Why is this so funny? Well, I was currently on Session, an Elder, over Admin and Finances and the CFO. I kind of had an idea about the job that needed to be filled. Of course I would have to step down from Session before being allowed on staff, but easily done.

I was excited to be the bookkeeper but terrified to be responsible for the weekly bulletin. Could I handle representing the ‘church’? What if I messed up? Could I handle having a set schedule every week? I made my own schedule for so long. What if I got bored? My days of sleeping in and getting up whenever would be over. Wait, who was I kidding, I was a mom of three, I almost never slept in or made my own schedule. Suddenly the thought of having a set schedule and a place to go and be organized and detailed sounded glorious.

I know I mess up or forget things all the time, but thankfully I work with an amazing staff and the best volunteers on the planet! I get to see and talk with my church family every day of the week, work with numbers and keep things organized. I’ve now been working for 14 months with no worry of EVER being bored. I never know what the day will bring except God’s goodness! I don’t believe there’s a better job out there for me!

I think I’ve adjusted well to ‘working’. I enjoy what I do and LOVE the people I work with. My family is having a slightly more difficult time adjusting.  When they call to tell me about their day, which is great, I gently remind them I’m at work and will talk with them more when I get off. Well, I’ve been told, in a nice way, how my ‘job’ is sometimes inconvenient for them. I love seeing how God is working on them as He is working on me.

Ask and it will be given to you;

Seek and you will find;

Knock and the door will be opened to you.

If you are in the season of the unknown, maybe with a strong desire for change, ask God your questions about it. He would like to be invited in and can certainly handle your concerns. Don’t stop seeking God’s answers because they are usually better than you could imagine.

My Prayer for us today ~ Thank you Father God for the tender, loving patience you have with us. Lord, I pray for Your wisdom, courage and strength to continually seek Your plan for us. I pray we trust You are at work in all things as we patiently wait upon you, Amen.

Playing

PlayingThis past week I’ve had fun, and at times laughed out loud, while watching Lip Sync Challenge Police videos. If you’re on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve seen a few. I live in a community filled with Police Officers that work in surrounding cities and counties, so many people around here know Police Officers and their families.

It warms my heart to see them playing and having fun, especially when the work they do is extremely stressful; physically, emotionally and mentally.

Definition of Play – Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation. To spend time doing enjoyable things.

I don’t know about you, but I like to play. Although, there was a time when I was so busy getting things done that the thought of ‘playing’ overwhelmed me. Getting what done you may ask. Who knows! Probably the dishes, laundry and cleaning whatever needed to be cleaned. Perhaps it was helping the kids with whatever they needed help with at the time. Or maybe it was helping with a school or church event or task.

I always thought I would do something fun when I got everything done that had to be done. But that day never came. There is always something or someone that needs my attention. Thankfully, God has surrounded me with some wise and encouraging women who have helped me find my playful side.

 

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

I try, but don’t always succeed, to ‘play’ a little every day. It might be watching fun videos on Facebook, going to a movie, out to lunch or for a walk. Playing doesn’t have to be a big production. It’s simply taking some time to do something enjoyable. For me, what I find enjoyable changes depending on the season I’m in and the weather outside. For today, I’m enjoying sitting outside in the warmth of the day while writing.

When was the last time you ‘played’? What do you enjoy doing? Is there someone you know who could use some help finding their playful side?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of laughter and dance. Thank you for the joy we experience when following Your Son and seeking Your will for our lives. I pray our work, rest and play would bring You honor, glory and praise. Amen.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did. Which Police Lip Sync Video is your favorite?

Chaplain

ChaplainHello again friend! Remember about a year and a half ago I asked everyone to pray for me as I embarked on a new adventure. I was beginning an online Emergency Chaplain course and had no idea where it would take me. Then, I pretty much disappeared from the world of blogging. Sorry about that. It was harder than I expected to add a class to my routine and I completely underestimated the amount of mental exhaustion it would cause.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for me! Your prayers gave me courage to walk into the unknown, trusting that God would be there every step of the way, guiding me and helping me through the Holy Spirit. Your prayers helped me to be in the moment, seeking God where I was, not worrying about what I was to do with what He was walking me through. Your prayers helped me focus on all the information given to me, without many distractions…..SQUIRREL!

I began the journey of studying to become a First Responder Chaplain because that’s what my husband is. He was a paramedic before I met him and a Deputy Sheriff when we met. I thought it would be nice to come along side him to help the spouses of the First Responders he assists, especially because I have been one for 18 years.

God has not chosen to use me in this capacity, yet, but wow, has it given me some great perspective. I believe God used this part of my chaplain training to teach me compassion for my husband and what he does. I was seriously lacking in this area. I have always believed that his ability to help others as a Chaplain was a gift from God, but now I have a deep love and respect for him and what he goes through each and every day, regardless of the pain and agony it may cause him.

If you have any interest in becoming an Emergency Services Chaplain, I highly recommend this online program run by Robby Jernigan.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~Hebrews 13:20-21

Let me back up a bit. I had my first taste of Chaplain training in February of 2016 when my husband suggested I take a 3-day class taught by icisf (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation), which was being sponsored by KLOVE at no cost. It was on Assisting Individuals in Crisis and Group Crisis Intervention. I really didn’t think I belonged there amongst all the Nurses, Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Counselors, but found the information extremely helpful with everyday interaction with people. I’m not a Counselor, Nurse, Fire Fighter or Police Officer and I come across broken hurting people everyday.

July of 2016 is when I began the Emergency Services Chaplain Training courses. I studied Emergency Services, Christian Chaplaincy, Emergency Services Chaplaincy, Death Notification and Related Issues (this is what my husband does quite often), Psychological First Aid, CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) and Ministry to a Suicidal Subject. There are many more classes offered through this training center that will take you deeper into the life of a Police Officer, Fire Fighter, etc. but I hear enough first had from the work my husband does, so I didn’t go any further.

Then in January of 2017 I took an online class through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), an Introduction to the Incident Command System. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you, but I did find it very interesting.

Cupcake ChaplainAs I was busy processing all of this information and trying to figure out what I would do with it, if anything, God opened a door, for more training! I signed up for a Church Compassion Team Chaplaincy Class put on by Educational Ministries in Rocklin, CA. This class was once a week from 6:00 – 10:00pm for 8 weeks followed by a Graduation Ceremony. This class was about an hour away, but I signed up with a friend, so we made it into a weekly fun and educational outing. We took turns driving, which was nice, and started each trip with dinner and dessert before heading to class. Dessert was the highlight of each trip, oh and of course the silly conversations that would come about each week.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. ~Philippians 2:13

I’m thankful God has given me the opportunity to train as a Chaplain and trust God will enable me to use this training when He sees fit. It was an amazing and fun experience bulking up my brain. More importantly, it’s helped me gain a greater respect for all First Responders; Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Dispatchers, Nurses, Doctors and Counselors. They have extremely difficult jobs and are on high alert 24/7 with your well being in mind. If you know someone in one of these positions, please find a way to express your appreciation of who they are and what they do.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the amazing men and women you call into the roles of First Responders. I pray we would see them through Your eyes and treat them with respect, compassion, kindness and love, Amen.

 

In His Way

Thank you Hungry Monster Review for this well written, honest and glowing review.

LITERARY TITAN

In His Way5 Stars

In His Way by Rebecca Duvall is a personal journey of her life and how she came to discover God. Duvall goes through many trials in her life. Everything that life could throw, divorce, children, financial situations, and serious illnesses, she faced. It is through this intimate journey you get to know Duvall, her family, and their troubles. You see how she evolves from struggling and thinking that she can only get through this alone and control everything to her discovery of letting go and letting in God. It was not an easy journey, but it is an honest one.

I enjoyed this book and could not put it down. In His Way took me on an emotional adventure. I felt for the author and her family because of the ups and downs they face. In the beginning, she states that she was not always positive and wrote that way…

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Parenting Adults

parenting-adultsA few years ago my oldest child graduated from High School and I entered into a new season of parenting. I don’t know about others who have already entered into this season, but I think this is the most challenging season in regards to parenting.

What do you do when your adult child says “I’m thinking about having sex with ___ (her boyfriend) and I want your opinion.”?  Did your mouth just hit the floor? Well that’s what mine did. As I took a deep breath and quietly prayed for God’s words, I calmly began asking questions, listening and giving her my honest thoughts and why I thought that way. At one point she asked me to leave God out of it, which I told her I didn’t know how to do that. I could tell she was seeking my approval, which I couldn’t give. I did make sure she understood it was her decision to make, not mine. She was the one who had to live with the consequences of her actions, not me. I also made sure she knew I would always love and respect her  regardless of what she decided to do. I may not agree with her choices, but I will never stop being there for her. I thanked her for coming to me and told her how proud I was of her.

When I first became a parent, and with each child I had, I was instantly expected to do everything for this little fragile person, because they couldn’t. I dressed them, feed them, helped them with their bathroom situations, entertained and educated them. I took them where they needed to go and supplied them with everything they needed. I even spoke for them.

As they grew and matured they slowly starting doing things for themselves. They even started to speak for themselves. Not long after this, they began telling me what they needed, when they needed it and why they needed it. As they continued to grow, these needs changed, often, without notice.

With each child, I have three, I noticed that their needs were different and their expectations of how these needs were to be met was different. For example, one was perfectly fine with what was served for dinner but preferred to eat later when it was more convenient for them. The other was fine with eating whenever dinner was ready, but they wanted to have a say about what they ate, because they might not be in the mood for what was being served. The other had no opinion of the time they ate or what they ate, as long as we never forgot to feed them.

With each child, I am always expected to have the answer, no matter what the question. If for some bizarre reason I don’t have the answer they need, I am expected to get it, right away.

Being a parent is an absolutely crazy, beautiful, insane yet fulfilling job. There’s always something to be done or needed. I’m running around, both physically and mentally, twenty-four hours a day. Each day I have no idea what to expect. There is basically no way to prepare for what may come, except believing whatever does come, you will get through it, some how.

lamentations-3-22-23

Then, before you know it, the child is an adult. They don’t need you to get them anything, help with anything, take them anywhere, think for them or even speak for them. All they want is for you to let them be.

How do you go from speeding down the runway with them to sitting back in the bleachers watching them in, what seems like, the blink of an eye?

I wish someone had told me, when I had my first child, the importance of letting them grow up. By grow up, I mean, do and think for themselves. I thought being a parent meant taking care of, which in my mind means providing for or doing things for. Now that I look back, it seems obvious that we are to help them so they can eventually do things for themselves. But when in the midst of day-to-day life, it’s easy to get caught up in the doing and simply telling, not giving them an actual chance to try. Then some day we suddenly expect them to know how, by only watching and hearing, not doing.

Once your child has grown up and is no longer in need of your daily assistance, what do you do? This doesn’t change the fact that you are, and always will be, their parent.

pray-4-adult-child

I do a lot of listening. I offer encouragement. I offer advice when asked for. Sometimes I do offer advice when it’s not asked for, but carefully listen for their reaction. When I do give advice, I try my best to explain my reasoning. I don’t want them to feel I’m pushing my ideas onto them. My desire is for them to make a decision that best fits them, not me. Then I try, if possible, to support them.

I pray a lot and seek the prayers of others when things get overwhelming. Giving my concerns and lifting my hearts desires for my children to God brings me peace and helps me let go. My worries only get in the way of my relationship with my children, so I give them to God and trust He knows how best to deal with them.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. ~ Matthew 6:34

For me, the hardest part about parenting an adult is watching them fall flat on their face. Especially when you see it coming. As hard as it is, sometimes watching them fall is the best thing we can do for them. It helps them mature in many ways. Being there to encourage them as they pick themselves up is a great way to support them.

Once our children become adults, our job is no longer to tell them what to do. They are now adults and we need to love and respect them and their decisions. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. We are to treat them the same way we would treat any other adult.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

I don’t think being the parent of an adult gives us the right to tell them what to do or the right to have extra expectations of them; although the temptation is always there. I think it gives us the added responsibility to love, respect and encourage them. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time acting like an adult myself, so I seek God’s wisdom and encouragement when it comes to parenting quite often.

As a parent, we always have eyes watching and learning by our example, no matter what our children’s age.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to be our example. I pray Your wisdom and patience would help us be the parents you created us to be. May we teach our children about You and Your love for them, Amen.

Deep Sorrow and Joyous Praise

funeral-flowersAs some of you may know, my husband is a Chaplain for First Responders. He works with local Police, Sheriff, Fire, EMS and Dispatchers. He visits these various stations and offers emotional and spiritual support and a helping hand when needed. The call he gets most often is to give a death notification. Which means he has the job of telling someone that their close family member has died, usually because of a tragic unexpected accident.

Very rarely does a week go by that he isn’t called out to give a death notification. As you might imagine, I hear about most calls he goes on, including the death notifications, as well as the follow-ups.

Death is something we all must face at a time unknown. When asked why we must die, the response is usually “because we can’t live forever”. As a believer in Jesus, I think we (Christians), those who believe in God and have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, can and will live forever. Not forever here on this earth, but eternally in heaven and someday the new earth with Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of God.

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34

Recently, I heard that a dear friend, who had been fighting her second battle with cancer, had weeks, possibly days, to live. My heart was overwhelmed with sorrow. I thought about her being a light in the community and to anyone she came in contact with. She has a true servants heart with a desire to build the Kingdom of God and share the love of Christ.

I immediately began lifting my sweet friend in prayer, asking God Almighty for a miracle. I believed that He had cured her the first time around, so I asked Him to do it again. A day or two later, I heard things were not looking good, so I added to my prayer. I asked that if He were calling her, His child, home that He would allow her to slip away from us into His loving arms filled with His peace, feeling calm and with no pain.

The next evening, the world lost an amazing woman, a true light.

grieving

For all those who are affected by this devastating loss, I am overwhelmed with sorrow. I pray God will reveal Himself to them in ways that fill them with peace and comfort as they process their grief and adjust to the loss of the relationship they had with her.

For my sister in Christ, I am filled with joyous praise. Why?

  • She has reached her eternal home in heaven with Jesus.
  • I will get to see her again, when God calls me, to my eternal home.
  • Her sorrow, tears and pain have come to an end.
  • God blessed me, and many others, by knowing her

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

My heart breaks for everyone across the world who does not know God, chooses to hold Him at arms length or who simply reject Him. I cannot imagine living eternally without experiencing God’s love, grace and mercy, which we all receive at some level as we walk through this life here on earth.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of eternal life with You, through the life Your Son Jesus gave for us. I pray you would soften the heart of those who do not know you so they would see You through the love, compassion and help they receive from others, Amen.

Blessed

satisfied-in-Him4-300x300Have you ever had one of those moments when you felt like you’ve been hit upside the head with a brick? I’m not talking about a light bulb moment, I mean a moment when you realize the stupidity in our actions and the deep desire that comes over you to fall down on your face and cry out to God “forgive me Lord!”

Well, I had that moment while at church. The scripture for the day was Luke 6:17-26. We’ve been going through the book of Luke and I’m enjoying the different parables. Today was about those who will be blessed and those who will not. I thought it was simply a reminder to always help the less fortunate. Wow, was I wrong!

He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. Luke 6:17-26

When the Pastor said “being blessed is when you are satisfied doing what God calls you to do” is when I felt the brick hit me upside the head. I had to face the fact that I was not satisfied with what God had called me to. I wanted more!

Months ago, God pointed me in the direction of becoming a Chaplain and revealed a plan to do so. I was so excited to see what doors God would open for me as I entered this new season of my life. I was so excited, that I became annoyed when it didn’t happen in my timing. My plan was to take the necessary course and become a Chaplain before the end of summer. Summer was now more than half over and I had not started the course. I started wondering if maybe God gave me the wrong direction.

Through the statement made by the Pastor, I realized I had not been acting like a person who had been blessed by God. I was not trusting in God’s timing or in His plan. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it NOW. I was not taking into consideration the fact that I was knee deep in work at the church or that I has already committed to helping a dear friend edit her book. I also was not factoring in that it was summer, which was time for family fun, not extra work.

Thankfully, God was aware of every detail and had it all perfectly planned. Things are now calm and steady at church, my friend is able to work on her book with her own computer and plans have been made with the family that will take us through the summer.

As my schedule lightened, I was officially approved for the Chaplaincy course and ready to start. I’m embarrassed and frustrated with myself for my poor behavior. I can’t believe that I once again had a three-year-old tantrum when God didn’t give me what I wanted when I felt I needed it. I hope and pray that next time, when faced with waiting upon God, I will do better and not freak out when things don’t go as I expect them to.

Jesus took the sins of the world, our sins, upon Himself on the cross, so when I realized the error of my ways, I was able to seek forgiveness and be forgiven. Is there something you would like God’s forgiveness for?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the patience you have with us. Lord, I pray you would open our eyes to see our stubbornness and give us the strength, courage and wisdom to seek your forgiveness. May we always be satisfied doing what you call us to do, Amen.

Love

StrawberryThe Fruit of the Spirit this week is Love. I’ve chosen a strawberry since it’s often used to represent love due to its shape that’s similar to a heart.

When you love someone, their happiness is important to you. You behave in a kind and caring way toward them and wish to protect and support them, in a selfless manner.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.1 Corinthians 13:1-3

The above scripture tells us that it’s pointless to say, know or do anything without love. Love is the key to making an impact for the Kingdom of God. What are ways you can demonstrate love in the way you speak, through what you know or how you react?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

These verses tell us, as discussed in an earlier post (Godly Love), what love, in the eyes of God, look like. I use this scripture as a checklist to see where I’m struggling (usually in multiple areas). It helps me know what I should be praying for. I find myself having a hard time not keeping a record of people’s wrongs, which then causes me to have a hard time trusting. What aspect of love are you struggling with right now?

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

This piece of scripture opens with the statement ‘love never fails’ and ends by telling us that the three gifts from the Holy Spirit to remain are faith, hope and love, with love being the most important to have. The speculations, words and knowledge of man will fade away, but our faith, hope and love in God will never fail us. This makes me want to focus my attention more on the Word of God, than of man, because the Bible is the key to our hope and faith, which will lead us to a love that never fails.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for Your Word, and the guidance it gives with the help of the Holy Spirit. I pray we would love You and others, even those we see as enemies, the way You love us, Amen.

Joy

watermelonThe Fruit of the Spirit this week is Joy. I’ve chosen a watermelon because it’s a fruit I usually eat in the summer months, which means the weather is most likely hot, and experiencing the heat (90+) brings me great joy.

Joy is a feeling of great happiness. It’s when you are pleased or happy. Joy is when you experience an emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.

Rejoice always ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16

When you encounter joy you can’t help but rejoice. You show or express outwardly, the joy you feel. When I’m experiencing a joyous moment, my go to reaction is usually to cry or weep. For example, I recently sent my son off, on his 13th birthday, to camp with a group from our church. I was extremely happy for him and excited to hear, when he returned, how he encountered God while there. This brought me great joy, so of course I had many moments, while saying our goodbyes, of secretly sobbing behind my sunglasses. How do you usually react when overcome with joy?

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. ~Psalm 47:1

Praising God during worship on Sunday mornings fills me with joy and I often find myself unable to sing (not that I could). I become overcome with joy thinking of what God has done for me through His Son, Jesus. I use to try desperately to hold back the tears, afraid it would make someone uncomfortable or I would be seen as an over emotional weirdo. I can handle the later, because in reality, I am. What brings you great joy?

Do not be full of joy when the one who hates you falls. Do not let your heart be glad when he trips. The Lord will see it and will not be pleased, and He will turn away His anger from him. ~Proverbs 24:17-18

There are times, as explained in Proverbs 24, when it is not a proper time to feel joy. When we do let ourselves express joy, outwardly or even within our hearts or minds, we can lose a blessing from God.

True joy is a gift given to us through the Holy Spirit. When our hearts and minds are focused on the goodness of God we can experience joy, regardless of our circumstances.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to see the joy you offer us rather than the joys within the world. I pray we would keep the worldly things behind us as we focus on Jesus and what He has done for us, Amen.

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