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Our New Home
Fall is in the air!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Joy = Strength = Peace!

“I want a girl

 Just like the girl

 That married dear old Dad!” *

I realized something early this morning… about 1:10 AM to be more specific!  I was awakened after about an hour of solid sleep by my wife who was coughing from a bit of congestion.  So I dutifully got up and raised her pillow, applied a little Vicks Vaporub to her and sleepily climbed back into bed.  Then just as I began to nod off I became aware of the dog next to my bed sniffing around for another cricket!  These two activities actually repeated themselves within a half hour of each other and the second time is when I began to get some revelations about myself…
After plopping once more back into bed I found that I was wanting to complain about the things that have been going on in our home over the last six years.  But you know, it was like I just couldn’t utter the words!  At the same time I became aware that I was not a happy camper.  Then it hit me… I don’t like it when I don’t have any joy!  Without joy it is too easy for me to become grumpy and begin to think on thoughts of hopelessness!
That is why Nehemiah 8:10 is so powerful a scripture to me.  Without personal joy, I am sorely lacking in the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical strength to do what I am called to do each day! Nehemiah told the people of Israel who had returned to their beloved city in order to rebuild the protective wall around the city, to not feel sorry for themselves for the destruction and seemingly hopelessness of what they saw all around them, but that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (KJV)  He knew that they needed the inside and outside strength that only the Lord’s joy could give them in order to complete the task before them.
I have mentioned on various occasions that my Mom was a very “up” person who was usually filled with joy, had a smile on her face and an encouraging word.  Therefore it seems pretty logical that I would be attracted to a similar individual to be my partner in life.  And in that respect, I did marry a girl just like the girl that married dear old Dad!  From the first days I set eyes on that little junior in high school, I was always impressed by her constant smile, joyful personality and her encouraging words.  And now some 46 years later, I still am! 
One thing about Piper is that she always seemed to understand the power of the presence of joy in our family.  She seemed to have a sixth sense… a “Joy Sense?” that triggered her to react to depression, fear or unhappiness in our kids as they were growing up in our home.  Today our grown up kids can all attest to her suddenly changing the atmosphere in the house as she would break out into a little praise song and soon have all of us joining in with her.
She had the same effect on family gatherings during the holidays.  When some guests arrived with frowns instead of a smile, she had a way to loosen them up and have them laughing within a matter of moments.  She would also tend to take over the room when we would arrive at relative’s houses for a visit and find them with the blinds drawn and/or lights down low.  Her crisp personality and laughter would fill the room and before you knew it the sunlight was streaming through the picture windows as the dark curtains were opened or at night, more lighting lit up the room.
She and I have always fit like a glove in regard to our joy!  I think that this is one of the things that has kept me going during the rough moments like I experienced last night.  Even though the symptoms of the Alzheimer’s tends to restrict her out bursts of joy, I am constantly reminded of her laughter, her words of encouragement, and the funny little antics she would do to get me and/or our kids to relax and laugh.  And you know… all that joy is still very much a part of who she is, for her occasional smile or laugh is still enough to make my entire day! 
As I thought about all this last night, I knew that I had to quickly change what I was dwelling on at that dark moment in time.  So I began to recite scriptures such as Nehemiah 8:10 and then before I realized it I was softly singing some of the same little joyful praise ditties that Piper used to get us to sing.  Then I was out like a light as peace enveloped me into a tender sweet sleep!
I was captivated by Acts 8:8 this morning when I opened up my Bible to study the Word.  This short little verse made me smile and rejoice as I saw that city in Samaria experiencing the same thing I did about 7 hours previous to the time I sat down at the kitchen table.  It simply reads: “And there was great joy in that city!” (KJV)
Philip had come to their city, he preached the Word of the Messiah, signs and wonders followed and the townsfolks rejoiced!  It is a simple course of action that Philip followed, that my wife has always followed and one that I followed last night.  And as sure as it worked a few thousand years ago in Samaria, it worked for me last night and I bet will do the same for you!  Have a great week.  Stay in tune to God’s Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I going to be JOYFUL about today?”

 *  Words: Will Dillion, Music: Harry Von Tilzer (1911) - http://musichealth.net/songs1/i-want-a-girl-just-like-the-girl-that-married-dear-old-dad/

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