I can recall a gathering at my parent’s home a few years back when some of us were sitting around the dining table and for whatever reason, were discussing movies. The one statement that I’ve always remembered from that conversation was my Mom’s comment that she liked “happy movies” and that she watched movies to cheer her up and not make her sad.
Through the years since then, I have often thought about that declaration and realized that I am the same way! I usually will not watch a movie if I know it has a sad ending. I can deal with trauma and other negative life events in a movie if I know that has a happy ending! I think part of this stems from the reality that I tend to be one of those people who looks at a partially filled container as being half full instead of half empty. It must be one of the characteristics that I picked up from my Mom!
As I endeavor to accomplish my daily activities I find that I would much rather have a smile on my face than a frown… and like I continually share… the same could be said for my lovely wife. That’s probably one of the reasons we connected so quickly a few years back in high school… Okay… so maybe it’s more than just a few years back – Time does seem to fly when you are having a good time!
One of the many attributes of my wife that has always captivated me is her smile and contagious laughter. Today I can look at a picture from our past of her smiling and laughing and I can’t help but to burst out into laughter myself! The memory of the unique pitch and timber of her laughter ignites all the memories of what she means to me. It is a reflection of our love, of all the things that we have accomplished together and of that special serendipity that happens between us and through us when we work together in ministry, family and in the events of our daily lives.
I believe that this special serendipity is exactly the way Papa God wants us to connect with Him! And I also believe that a smile and laughter is one of the main ways to enter into this level of relationship… through our PRAISES unto Him. While studying Psalm 100 over the last few days I keep being drawn to the repeated idea of being “happy” when coming into His presence. Verses one and two set the stage declaring: “Shout happily to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD cheerfully. Come into his presence with a joyful song.” (God’s Word ©) Other translations say to “make a joyful noise” and to “serve the Lord with gladness,” (KJV) or to “Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.” (The Message)
The use of these terms gives me the clear sensation that we should be happy when we PRAISE the Lord. I learned through years of experience that although I may not always start out very happy when I begin to PRAISE the Lord, I just about always end up with a joyful heart and a big smile on my face when I am done! Our heartfelt PRAISE does many things, one of which is to bring an atmosphere of joy into the situations we face in our lives on a daily basis. I firmly believe that this is the main reason that I am able to continually face each new day with an attitude of expectation and peace in the midst of the trying times with my wife’s health needs.
The expectation, peace and joy that accompanies our heartfelt PRAISE brings encouragement to the one giving forth PRAISES unto God and also spreads forth that encouragement to anyone in the company of the PRAISER! I’ve learned that a house without PRAISE is like a house without heat and light in the middle of winter… and believe me… I’ve been in some of those houses and they are not a comfortable place to stay for any period of time! The Lord made it pretty clear to me early on in our stand of faith for Piper’s health, that I needed to limit her exposure in and around PRAISE-FREE people and their houses! The lack of PRAISE has a very negative effect on her physical well-being in her weakened state.
As I’ve mentioned before… our house has never been and will never be… as long as I have something to say about it… a PRAISE-FREE zone! What about you and yours? I want my continual PRAISE to the Lord to be seen, received and felt by Papa God as a regular reminder and reflection of our love, of all the things that we have accomplished together and of that special serendipity that happens between us and through us when we come together in this life.
Would you agree? Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to live in a PRAISE-FULL or a PRAISE-FREE zone in my life today?