Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God — soon I'll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face. He's my God.
~Psalm 42:5 (The Message Version)~
What makes you smile? There is just something about a smile.
Over thanksgiving our grandson Jonah smiled a bunch. It is amazing how an infant or small child can look at you, break out in a smile, and the whole room changes. A smile can light up another person’s day and change the atmosphere of an entire room.
A smile speaks a universal language even to strangers. At one of the airports on our last journey to visit Jonah, a guy was cleaning the bathroom and alternating between a whistle and a smile. I didn’t recognize the tune but a smile is always recognizable.
I commented on how nice it was to encounter someone who enjoyed working and thanked him for making the airport a better place. He looked at me with a smile but didn’t seem to know what to say, like no one had ever said something like that (which would be sad if true).
When we fix our eyes on God, even in the most menial of tasks or frustrating moments, He can put a smile on our face that reveals a heart of joy. Joy is the source of the smile.
Sometimes, however, a smile can be the source of your joy. A smile can trigger a sense of peace deeper than the problems that try to rob our positive faith-filled energy. A smile releases endorphins that convince us we are happy, content, confident, and satisfied. Try it.
A genuine smile transcends everything. A smile can break down walls and remove obstacles. There is nothing like a smile to light up a room. You have a great smile. Light it up!
A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;
a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.
(Proverbs 15:13, The Message Version)
Kristi and I were on the back porch for a time of prayer, listening to the steady breeze, marveling at how the wind through the trees provided a really cool kingdom melody. The leaves in the breeze never stopped. They made a steady, persistent sound complimented by songbirds contributing with dedication, like they were determined to add harmony to the sounds of the forest.
I read Luke 18 and the passage about the persistent widow who kept persisting in trying to get help, justice, from the judge. She didn’t give up. Then in verse 8 Jesus says…. “Nevertheless, when the son of man comes, will he find faith on earth? The connection is made between persistence and faith.
The widow is shed in a positive light because she is persistent. She kept coming to the judge. She never gave up. She kept pressing. She kept making noise like a steady wind or the determined songbirds. You get the sense that the sound of her persistence was a song of faith.
What do you need to pray about with persistent faith? Healing? Salvation? Deliverance? Are you determined?
Faith doesn’t always mean asking once then moving on. Faith includes determination. Keep asking. Keep believing.
I pray that persistent faith strengthens your trust muscles today, and mine. I don’t want to limit my faith by “fast food” prayers.
Be encouraged, God is always listening. And I’m just certain He’ll never tire of YOUR very special voice!
I was reading Exodus 9:5-6a. “And the Lord set a time, saying, ‘Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.’ And the next day the Lord did this thing.”
There are a lot of uncertainties in the world, but one thing is for sure. When God says he is going to do something, you can be sure he will do that thing. What he says, he does. When He speaks, things happen. His word does not return void. His word and His action are so intimately intertwined that they are in perfect harmony. Perfect union. His word and his work are really one and the same.
The other day Kristi and I were on the back porch for some prayer time and it started raining. I checked the weather report on my phone, and it indicated a 50% chance of rain. You would think if it is raining that prediction would be 100%. Weather men are allowed to make educated guesses. They deal in probabilities and percentages. But I don’t want to live my life that way.
If we live our lives by chance, counting on probabilities, that’s not faith and it’s no wonder there is so much stress. That’s exactly how I lived my life before I put my trust in Jesus and gave the leadership of my life to Him.
My life changed when I made that decision. Now, faith means the assurances of His promises in Christ. I can trust him because He is trustworthy. I can live by faith because He is faithful. He keeps His word.
We can’t always count on people like the weatherman for assurances. But God can be counted on for assurances. When he makes promises He keeps them. 100%. When the Bible says He is compassionate and merciful, you can throw yourself to his mercy without guessing or second guessing---you can be sure of His mercy.
When Jesus speaks things like He did in John 5:24, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life”......you can count on the truth of His promise.
We can HEAR His Word and believe because His word and saving action are one and the same.
We can be encouraged, we can live out of faith that is rooted in a faithful God. Faith isn’t about guesswork or probabilities, like predicting the weather. It is grounded in TRUTH.
So in that I hope you find courage that is sufficient for this moment and this day, knowing that He is always present, always near when we call out to him, and when God is with you and for you, not even the weather can rob your joy. So, BE encouraged!