Tag: joy

Practically James: Get It Done

Practically James: Get It Done

Encouragment
One day four men built a backyard deck. Two men came from the lofty halls of mechanical engineering, two were mechanics of different stripes. As it turned out the deck boards extended past the end of the deck and needed trimming to even up the edge. The engineers measured and discussed how to trim the boards without cutting into the floor joist beneath. They debated and argued over various methods of how to find the exact right place to mark the top of the deck for the power saw to follow. All progress stopped because of this one problem. The mechanics listened for a few moments to the engineer’s discussion. One of them grabbed the power saw and with the help of the other standing beneath to keep an eye on the position of the blade they rapidly trimmed the boards to the right size. True st
Joy Revealed

Joy Revealed

Encouragment
There’s just something about a mountain stream that lightens the heart. Something joyful as the water tumbles, bubbles, and dances along its rock-strewn path. The way the light sparkles as it dances against a stone. And the sounds - like laughter that ranges from a gentle giggle to a mighty roar as it splashes from stone to stone. It’s as if the stream is sharing a secret with us if we’ll only stop long enough to hear it. It’s a secret also revealed in God’s Word. Psalms 126 was written for a specific time. For many long years, the Israelites were held captive in Babylon. For years they sowed in tears, grieving over the loss of their homes and longing to return again. It was during those years that we read of Nebuchadnezzar's challenges to their faith, the desire of Haman to kill them,
Christmas: Jubilation

Christmas: Jubilation

Christmas, Encouragment
For many folks, Christmas season is not a joyous time. The stress of buying the “right” gift causes frustration. The bickering and arguing over the scheduling nightmare of getting everyone together causes headaches and heartaches. Relationship issues may strain the holiday as old wounds are revisited and reopened. Some are just plain blue because of loved ones lost, there is a hole at the table as well as a hole in their heart. Joy and jubilation may seem to be impossible. Yet, the Christmas story invokes and invites jubilation and joy. Welcome to our fourth Advent article. We have so far looked the declaration of the angels, the mystery of the incarnation, and the immediate response of adoration. This week we look at jubilation in the worship of the angels and the shepherds. Luke re
Useless? Nope

Useless? Nope

Encouragment
God can’t use me. Isn’t that what we tell ourselves?  That somehow or in someway we are disqualified from being useful in God’s hands. We are too old, too young, too busy, too sinful, too clumsy with words, too poor, too broken, in poor health, just generally useless. Yet when I look through the Bible, I see all kinds of examples of God using folks who were also “too....” Consider Moses, his ministry didn’t really begin until he was 80, everything else was preparation. Or David, just a teenager when God used him to take on a giant. Too sinful? Just about all the spiritual pillars of faith in the Bible had a sin problem of some sort. The only sin that disqualifies is the one we refuse to take to God. Moses tried to disqualify himself at the burning bush because of a stammer. Too poor? Ne
Walking Through Philippians – Joy!

Walking Through Philippians – Joy!

Encouragment
If I asked you to show me a picture expressing joy what would it be? The joy of a bride on her wedding day? The celebration of a game-winning moment? The grin of a wildcat driller when their oil rig turns to a gusher? The laughter of children at play? The amazement of someone eating chocolate for the first time? The victory salute of a climber having arrived at the summit? Or maybe something different like a still-life of flowers in full bloom? While all of these are valuable pictures of joy the gallery is incomplete and missing something. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is often called the Epistle of Joy. Let’s turn there to fill out our gallery. Welcome to the 12th lesson on our walk through Philippians. Paul is at that point where he expresses several quick reminders to his readers.
Walking Through Philippians: Lesson One – Foundational Attitudes

Walking Through Philippians: Lesson One – Foundational Attitudes

Encouragment
Letter writing seems to be a lost art. After all, when was the last time someone sent you a handwritten letter in the mail? Or when was the last time you sent one? If you would see my handwriting you would be glad that I haven’t sent a letter your way. Yet, the principles of letter writing still apply to our emails, texts, and tweets. They are addressed, they do convey some sense of our emotion and reason for writing even if it’s an emoji, and they contain some kind of information. For Lambchow’s Wednesday articles we are going to begin a study on Philippians. What we call Philippians is a letter written by Paul while imprisoned in Rome to the believers at Philippi in Macedonia. Yet, God speaks to us today in this simple letter about attitudes, joy, and fruitfully following Jesus. This wee
Real Fruit: Joy

Real Fruit: Joy

Encouragment
If you’re a gardener you know joy. There’s just something special, something extra tasty, in the crops harvested from your own plot of dirt. It’s not just freshness. I can buy fresh-picked produce from the local market when the season is right. While good, our own green beans or corn or potatoes just seem to taste better. I think it’s because we can taste the hours of tilling, seeding, and weeding in them. That taste is what joy is all about. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23, NASB95) If you are just joining us, this is the eighth article in a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. And yes, we’re working backward. For this series we are going
The Weather Vane – Joy

The Weather Vane – Joy

Short Stories
This story was originally written in 2004 and has been edited for Lambchow. The Tractor Seat, another story in that original series, share the same setting although a different time period. Both stories borrow my memories of a real-life neighbor from my childhood, Johnny Darst. In an era of farm modernization he still did things the old-fashioned way. Not because he had to but because he wanted to. He found joy in working the land, I hope that you find joy in this short story. “Lisa! Look what the mailman delivered,” Ryan said holding up a large package. “Well, what is it? I can’t tell through the brown paper you know,” she asked. Ryan put the package down and carefully opened it. Once the brown paper was gone and the excelsior packing had been removed, a bright copper, rooster-
Accepted!

Accepted!

Encouragment
Belonging is important. We all want to belong, to be a part, to be accepted by someone or some group. The groups we belong to defines us. We take on their beliefs, their ethics, their mannerisms, and their way of speaking; often without even thinking about it. But groups tend to have boundaries that define who is “in” and who is not a part of the group. Does this remind anyone of Junior High or Middle School and the angst of who was in and who was out? How many of us have felt the stinging rebuke of rejection because we failed to conform? Or the worse rejection caused by things not of our own choosing? Some have even concluded that God will never accept them. There’s a verse in Isaiah that reads, “Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will never let m
Real Fruit: Introduction

Real Fruit: Introduction

Encouragment
Betty has been bugging me for some time to publish nine short stories based on the nine fruit of the Spirit. Those stories were the first fruits of what God was growing in me and what has become Lambchow. They were written in December 2003 and early 2004. I’ve been putting it off mostly because I see how rough around the edges they are.  Each story portrays one of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 and how they can be given away. As we enter this series on the fruit of the Spirit, it is time to revisit them again. Writing and teaching about the Fruit of the Spirit is like preaching on John 3:16. It's a familiar set of verses that most everyone has encountered or been taught about at some point in time, probably more than once. There are innumerable books and Bible studie
Are You Satisfied?

Are You Satisfied?

Encouragment
I remember a phrase Grandpa Heinold said on occasion that puzzled me at first. Sometimes after a holiday meal, he’d push back a bit from the table and declare, “Now that was eatin’ high on the hog.” It was his way of saying that the meal was rich, satisfying, and special. Grandpa was a farmer back in the day when you truly lived off the land. They butchered their own meat along with preserving the produce from their garden for the coming winter. The leanest, tenderest, juiciest part of a hog is the loin, which is geographically “high on the hog.” That cut of meat was reserved for a special meal. Hence Grandpa’s meaning. We may have eaten ham, turkey, or beef, but because it was a satisfying and rich meal to Grandpa it was “high on the hog.” The Psalmist related this same kind of thought
Taste and See

Taste and See

Encouragment
One day a friend decides to celebrate the recent promotion of another in her circle. She works for weeks in preparation. Choosing the right invitations, spending hours personalizing each one before they are sent. She scours the markets to find the best ingredients for the meal she has painstakingly planned. In the days leading up to the big night she labors over each course with impeccable style, technique, and timing.  Soon the guests arrive and are seated around her table. With flair she presents each perfectly plated dish. Her guests are overjoyed and heap praise on each course. All, that is, except the guest of honor. He picks at the food, moves it around a bit, but he never takes one bite. He even snubs the cheesecake dessert which she knows he loves. Finally, the exasperated host