Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fish With Joyous Laughter

Many people unfortunately don’t drive so good in Texas. In fact, my beautiful wife has been through a lot lately due to that fact. Liney, got rear-ended while driving home from a glorious wedding (with Eric and Chris Betts) that I performed in Mckinney with the Firth family the other day.

Ouch!—more than her neck has been hurting too, so she’s been going to the chiropractor everyday and today after taking some x-rays the doctor discovered that she had actually fractured her wrist. And you really wouldn’t have known it this past week as she went about her normal routine joking on occasion, except that she’s been taking a little Tylenol when she almost never wants any pain killers.

I have not been able to protect her from everything that pains or harms her ..and that really bugs me a lot, because I feel zealous about that. She’s the greatest Christian I know. She's daily in the Word each morning and constantly applying it selflessly.

A couple nights ago Liney insisted upon making a cake for a friend one handed... that collapsed due to so many raspberries she put in it, so without a break after her day at the office, she had to do it all over again. I can't stop her. Anyways, she has a great attitude and really cares about people. She makes me laugh and senses the Lord’s joy in everything she does. I'm telling you, it takes a whole lot to stop her ..or slow her down.

The last time someone crashed into her a couple years ago, the car came at her from the front side. And she was driving real slow in a left hand turn lane, but the other lady swerved right into her. Nothing seems to move Liney or shake her loose of the joy she has in a relationship with the Lord. She never gets bitter and never stops praying for people. I’m grateful she’s there. In some ways her devotion reminds me of Paul’s. He said, "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy…” (Act. 20:24).

I ran into another Christian this week that was very depressed and angry at people. He’s sadly been like that quite awhile—I keep running into him in that condition. I wanted to tell him to stop listening to a certain Word-faith TV preacher that he adores, but the timing wasn’t quite right.

Christian, why be all caught up in your circumstances and in this world system, when you could be focused on Him? We have something in the Lord that people don’t understand, but cannot be beat ..ever! But if you and I are not genuinely exited inside or joy-filled, why should we expect anyone to want what we have? If you were an unbeliever and you came across a real believer who acted just like you do, would you want that believer to talk with your or pray with you so that you could get to know the Lord?

In the book of Acts we read the story of a handful of men and women who were filled with joy and power. They lived victoriously in spite of fierce persecution and trials; in fact, they did not leave their world the same as they found it. They turned it upside down. They were just ordinary folk like you and me—people whom God invaded and enabled to do extraordinary things as they went everywhere spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Here's a devo I did last night that might help you.

Do you still hear yourself laugh?

There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven... A time to cry and a time to laugh. —Eccl. 3:1-4

Too many Christians take themselves way too seriously. I know there's no time for the laughter of compromise. Coarse jesting, crude joking—that stuffs out! We want to be creative, but we don't win people to Christ with smut or being like the world (see Eph. 5:4).

It's ok to poke fun at yourself, and be self-abasing ..minus the foolish self-deprecation on occasion. Sure some Christians are silly and goofy all the time and that kind of stuff wears on people's nerves. But too many Christians are mostly sullen, inverted, and morose these days. They're against too much—yup, all up in arms against stuff that's not even sin or error. The world sees them as prudishly negative sour bigots who look down on others. But we need to joyously communicate what we're for …not in some condemning hateful way.

Maybe it's time for a break to go look in the mirror! I do that and I'm convinced that God's not uptight. I think He has a huge sense of humor.

God has even blessed me with a couple friends like that, who role with the blows that life deals out... and they role-model Christ's joy for me consistently. They take life as it comes in an upbeat winsome fashion. They stay sweet when things go rancid. Sometimes I cause them some small blows too when things get too mundane. Not too bad, but they seem to like it when I pick on them… and they also pick on me right back.

None of my friends enjoy how I sing though ..like a skilled, animated, agile rock-star that's movin' about is how I can see it—yep, got it going on and they quickly get movin' on away from me. My cat even left the room. Of course I would never want to say their names here, but.. hey guys; cheer up Russ, Bill, and Dave.. we all can't dance so serious like a pro or be all buff, handsome and gifted. They only try to hurt my feelings.(1)

But Christians can get down too, and we certainly don't need to fake it during times like that (that's when we really need intercede to lift them up). I have more than one dear friend who has lost their love one lately and man, does that hurt. Please pray for the Laurie family and their ministry; they just recently lost a son.

But it seems like other saints won't let go of their valued depression session even though they've really lost nothing of value. Do they equate "holy" to being some poor-old-me pitiful beat-down?

Sure, we've got to be sensitive around some who are weak and weeping. We need to be cryin' real crocodile tears with those who are crying. But sometimes I talk straight with those who cry too much ..ya know, for ooos and awws and a show.

Jesus was R-E-A-L as could be--still is--and I can't see where He ever flt sorry for Himself or recruited sympathy. Things weren't always peachy, but Christ was and is the perfect man—a man's man. He was described as "a man of sorrows," intimately acquainted with grief (read Isaiah 53:3).

Wanna chuckle, smile and snicker more and know that its right? Know Christ and live full-bore for Him!

Click Here To Read The Entire Devo


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