Where Do You Find Joy?

“You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; In your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm16:11 “For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” Psalm 92:4 “Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;” Psalm 66:1 In the last eight months I admit that I have rarely thought about what makes me joyful. I have tended to focus on what is making…

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This Daily Bread

One of my favorite artists to connect with on social media is Lori Hetteen, a Minneapolis-based self-described “haikuish” poet. She is witty and gentle in the same breath, and her work usually makes me pause. However, the other day, her work stopped me in my scroll and a single sentence lead me straight to a revelation. Her art shares: “And for how long, love?” “I can only say for now. And now, and now, and…” In the caption under the image, Lori writes,…

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Generations to Generations

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:5) Our outdoor ministry theme for summer 2020 was “Generations to Generations” based on Psalm 100:5. In a summer season that was so drastically different than typical or anticipated, this in many ways was a perfect theme. Written in November and published by LOM (Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, our national organization), the curriculum team had no idea what was ahead, but I believe our God who guides…

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A Meditation on Joy

"Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Psalm 30:4-5). I heard this story about a college student practicing the piano. They were trying to learn the song "Joy Cometh in the Morning." There was a complicated chord change right after "Weeping may endure for the night, but.…

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Talitha’s Story

A friend of mine, a Lutheran pastor, author, and story- teller, Walter Wangerin, tells the story of his youngest daughter, a child of a mixed-race marriage, whom Walt adopted. It’s actually the story of her “story.” It is scary and wonderful all at the same time, and as an adopted person myself, I thought it would be wonderful to share it. Oh, and btw, her name is Talitha. Walt writes: “Once when Talitha and I were walking to church early one Sunday morning,…

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Seek Joy

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh I have been reflecting on joy lately, which may seem a little odd with all that is going on, but in the searching and seeking of joy, I find myself more grateful for all I do have and more thankful for the moment.My family and I were very blessed to take a little camping trip two weeks ago. We were…

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God’s Care in the Ordinary

Things that seem ordinary or small but on further reflection are signs of God's care. after Gretchen Legler Three miniscule hummingbirds, iridescent green, alighting on the purple butterfly bush in my backyard. They have traveled thousands of miles to give me this moment of awe.The tiny fur ball puppy my friend adopted just before her father died of COVID. It prances about her yard, totters on hind legs to stand twelve-inches high, and falls asleep across her neck. A reminder grief cannot extinguish…

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The Traveler’s Psalm

Recently my dear friend's father died of COVID 19. Noble Dean was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Caldwell, and a man whose life embodied, it seemed to me, Christ's promise of joy. It's hard to imagine a man who had a greater zest for life and for sharing it with everyone he met. You can read Noble's obituary here. As Noble was dying, his family gathered around him. His oldest grandson, an accomplished bass, led the family in some of Noble's favorite…

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Anger Management

As I suspect we all have all noticed of late there is a lot of anger out there. I’m guessing that we are all feeling frayed and move to anger much more quickly and it’s doesn’t always seem to be related to the event that might set us off. We are frustrated by too many things dealing with Covid-19 and the rest that it seems we have lost all perspective at times, I’m thinking of the protests about wearing masks for one.This seems…

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Celebrate Today!

Fear not, earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Joel 2:21I love this picture because of the cycle of life that it shows. There are the blackened trees that were burned in a forest fire. There is the vibrancy of the fall foliage that will soon be carpeting the ground below. In the midst of this death and near death, there is the life of the evergreen trees.When life seems really hard, as it does in these days, we can…

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I Love Simplicity

Casting all anxiety on him, for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (watch video) 2020 I designated as the year of "Joy." I decided to look and take action on things I was unhappy with. Do I seek God first? Or, do I do it on my own first and then go to him?

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Brighten Our Way

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 139 and particularly verses 11-12:11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,and the light around me become night,”12 even the darkness is not dark to you;the night is as bright as the day,for darkness is as light to you.On this past Sunday late in the evening, I went golfing. Rain showers had been coming frequently throughout the day, but by evening the sky was starting to clear. (Well, that is what I thought when…

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Cathedrals

Cathedrals are where you find them. There is probably non so beautiful as the Sawtooth Range above Stanley, Idaho. I took a group of chaplain students there several years ago. These visitors, who came from around the country and world, quieted themselves as we neared the vista point that presented itself along Highway 21. At on point we all got out. Footsteps slowed; voices were muted. I was struck with the silence—even when other visitors pulled over and stopped. No cell phones perched…

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Lessening Anxiety in These Strange Times

“Do not give yourself over to sorrow, and do not distress yourself deliberately. A joyful heart is life itself, and rejoicing lengthen s one’s lifespan. Indulge yourself and take comfort, and remove sorrow far from you, for sorrow has destroyed many and no advantage ever comes from it. Jealously and anger shorten life, and anxiety brings on premature old age.” Sirach 30:21-24 Sirach is one of the books in the Apocrypha. Is anyone else out there a Facebook junkie? Is anyone else out…

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Living Joy in the Face of Suffering

So (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28:8I am writing this on Easter Monday. We are now on the “joyous” side of Lent/Easter 2020 as we celebrate the life-changing Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection. We proclaim this event offers all who believe it life forever in God’s community of love.Yet, as I listen to news reports and read the reflections of persons who are trying to make…

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