It had been a rough few months in the spring of 1972. I desperately wanted a baby, a little one to hold in my arms, to call my own. Twice I had miscarried, and I held these disappointments up before God, shaking them in His face and saying, See what You did when I trusted You to answer my prayer? I just couldn’t move on.
I was amazed when I saw the colorful, intricate constructions on a YouTube video. Tiny houses, barely bigger than a doghouse, with doors, round little windows, and slanted roofs, so the rainwater would flow off. And all of them on wheels, so they could be moved. They actually looked cozy.
In spite of every indication that there are difficult times ahead, I’m excited about this new year! I’m enthusiastic about striving for new goals and pushing myself beyond what I think I’m capable of. The noun “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word enthousiasmos, from enthous, meaning “possessed by a god, inspired.” And interestingly, it was originally used in a derogatory sense to describe excessive religious zeal.
For me, one of the most exciting parts of Christmas is the presents. I know, Christmas is about so much more than gifts—yet the simple act of opening my presents and finding out what’s in them always brings me a lot of excitement. I catch sight of a gift, beautifully wrapped, with my name on it, and it thrills me! Even if I have an idea what it might be, it’s so much fun to open the package and see the gift for the first time!
I sat back in my seat and waited for takeoff. My back ached and my limbs were stiff from the five-hour drive to the airport and the two-hour first leg of my flight home. I wasn’t looking forward to another five hours in cramped economy-class seating.
I would love it if the world were filled with joyous and godly laughter: jolly, infectious, festive, holy laughter, the kind that spreads joy to the world! “Happy arethe people whose God is the Lord!”1 I love to hear My people filled with joy, and that joy being manifested in laughter. It reaches up to Me like praise does. It is very like praise and is often mingled with praise. It is joy to the world, and a joy for Me to hear.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. … If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”1
This verse is proving so true in my life. When I make the effort to put Jesus in first place in my life, opportunities drop in my lap and doors open to share my faith with others—oftentimes, as I’m going about my everyday routine, such as while traveling by public transportation.
I went to the retail store, Costco, today to return a vacuum cleaner I had purchased that turned out to be defective. After making our return, we were in need of a new vacuum cleaner and made our way to the aisle that offered several makes and models. It just so happened that a sales rep for one of the brands was on the floor demonstrating her wares.
Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, which provide an overview of how He intends for those who follow Him to live their faith. Throughout the rest of the Sermon, He expressed further and more detailed principles which build on the Beatitudes.
One of those principles, following right after the Beatitudes, is:
My daughter once asked me if I regretted devoting my life to Christian service.
I answered, “No regrets whatsoever. The idea has been to work with eternity in mind.”
The word “eternity” has been popularized by an amazing guy who passed away in 1967, named Arthur Stace, whose life story has been remembered in a book, an opera, and a film.1