It is a common way, if being in many cultures, to wish a person God’s blessing when they sneeze. A practice of uncertain historic origin, it may derive from the attempt to quell the bubonic plague or it may have found it’s roots in a sense that something of one’s soul departs a person when they sneeze. In any case, to this day it is considered polite to wish a person blessing and not cursing whenever they are sneezing.Read More
As he moves closer to his uncle Laban’s territory near Haran, Jacob’s heart and mind are filled with the blessing of his father and the promise from his encounter with God. He arrives at a well, covered by a large stone. In a manner very similar to how his grandfather Abraham’s servant had been divinely directed to meet Rebekah so she could be Isaac’s wife, so Jacob arrives at a well where God has a divine appointment arranged.Read More blessing, guidance, joy
This is one of the so-called “royal psalms,” celebrating God’s appointment of David as king, and giving him victory. It anticipates the reign of Jesus Christ and life “forever and ever” (v4).
David is bursting with joy. This was not the time for a private “thank you,” but a public proclamation, a press conference, declaring God’s strength and power.Read More joy, praise, trust
I suspect that for most of us, being cruel brings to mind aggressive, perhaps even violent acts. We think of cruelty as being assertive. But here Jesus links being cruel not with what we do to others, but by what we fail to do for them. Cruelty is associated with the apathy that would fail to look for a lost sheep. It is cruel to be passively content with ninety-nine knowing that one has gone missing.Read More cruelty, getting involved, joy
This psalm was to be sung on Sabbath. It’s the only psalm in the entire canon where Sabbath is mentioned and it sums up the spirit with which Moses taught the Hebrew slaves about the need to observe a day of rest. In Deuteronomy 5, Moses links the observance of Sabbath with God’s deliverance of the Hebrews and his promise of freedom. They were to stop all work and remember a sea that had parted, a pillar of fire, rocks from which water had gushed, sweet food that fallen from heaven.Read More freedom, joy, Sabbath
If you ever want to grasp the breadth and depth of God’s love for you in one sitting, just read Psalm 103. David can’t contain his joy or gladness of spirit. “With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name!” he begins.
Without pausing for breath David continues to describe who God is and what he does.Read More confession, failure, joy, rest
While some of the Bible festivals are somber occasions many are full of joy. God is not only a God who delights in the praises of his people but who delights in giving his people something to praise him about. He likes a good festival where people can celebrate his goodness and the goodness of the life he offers them. One of the most cheerful is the Feast of Tabernacles.
On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees – from palms, willows and other leafy trees – and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.Read More Feast of Tabernacles, joy, worship
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to feel like you are stuck in a rat race? We dream about the house, car, vacation, clothes, and electronic devices that we see on TV or in the driveway next to ours. We work harder to obtain more, only to find out that we need to keep making more money in order to sustain what we already have and to strive for the next dream or goal that we have for our life.
In this passage of Scripture, the wisdom we are being taught is not that having material possessions is a bad thing, but that there is a better life to pursue.Read More joy, peace, possessions @en, poverty
Sometimes the truth hurts. The religious leaders in Christ’s day felt its sting when Jesus taught the parable in this passage.
“A man planted a vineyard and built a protective fence around it”, said Jesus. He dug a vat to collect the juice from crushed grapes, and he established a watchtower. Having set up the operation for success, the owner rented the facility to vine-growers and left the country.Read More joy, peace, steadfast love
Delivering a child is painful enough even if all goes well. But one of the great tragedies of modern times is that, according to world health officials, more than 300,000 women die in childbirth every year.
Poor women in places like sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia still perish today largely because they don’t have a skilled attendant, a trained professional to handle emergencies that inevitably arise during childbirth.Read More childbirth, end times, joy, pain