Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.
For it is a statute for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph,
when he went out over the land of Egypt.
~ Psalm 81:1 -5
Sometimes we forget that there are many joyful moments in scripture. It seems that so often we get "stuck" in Biblical proportions when it comes to the Bible (no pun intended!) that we miss these joyful moments.
But we do!
When Matthew shares the commandment from Jesus, reminding us to "Love the Lord thy God with all our heart and soul," I sometimes throw in these words, "and there will be times of joy!"
Of course it doesn't say that, but I think all of us know what it means to be in love with someone with our heart and soul. We simply can't wait to spend time with that person, and just seeing that person makes our heart seem to skip a beat and we can't help but feel great.
It's that kind of relationship that Jesus is trying to share with us to have with God. LOVE God with your HEART and your SOUL!
I can remember my first girlfriend. Well, I was in first grade, but I could not wait to spend time with her. Diana Knaur was a neighbor and she and I used to play for hours together. When we moved away during my second grade year I was crushed to realize that I probably would never see her again. But then, nearly five decades later, we reconnected, and remembered that friendship, still fondly. Now we find joy in watching each other's families and times through social media and staying in contact that way.
God wants us to have that type of relationship. There are times when I think, I can't wait to talk to God about the day that I was laying on the hill next to our pond Indiana, looking at the sky, and I just really thought how wonderful God was. And then, how joyful my heart was the day that my children were born, and how much more my joy was multiplied when my grandchildren were born. So many times that God shared with me. God was a great part of every one of those moments.
Even on difficult days. I remember sitting at my great-grandfather's funeral, sitting next to my grandmother, his only child, and she was crying. I didn't really know what to say as a six year old, but remember her saying that she knew that her daddy was with God and that he was now happy again. She was sharing that he was now sharing in the joy of what it meant to love God with your whole heart and soul.
When we speak of loving God with our heart and soul, it is about those times that we will celebrate throughout eternity with our best friend.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, I'm so grateful that You are my friend and that one day when I see Your face, I will recognize You as my best friend. Thank You for being that friend, Amen.
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.