April 26, 2010

Why Joy?

Posted in Spiritual Life tagged , at 6:36 pm by Mo Dardinger

Joy is hard. Hard for me to get to. Hard for me to maintain.

Couldn’t the Almighty One require something simpler of us?

How about this for a commandment: chuckle a little every day. I could handle that. I’d just IM one of my fun friends or hunt for jokes online. Funny stuff comes in book form, too. And on DVD. It would be a simple commandment to obey. A cinch.

Or try this commandment on for size: Once a week, do something nice for someone you don’t like. I could do that, too. Maybe not without grumbling a little, but it’s in the realm of what I can handle.

Why did He have to pick joy??? And why does it have to be all the time, without any “time off”?

Always rejoice, constantly pray,  in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:16-18, NET).

Rejoice. Give thanks. Always, not just from time to time.

Joy is not easy. I can’t manufacture it. It’s an imported item, not something that my mind and heart naturally produce.

It’s mid-year-review time at my office, and that makes me keenly aware of my inadequacies (not that they are ever far from me). When I focus on my failures and needs, though, I’m not obeying the commandment to rejoice. This is a major clue, I think. The only way to consistently obey the Father’s command to rejoice is to get our eyes off ourselves.

If you’re proud and blind, like I’ve been most of my life, then you may be happy about where you are, pleased with whom you are. I was for years on end, silly Mo. But most of us who truly know the One who made the space-time continuum know that cannot rejoice in ourselves. To find joy, we must focus on Him, on the Giver. He gave us life. He gives us joy. When we come to Him for it. When we bend our wills to follow His will. When we give up our worries and trust Him.

That may be the key right there. When joy is required, the Giver of Joy is needed.

So if we are successfully rejoicing all the time, then we are going to have to be focused on God and His goodness all the time. There just isn’t any substitute. The Giver of Joy wants us thinking about positive, profitable things — which mostly means thinking about Him, about what He has done for us, and about what His great and good plans for His redeemed are.

Go forth, then, and rejoice!

 

Scripture and/or notes quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C.  All rights reserved.

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April 16, 2010

Crazy Love

Posted in Spiritual Life tagged at 1:23 am by Mo Dardinger

Yesterday was rough, most all day. This morning was rough, too, initially. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so got up to read or pray or just go on crying.

When a friend’s birthday rolled around last month, I had hunted all over Amazon for the right gift. Nothing seemed to click. So, as the time was getting short, I visited a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Nothing immediately struck me as a good gift there, either. So I found a clerk. I described my friend as a solid believer, mentioned a book he liked, and asked for help. The clerk suggested one of their best sellers, a red paperback called “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God.”

My friend hasn’t said whether he likes it or not. But I picked up a copy for myself, too, and this morning I dipped into it. It’s going to be my favorite book for a long while, I think. It’s deep. It’s special. It’s calling me to step out of the boat and walk on the water. I want to. I really, really want to. If I can just stop being self-centered long enough, I will. Dry eyes and wet feet. And plenty of faith and generosity. That’s the new Mo.

April 11, 2010

No Kit Kats, and That’s That

Posted in Spiritual Life tagged , , , at 5:06 am by Mo Dardinger

My husband Dave and I have been studying the Feasts of the Lord. We even taught an adult class about them a couple of years ago.

The spring feasts all serve as prophecies for the Messiah’s first coming. Passover was fulfilled in the Lord Yeshua’s sacrificial atoning death, while Firstfruits was fulfilled in his miraculous resurrection. The gift of the Holy Spirit at Shavuot (Pentecost) fulfilled that prophesied feast. The fall feasts will, in like manner, be fulfilled in every detail when the Lord Yeshua returns to take back Israel and the earth from the forces of darkness.

When I arrived home from the office on Wednesday, after a longer-than-normal day, I was surprised to find Dave rushing about gathering up and throwing out all the leavened products — crackers, bread, stuffing. We hadn’t talked about doing the “hunt for the leaven” — though since I am the Clue Hunter, you’d think I might have had a clue. I joined in, eating the half a hamburger (with leavened bun) that I’d brought home from lunch, then tossing, tossing, tossing.

We did it. We managed to haul out all of the trash bags before sundown. (Some of the other contents of the refrigerator were cleaned out as well, and the advertising magazines from our mail went, too.) All the leaven, which represents sin in the Bible, was gone. *whew*

After sunset, we enjoyed a wonderful meal and watched a Zola Levitt video about the Passover seder (the service accompanying the meal). He claims the Last Supper was a seder, which others dispute, but that’s not the point for now.

The next day, we discovered a Kit Kat candy bar on the sideboard where we had lots of other candy. Oops. The crackers in the Kit Kat bars contained yeast. Contraband. Leaven.

Then we found a half-eaten bag of crackers that had yeast. They had been on the kitchen counter and were lost among all the bags and boxes Dave had sifted through. More leaven.

When we were treated to dinner by our nephew and his family a few days later, we shared this story with them. It’s so typical of our lives. We can hunt and hunt for the sin that lurks inside us. But we will always miss some. It can be small, it can be easily overlooked, it can be an attitude that everyone around us shares with us. But it has to go. No excuses. No compromises. No Kit Kats, and that’s that.

Rightly Aligned with the Universe

Posted in Spiritual Life tagged , , , , at 4:36 am by Mo Dardinger

Once I had a friend named Dean. He didn’t believe in God — or tried to convince us that he didn’t. I wasn’t the most persuasive advocate for the Lord. But when I made a concerted effort to root out the sin in my life, to confess it, to make everything right with God . . . WOW! I found great joy and peace. I was much happier and more content than normal.

My friends noticed, especially Dean. My explanation intrigued him, too. I told him that by forgiving everyone who had hurt me, I was now rightly aligned with the Universe. And so I was. And so he could have been. And so we all can be. For to agree with God about our sins and to stop holding others at fault for their sins, this brings us into alignment with the Almighty, and thus with the Universe that He has created.

April 2, 2010

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:50 am by Mo Dardinger

Well, it’s about time I made my debut on WordPress.com. So many ideas, so few live people around to share them with!

This blog will mainly be whatever I find interesting at the moment. That’s the plan, at any rate. Perhaps other blogs will spin off eventually as an expression of particular lines of research or delight. For now, it all falls here. That’s what the Categories are for, Mo thinks. To separate the posts into their own nice niches. (And if a niche isn’t nice, it hardly belongs on a Mo blog.)