Joy Out Loud

by Dec 12, 2019Christmas, Christmas 2019, Devotional

“How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.” ~ Luke 1:25 (NLT)

Have you ever met someone with an overwhelmingly positive attitude? Sometimes it can be annoying to be around people who are always cheerful and upbeat, sprinkling verbal sugary sunshine wherever they go. Unless you know their story. When I know someone who has been through hardship and yet remains joy-filled, their positive attitude becomes meaningful.

Elizabeth was such a person. Her story is woven in with the account of her husband, Zechariah, being visited by the angel Gabriel and informed about the coming birth of their son, John. While Zechariah responded with skepticism, Elizabeth’s response was an out-loud exclamation of joy. A child would mean the end of her shameful barrenness. She makes no mention of the inconvenience of her husband’s temporary muteness, but gives God all the praise for blessing her in this way (Luke 1:25).

Fast forward a few months to when Mary, freshly pregnant herself, comes to visit her cousin Elizabeth. The moment Mary says hello, the baby inside Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth has the distinction of being the very first person in the Bible to declare that Jesus is Lord.

She could have responded in many other ways. She could have grumbled about Zechariah’s lack of faith. She could have been jealous that Mary was the one to give birth to the Savior. She could have launched into a complaint about swollen ankles, sciatica or exhaustion. Instead, her faith-filled declaration at Mary’s arrival flows from a heart of joy. She has known the suffering of years of barrenness and disgrace, but hasn’t allowed it to make her bitter. Her positive response keeps the focus on God and His blessings to both herself and Mary.

Maybe you need an attitude check today. Perhaps there is a source of frustration or trouble in your life that is weighing you down. Try borrowing from Elizabeth’s example and joyously proclaiming out loud God’s blessings to you and your loved ones.

Read Luke 1:24-25, 39-45

Quieting the Busy Mind

Quieting the Busy Mind So far in this series, the articles have covered why rest is important, what type of rest suits you best, and how to distinguish your worth from the things that rest keeps you from completing. But how do we actively practice restorative rest...

LPKids Experience July 25

Our Elementary friends finish the month with something Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39. The church in Rome needed some encouragement, and Paul delivered. He wrote, Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love. That’s because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done...

The Dark Night

Following Jesus on the path towards spiritual health sometimes leads us up mountaintops. Here, God's presence is a tangible experience, and activities like prayer, scripture reading, and worship are fulfilling. However, as we continue to follow Jesus, we will...

Enjoy the Silence

Enjoy the Silenceost summers we vacation at the beach with my entire family. That’s 23 people in one house. It’s loud, it’s chaotic, it’s unpredictable, it’s fun. I have so many good memories with my wife and my kids and with my family as a whole...

LPKids Experience July 18

Our K-5 kids look to Ephesians 6:10-17 and see that as Paul wraps up the end of his letter, he focuses our attention on where we can find confidence. Paul encourages the believers to allow God to make them strong. We don’t have to face life on our own. God offers us...

Branching In

Spiritual health is impossible apart from discipleship. We can hardly say that, as Christians, we are spiritually healthy if we are not following the way of Jesus. The question is how do we follow Jesus in a healthy way? It is very easy for discipleship to become...

LPKids Experience July 11

This week our K-5 friends head to Matthew 14:22-33. Peter and the rest of the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee when they noticed a figure walking on the water’s surface. When they finally realize that the figure is Jesus, Peter called out and asked Jesus to...

Knowing Yourself and Your God

Getting to know God ranks high on the list of life’s most meaningful quests. God has revealed Himself to us. He is knowable. And we can grow to know Him in deeper and deeper ways. But our knowledge of God is always connected to the knowledge of ourselves. As we get to...

LPKids Experience July 4

This month our Elementary friends continue our journey to finding our confidence in Jesus.  We will start with an incredible example found in Daniel 3. Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego had their faith put to the test when they chose to obey God rather than bow down to...

Read the Bible

We live in an age of information overload, and the amount of information increases every day. Yet the most important information ever written is contained in one book--the Bible. The words in the Bible, God's words, give us life--spiritual life, eternal life. Jesus...

Day 12 – Galatians 6:11-18

<Back to Reading Plan OverviewDay 12Galatians 6:11-18from the Galatians reading planRead the Word Galatians 6:11-18 | Philippians 3:2-3 | Romans 2:25-29ReflectIt’s so easy to judge other people by what they do or what they say. How can she be a Christian when she...

Day 11 – Galatians 6:1-10

<Back to Reading Plan OverviewDay 11Galatians 6:1-10from the Galatians reading planRead the Word Galatians 6:1-10 | Hebrews 12:11-13 | Proverbs 3:27ReflectIf you’ve ever had a garden, you know that planting seeds is pretty straightforward. If you want to grow...

Day 10 – Galatians 5:16-26

<Back to Reading Plan OverviewDay 10Galatians 5:16-26from the Galatians reading planRead the Word Galatians 5:16-26 | Romans 7:22-23 | Ephesians 5:8-10ReflectJesus has set us free from the penalty of sin. But that doesn’t mean sin is completely gone. As long as we...

Day 9 – Galatians 5:1-15

<Back to Reading Plan OverviewDay 9Galatians 5:1-15from the Galatians reading planRead the Word Galatians 5:1-15 | John 8:31-36 | I Peter 2:16ReflectImagine a convicted criminal, imprisoned for 20 years, who learns that they have been declared innocent and can go...

Day 8 – Galatians 4:8-31

<Back to Reading Plan OverviewDay 8Galatians 4:8-31from the Galatians reading planRead the Word Galatians 4:8-31 | Colossians 2:20-23ReflectPaul is frustrated with the false teachers because they are taking matters into their own hands, adding rules and...