I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo today for one of her 5-minute Friday posts. Fancy joining in? She just gives you a prompt and you write for 5 minutes. Simple. Then you can link your post up to her blog and read others.
Well, this week’s prompt is ‘Song’.
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“We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are fixed on You.” Somebody talked about that just the other day as I sat watching from my lounge, and this morning it came back into my head. Because when we don’t know what to do, that’s the best thing we can do is turn up the music and let songs of praise flood the house. Fix our eyes on Jesus.
“Don’t tell God about your problem; tell your problem about your God” – another quote I heard the other day, and isn’t that true – that the more we focus on our problems the more unattractive we become?
So I’m asking for joy. Asking for songs of joy, from the One who rejoices over me with singing.
Holley asked us to write this week about what brings us joy, particularly relating to our God-sized dream. Of course, if they’re related to a God-sized dream, they’ll be Godly things – not things that contradict His Word. I had one of the most joyful days on Monday, as I sat in a café for 2 hours, having lunch and talking with one of my most treasured friends. Some of you reading this may think: That brings happiness, not joy, but I’d argue the opposite. You see, spending quality time with this friend twice in a month is something I could only have dreamed of a few years ago. It’s precious, and I’m super-grateful to God for it.
Holley says if we look at the things that bring us most joy, that’s a clue to God’s call on our life. God uses what we already have. You see that with Moses in Exodus 2:11-17: He had a passion to bring about justice, and he didn’t always get it right. Look at when he killed that Egyptian, but nevertheless it was there. As my pastor said, it was there as much when he couldn’t stand by and let those shepherds stop his future wife from watering her flocks, as when he went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him to let the Israelites go. You see it with Peter too: He basically had a big mouth! One minute he’d be all-out for God, the next he’d be trying to side-track Jesus, but the Lord eventually used Peter’s words to save 3,000 people in a day. And I see it in my own life: I love singing, I love writing; I feel God’s called me to do both.
So if spending time with family and friends is what brings me joy, maybe people will always be part of God’s call on my life. Maybe I’ll never be like one of those missionaries who travel to foreign nations on their own to spread the gospel, and maybe that’s ok, because it’s not how God made me.
What things bring you joy? Do you see them as part of God’s plan for your life?
Have you ever read the book of Esther? I remember the first time I read it: I couldn’t put it down! Basically what happens is, the queen disobeys the king, so the king is advised never to allow her into his presence again, and to find another girl to be queen instead of her. A Jewess is eventually chosen – a girl called Esther. Actually, her real name is Hadassah, but she’s given the name Esther because she conceals her identity. Esther means Hidden in Hebrew, and if you read the book, you’ll see that God is hidden in the story: He’s not mentioned once, yet His fingerprints are all over.
Esther is in the king’s palace when his second-in-command, Haman, devises a plan to literally wipe every Jew off the face of the earth. He casts the lot (like tossing a coin) to determine when this will take place.
After several days of fasting, Esther goes in to the king without being called, endangering her life. She reveals her identity and requests that her people be saved. A law is written, permitting Jews to defend themselves on the day set aside for their destruction. When they had struck down their adversaries, they celebrated with feasting and called the feast Purim (meaning Lottery) – a reminder to them of Haman’s plot and how God brought relief from their enemies. Purim was a time for giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor (Esther 9:22).
Jews still celebrate Purim today (apparently this year, it’s on 8 March). In the last century, there have been many who’ve set themselves up against the Jewish people (Hitler would be one), but they can keep in mind this principle of thousands of years ago and look to God for relief.
If you want to help Jewish people celebrate, you can send Purim baskets to Israeli victims of terror attacks. You could even send a deluxe basket, which includes children’s toys as well as food. You can read more about it here, and I hope you’ll share the joy of Jewish people around the world.