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19014_Woman_Praising

“Sacrifice thank offerings to God . . . and call on me in the day of trouble;

    I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:14-15).

Heels bouncing. Arms upraised. Palms waving. I did the happy dance today. Full-on, Snoopy-style. A long wait sweetens good news, and I had waited over a year for an acceptance letter. Could’ve sworn I tasted chocolate while reading.

I love champagne truffles as much as any girl, but I’m more thankful for achievements. Success and answered prayers fire up my worship to a near-charismatic levels. Hand-raising tends to linger outside my comfort zone. When gratitude for provision and healing bubbles up from my soul like a wellspring, I can hardly help myself.

Christ receives my best praise when things go well. Do I offer the same level of gratitude during tough times? I pour out passionate prayers, declaring the power and perfect nature of God. I cry out, reach out, and plead. But days of trouble don’t bring out my Snoopy-style, charismatic thankful dance.

Eternal, indefatigable blessings remain with me at all times, bright or dark. The Holy Spirit promises never to leave me. Christ redeemed my soul and declares me an heir to heaven. The All-Powerful Creator adores me as a Father. Whether I see circumstances working out in my current moment or not, the Lord assures me of His presence. God promises to work out the big picture for my good, and I can trust Him with the immediate details. His goodness never fluctuates. Christ’s most significant blessing remains with me always. Jesus deserves my happy dance every day.

In Psalm 50:14-15, the Lord promises two bonuses if we offer thanks when we’re in trouble. He first assures our deliverance, a cherished gift of His grace. A grateful attitude provides additional perks. Praise shifts our mindset toward hope. Faith grows and strengthens. We secure our footing in the awareness of God’s presence. Thankful prayer offerings sustain and support us through trying circumstances. The privilege of new status gleams on our souls like a crown, for He lifts us up as those who honor Him.

I’m a fan of pleasing my Lord, so I set a new prayer objective. Every day, rejections and life-worries notwithstanding, I plan to fire up some thankful Snoopy waving. I’m working on my “Woot!” Will you join me?

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving: (Psalm 69:30).

We travel the daily paths of life as vagrants. Our home exists in another Kingdom. We wear rags now, as opposed to the robes of our inheritance. Passers by hurl insults and treat us with contempt. Betrayal can dim the light around our campfires. Life’s rough journey can sap our strength. Chilly nights and painful days can tempt callouses to grow over our tender hearts. Some of us begin adopting the mindsets of the world’s residents.

Then the uncommon peddler arrives, selling without taking payment from customers. He wears rags, like we do, but dances in them. Expressing thanks for his walk, he wraps the blisters on his soles. The peddler grants compassion to the hecklers, the back-stabbers, and their victims. His smile blares a silent melody. The insults fade into background noise in his presence. He sings to brighten the fires, and springs onto the road with vigor each morning. The peddler discourages us from marveling at his indefatigable joy. Instead, he offers the secret to living an awe-drenched life. He refuses compensation, since the joy came to him free of charge. In fact, he insists all Kingdom citizens have access to it already.

We lean in, expecting a profound discipline of daily steps. His recipe seems too simple at first. “Seek God. Seek the Lord with all your heart. Cling to His love with your mind and soul. Let nothing else shift your focus from the love of Christ. What you seek, you will likely live by.”

If I look for sunshine, I can find its light despite a thick cover of storms. If I scour the day’s journey in search of beauty, I will find some remnant of creation to satisfy my pursuit. Complaints present themselves with little effort, and it takes no work to discover a shadow. I must choose my focus with determination, or my mindset will slide into the world’s default setting of darkness. I don’t want the common life of likely pity and despair. I will aspire to peddle the secret to indefatigable joy, clinging to the love of my Savior until I am no longer a vagrant. I might not model it with perfection at first, but Kingdom citizens don’t have to journey this road alone. Perhaps we can support one another’s efforts to dance on sore feet and brighten the campfires with His love.

“I say these things …so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them…the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world... I pray also …that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me… I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” – John 17:13-25

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

I peer into a hole in the mud. About two and a half inches in diameter, it sinks at an angle to a depth I cannot see. No one has walked along this side of the house in months, so I rule out poles and sticks. The abundant squirrels and overgrown weeds offer prime real estate features for a snake. I straighten and back away, my soles sinking into damp earth and stirring its musty odor into the breeze. 

I leave impressions with each step as I head across the northern lawn. Robins weave their nest in our hedge and stir melodies into the backyard air. Slug trails glisten across the deck. All creatures leave evidence of their life’s path, even the cunning serpent. Will I leave more behind than muddy depressions?

Once inside, I remove my shoes and socks. If I don’t change out of my grimy footwear, I will undo all the cleaning I finished yesterday and ruin the pleasant accommodations for everyone else in our home. I slip on fresh socks and wool-lined mules, banishing the odor of mud from my soles.

As a child, I dreamed of wearing slippers made of glass or rubies. Life’s path ought to become a spangling dance to share joy with a technicolor world. Real life differs from my idyllic hopes. My tennis shoes don’t sparkle, and I must trudge through mud and dodge snake holes.

The walk of a disciple requires certain footwear–protective layers over the soul. Wrapped in the light of God’s truth, my spiritual feet shimmer with greater brilliance than any of my youthful dreams. There are serpents and worldly filth to contend with in my work, but I must leave the mud at the doorstep. Evil threatens to contaminate my mind, heart, and spirit each day. Dark attitudes set me back and their odor impacts others in my environment. I must remain vigilant with maintenance, or face a lengthy cleansing process. My soles need daily refreshment in prayer and scripture.

With the right footwear, I can leave liquid light prints behind me. I now hope to dance in squishes and shimmers. If I follow the lead of the King’s Spirit, a fragrant trail of compassion, generosity, and praise can stir Christ’s aroma into the air along my life’s path.

Lord, please guide me to leave sweet, fragrant impressions of Your splendor in all the steps of our dance together on this earth.

Matthew 5:14; 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

 

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