Daily Devotions

Thank You, Natalie Sleeth

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Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. (Psalm 47:1)

There’ll be joy in the morning on this day.” I loved singing this Natalie Sleeth anthem with a choir. Whenever life gets a little too intense or negative, I sing this song to myself. You might even catch me humming it, if I think everyone is out of ear shot: “With the light of dawn, the dark is gone, they’ll be joy, joy, joy.” There are moments in everyone’s life when we need to be reminded that this present darkness is not everlasting. The dawn will come, and joy will be more evident.

I am between two funerals this week. The funerals are for women 97 years old and 95 years old, and both lived lives of deep faith. When meeting with family and friends, the stories they remembered were overwhelmingly positive and joyous. At the end of your days on this earth, and mine, people will remember the joyous moments you shared with those you loved.

Everyone else thinks about our joyous times far more than our negative moments. Then, why is it that we spend so much time focusing on, and even obsessing on, the negative around us? I am as guilty as the next person. In those moments when the negative seeps into our minds, start humming Joy In the Morning.

Today, just prayerfully read or sing Sleeth’s lyrics to this dear song. Allow the Spirit to bring the joy to your heart and soul.

They’ll be joy in the morning on this day. They’ll be joy in the morning on this day, For the daylight will dawn when the darkness is gone, They’ll be joy in the morning on this day.

They’ll be peace and contentment evermore, They’ll be peace and contentment evermore, Every heart, every voice will rejoice on that day, They’ll be peace and contentment evermore.

There’ll be love and forgiveness everywhere, There’ll be love and forgiveness everywhere, And the way of the Lord will that day will be restored, There’ll be love and forgiveness everywhere.

May the God of joy be with you, evermore!

Doctor's Orders

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Zechariah 8:5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets,is part of a larger passage describing God’s ideal Promised Land.

 

 

 

I don’t have an answer in today’s devotion. Nothing more than an observation. I’ve felt it for years now. All the years we raised our daughter I saw it but struggled to help her or ourselves. Michelle Woo reports, “Doctors are now being told to prescribe play. The American Academy of Pediatrics details the urgency of the matter in a policy statement.” We’ve known for some time that we’ve over scheduled our children. Today’s kids do not know how to play baseball without a uniform, a coach, and screaming adults, living vicariously with every pitch. When was the last time your child, or grandchild went outside and just started a pickup game?

 

A pickup game has its own learning. First, it develops relationships because it implies you know many other kids in your neighborhood. Second, it requires leadership, as the kids learn to make the games’ decisions on their own. Third, the pickup game asks the kids to compromise. Every kid wants to pitch or play shortstop. Who gets to first? Does everyone get a chance? Who starts in right field? Finally, negotiation is nurtured. What is a strike or a ball? Pickup games don’t have umpires. Which ball is out or in? Who calls a tag out? I would argue that one pickup game teaches a kid more than an entire season of Little League.

 

Play can also extend beyond organized games. Play, at its best, nurtures creativity. I remember my daughter playing in the bathtub. She would line up all her McDonald’s toys, give them names and complex story lines. Each voice would have its own inflection and tone. Each of her stories created new ways of viewing the world and its inhabitants. Not one story was instructed by her parents. The only requirement was that she get out of the tub when her lips turned blue. I’m so glad we didn’t hire her a screenwriting coach.

 

I don’t mean this as a guilt trip. I failed to keep my child’s activities down and the number of play hours up. Pray for your children, grandchildren and other young people. It seems harder each year to carve out time for play. Today, ask God to give you the wisdom to find play in your life and that of your children and grandchildren. By making play a priority in your life, you will model good play in others. Remember Michelle Woo’s statement, “It’s true that unscheduling kids takes a lot more work than it did years ago. But after doing it, you may very well find that your family will be less stressed and happier. And plus, it’s the doctor’s orders.”

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