Sunday, February 21, 2010

Daniel 9:3-10
Psalms 63, 98, 103
Hebrews 2:10-18
John 12:44-50

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing…” (Psalm 98: 4,5)

One of my earliest and fondest childhood memories is singing in Sunday School in our tiny United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania. I loved those songs – “If You’re Happy and You Know It…,” “Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain…,” “This Little Light of Mine…,” -- and many more. I loved doing the motions, and I especially loved when Mrs. Linaberry asked me to come to the front, stand on a chair, and sing a solo. Why she asked me, I have no idea, but I’d stand on that chair and sing my heart out. For as long as I can remember, I believed in God and loved Him, and one way I expressed that love at a young age was by singing.

When I was in elementary school I joined a JOY Club, led by a woman from our church. We met once a week in her home, memorized Bible verses, and, of course, sang. The JOY Club song began and ended like this: “Jesus and Others and You, what a wonderful way to spell Joy…. Put yourself last and spell Joy.” I was a joyful little girl, and I often sang the song to remind myself that God came first.

More recent memories of joyful singing are from our time in Panama from 1998-2001. We attended Balboa Union Church in the old Panama Canal Zone, and one of our ministries was to serve Sunday dinner at Brown’s Home, a humble little house for the elderly in the hills of Panama City. It was a wonderful ministry that we did as a family, and one of the residents, George, will live in our hearts forever. George is blind, not from birth or illness, but because years ago he put a gun to his head after losing his job and his wife. When we met George we had no idea of his past pain and suffering, because he was always so joyful and truly thankful for his blessings. And every Brown’s Home visit ended with a wonderful treat -- George singing in his beautiful baritone voice, “How Great Thou Art…”

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the many reasons You have given me to be joyful. Let me always sing your praises, like the little girl on the chair in Sunday School, with a heart full of love for You.

--JAP

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