Joy to the World – backstory

Let every heart
prepare Him room,
And heaven and
nature sing.

One of our most popular Christmas carols is the result of the efforts of Isaac Watts and Lowell Mason— and, some believe, George Frederick Handel. Watts was a frail, quiet man only five feet tall. Mason was an energetic publisher, choir director, and composer. Handel was a large, robust musical genius. Handel and Watts were contemporaries in London and one imagines they must have appreciated each other’s talents.

In 1719 Isaac Watts, already a notable scholar and author, sat down under a tree at the Abney Estate near London and began to compose poetry based on Psalm 98. Watts had begun writing verses as a small child. In his teen years he complained that the songs in church were hard to sing. His father said, “Well, you write some that are better.” And so he did. For the next two years, young Isaac wrote a new hymn each week. (He would eventually write more than 600 of them, all based on Scripture.)

In 1741 George Frederick Handel, who was already famous as the composer of several operas and oratorios, decided that he wanted to do a truly great work. After spending time in prayer, he arose from his knees and for 23 days labored almost continuously day and night. The immortal Messiah, now a Christmas tradition, was the fruit of that incessant struggle.

A nobleman once praised Handel for the “entertainment” he had furnished in one of his compositions. In no uncertain terms Handel let the nobleman know that his music was composed to make men better, not to entertain them.

Almost a century later, Lowell Mason set Watts’s poem of “joy” to music. For years it was assumed that Mason used tunes from Handel’s Messiah for portions of the arrangement, but the veracity of that claim is now debated among scholars. Listeners can judge for themselves. But this we know: It was Mason who ultimately brought the pieces together to give us “Joy to the World.”

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O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Backstory

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is an Advent hymn with Christian Latin tune name “Veni Emmanuel” (Come God with Us.) Its history originates in the medieval Roman Catholic Church, c.12th century. It was translated into English by John Mason Neale (1818-1866).
Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas, is the season of the church year that emphasizes the anticipation of Christ’s first coming to earth. His coming as the Messiah was first prophesied in the sixth century B.C. when the Jews were captives in Babylon. For centuries, faithful Hebrews looked for their Messiah with great longing and expectation, echoing the prayer that he would “ransom captive Israel.”

Early Beginnings of the Text and Melody

During the Advent season, the hymn began as a series of Antiphons-short statements sung at the beginning of the Psalm or of the Magnificat at Vespers. Each of the Antiphons greets the Savior with one of the various titles He is referred in the Scriptures, names such as “Emmanuel,” “Lord of Might,” “Key of David,” and “Rod of Jesse.” The text melody was originally a Plainsong or Chant, which is the earliest form of singing in the church.

Merry Christmas

Luke:1 So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you…….

Jesus’ Last Miracle: Ear Restoration

Interesting thoughts in this entry:
1. Biblical locations add meaning to events
2. An angelic battle on a massive scale.
3. A record of the only external wound Jesus ever heals in the Bible: His last miracle.
4. God places a witness to Himself in the High Priest’s house
5. The High Priest’s slave becomes a Christ Follower.
6. Peter denies Jesus not because he was a coward, but because he is trying to avoid a fight.

I decided to take a look at a very strange incident in the New Testament.  When the soldiers come to arrest Jesus, several strange and interesting things happen, one of which is Peter takes a sword and cuts someone’s ear off.  Let’s take a look at this event:

Luke 22:35 Then Jesus said, “When I sent you out and told you to travel light, to take only the bare necessities, did you get along all right?” “Certainly,” they said, “we got along just fine.”36 He said, “This is different. Get ready for trouble. Look to what you’ll need; there are difficult times ahead. Pawn your coat and get a sword.37 What was written in Scripture, ‘He was lumped in with the criminals,’ gets its final meaning in me. Everything written about me is now coming to a conclusion.” 38 They said, “Look, Master, two swords!” But he said, “Enough of that; no more sword talk!” A Dark Night39 Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him.40 When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”41 He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed,42 “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?”43 At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him.44 He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.45 He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief.46 He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”47 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him.48 Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”49 When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?”50 One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.51 Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.52 Jesus spoke to those who had come—high priests, Temple police, religion leaders: “What is this, jumping me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal?

Lets try and live through the incident like we are in the story as opposed to just glossing over the information. First the location is meaningful.

Location

They are at the Garden of Gethsemane which is at the foot of the Mount of Olives.  The Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1;26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany (the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead less than 2 miles away) and the place where Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. Jesus is said to have spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew 24-25), including the Olivet discourse, returning after each day to rest (Luke 21:37), and also coming there on the night of his betrayal (Matthew 26:39). At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane. The New Testament, tells how Jesus and his friends sang together – “When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” Gospel of Matthew 26:30. Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mt of Olives as recorded in the book of Acts 1:9-12.

It is probably very quiet and peaceful and slow there as opposed to the crush of the crowds they are used to.  The disciples and followers fall asleep as Jesus pulls about 50 feet away from them to pray.  They did this regularly which is how Judas was able to find them.  It says the disciples fell asleep “drugged by grief”.  I would guess that as a result of what Jesus said at the last supper they were just now realizing what was taking place.  I can only imagine the conversations they were having as they fell asleep trying to put together all the pieces.  So stop to marvel at the meaning of the location Jesus is praying at.  Jesus is about to be crucified and He is fully aware of the future.  Above Him is the very place He will ascend into Heaven after His resurrection and also appear at His second coming.

Angelic Battle

I am also fascinated by the angel that comes to strengthen Jesus.  I guess it is important for us to note that the second Jesus aligns Himself with God’s will, an angel is there immediately to strengthen Him. I remember the story in Daniel 10:12-14 where Daniel is praying and the angels Gabriel describes what went on in the heavenlies: “From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your prayer was heard, and I set out to come to you. But I was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

So the fact that an angel was immediately by Jesus side for something the enemy wanted to make sure happened (Jesus’ death) shows that a heavenly battle of some large magnitude had already taken place with God’s angels beating and then holding back the angels of darkness so they could not delay or interrupt God’s plan.  I wonder if Satan was wondering why God’s angels were standing by (in a position of power) and not trying to stop the execution of God’s son.  And as soon as the angel strengthens Jesus it says He prays all the harder which leads me to believe the enemy was interfering with His prayers.

Jesus’ Last Miracle

OK so now in this quiet setting, disciples sleeping, Jesus praying, the group arrives to take Jesus which includes Judas, Roman soldiers and the High Priest’s main man Malchus with Malchus leading the party.  Once they are upon the disciples Peter reacts by cutting off a piece of Malchus’s ear.  In this story I always thought it strange that Peter would draw a sword and cut someone’s ear off.  It seemed out of place.  But when you read Luke you see that there was allot of sword talk prior to the incident which Peter, as usual, took literally (Luke 22:28).

What is also interesting about the servant is that he was the high priest’s head servant and also that he is mentioned by name.  If he is mentioned by name, then that leads me to believe that he became part of the early church because Luke is mentioning him by name 50 years after the incident, otherwise I think he would just be referred to as the “High Priest’s servant” in an anonymous fashion.  It also makes sense that Malchus would become a believer after the miracle.  I see a calculated plan and a sense of humor on God’s part in all this.   Later, after Jesus has been crucified and has risen again and the religious leaders are trying to play everything down saying Jesus is not who He said He was, people are showing up at the High Priest’s house and want to know the story of all that happened.  And when they get to part of the story about the capture of Jesus, Malchus recounts the miracle of the healing of his ear every time the story is told.  I can just see the High Priest ordering Malchus to shut up and not tell that part of the story.  I get a chuckle out of thinking that every time the High Priest looks upon his main servant he has to be thinking about the miracle.  So now there is a witness to Jesus’ divinity in the High Priest’s house.  This also seems to be the only external wound that Jesus is recorded as healing in the Bible.

Am I the only one that finds it interesting that Peter is ready to fight for Jesus here against Roman soldiers but denies him later?  Does this mean Peter’s denial later was to avoid a fight because Jesus had admonished him about fighting with a sword earlier rather than Peter being a coward as we all have in our minds?

Jesus the Twenty Something

Painting by Gerard (Gerrit) van Honthorst 1590 – 1656

Have you ever been put off by the fact that what Jesus did in his younger years is not in the Bible anywhere?  Many an amusing discussion has been had about what the raising of a sinless child must have been like.  I bet that this was the number one question Mary got from other mothers: “What was the Son of God like as a child?”  It seems the writers of the Bible were simply trying to record Jesus’ public ministry, not His private life.  This drives most of us crazy.  If I get access to Mary in heaven, this is what I am asking about.  I hope she is not tired of telling the stories by then.

Lets look at what Jewish tradition would have involved Jesus in.  The education and stages of life of a typical Jewish man in Jesus’ day are described in the following rabinnic saying:

At 5 years of age the study of Scripture (written Torah)
At 10, the study of Mishnah (oral Torah)
At 13, subject to the Commandments (Bar Mitzvah)
At 15, the study of Talmud (rabbinic legal decisions)
At 18, the bridal canopy
At 20, for pursuit (of livelihood)
At 30, the peak of strength

Are you not amazed that this is when Jesus’ ministry started – at the age of 30?  He was at the peak of strength and knowledge.  This fascinates me.  But this is a great framework for what Jesus early years must have been about.  I wonder if at 18 His parents tried to fix him up with someone.

I can just see this rabbi later in life as everyone is bragging about their jobs and he gets to say “yes well………….I was God’s teacher”.

Now lets look at what the Bible does tell us:

Luke 2:21 When the eighth day arrived, the day of circumcision, the child was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived.22 Then when the days stipulated by Moses for purification were complete, they took him up to Jerusalem to offer him to God23 as commanded in God’s Law: “Every male who opens the womb shall be a holy offering to God,”24 and also to sacrifice the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” prescribed in God’s Law.

Verse 21 begins with the circumcision of Jesus when he was eight days old. This is when the new baby was named by Joseph.  Joseph would have been the only one allowed in the temple at the baby’s young age. The circumcision is recorded in verse 21. The presentation of Jesus is recorded in the next verse, but this event occurred much later. After giving birth, a Jewish woman had to wait forty to eighty days before going through the process of purification. Then she would enter the temple. It was at this time that verse 22 tells us about Jesus being presented to the Lord. So the child was anywhere from one and a half to three months old at the time of his presentation. The first-born son was always dedicated to service for the Lord. In the event of the father’s death, the first-born son assumed the spiritual leadership of the family.

There were two possible offerings that Joseph and Mary could have brought. Verse 24 tells us they brought the offering provided for poor people. Barnes comments, “By Mary offering these [turtledoves] she showed her poverty. And our Savior, by coming in a state of poverty, has shown that it is not dishonorable to be poor. “

Matthew 2:13 After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”14 Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight.15 They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Next, we find the young child moving to Egypt with his family. He stayed there until Herod was dead. At that time his family returned to Nazareth. Barnes suggests that Jesus might have been in Egypt two years so he could have been in Egypt until he was four years old. The prophecy Matthew gives is from Hosea 11:1. Certainly by the time Jesus left Egypt with his family, he was a young child running around with other children and his personality of caring and compassion was already beginning to manifest itself.

Luke 2:40 There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.

While in Nazareth the child grew and apparently learned the carpentry trade from his earthly father, Joseph. In Mark 6:3 Jesus is identified as a carpenter. He must have enjoyed working with his hands. Here in Luke 2:40 we have a description of Christ’s growth as a child. The first thing this verse tells us is that Jesus “became strong,” in other words he grew physically. He was not weak or frail. Working in the carpentry trade no doubt helped to strengthen him. He was the kind of person that rugged fishermen would feel comfortable being with. Verse 40 also tells us Jesus was “filled with wisdom,” in other words he grew mentally. Many of his followers were educated people. Levi and Zacchaeus were financially astute. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were learned men. And finally verse 40 tells us that Jesus had “the favor of God” upon him, in other words he grew spiritually.

Luke 2:41 Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover.42 When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast.43 When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it.44 Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors.

Now we come to the one extended story of Jesus as a child found in the Bible. He was twelve years old. Apparently Jesus was a very outgoing child who made friends with others easily. Mary and Joseph didn’t even realize he was missing until a day later. They had simply assumed he was with the other relatives or friends. This indicates that this was not an unnatural occurrence. It also indicates the trust his parents placed in him. They must have considered him a responsible child to leave without knowing his exact whereabouts.

It seems there is allot more information than we thought about “twenty something” Jesus.

Here’s Mud in Your Eye

The story of Jesus healing the blind man in John chapter 9 by spitting into the mud and then rubbing it into the man’s eyes has all at once disturbed and delighted me since I can remember.  Recently I was watching “The Gospel of John” and saw this event portrayed and I became curious again so I went “exploring”.  Because of my personality type I see meaning in many things, so I went looking for God’s hidden meaning.  And there must be hidden meaning because Jesus before had healed people like the Centurion’s son by simply saying he would be well without even going to the house.  So why this bit with the mud in the eyes?  Here is what I found.

The setting is Jerusalem near the Pool of Siloam.

John 9

1 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth.2 His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”3 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.4 We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over.5 For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”6 He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes,7 and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw.8 Soon the town was buzzing.

Notice the disciples question about the man committing a sin. The disciples ask this question because it reflected rabbinic theology. The rabbis wrongly extrapolated the general principle that sickness is a result of human rebellion against God (the Fall) to a rigid casuistic system which attributed each and every sickness to specific sins. In congenital cases like this one, some rabbis argued that the cause was pre-natal sin by the fetus; others argued that the cause was the mother’s sin while pregnant.  Jesus rejects this explanation, and explains instead—not that God caused this sickness—but that God’s sovereign purpose included both permitting this man’s sickness and effecting his healing.

Why did Jesus heal the man in this way, instead of in his usual way (instantaneous upon speaking the word)? The best explanation is that he was again provoking a controversy with the Pharisee’s concerning their Sabbath laws. John 9:14,16 tell us that Jesus healed the man on a Sabbath. As we have seen before, rabbinic teaching perverted this humane Old Testament provision into a straight-jacket catalog of Blue Laws. In healing this man on the Sabbath, Jesus violated four of their rules: plowing (spittle rolling on the dirt), kneading (making the clay), anointing (putting clay on the man’s eyes), and of course healing (illegal unless a life-threatening emergency).

(The above facts found at Xenos Christian Fellowship website)

But there is more going on here than a spectacular healing miracle that doubles as a protest against unbiblical Blue Laws.  A statement is going to be made about spiritual blindness.  So here is some deeper meaning that I found for myself.  First I wanted to see what was significant about the Pool of Siloam.  The Pool of Siloam is fed by the Gihon Spring. The Gihon Spring was the main source of water for the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem. A reliable water source that made human settlement possible in ancient Jerusalem – the spring was not only used for drinking water, but also initially for irrigation of gardens in the adjacent Kidron Valley which provided a food source for the ancient settlement.  I do not think it is any accident that the water the man washed his eyes in came from the water source that made settlement at the sight of the original Jerusalem possible.  The water was literally life giving.  It is also significant that the pool is outside the walls of the city, for it was “outside the walls of the city” that Jesus was taken to be crucified.

This from Biblegateway.com referring to John chapter 7 (two chapters earlier):

John now takes us to Jesus’ shocking, clear claim made on the last and greatest day of the Feast (v. 37). On each day of the feast there was a procession of priests to the pool of Siloam to draw water (m. Sukka 4:9). The priests returned to the temple, where the water was taken in procession once around the altar with the choir chanting Psalms 113-118, and then the water was poured out as a libation at the morning sacrifice. All-night revelry lead up to this morning libation. This was a time of joy so great that it was said, “He that never has seen the joy of the Beth he-She’ubah [water-drawing] has never in his life seen joy” (m. Sukka 5:1; cf. Deut 16:14-15; Jubilees 16:20, 25). This joy was associated with Isaiah 12:3, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” On the seventh day of the festival the priests processed around the altar with the water not once but seven times (Bloch 1980:200; cf. Beasley-Murray 1987:113 for a more detailed description).

At this high point of the festival Jesus dramatically cries out loudly (krazo, as in v. 28), If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink (v. 37). If he spoke this invitation during the revelry, he would have to shout just to be heard. But we have also an allusion to the image of Wisdom, calling out, inviting all mankind to come and drink (cf. Prov 8–9; Sirach 24:19). What Jesus offers is the fulfillment of the very things they were celebrating. Here is grace upon grace (Jn 1:16). Here the Son is repeating the offer of the Father, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters” (Is 55:1). Indeed, he is fulfilling the role of God, who “will guide them and lead them beside springs of water” (Is 49:10). His offer shows he is far more than just a prophet or an agent; here we have God himself offering us life.

So putting some of this together, we have the mud.  This event began with Jesus being asked about the man’s sin.  The Rabbinical thinking being that it was caused by “the fall” which would have come from the original Adam who was made from the earth.  When God made man from the Earth is it possible that God’s spittle was used?  Our bodies are made up of about 60% water and our brains about 70% water.  Was Jesus making a point relating to the fall?  Was He making a point about undoing the spiritual blindness as a result of the fall?  Is washing in the pool, a pool that was a source of life for the city of God – Jerusalem,  a symbol of baptism where our spiritual blindness is healed and we are born again?  Notice from the rest of the story that the man not only is healed of his physical blindness, but he also begins to see spiritually.  Jesus IS the light.  Jesus IS the living water.

So now I have worked through being disturbed by this passage of scripture and once again see that the entire event is jam packed with the brilliance of God to communicate so many things on so many levels.  So very, very clever.

I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. Henry David Thoreau

Matthew 14:23
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone…….

Luke 5:15-16 

But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Matthew 1:35
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

“Much of our prayer and worship is within a community.  We sing hymns together. We voice prayers together. We build relationships with fellow believers. Yet sometimes our relationship with God can best be deepened by time spent alone. Some people find solitude more congenial than others.  Not all of us are natural solitaries. But solitude is not yet prayer; it is a way into prayer. Solitude is a door.  When you open the door of solitude, you may find another door behind it.  That is the door of silence. Silence, too, is an environment for prayer. In silence we put ourselves in touch with God and also with our deeper selves.  Thoughts long buried come to the surface.  Long-repressed feelings bubble up. Silence exposes certain issues in our lives, and almost without effort, what is most important comes to the forefront. Now we can place that “most important issue” before God as we pray.”

Doors into Prayer – An Invitation
Emilie Griffin

I have always found it interesting that solitude and quiet is fine for most people until they have to spend it with God.  Once I was having some solitude with God on a two person swing in a garden and I started to pray, but God stopped me and I felt an impression that God just wanted to hang out.  Then it was almost as if I could see God in bodily form in my mind’s eye sitting next to me on the swing.  He was sitting in a casual stance with an arm out across the swing behind my back and He had one leg up.  The thought crossed my mind that this must have been what it was like with He and Adam in the garden of Eden.   It was an awesome thought to me that God just wants to hang out like in the original garden sometimes.  This time with God was not only refreshing but heartwarming.  Did not pray one word.


“‘Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.”

If Gene Kelly had sung “Singing in sun” and it had been a sunny day in the movie within which he did his dance, it would not have been remotely as effective.  We tend to associate rainy days as something negative.  Something that inhibits our ability to get outside and have fun and be happy.  So to see Gene being so happy in the rain touches something deep inside us and tells us that there is something that makes us so happy that even the rain can’t stop it.  Normally deep puddles are a problem for us and stop us from going where we want to go, but Gene happily dances right through them.  We all want to be that happy.  We want a happiness that rises above a rainy day.  Do you remember why Gene is so happy in the movie?  He is in love. So is love the key to happiness?  Surely not this romantic love because that escapes so many of us.

There are many things in this world that can bring us temporary joy and happiness – sufficient money, business success, good health, loving family, loyal friends. But no worldly thing can bring enduring joy and happiness. We might become poor, fail at business, lose our health, or, by separation or death, lose our spouse or our friends.  So here, in my opinion, lies the key to “dancing in the rain”. Check out this story that someone posted:

“It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.  While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.  I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease.  As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.  I was surprised, and asked him, ‘And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?’ He smiled as he patted my hand and said, ‘She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’  I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, ‘That is the kind of love I want in my life.’  True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.   The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.  ‘Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.'”

So happiness has allot to do with perspective but happiness also has everything to do with the reality of God’s love.  You can find a love with God that can make you dance in the rain.  Find your strongest way of connecting with God and bask in his love.  Here is the link to a test that will help you with that: http://common.northpoint.org/sacredpathway.html

And last but not least, watch Gene Kelly dance and see if you can tap into his happiness and imagine feeling that way about God’s love while you watch.

Dreams……the sleeping kind

Had any good dreams lately?  I have heard some wild dreams from people lately and had a few of my own.  So I felt like it was time to take a good look at what people think they really are.  Of course there are pleasant dreams and day dreams when we are not asleep and then there are nightmares.  Here are the top ten nightmares: being chased; drowning; being trapped; partner leaving you; being injured; teeth falling out; being naked in public; missing a plane, train, etc.; contacted by the dead and natural disasters.  They say that when your nightmares recur over and over that your subconscious is trying to tell you something.  The experts say that nightmares should be welcomed as helpful hints towards a better life.  So what does  God say about dreams and how are they used?

Job 33:15 “In a dream, for instance, a vision at night, when men and women are deep in sleep, fast asleep in their beds—16 God opens their ears and impresses them with warnings 17 To turn them back from something bad they’re planning,
from some reckless choice, 18 And keep them from an early grave,
from the river of no return.”

So a dream is a “vision at night”.  Have you ever had a dream that was very real and you wake up scared or mad or sad and then you realize it was just a dream and then you calm down?

Isaiah 29:8 Like a hungry man dreaming he’s eating steak and wakes up hungry as ever,
Like a thirsty woman dreaming she’s drinking iced tea and wakes up thirsty as ever…”

So apparently we are living things out as if they were real.

Numbers 12:6  Listen carefully to what I’m telling you.
If there is a prophet of God among you,
I make myself known to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams.

So God does speak to us in dreams.

Acts 2:16 This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:17 “In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy,
also your daughters; Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.

Do the old men dreams the dreams because they are old and sleep allot so that is the best way for God to speak with them?  lol

So clearly God speaks using dreams.  But it also seems that not all dreams are from God.  We always need to “test the spirits” of these dreams and not get obsessed with dreams and what they might be saying.  If you have a dream that you think is “saying” something, take it to God like you would anything else and ask about it.  The Holy Spirit will guide you in truth.