Getting Your Joy Back!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

I have been asked a few times to reprint this post, so I am today! I hope it blesses you! 

One Sunday after church, we had all the family over for a birthday party for our two granddaughters, Madeline and Macy. Being seven and eight, they loved birthday parties. It was a great day of eating, fun, and of course—presents and cake. It was a gorgeous day outside and so after the party, I asked my daughter if I could take the girls on a walk with me. We live close to a beautiful walking path along a mile stretch of wild flowers and a creek. 

As we were leaving the house, they each wanted to bring their new dolls they had just received for their birthday. Generally I won’t let the girls bring them on a walk, but I made an exception. As we were walking, they were little chatterbugs. Macy piped in first, Papa, that was the best birthday ever! I love my doll so much. I was praying I would get a Tiana princess doll. I love her so much Papa! Madeline had also received the same doll, but another version. Papa I love my doll too. Since Macy and me have the same one I am going to name mine Ashley. I love my Ashley Tiana doll too papa. And on and on they both went about how much they loved the dolls and how it was their favorite present. Renee had done well and I was getting too much credit but I was happy that they were happy.

We had a fun walk and the girls made it much more active than just a walk. I watched the girls balancing on any ledge they could tightrope walk on. They repeatedly burst off into a run— challenging me to catch them. And along the way, we make a pit stop at a park with playground equipment they wanted to explore and play on. It was 15 minutes of Papa, watch me! as they showed off their climbing and high jump feats. And we were soon visited by ducks looking for someone to feed them. I had brought birdseed along in case that happened.

We were having such a great time when suddenly, Madeline noticed that one of the shoes of her doll was missing. We backtracked and looked but didn’t find it. A short time later, Macy cried out, Papa, I lost Tiana’s tiara! It took me a minute to figure out that was her little crown. So again we backtracked while I was thinking, This is why I make my rules and don’t let them bring dolls on the walk. This is your bad, Tim. I stayed patient, we prayed, and we looked and looked, but we didn’t find either.

As we were getting near home, I asked them, Did you girls have fun on the walk? Madeline immediately responded, No, I lost my dolly’s shoe. I didn’t have fun. Macy said nothing but looked up at me with sad puppy eyes. I looked at them both and began to rattle off all the things we just had fun doing. Madeline looked up and said, You’re right, Papa. We had lots of fun. It’s okay if I lost one shoe. We still had fun. Macy smiled and agreed.

This little adventure came on the day that the Lord spoke to my heart during my morning devotional time. The words “Think on these things…” from Philippians 4:8 really spoke to my heart that morning. It said, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—think and meditate on these things.”

The Lord spoke to me that morning about keeping my focus and thinking on good things—not letting things that don’t really matter distract or steal my joy and invade my thought-life.

This walk with the girls was a quick example of how a small setback almost stole the joy of the entire day. When I reminded the girls of all the fun things we did, they immediately lit back up and agreed and changed their mind.

The enemy of our soul is a thief and would like us to focus on the negatives so they overshadow all the good the Lord brings into our life. And so His solution to that is, “Think on these things…”

Philippians 4:8 (Message Bible) “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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