Shall the Trees Clap Their Hands?

Psalm 55:12-13
“For you shall go out in joy
            and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
            shall break forth into singing,
            and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
            instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD,
            an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Fellow travelers,

Today may bring thorns and briers, but as we travel toward eternity, consider the marvelous picture of nature glorified in a new heaven and earth in this Psalm.

First, the mountains and trees we experience in this world may not be the same as trees in heaven.  They will rejoice when the perfect creation is made manifest because they are not fully what they should be now.  Tolkien may have been thinking of this when creating the Ents of Middle Earth.  If the trees are described as clapping in heaven, what will people do?

Bring some of that joy to this earth.

Second, the Psalm describes a direct reversal of the curse on Adam in Gen 3:17-18, where the ground would be cursed and “thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.”  Instead, the cypress and myrtle will come up.  The new creation will not fight against us, but instead sprout glory after glory.

Bring some of that glory to this earth.

Have a Satisfying Thanksgiving!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,

for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever”
– Psalm 136:1-3

Thanksgiving only makes sense if someone exists to thank, who is good, and has the power to provide what we are thankful for. Fortunately all of those things are true!

Thanksgiving also has more meaning when focused on what is lasting, trustworthy and satisfying:

“There is much in life that is not satisfying. We may be satisfied for a time.  But the pleasures soon pale and satisfaction fades. When we are young and life lies before us, the offerings of the world are not bad, it seems. There is an appeal to fame or wealth or companionship. The hunger of the imagination paints our goals in bright colors. We live on dreams. But what happens when the future doesn’t bring what we ask for? What happens in the face of suffering, death, or sorrow?  What happens in old age? If there is nothing more to life than the things that time takes from us, life becomes misery. On the other hand, if we are united to the living Lord Jesus Christ, who has gone before to prepare for us a place in his presence, then life retains its meaning and is filled with joy.” – November 24 entry from a James Montgomery Boice devotional “Come to the Waters” compiled by D. Marion Clark.

Jesus Knows Everything Will Be OK

Gospel literally means “good news.” What impact should receiving that news have on you and I, and on how we approach all the bad news around us?

This article is worth the read. I’ve been thinking a lot about joy, and part of the journey toward that is taking what the Bible says about it seriously (apparently an oxymoron, but really it’s not). If Paul said he had joy in prison, he actually did. If you don’t believe joy is possible, it will never happen.

And by the way, if I ever finish my next long post, it will be about finding joy in an unlikely place.