Let the joy bells ring

By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist

Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Say “I love you” to someone dear. This opportunity may be gone tomorrow. Please don’t wait until “this or that happens” to be happy. If you cannot be happy now…this breath breathing, heart beating moment then when will you be happy?
Please don’t waste precious time in self-pity reviewing the unfairness and injustices of your life.
Today is now. The past is past. The future is not here yet. By the way, aren’t you glad you don’t know the future? Yet we know the One who holds the future and our trust in him gives peace.
I like to call life “delicious.” If I had never been born, I would have missed every thing. The cooing of doves, sunrise and sunsets, the smell of rain against my window pane, knowing the depths of love with that “one and only,” the joy of three marvelous sons and grandchildren … how could I not treasure that?
I believe God has a plan for every person born. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
So let’s celebrate life. It is glorious. Taste it. Smell it. “Life is delicious!”
Go barefooted. Sing. Laugh. Smile. Give yourself away. You’ll win the prize.  It is called joy. “…For the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10
This beautiful planet was made for our enjoyment.  So enjoy it, for “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”  (James 1:17).
Delight yourself in the Lord. We are his delight and he even sings over us.  (Zephaniah 3:17) Did you know we are married to him? Reading that marriage license makes me happy. (Jeremiah 3:14)
I’m so glad to be alive. Aren’t you? Every day I thank the Lord for my time to live and the time I’ve had to love others. I’ve discovered it’s not what life does to you but how you react to it that counts. Happiness depends on circumstances. Joy is a fruit of the spirit.
Think of the happiest time you have ever experienced on earth. Heaven will be indescribably better.
When our youngest son graduated from high school, he walked across the stage, stopped and gave his Dad, the high school principal, a giant bear hug.  The crowd cheered and I cried.
One unforgettable Christmas occurred when my husband took me in his arms and said, “Next to Jesus, you are my special gift.”
On the second day of school one year, a cute little second grader came bounding in my classroom with a bouquet of flowers. The card read, “Teacher, I love being in your class. Love, from Scott.”
These are just a few memories of the love that makes happy days for me, yet the happiest day of all is revealed in 1 Peter 1:8: “Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (NIV)
Check your spiritual joy level. Make a list of all of your blessings. You will run out of paper. Joy comes from gratitude. Joy comes from unselfishness. Joy comes from serving. Joy comes from Jesus. Let him give you joy. He is God’s gift to the world. Everyone has two choices. One leads to life everlasting.
Let’s make happy days because life is delicious!
Let the joy bells ring!