Another Year Wiser?

I have to admit that this sixtieth birthday of mine was the hardest of all to accept, and yet, I am so grateful for all God has given me…a career that I enjoy, a husband I love, a supportive family, wonderful friends and so much more. Perhaps I am not only growing older but wiser. But I’m not so sure…so as I take a look back I realize this past year of my life (and yours) has been spent in an unprecedented time in which we were hopefully more reflective, discerning, accepting yet courageous, and yes, even wiser. Why?

We took stock…

Not only of necessities that were in shortage like meat and toilet paper…but of our mental, emotional and spiritual state. It seems we were more aware of how precious not only the necessities of life were but how precious our world, our health, our lives and those of others were, and hopefully we learned not to take them for granted.

We set priorities…

I don’t know about you but I decided, in realizing the above, I wanted to set priorities with my time…yes, there were many moments when I just wanted to escape the news and the reality of the pandemic and ‘crawl back under the covers’…but there were those too when I decided to be more useful to myself and others, by exercising and eating healthy, by doing my book coaching work to the best of my ability, by helping others, sometimes simply by reaching out and calling people to see how they were doing, by making an effort to see those loved ones I could and appreciating the time with them.

We were more mindful and grateful…

I also tried to spend more time with God, by being still, by being grateful and making agratitude list, by being more forgiving of myself and others, by listening to my body, mind, heart, and soul and feeding them with good things, and by truly appreciating the day as it passed by and the sights and sounds of nature around me (so many blue jays in our backyard this year! Such vivid colors in the flowers and trees!) If I fell short of these (and I did at times)…or you feel you did…no time is ever wasted. We can learn from our shortcomings of the past and then move on to do our best today and every day to come. We can always start over. I looked up various Bible quotes on wisdom and this one struck me the most as I overcame turning another decade older, of all places out of the Book of Job, the Bible story on which I based my first novel: “Wisdom is with the aged and understanding in length of days.” (Job 12:12) I pray this is true, but also know I need to work to make it so!

Lord, please keep reminding me how precious each day, each moment is and help me grow wiser with age.
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There is always hope

For a few moments, when the clock struck midnight, I felt a ray of hope on New Year’s Eve that this year, 2021, would be better. And then dark times seemed to set in right away…the news headlines, the increasing rifts in the nation, taking down the Christmas tree and decorations and missing family who had never even seen them due to the pandemic, the coronavirus itself and the impact on the economy and on people, all of which seems to keep getting worse instead of better…well, it’s hard not to get pulled down by gloom and doom right now. It seems all of us know someone who is struggling in these difficult times…with depression, with health issues, even with loss and death.

Still, there is hope.

I was feeling so down recently I decided to play “Bible roulette” as my friend Gus Lloyd does with listeners on his radio talk show, “Seize the Day” on the Catholic Channel, Sirius XM 129. Basically, you pick a number and then look up the corresponding Bible passage. For some reason, the number 1279 popped in my head. I turned to page 1279 of my Bible and found Acts 11:19-25 which tells of how the apostles “were scattered because of the persecution that occurred,” but how they continued to preach about Jesus “and the hand of the Lord was with them.” And I felt hope knowing God is always available with his guiding hand, we just need to reach for it.

We need to persevere.

The journey isn’t always easy. My dad was told five years ago that he had stage four, incurable, inoperable pancreatic cancer and was given months to live. He has continued to defy the odds…and has lived to see two more great-grandchildren born and spend many precious moments with family and friends. Still, he has had to persevere, going regularly for chemo treatments, doctor’s visits and more. He perseveres in taking the actions necessary to hold onto hope. And he’s got my mom to help him.

We need to help each other.

The journey isn’t easy for my mom, his caregiver, either. She has spent countless hours over the past five years making homemade chicken noodle soup for my dad, arranging and then taking him to all of the chemo and doctor’s appointments…the list goes on. And yet, even on the bad days, she stays positive in spite it all. We need to give hope to each other and when our own hope is fading, we need to find a way to keep it alive.

We need to see the light.

Some of us live in places where it is winter, when some days are cold and dreary, and seasonal depression can set in. But there are always days with sun and even some that are warm. If we can look to the light of the sunrise or the stars, or if we can’t see them through the clouds, light a candle in the dark, we can see the light of hope. Jesus is the light of the world. He came when the world was just as dark as it is now. And He is always there.

Dear Lord, help me to persevere in hope, to seek the light in You, and to help others to see it too.

Stay in Touch!

Michele Chynoweth
Author/Speaker/Book Coach
www.michelechynoweth.com
Email: michele@michelechynoweth.com

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Blessings for the New Year

“Write the vision…it will surely come.” (Habukkuk 2:2-3)
For the first time in my life, I made a vision board for 2020. There are times I have felt like scratching through the “20” and writing “21” over it. Of course for the entire world 2020 has been a particularly rough year…quarantining, wearing masks, not seeing loved ones, losing loved ones, looking like strangers to each other, feeling anxiety and fear…the list goes on. I remember starting the year with such hope…with what I thought was “2020 vision.” And now here we are, mustering a new vision for 2021. Not easy. Maybe we are cautiously optimistic and our vision is a little murky or muddled…or perhaps we’re afraid to have one at all. Still I believe God wants us to have faith, to hope for the best and to let the rest (the past) go. And the best way I believe, as God tells Habukkuk, is to write our vision down…again.

There really is power in the pen. I know, I know, I’m a writer so I would say that. But it’s proven to be true…for example, when students take notes at the same time they listen to a teacher, studies show they learn better; they absorb and retain the information more readily. Writing something down, as in a journal, also usually helps with healing and “letting go” of negative emotions. If you’ve never heard of a God box, try making one: basically it’s a small box (any shape or size will do), you can decorate it if you want, and you use it to put inside slips of paper on which you write things you give to God – either negative stuff (like resentments or fears) you wish to let go of, or positive stuff (you pray for) you wish to bring into your life.

When you think to open the box months down the line, usually you find what you wrote has been taken care of. Recently I wrote the name of one of my kids who was struggling with a lot of tough stuff. He called just yesterday to let me know he’s turning things around.

Also, and this may be harder for some than others, try writing a gratitude list for 2020 before you say good bye to it; I am grateful for the “pause” that it gave us…to slow down and literally stop and smell the roses, to appreciate nature, to spend more time alone reflecting on ourselves, being with God, reaching out to others. And you know what? A few things I wrote on my vision board actually did happen…and the rest…well, perhaps a few weren’t meant to be, and the rest I will carry forward into 2021!

And so it is time to let go of 2020…and embrace a new year. Change will take time, but we can all begin anew by taking what we learned, keeping the good memories and letting go of the rest, and boldly heading forward to do God’s will.

Once again, I am thankful for each and every one of you reading this and especially for all of you who respond with kind thoughts and wishes; I am grateful for friends and family, and I am blessed by each and every one of you with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work in 2020. I pray that the New Year holds all good things in store for you and I want to hear how it goes so please stay in touch in 2021!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, bold New Year!

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Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

“For no word from God will ever fail…” (Luke 1:37)
This line from the Gospel of Luke about the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to announce she was to bear a son who would be the Messiah resonates with me since it makes me realize that God has and always has had a plan to save us through his Son from the beginning of time…and that all of the Bible scriptures are tied together to fulfill this event. Other versions are slightly different with the wording, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Which is also a great message for us today.

I still question everything…being a former news reporter (and still one at heart) I tend to investigate, analyze, overthink everything. But sometimes there are no answers for the “why’s” of life…why do we have to suffer, why do we have to learn the hard way, why is there so much sickness and evil in the world…of course the “why’s” can go on forever. I was feeling a true lack of Christmas spirit before this past Sunday in church…frustrated with my writer’s block of late, resentful of having so much work on my plate, anxious about the holidays, and generally restless, irritable and discontent with no spirit of peace or joy.

And then I went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and it all changed. I talked about how I was feeling and you know what? I left and as I sat through the Mass I felt grateful for all I have, for my work and each of my book coaching clients, and for family and friends even though I may not be with them at this time…and it lifted all of the resentment, frustration and negativity I was feeling and I felt peace and joy and even a renewed sense of freedom to go forward and write my next book. The priest suggested I accept and be grateful for all I have today, and that gratitude and acceptance of God’s will and plan must have paved the way for the Christmas spirit to enter into my heart.

I don’t know what the future holds especially with this scary pandemic we still face all around us. But I do know I have been graced with the tools to face anything…and as a child of God I am promised blessings, favor and eternal life. We all are, just like Mary in Luke’s Gospel. Yet even Mary, when she heard the announcement of her impending pregnancy, questioned the angel: “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” To which Gabriel said, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” When filled with doubt I am reminded I need to have faith and courage like Mary that God has a plan for me and it will all work out…to answer like she did: “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

I am thankful for each and every one of you reading this, for friends and family, for all of those with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work these past years…and I sincerely wish you all a blessed, peaceful, joyful Christmas season and a healthy, happy New Year!

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Take Advantage of This Advent Season…

“Prepare the Way of the Lord…” (John 1:3)
Have you noticed there seems to be a Christmas frenzy going on? Of course it’s most likely due to the pandemic, which has caused people to be cooped up for a long time. Apparently people “need a little Christmas right this very minute…” as the song from the Broadway musical “Mame” goes. I think that’s why we’re seeing the flood of what I’ll call the “Christmas crazies” right now: tree farms selling out of trees Thanksgiving weekend, people lining up for miles and waiting for hours in their cars to see Christmas lights, stores running out of Christmas decorations, post office lines out the door…et cetera.

But does this holiday frenzy really serve us spiritually? I know I need to balance the joyful fun of taking my grandkids to see lights and get a tree and then decorating said tree and then mailing all my Christmas cards and then feeling exhausted…phew…with a little spiritual solitude. Some quiet time with God. This 2020 Advent in particular I feel provides an opportunity…we can’t be with others the way we want to be so why not spend some quality time with Jesus…the reason for the season?

This may be a challenge, especially for us ‘Type A’ personalities. I am not, by nature, a homebody. I grew up in a family of go-getters, movers and doers, adventurers, over-achievers, always on the go. I believe this pandemic especially has not suited those of us who fit in this category when it comes to being still. But fortunately we can look to the people in the Bible as examples of how to overcome this:

Take Advantage of THIS Advent…

1) “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Let’s look to David who wrote the psalms; he seemed to be a Type A personality…he was always on the run or dancing and singing or taking action, getting things done with his slingshot…but he also was a man of God’s heart and often retreated to “listen” to God’s Word. We should do the same.

2) “Mary treasured these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
When Jesus was born and the magi brought gifts…here was Mary, a teenaged girl who had just been on a long donkey ride, given birth (in a stable no less) to the Savior of the World as a virgin, been visited by kings from across the world…taking in everything in the moment, storing it up in her heart so she could remember later when pain and suffering would be sure to come. Take time to ponder the good…you will probably need to draw on it later down the road.

3) “…a voice crying out in the wilderness…” (Mark 1:3)
“John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People went out to him from all of Jerusalem and the countryside of Judea. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” Just like John, I think we need to travel into the ‘desert’ of our soul, cry out if we need to, and repent (which means to rethink) and be renewed, or have a new perspective so we can be ready to truly celebrate Christmas.

Lord, help me to find time to be with You so that my heart prepares the way for Your coming. Please help me remain in the true spirit of Christmas.

Happy Advent!

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How to Practice Gratitude to Be Happy…

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.”— Cicero
Does gratitude improve a person’s happiness? Psychology studies show it does and that makes sense. When a person feels grateful, there’s no room for negative thoughts or feelings. So why wouldn’t we just be constantly grateful so we could be happy all the time? The reason is probably because it’s hard to just “be” grateful…to force ourselves into a grateful mindset. And it’s especially hard for some of us to be more thankful at a time when a lot of us are separated from family due to COVID-19 or have maybe even been sick or lost a loved one in this unprecedented time.

Like anything in life, we usually have to take action, to practice something for it to become ingrained, inherent or innate – and when it seems hard to be grateful, that is usually the time we have to step up those actions. So how can we practice gratitude? There are several ways I’ve learned from others to do this (none of which are original on my part, I’m just passing on what I know.)

Practicing Gratitude:

1) Keep a gratitude journal.


It’s one thing to think of what we’re grateful for. But thoughts are fleeting (and we can get easily distracted) It’s a proven scientific fact that when we write something down our brain remembers it better (like taking notes in class vs. not)…we reinforce our thoughts through our writing. They say doing something for 21 days in a row usually makes it a habit. Write one or two things every day you’re thankful for in a journal. It’s an automatic mood lifter.

2) Express your gratitude toward others

How do you feel when you get a thank you card in the mail? Sending letters and cards seems to be a lost art as people take the easier road of emailing or texting these days. It takes time to write a letter or pick out a nice card and to actually mail it. But it is usually worth it – both for the recipient and for the sender.

3) Praise and thank the Lord.

We can do this best, of course, just like the above, when we take action such as going to church to worship. But if you’re in a pandemic situation in which you can’t go in person, try virtually attending church. Sing your praises out loud, it will lift your heart and soul. Which leaves no room for unhappiness.

Lord, please help me to remember to practice gratitude in my everyday life…thank You for all of Your many gifts each day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Are You on Fire?

Imagine this…you wake up and instead of feeling like this is just another day at the old grind, instead of feeling like you want to crawl back under the covers or just get through to the weekend, you know something new and different is going to happen today. You are starting a new job and it’s scary and exciting…your whole life has been leading you up to this point in time. You feel like you’re on fire and can’t wait to get started. Even though you feel that you may not be experienced or good enough, you have a new employer and He’s equipped you with all you need to get the job done.

Welcome to the Workforce of the Holy Spirit…

where your mission, should you choose to accept it, is using your special gift(s), the one (or perhaps more than one) that God gave you, to fulfill His purpose here on earth.  That’s how the apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem on Pentecost must have felt waiting for Jesus to send His Holy Spirit to them to start their ministry work in spreading the good news of the Gospels.

Just Like Us, The Apostles were Afraid

The world back then was a lot like it is today, filled with angry protesters. In fact, there was a mob in the streets just outside the Upper Room where they were gathered, many of whom were against the teachings of Jesus…the same ones who hung Him on a cross to die just several weeks earlier. But Jesus told them not to be afraid, wished them peace and even told them He would send them the Holy Spirit as their Guide. He had told them that if they believed in Him they would do the works He had been doing (which were pretty awesome, teaching, healing and saving people), and they would do “even greater things than these” because He was going to the Father. (John 14:12) And they would each have special gifts – and so would we. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Cor 12:4-7)

It’s All Pretty Scary and Exciting Isn’t It?

It reminds me of when I graduated from high school and college and how I felt like I was embarking on an adventure into my future. (Congratulations graduates, hold onto that fire!) In reflecting on Pentecost Sunday, I realized I can’t waste another day just feeling like I just want to get through the day or just want to get to Friday (like I sort of have been doing some days during the Coronavirus pandemic). Nor can I let fear hold me back. I need to believe that “THIS is the day the Lord has made” for ME to do my job for HIM. To write that next book, help other writers serving Him by speaking to them or editing their books, speak to others about the relevance of the Bible today in their lives…and who knows what else He has planned! I need to keep that spark within me alive.   

Are you on fire in your work for the Lord? If not, what can you do to fan the flames?

Dear Lord, thank you for this day and all you have planned for me; ignite the spark within me so that I feel on fire to do Your work to benefit You and others.

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A Mother’s Point of View…

I was recently interviewed about the release of my newest book, The Jealous Son, and it dawned on me that I wrote it from a mother’s perspective (that of Eve in the Bible, or Eliza Trellis as the character in the book) for a reason. For those who haven’t read it, it’s a contemporary suspense novel based on the Bible story of Cain and Abel about sibling rivalry and what happens when jealousy goes too far…but I wanted to write it from the mother’s perspective to show the pain of grief and loss and how faith in God had to pull Eve (Eliza) through such devastating tragedies.
 
Most of us are fortunate that we don’t have to go through Eve’s grief and pain. (I luckily have not lost a child, so I interviewed two good friends who had…and had also healed through their faith…so the story would come across as real and authentic.) But if you’re a mother, even though you may not have lost a child, I know you have experienced the depth of pain and joy that goes along with that role no matter how many children you have or how old they are. We mothers (and fathers) feel our children’s pains and joys along with our own. And I believe God does too. After all the Bible tells us we are all made in “their” image and likeness! God also tells us in Isaiah 49:15: “Can a woman forget the baby she nurses? Can she feel no kindness for the child to which she gave birth? Even if she could forget her children, I will not forget you.”
 
We all have or have had a mother who gave birth to us and we all have God…this Mother’s Day let’s use the “pause” we find ourselves in to be grateful for both and realize that we are well loved and cared for…and to give praise for those blessings. Let us pray for those mothers who, like Eve and Mary, have lost a child or children…that their faith brings them through. And for those of us who are mothers, let us be reminded that “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Prov. 31:30). Let us pray that God keeps us strong, grateful and loving despite the pains we endure so we can feel the joys that motherhood brings.
 
Dear Lord, please help us to appreciate your goodness in helping us bear our pain and rewarding us with joy as sons and daughters and as mothers and fathers…help us to remain grateful in this time of crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic and know that You have a plan and love us more than we know.
 
p.s. There is a happy ending to The Jealous Son (and Eve’s story in the Bible) but if you haven’t read either yet I don’t want to spoil it for you…you’ll have to read them! (see below)
 
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What will we gain from this time?

I’ve got to tell you this was one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever written. Feeling a little down (and I might add listless and lazy) I asked myself more than once, “what’s the point?” With so much going on in the world for so long amid the Covid-19 pandemic, what difference is a little piece of inspirational writing going to make?

I googled spiritual or religious writings regarding the Coronavirus. I hardly found anything. And I thought, let it begin with me. (a 12-Step Program saying) I challenged myself to offer to you what I think may be the good things we are to take away from this trying time, however long it lasts. Turns out I believe they tie into the fruits of the Holy Spirit:

1) Love: This seems like a no-brainer…of course we want to come out of this pandemic more loving…but will we? I hope so. I believe so. I know I’ve had people reach out to me with caring messages and I in turn have reached out more to others, even if it’s with a kinder greeting in an email or phone call just to check in and make sure everything is ok.

2) Joy: This one’s tougher…but not unattainable. In fact, sometimes when we have to put more effort into something, we get more out of it. I’ve been trying harder to appreciate everything around me, especially since Mother Nature is putting on her spring show…whether it’s the colorful flowers, birds chirping or (seemingly) bluer skies, when I stop to smell the roses and be grateful, I’m bound to feel joy.

3) Peace: With a little less time spent going and doing and a little more time to myself, I have had the opportunity to just BE STILL and soak up a little more serenity than usual, whether it’s through a hot bath or a few minutes of prayer and meditation. It’s been nice.

4) Forbearance: The word means “patient self-control, restraint and tolerance.” Now that’s a tall order when you’ve just tried to find toilet paper for the umpteenth time with no luck and the lady at the counter in front of you just got the last two rolls. But then…you smile and bite your tongue and manage with what you have and then…after finding acceptance…you find some. You may have also had to add a measure of this when working and living 24/7 with family members. You take a deep breath and ask the Lord for help. Or phone a friend. Or go for a long walk. I know my patience (not one of my strongest virtues) has been stretched and so has my spiritual growth because of it.

5) Kindness: And you offer the extra package of toilet paper…or meat…or (fill in the blank) to someone else who has less than you do. And that makes you feel pretty good. I’ve learned kindness really is its own reward.

6) Goodness: I know I have had a little more time to spend with the Lord in this “pause.” I ask to know and do His Will and I hope if nothing else I am a little better in the end because of it.

7) Faithfulness: I also have tried to be more trusting in the Lord, which means reading Scriptures more often and praying a little more…and watching the news and dwelling in fear a lot less over the course of this pandemic. A friend taught me to “breathe in faith and breathe out fear.” Sometimes just deep breathing is enough of a lesson.

8) Gentleness: I have not only tried to be more gentle to others during these tough times, but also gentler on myself. So the long list doesn’t get done…instead of beating myself up I have found myself saying there is tomorrow and likewise, why take on tomorrow’s worries today? I’m hopefully a better me when I take it easy on myself and others.

9) Self-Control: It is hard, now that many of us are sheltered in place, working from home and holding ourselves accountable, to not become too lax and indulge ourselves too much – to keep up with exercise, not eat junk, stay mentally sharp, not watch too much TV – in short, to stay fit physically, mentally and spiritually. A tall order but pays off in the long run.

This time will end, this too shall pass…and how do we want to emerge from it all? I hope a little wiser, kinder, more loving, joyful, peaceful and faithful…and a little closer to God.  As Saint Paul adds in his Letter to the Galatians, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other…A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 5:25-26, 6:7-9)

I am planting a vegetable garden for the first time this year (my sons gave me everything I needed for my birthday to do so) – how apropos for this time, to remind me if I plant seeds and do a little work, God will provide the rest needed to grow my garden so I can reap the rewards…as long as I don’t give up.

Dear Lord, please help me to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit, especially in this time of crisis and need throughout the world, focusing on growing my “garden” and never giving up.

For more #Inspirations, News and Event Updates visit: http://www.michelechynoweth.com

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Even Now…Easter Joy!

“After the President’s news conference was over, one of the reporters made the observation that for the first time in our nation’s history we won’t be celebrating Easter. Well let me tell you one thing, he’s dead wrong. We might not celebrate what Easter has become in that there may be no new clothes bought for that Sunday. We might not hide and hunt eggs in mass quantities. We may not travel home to attend church with our family. We might not see some folks at our worship services that we haven’t seen since Christmas…but we’re going to celebrate Easter. As a matter of fact, every Sunday is Easter Sunday. Every time we assemble for worship we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pilate couldn’t kill Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. You think the Coronavirus is going to stop Easter?”

My friend and fellow author Pastor Chris Whaley (The Masked Saint) wrote this following one of the President’s recent press conferences giving a Coronavirus update and asked me to share it. It inspired me to write this blog post. I am reminded that Easter is not about egg hunts and chocolate bunnies and big ham dinners…yes, they are holiday traditions that make the Easter season special, ones that I will miss with my children and grandchildren this year. But I think this year in particular is an opportunity to reflect on the “reason for the season.” Chris reminds us that Easter is about “the fact that we serve a living Savior who is still transforming lives today. Easter is not only about His resurrection, but our ability to rise with Him. Easter is about the hope of tomorrow and the gift of everlasting life. Yes indeed, we will celebrate. We’ll celebrate what God did for all of us at Calvary. How? By remembering Him. By loving Him. By worshiping Him. By praising Him. Easter for us is everyday. Let the celebration begin.”

We are an Easter people. What does that mean? That we need to spread the joy of Easter! The Bible mentions the word “joy” 244 times. At the Last Supper (celebrated tonight) Jesus tells the apostles, “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) and He tells us, “You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into this world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:20-24) And Saint Paul, who wrote over half the New Testament, tells us several times in his Letters to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” ALWAYS Paul? Yes, he says, “rejoice always.” After love, the second fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in us is joy. (Gal. 5:22)

The reason we as Christians can still feel joy and rejoice always despite the global pandemic happening right now is that we know the bottom line truth…that God loves us and that the best is yet to come. Honestly I don’t know how non-believers are getting through this world crisis. It makes me grateful for my faith. But we can’t spread what we don’t have. So get out your Bible and find passages with joy in them; watch church services online; meditate on God’s Word; be grateful for all of your blessings…most of all, that He has risen! Are you feeling the joy? Now more than ever before we need to celebrate the Good News that Jesus suffered, died and was raised for us because He loves us…and He will not let us perish because of a virus, even if it is a pandemic…like all of His disciples who have been faithful before us despite plagues, trials and tribulations, He will help us through this and we will rise again.

Dear Lord, please help me to spread the Good News of Easter and to not only feel Your joy but to share it with others, now and forever. Amen.

Wishing You and Yours a Blessed, Happy Easter!

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Michele Chynoweth
Author, Speaker, Book Coach

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