Will You Do a Holy Strut?

Our last years in France I had the privilege of ministering in churches where the majority of the members were from Africa, or of African origin or they were from the French-speaking Caribbean.

In the African and French-Caribbean culture, the dance is part of the way Christians worship the Lord.

So, the kids in the Creteil church tried to teach me to dance. The key word here is “tried.” They would crack up laughing as soon as I started. I had to face the fact that I dance like an old white man.

And that ain’t pretty.

But, in heaven I hope to do a “holy strut.”

“Strutting Before the Lord”

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessa. 2:19, 20, ESV

“Boasting” before the Lord Jesus?

Will we be able to boast before the Lord at His coming at the works we did for the Lord? Yes, but it will be a holy boasting. That seems an oxymoron if ever there was one, but it’s the kind of boasting a kid does before his parent when he does something right.

Hey, the Lord is giving out rewards when He comes. I don’t know if there are any participation trophies or not, but you need to work in a way that you can strut a little on the Day that Jesus returns. “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:9-11, ESV)

My junior year of high school we wiped out our fierce enemies, the Rattlers. They had annihilated us the year before, and we got them back. You want to talk about strutting and exulting. We did it.

I say this knowing that we need to walk lightly before Him. We can do nothing without Him and His blessing. We’re going to spend a lot more time on our knees and our faces before Him, than bragging.

But, It’s like a four-year old bragging to mama about what “we” did, when it was daddy who did 99.9% of the work. Honestly, when my kids were honored, I enjoyed hearing them brag about it. “Tell me more!” That way I could crow to others about what my kids had done.

I think the Lord enjoys it when we do well. He may have to calm us down a bit but it makes Him rejoice, too.

Once Jesus sent 72 of his disciples out to preach His Word. They came strutting back, over the moon with joy at what they had seen God do through them.

“The seventy came back triumphant. ‘Master, even the demons danced to your tune!’

“Jesus said, ‘I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.’”

And Jesus got excited (I don’t dare say He started strutting.)

“At that, Jesus rejoiced, exuberant in the Holy Spirit. ‘I thank you, Father, Master of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the know-it-alls and showed them to these innocent newcomers. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.’” (Luke 10:16-21, The Message)

Ah Lord, help me to be able to do a “holy strut.” Help my work for you to be acceptable and solid. Eternal.

Hey folks. What are you going to do today to give Jesus something to shout about?

How Do You Grab God’s Joy?

For he remembered his holy promise,
and Abraham, his servant.

43 So he brought his people out with joy,
his chosen ones with singing.
44 And he gave them the lands of the nations,
Psalms 105: 42-44
(All scriptures from the ESV unless noted otherwise)

14 practical keys for those who want more joy in their lives

  1. Be filled with the Spirit-Galatians 5:22–But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
  2. Get into God’s presence–Ps. 16:11 (1 Chron. 16:27; Ps. 4:7, 5:11; Ps. 21:6; Ps. 43:4; –You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
  3. Be thankful for what God has given you-Deuteronomy 28:47 (+1 Ki. 8:66) “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things.” Quit griping. Count God’s blessing to you.
    Sing joyfully because of your THANKFULLNESS for what He has done for you. “Psalm 92:4–For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” And, “Psalm 95:2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”
    Sing, even when it’s a sacrifice, sing songs that remember His faithfulness and give you joy. Enter His presence with joy and thanksgiving. Psalms 100:1, 4)
  4. Joy arrives when we obey the Lord (1 Chron. 12:39, 40; 1 Chron. 29:17; 2 Chron. 20:36)
  5. Sometimes we just raise a joyful sound before the actual feeling of joy comes–“…the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.” (1 Chron. 15:16; Ps. 32:11!) It’s easier to act yourself into feelings than to feel your way into acting.
  6. We rejoice over victories that God gives (2 Chron. 20:27; Neh. 12:43)
  7. We can be God’s instrument to give His joy in others (Job 29:12, 13. And because “give and it shall be given to you” is a bedrock spiritual principle, joy rebounds on us from giving joy to others in the Lord’s name.
  8. We may weep for a time but joy inevitably comes if we trust Him— “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
  9. Shout! We shout for joy because we know that He delights in our welfare!!!–
    “Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!” Psalm 35:27; (Ps. 66:1 also)
  10. Sing if you want joy! (Psalms 63:7. 67:4; 81:1) Even when we don’t feel like it we sing and shout our way into God’s presence. “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” Psalm 84:2
  11. Remember that you are saved to eternal life in Christ, life that begins now. “My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.” (Psalm 71:23 , Ps. 98:8)
  12. Clap your hands! Obey the Lord. Do what is right. “Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.” (Psalm 97:11)
  1. If you know how, play a musical instrument for the Lord. (Ps. 98:6)
  2. Learn to intercede in prayer which leads to results which lead to great joy. “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5)

God’s Joy–Your Safe Place Against Catastrophie

I’ve played a lot of baseball in my life and probably watched as much as I played. One of the funniest things I ever saw was a game between Paraloma, the village where I grew up, and Graves Chapel. Graves Chapel wasn’t even a village, just an area where enough people lived to have a baseball team.

Not a very good baseball team, mind you, but a team nonetheless.

This particular day Paraloma was putting a whipping on them that even Mr. Clean couldn’t wash off (excuse me for getting a bit over the top). Late in the game Graves Chapel substituted a young guy for their third baseman. The replacement evidently hadn’t played much.

Not long afterwards a Paraloma player on second base took off trying to steal third. The catcher whipped it down to the third baseman who planted himself on the bag and waited for the runner to come so he could tag him out.

The baserunner saw that he was going to be out by a mile so he slowed and walked submissively towards where the green third baseman waited. The defender stretched out his glove to make the tag when suddenly the docile baserunner came alive and slid under his tag.


The crowd exploded in laughter. I think even the sheepish young man’s own team was laughing. His coach took him out after that.

Safe! If you’re on the base, you’re safe. They can’t get you out.

Are You Safe?

Listen to this:

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.” (Philippians 3:1, NKJV) The NIV and several other versions say it’s a “safeguard.”

It’s amazing, isn’t it? Rejoicing in the Lord makes us “safe!” It’s a safeguard. Continue reading

How To Go From Sourpuss To Joy


sun-151763_640Once my friend Scott and I were standing in a long line in a brand-new building supply store in Luxembourg. A grand-opening sale and great publicity worked to perfection and people scurried everywhere like ants on an anthill that someone had just kicked.

We watched the young lady at the front of our interminable line robotically checking everyone out. I’m sure she was a bit overwhelmed with the crowd, but a machine would have displayed more personality.

So I said to my friend Scott, “Do you think we can make her laugh?”

He was pretty sure we could and when we got our turn we teased and laughed with her. Before we left she was a jolly old soul.

Cheerfullness Isn’t Far Away

Which makes me think that joy isn’t far away for most of us. All we have to do is dig away a little sand and cheerfullness bubbles up like a hudden stream in the desert.

Christians have a reputation of being a sour lot and let’s admit it—often it’s true. But why? If anyone has a reason to be glad it’s those who have an inheritance like ours.

We’re even commanded by our joyful God to be joyful. Now I know that when we say that joy is a commandment, that’s often just something else to feel guilty about.

“I’m supposed to be joyful but here I am sad. I’m just not what I ought to be.” Continue reading

How To Stomp Out Depression and Anger

Our Coffee Stain this week begins with a little homework. I want you to stand in front of a mirror.

Now, make a sour face. Go ahead. I won’t laugh (much).

Now, smile. No, I mean really smile. How did that make you feel? Do you know how silly you look there, grinning in front of your mirror? Got you, didn’t I?

Actually this may be serious.

Joy isn’t optional for a Christian. It’s commanded. And grinning at your mirror doesn’t fulfill the command.

And it’s not a sour joy either–sometimes, our definition of “Christian joy” depresses or bores normal people.

It’s not that ephemeral thing those who don’t know the Lord call joy either, that mad pursuit to find delight in things, relationships, sports, pornography, shopping, and all kinds of “fun stuff.”

The shelf life of this kind of joy is a couple of hours, and then you find yourself back at the starting point. And, it’s dangerous to go too long without it because it often reveals a heart that’s not … hang on… Are you ready for it? …

Thankful. Continue reading