chronological day 287 :)

Today, we’ll read John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-53, and John 8:1-20.  We are busy here in the New Testament – 

Look at the boldness that Jesus encourages:

“This isn’t My time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose.” John 7:6 MSG

Jesus’ brothers are wanting Him to “go public”, but Jesus know it is not His time.  I think the words He gives His brothers could apply to us right now: it is always our time.  It is always time to bring Jesus into our conversations, integrate Him so completely into our lives that the world would have a witness of Christ even by our every day living.

I love the account of Jesus and the adulterous woman.  She was surrounded by accusers, BUT Jesus…. 

“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ ” John 8:10-11

 He does not condemn her, but He did teach her right from wrong.  Guilt can lead us to forgiveness and temptation – condemnation from the enemy only pushes you further away. Jesus didn’t take on the anger of the crowd, but He loved the woman herself. The point is always restoration.  The point is always right relationship.  The point is always love.

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ‘ John 8:12 NKJV

The goal is always restoration.  The goal is always right relationship.  The goal is always love. What the enemy meant to drive this dear one further into darkness, Jesus used to lead her to the light of life.  Do you notice: Jesus was not concerned with her circumstances or her sin – He was concerned with her soul and restoration.  It doesn’t matter where we are, what choices we have made – God wants us closer.

What would it look like if we adopted Jesus’ goals as our own?

the best road trip :)

If you are going on a road trip, you need a good playlist.  Want to know who you need to set up your playlist?  A Spivey kid.  My three always have the BEST music and the BEST podcasts and the BEST whatever-you-think-you-need-to-hear for a pleasant time on the road!

road trip

When Jacob graduated from ministry school, we all went up to see his graduation.  Fun! We left our pup Bea with my parents for the weekend, so we rode back from Alabama separately – Michael and Tyler returned to Florida right away, while Jacob and I took the detour through Georgia to pick up Bea.  All those hours on the road might not sound like a great time, but guess what I was thinking: all those hours and I would have Jacob all to myself!  We traded some favorites –

Jacob goes first: “Mom, have you heard Yebba?” I haven’t – how did I miss her?  Jacob plugs in first and I start singing along with Yebba and PJ Morton’s cover of “How Deep Is Your Love” and oh my stars, it’s gorgeous!  Jacob is surprised that I know the words, so I plug in next and play the original BeeGees from ’77 (YES, that’s 1977; and NO, I don’t want to talk about how old I was then, LOL!).  Jacob sang along with the BeeGees, and we talked about how we loved both versions, what was best and what was favorite.  We both love 70s/80s, so the discussion brought on a few James Taylors, a few Dan Fogelbergs…..

My turn to introduce something: “Jacob, you know Jekalyn Carr’s “Bigger”, of course – but have you heard “Greater Is Coming” and “I’m on the Rise”?  Listen at this – and can you believe how young she is?” We listened to those, and we love gospel, so that brought on a few Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers (yeah, we went way back and it was awesome!), some Donnie, some Smokie, some Fred, and of course some Kirk…. Can’t leave out the girls, so there was a little CeCe, a little Tasha, a little Babbie, too.

Let’s listen to a podcast, want to? “Mom, do you listen to Graham Cooke?” Son, I didn’t even know there was a Graham Cooke – introduce me, oh my goodness!  We listened to “The Language of Heaven” and I’ve listened to it over and over since then, brilliant and anointed.  Jacob knows Jentezen Franklin, of course (Pastor Franklin performed Michael’s and my wedding, he performed the twins’ baby dedications, we grew up at Free Chapel), but “buddy, have you heard “Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt” yet?” He hadn’t yet, so we listen to that and it was awesome (I had the book in my “summer stack” and hearing that podcast moved it to the top of my to-read list! Amazing!).

“What about Dante Bowe?”  Jake, this is another new one to me – plug him in!  We listened to “Potter and Friend“, and I have to admit: we listened to it about 8 times in a row and bawled like babies every single time!  Hey, bud, get on my iTunes and download that for me, okay?  I need this in my life! When he picked up my phone and started downloading Dante for me, he found Anthony Brown on there – yep, “Worth” was familiar to both of us and we loved hearing it again together.

Of course, the conversations were the best part, the real treasure of the day, and those (sadly) can’t be put on a playlist.  That part is in my heart ❤ Jacob had just gotten his ministry license and we were heading toward his first ministry position, so there was lots to talk about.  I shared memories of when his dad and I first started in ministry.  Jacob shared memories and lessons from ministry school – he was super blessed with some amazing leaders and friends while at BMMC and I think Kingwood Church will always be our second church home. We shared what God is doing in our hearts right now, and what learning today.  I shared the vision that God has laid on my heart currently, and Jacob shared the vision that God has laid on his heart currently.  We shared some victories, and we shared some losses because there’s lessons in both.  Jacob shared a tremendous amount of wisdom, and I was reminded of the myriad number of ways that the Lord uses my children to bless and strengthen me.

Do you get the Word from lots of sources?  It’s smart to diversify 🙂 Podcasts, music, talk talk talk, read read read…. And wow – to learn that one of my most valuable sources is my own son? That was and continues to be one of my greatest treasures.  I’m praying that you have lots of sources and lots of opportunity to grow in the Lord as well – and if you think your list needs a little mixing up, borrow some of my favorites (all those blue words are links if you didn’t figure that out already)!

Jennifer 🙂

p.s. as soon as my Jake has a podcast or a youtube channel or a book, I’ll let you know – this kid has lots to share!  Until then, I’ll sure love being “on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of ” this son “of God coming into his own” (Romans 8:19 Phillips).

verse of the day :)

I’m not really a “verse of the day” type of person.  Don’t misunderstand – I’m not against the “verse of the day”, they’re great. I’m definitely a “read the Bible every day” type of person, and I’m not judging anyone who loves a “verse of the day”.  You can hear from God on a verse of the day, honestly.  It’s just not my personality – I like a plan, I like a purpose, I like specifics.  Anyway, I’m also a YouVersion type of person, and that’s new for me – I don’t know why I resisted it for so long! I love having the Bible on my phone and in my pocket all the time (I’m not giving up my leather-bound NKJV and my Strong’s Concordance, of course – but the YouVersion is pretty great!). I’m rambling, but y’all are used to that by now….. Let me get back to it –

I’m not really a “verse of the day” type person, but the YouVersion has a “verse of the day” that pops up on my phone every morning.  Usually by the time it pops up, I’m done with my daily reading but I still like to see it. (I’m an early bird – admittedly, my early mornings are a little ridiculous and obnoxious, but there they are).  I’m not expecting much though, from the “verse of the day”. I’ve heard lots of stories about how people just opened their Bible to just the right place (I believe those stories, the Lord can work that way) or how the “verse of the day” spoke to their exact situation.  Even though it all seems amazing and coincidental, isn’t the Word of God amazing all by itself?  It’s not a coincidence when we read the Bible and receive knowledge, is it? (That’s why I’m not a “verse of the day” person.  Maybe I’m looking at the “verse of the day” from a wrong perspective, like it’s not purposeful – when it totally could be). Again with the rambling! Take three:

For the last two days, the “verse of the day” that popped up on my phone have been totally and easily applicable to my life and specific situation.  Here they are:

So yesterday’s verse was “God will fight for you” (Exodus 14:14) and today’s verse was “Count on it: everyone who had it in for you will end up out in the cold—real losers. Those who worked against you will end up empty-handed…. That’s right. Because I, your Godhave a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you‘ ” (Isaiah 41:13 MSG). Okay, so the second picture is not the “verse of the day”, but stay with me. It’s a picture of a hymnal I have in my family room, and I keep it open to one of my favorite hymns, “In The Garden” – but look at the facing page: “The Savior Can Solve Every Problem“. Coincidence? I think not! (Just kidding!)

Nah, I really think it is coincidence, but the truth is that I really am facing a problem right now. The problem is bigger than I am, and there is an adversary.  Honest, I don’t know how I would face it or overcome it without the Lord on my side.  The “verse of the day” came in with a little needed reminder.  When I was doing housework (moving items around so I could dust), the hymnal gave a little reminder as well.  I’m going to credit Jesus with these little love notes ❤

While I am going to credit Jesus for the reminders, I’m not going to start depending solely on the “verse of the day” to pop up on my phone and give me a word from the Lord.  I’m going to continue in faithfulness, using the Bible every day as a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 NKJV).  I’m going to study every day, I’m going to pray every day, I’m going to read books and listen to podcasts and read the Bible every day.  That’s how the Lord is going to speak to me – and I won’t have to wait around for the coincidence of circumstance and “verse of the day” to collide.  We need more than a “verse of the day” to learn God’s character.

I’m going to keep these two “verse of the day”s and be strengthened by them.  I haven’t heard “The Savior Can Solve Every Problem”, but I’m going to dust off that music degree and put it good use by learning this song. I’m also going to keep Philippians 4:6-7 as a verse of every day: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  I’m going to keep reminding myself that every problem comes with a provision and promise attached (this is a big problem – I’m looking for BIG provision and that could be exciting!).

Depending on the Lord rather than depending on the “verse of the day” is a treasure.  I’m praying that you will be purposeful in your study and application of God’s Word.  Let the “verse of the day” get you there – let the goodness of the Lord keep you there.  The Bible is a treasure with lots of verses and knowledge for every day – and my goodness, I need all of them every day! Maybe you do too? ❤

Jennifer 🙂

that’s ’cause you’re the pastor’s wife :)

I never actually hear anyone saying these words: “well, that’s ’cause you’re the pastor’s wife” – yet at the same time, I always hear everyone saying these words: “well, that’s ’cause you’re the pastor’s wife”.  I’ll explain 🙂


Certain expectations are made of me because I’m the pastor’s wife – and that’s an observation, not a complaint! The design was not to be the pastor’s wife – the design was to be Michael’s wife, but the two came together and it’s been a pretty neat package deal!  My life isn’t without the usual (and sometimes unusual) set of struggles, but it’s pretty happy overall!  I’m rambling – sorry!  Getting back to it –

Sometimes when I speak (whether from the pulpit or in conversation), I sense people thinking: “well, she has to say that – she’s the pastor’s wife” or “well, she has to read her Bible every day – she’s the pastor’s wife” or “well, she can’t cuss because she’s the pastor’s wife” or “well, she is supposed to” or “she could never because” fill-in-the-blank-with-your-own-expectation-here.  That comes along with the territory.  Everyone has certain expectations made of them – the doctor, the lawyer, the teacher, the garbage collector, it doesn’t matter what position one holds.  However, expectations can dangerous.

The truth is, I don’t “cuss” – but it’s not because I’m the pastor’s wife.  I don’t cuss because I’m a disciple of Christ, and the Bible says that “dirty stories, foul talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, remind each other of God’s goodness, and be thankful” (Ephesians 5:4 TLB). The truth is I do have to read my Bible everyday, but it’s not because I’m the pastor’s wife. I have to read my Bible every day because I actually have to – it’s my lifeline, it’s where I find instruction and my identity and my healing.  Jesus was right when He said, the Scriptures tell us that bread won’t feed men’s souls: obedience to every word of God is what we need” (Matthew 4:4).  What came to your mind when I said fill-in-the-blank?  Yeah, I probably don’t do that either – but want to know something else?  Maybe you shouldn’t do these things either. (sorry – did I write that out loud?)

You see, it isn’t people’s expectations of me that keep me faithful to God.  It’s God’s expectations of me that keep me faithful to God.  The Bible didn’t offer different sets of rules for different types of people – there isn’t a rulebook for the pastor’s wife and a separate rulebook for the lawyer and a separate rulebook for the garbage collector and a separate rulebook for the stay-at-home-mom or any other fill-in-the-blank-that-describes-you-here.  The rules are the same for all of us. The Bible says, “he who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:6 NKJV).

Just as He walked. Just is an adverb here, a descriptive word describing the action word walk. You know what just means, but let’s say it out loud anyway: exactly, precisely, absolutely, completely, totally, entirely, perfectly, utterly, wholly, thoroughly, in all respects the same. Anyone (the pastor’s wife, the teacher, the doctor, the cashier) who says they follow Jesus ought to do life just as He did. That doesn’t make it easy, but it does make it simple – much simpler to understand and to follow than a different set of rules for every individual.

Sometimes I miss it (lots of times, to be honest), but just like everyone else, I’m trying my best.  Not because I’m the pastor’s wife, but because I am His child.

St. Augustine is quoted as saying, “ let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.” Let the root of love be within you, no matter what your position is. Realizing that you don’t have to live up to the expectations of people – that’s a relief. Realizing that it’s possible to live up to the expectations that God has of you – that’s a treasure. All He wants is for you to be His and accept His love.  Praying you will live in this freedom today!

Jennifer 🙂


guess who? :)

When the babies were little, we liked to play board games.  I remember when we first brought home a game called “Guess Who”.  It was a sort of “20 questions” situation – each player had a person card that their opponent must identify, narrowing the field by only asking yes and no questions.


We played along with the twins for a little bit as they were learning – it was tough at first to understand that their 2 people were not the same.  It was also tough to understand that one was to ask questions that might apply to the opponent’s person, not your own. So we ask questions: “Does your person have red hair?” If the answer is yes, you flip all the people who do NOT have red hair (flip, flip, flip, flip, flip).  “Does your person wear glasses?” If the answer is no, you flip all the people who DO wear glasses (flip, flip, flip, flip, flip). And the game continues until you have narrowed it down and can “guess who”. Fun!  The first time the twins played without my help, it was fun to listen in:

Q: “Ty, does your person have a hat?” A: “No” and then flip, flip, flip, flip, flip

Q: “Jake, does your person have white hair?” A: “Yes!” and then flip, flip, flip, flip, flip

The kiss of death was having a girl – there weren’t nearly as many women as men on the board.  And if your girl was wearing a hat?  Practically game over before you start!  My favorite exchange, and it still makes me smile:

Q: “Jakie, does your person have a beard?” A: “No” flip, flip, flip, flip, flip

Then Jacob added a little comment that changed the game: “That wasn’t a good question, Ty – because my person is a girl!” flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip 🙂 Round one to Tyler, LOL!

One question can still change the game.  Jesus asked the disciples a single question to end all other questions: “Who do you say I am?”  Let’s take a quick look at the conversation:

 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-17 NIV)

Even for us today, the question must be settled in our minds: who is Jesus?  Never mind who your friends say He is, never mind who your co-workers say He is, never mind who your family members say He is, it’s a question we must answer for ourselves and be able to trust fully in the reply: Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God! Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (15:3-4).  “First of all” means “of first importance”, the main idea. Paul is saying “if you don’t get anything else from me, get this: Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead”.

One question, one answer that changes everything else.  God sent His Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for your sins, so that you could be reconciled to God.

Selah – pause, praise and think of that!

Accepting the truth of Jesus’ identity (and not having to “guess who”) is a treasure – praying that you have the opportunity to apply this truth to your heart and let Jesus give you peace ❤

Jennifer 🙂



seven about love: #4

“My dear children,
let’s not just talk about love;
let’s practice real love.
This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.
It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism,
even when there is something to it.
For God is greater than our worried hearts
and knows more about us than we do ourselves.”
1 John 3:18-20 Message


Let’s not just talk about love – let’s LIVE LOVE! Love is more than an emotion, love is an action. It may be easy for you to show love to others, but hard for you to show love to yourself. However, try! Give yourself grace and you will also receive peace.

Love is “the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism”. Do you have debilitating self-criticism? We can talk ourselves into “not enough” in any area: maybe we aren’t not good enough parents or maybe we are not good enough writers or maybe we aren’t good enough prayer warriors or maybe we aren’t good enough singers or maybe we aren’t good enough fill-in-your-own-blank-here.

Once we convince ourselves that we aren’t enough, the next step in that downward spiral is shame or embarrassment. We create walls between us and the people around us. We hide because we are afraid someone else might realize our lack. From there, we step into comparison – and trust me, we can always find someone who IS enough and someone who CAN do successfully all the things we can’t do. Finally, we convince ourselves that we don’t have anything worthy to give, and we stop giving altogether.

Before you think to yourself, “Well, I was worse than that, you don’t know…..” Look at the end of John’s phrase: love is “the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it”. Okay, so maybe you deserve the criticism – we all fall short. Refuse to allow criticism to turn into condemnation – the Lord wants you to grow and He wants to help!

I have another thought: we cannot put up walls between ourselves and people without also putting up walls between ourselves and the Lord. If we are hiding and not loving others with the love that God lavishes upon us, isn’t it in some way disobedient? Let’s learn to accept love so we can give love!

Knowing that God loves you, even if you think you deserve harsh criticism – that’s a treasure.  It will lead to freedom and I’m praying that you find it today! ❤

Jennifer 🙂

seven about love: #3

“Since then it is by faith that we are justified,
let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace,
and here we take our stand,
in happy certainty of the glorious things He has for us in the future.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—
we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles.
Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance;
this in turn will develop a mature character,
and a character of this sort produces a steady hope,
a hope that will never disappoint us.
Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts
by the Holy Spirit given to us.”
Romans 5:2-5 Phillips


Grasp the fact that you have peace with God! Our circumstances do not determine God’s character: God is good, no matter what we may be facing. Praise Him that we do not face this world alone. This passage assures us that we can have joy. Can indicates to us that there is a choice – so choose joy! If you want joy, it is available to you in the presence of God. In God’s presence, you’ll have love, joy, peace – and that’s just the beginning.

Of course, Paul tells us, we will have trials and troubles. However, never misunderstand and think that hard times are a reflection of God’s love. There are just hard times. God will use those times to build in your a mature character and strength…. But you know what? He can make us stronger every single day if we allow Him intimate access to our hearts. Some situation (or person, let’s be honest) drove you INTO your prayer closet – do not allow the relief of that hardship to drive you OUT of your prayer closet. Give it all to the Lord, both good and bad. You CAN be FULL of JOY!

Holding on to the steady hope He offers to us, being at home in His love, experiencing the love of God flooding into our hearts – is there anything better? (no, there isn’t!)

Steady love, not changing with the emotions or event of the day – that’s a treasure.  Praying you bask in that kind of love today! ❤

Jennifer 🙂

seven about love: #2 :)

1 John 15:9-10 in the Message translation:

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me.
Make yourselves at home in my love.
If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love.
That’s what I’ve done—
kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in His love.
I’ve told you these things for a purpose:
that My joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.”

When we are at home, we behave differently than we do when we are out. Make-up is off, hair is up in a messy bun, the most comfortable pajamas or sweats are on. No pretense, no need to pretend, no need to be anything but comfortable. Safe and secure. Happy and content. That’s how Jesus means for us to feel in His presence: at home! Wherever you are right now,  take a quick break from responsibilities and worries of life, let Jesus be your home. Rest in His love. You are His greatest treasure, dear child of God.

Because Jesus is always with us, we can always have this feeling of contentment and security in His love.  Please understand that your circumstances do not have to alter your emotions.  There have been moments or days or even long seasons in my life where times were hard – but the presence of Christ, if I turned to Him, was able to bring peace and security.  Find time every day to be at home with the Lord, rest in His love.  The more time you spend with Him, the more peace and contentment you will experience.  The more time you spend with Him, the less you will be affected emotionally by your circumstances.

Come to Him, messy bun, no make up, favorite sweats and all. Realizing that you belong, and feeling at home in the presence of Christ – that’s a treasure!  ❤

praying you find contentment in His love, and make yourself at home with Jesus today!

Jennifer 🙂

seven about love: #1

“Don’t be afraid, don’t despair.
Your God is present among you,
a strong warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back,
He’ll calm you with His love
and delight you with His songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 Message

God loves us. We know that in our minds, but often we don’t live that way. The Bible tells us we can come “boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Let those words sink in: help in time of need. Sometimes we mistakenly think that we’ve strayed too far, that somehow we’ve moved outside the boundaries of the Father’s love and patience for Him to restore us, but this is simply not possible. To the Lord, it doesn’t matter why you may need help – He just wants to help! He loves you – you are His precious daughter!

Stay there for just a minute: it doesn’t matter to the Lord why you are in need of help.  His heart is to restore you and bring you back into intimacy with Him regardless of why you need help.  If you need help because of of your own mistakes, ask for forgiveness – “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  If you need help due to circumstances outside your control, no need to feel shame – God is a loving Father.  He is not only ABLE to come to your rescue, He WANTS to come to your rescue! No matter where you’ve been (or why you’ve been there), He is happy to have you back, ready to welcome you home.

This sweet passage shows us how specific and personal the Lord can be with each of us.  Whatever we need, we find in Him. Think your situation is tough?  That’s okay – your Heavenly Father is tougher: He is a strong warrior! No need to be afraid, He is present and thrilled to be here with you in this very moment. Pour out your heart to Him, and let Him pour out His love on you. Your Father is welcoming you in right now. Are you broken or afraid?  Your Heavenly Father is also gentle, able to calm you with His love, draw you in and sing His song over you.

Knowing that God loves you and allowing His love to fight for you, give you peace, make you calm; allowing Him to bring you in so close that you can hear Him singing  over you – what a treasure.

Praying you find the treasure in God’s love today ❤


“I like to start the clap” :)

I teach music in an elementary school.  Several years ago, my handbell choir and my mallet band were invited to perform at a local theater, part of benefit concert concert for a local charity.  (Insert shameless brag here: you ought to see my 10 year olds play handbells – it’s impressive!  And my mallets – wow, they are really good!) Lots of local groups came to perform. We were really excited to participate, and we also also excited to be allowed to stay and watch the entire concert!

One of my students sat next to me during the concert.  He had a charming habit that I always remember: he would sit on the edge of his seat, so excited, with his hands raised to chest level and ready to go.  At first, I didn’t understand his stance (can’t he just sit still, relax, stay awhile?), but my little friend quickly explained: “Mrs. Spivey, I like to start the clap! I want to be the first one to start clapping, and the whole audience will follow me!”  It still makes me smile today, years later.  My student was quick to celebrate the success of others – what an incredible trait to learn so young! It’s a great example and lesson for us!

For my student, the concert was that: a concert.  It wasn’t a competition.  He was excited to be there and share his talents, and it didn’t take anything away from him at all that others were invited to share theirs as well.  His joy wasn’t diminished – in fact, it was the total opposite: he wanted to “start the clap”!

I love people who love to celebrate the gifts of others – they are a joy to be around, and super encouraging!  We have some great examples in the Word of people who were quick to celebrate. How about the dad in the story of the prodigal son?  When he saw his estranged son, look at his response:

“while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” Luke 15:20 ESV

He immediately had his servants prepare a party – he said to bring the best robe quickly and gave them a list of things to prepare for a celebration (Luke 15:22-24).  He “started the clap”!

The prodigal’s brother had a much different response.  He was upset at his father’s joy, and somehow got the idea that a celebration of his brother took something away from him.  His father had to explain, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad” (Luke 15:31b-32a).

Important to notice: the prodigal’s return didn’t take a single thing away from the brother  – nothing was reallocated, nothing was lost.  Actually, something was added: his brother, back in his life!  This was cause to celebrate, but the brother couldn’t because he made it all about himself.  Maybe you know someone who has adopted this attitude, centered around self.  Maybe you have been someone who has adopted this attitude, centered around self.  A friend gets a raise, gets a contract, gets an inheritance, gets a new car…. what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Do you think, “Why them and not me?” or do you “start the clap”?

My student didn’t think that sharing the stage was taking anything away from us.  His joy wasn’t diminished because he wasn’t the only one invited.  He was happy to be there with everyone.  He did his best on stage, played an important part and did well with his group.   He then joined the audience and led them in “starting the clap”!  His joy was genuine and contagious.  He was ready to start the celebration! I love that!  If a 10 year old can do it, we can do it too!

The ability to value the gifts of others without allowing a root of jealousy to form – that’s a treasure. Romans 12:15 says to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep”.  Oddly enough, sometimes the weeping part is easier than the rejoicing part. I’m praying that you will find that, in this life, there is enough joy to go around.  I’m praying that you will be able to recognize that the blessings of God in someone else’s life do not take away or diminish yours at all.

I’m praying that you will be the one to “start the clap” 🙂

Jennifer ❤