THE JOY OF RAIN

rainpuddles

Does rain bring you joy?

The boy in the picture above is clearly full of joy thanks to the rain falling around him.

He gets to splash around in the puddles and watch the droplets explode up and fall back down again.

He also gets to hear the rain pitter patting against his umbrella and everything around him.

Do you remember playing in the rain as a kid?

What other reasons can you think of that might spark the joy of rain in our hearts?

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GARDENING EXCITEMENT

seedling

Have you ever experienced gardening excitement?

Seeing the seedlings sprout that you planted into rich garden soil can certainly bring an experience of gardening excitement.

Growing up my father and grandmother were avid vegetable gardeners. They taught me to appreciate the taste of a homegrown tomato, sugar snap peas, and many other vegetables.

Seeing a seed spring to life from the soil always yields gardening excitement in my heart!

As I watch squirrels and birds pillage a bird feeder or nibble on other greens in the yard, I know they too experience a level of gardening excitement because they can eat and be satisfied.

Can you imagine the gardening excitement that would ensue in those wild animals immediately following a severe famine and drought?

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Be Glad and Rejoice

earth

What do you see in the picture above that prompts you to be glad and rejoice?

Perhaps the amazing beauty of a picture taken from a satellite prompts you to be glad and rejoice?

Does thinking about all the varied people, animals, and vegetation across the globe stir you to be glad and rejoice?

Maybe the fact that it is the beauty of a night view that influences you to be glad and rejoice?

Or does the sheer mass of land alone move you to be glad and rejoice?

Can land itself be glad and rejoice?

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GREATNESS

Greatness

How do you define greatness?

What do you see in the picture above that you would describe as great?

How would you feel if you were the people in the boat?

Do you think the people in the boat are aware of what is in the water beneath them?

What would happen if the animal surfaced at that exact moment?

Something great!

But not in a positive sense.

How aware are you of what greatness is going on beneath the waters in your daily life?

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SATISFIED

satisfied

What does it take for you to be satisfied?

Does your answer depend on your circumstances?

The most frequently used definition of satisfied is to be pleased or content with what has been experienced or received.

What have you experienced  or received in the last six months that made you feel pleased or content?

Or what are you hoping to experience or receive that will make you be satisfied?

  • Achieving a health goal?
  • Staying covid free?
  • Becoming debt free?
  • Simply being able to pay your bills when income is reduced or nonexistent?
  • Meeting a deadline or coming up with a solution for a personal or work project?
  • Improving your interpersonal relationships?
  • Other?

What elements are within your control and power to make happen so that you experience feeling satisfied?

What elements are beyond your control and power to make happen so that you experience feeling satisfied?

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To Take Pity

Rescued Kitten

What does it mean to take pity?

Merriam-Webster defines pity as: sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy.

The approximately six-ounce kitten in the photo above received my pity instantly back in August 2013.

My husband and I were out walking our dogs before work one morning and heard a cat crying across the road from us.

While I held the dogs, my husband crossed the road to investigate. He attempted to capture her, but she kept darting away when he reached down.

Unable to capture her, he decided to return to me and the dogs without her. Then she came out onto the sidewalk under a streetlamp for the first time.

Until that moment I was unaware how tiny she was.

My heart melted for her safety.

By the time my husband had returned to my side of the road with the dogs, I instructed him to finish the walk while I attempted to attract her on my own. I crossed the street, sat down in the bushes, and ignored her until she was curious enough to be scooped up.

I knew if we failed to rescue her, she would end up as hawk food or roadkill. I was not comfortable with either scenario.

As my husband returned with the dogs, I was able to catch this tiny little kitten that we then took into our home.

Have you ever considered that God has been moved to take pity on us?

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COMPROMISED REPUTATION

reputation

A few years ago, I discovered that my debit card had been compromised.

In contacting the companies that were showing a purchase I had not made one reported they had already stopped the charge as their internal security measures had already determined it was fraudulent.

Another company kept passing me from person to person before ultimately telling me unless my bank stood behind me that I would be liable for the charges.

Thankfully, my bank stood behind me.

Sadly, due to the amount of time it took to dialogue with that company, they lost not only money but the goods they went ahead and shipped because they failed to heed my report that the charge was invalid.

Neither company knew me personally.

I would even say my bank did not really know me personally but because I followed all their requested reporting procedures, including filing a police report, they granted my request to stop payment on the faulty charges.

I am thankful that the one company was proactive in recognizing the fraud and my bank was responsive to my claim.

Clearly the first company had better methods of determining fraudulent activity than the other company.

Clearly my bank supported me because I acted responsibly in meeting all their requirements.

Admittedly, the situation could have been significantly worse.

I am thankful my fiscal reputation did not suffer any significant harm from that situation.

What if this had been a more serious attack on my reputation?

What if instead of my reputation being at risk it was God’s reputation under suspicion?

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Purpose

boxturtle

Do you operate with a sense of purpose?

Did you know that box turtles operate with a sense of purpose?

Several years ago, during my commute to work when I lived in Oklahoma, I heard a report that made it clear that turtles operate with a sense of purpose.

At the time there were many people who had started to assist box turtles when discovering them crossing a busy street or highway.

The reporter remarked that if you decide to stop and assist a box turtle cross the road you must make sure you move that turtle to the side of the road the turtle was facing when you found it.

Why?

Because if you place them opposite of where they were heading, they will turn around and resume traveling in the direction they had intended to go before you moved them.

Do you see what I mean?

Turtles live with purpose.

We may not understand how or why a turtle is living with such a strong purpose drive.

How does living with a sense of purpose connect with a call to gather the people in Joel 2:16?

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CALL TO ATTENTION

tornado-siren

In November 2019, my husband and I traveled to Kansas to visit relatives.

On a late morning we decided to take a stroll in the neighborhood.

After a bit of walking my recovering torn ankle ligament needed a break, so I suggested we sit down at a memorial statue that had several benches and rest awhile.

Suddenly, the tornado alarm that was roughly forty yards from us fired up and rotated straight towards us as it moved a quarter turn before turning off.

While it was blaring both of us were looking confusedly at clear and sunny skies above us while covering our ears.

After the siren stopped it dawned on us that it was 12:00 pm on a Monday in Kansas.

This was a call to attention moment! Albeit a funny one!

(For those who did not grow up in Kansas, since tornados are a common concern, every Monday at 12:00 pm, the tornado sirens are tested unless the weather is stormy.)

We have laughed about this ever since.

What does this have to do with our study of Joel?

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