Monday, June 16, 2014


First of all, I have to thank all of you…

Thank you for your outpouring of well-wishes, encouragement, great counsel, and most of all, for your prayers.  I was humbled and blessed by the presence of all of you as you responded to my post from last week.  It is a tremendous blessing to know that the journey of Christian faith is walked in community.  And I am grateful that I share my steps with faithful soldiers in Blog Land!!  Again, thank you!

Not only did your prayers help me with the anxiety, I believe that they also led directly to an important insight.

As I mentioned, my Word for 2014 is JOY.

And I believe that God gave me a nugget of Truth from His Word just the other day on that exact subject.


I bought a parallel Bible last week on a certain internet site – (Hint, hint: Some big river in South America…)

And when it arrived, I thought I would *break it in* by doing a Bible Pick 'Ems.  (A "Bible Pick 'Ems" is when I randomly open my Bible and read the two pages I've turned to – and then wait to see what God has to say).

Well, at first I was discouraged, because once again I landed in Chronicles! However, God can speak anywhere in His Word, and I believe He did to me.  Here's the passage:

"…it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD…and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD,

'For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever,'

…the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud…for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God."  (2 Chronicles 5:13, 14, ESV)

At first I tried to imagine that scene.

Can you imagine it???

It says that the "priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud." God's awesome glory arrived, and everything came to a standstill.

Were people frightened?  I think so.  An almighty God is a force to be revered in humble fear and awe.

So I picture the roaring and thunderous arrival of God, and the people hushed.  God had returned in full force to live among His people again.

Yup, glory is a good word for that!

But here's where God personalized the message for me.

He gave me an insight into the order of how this occurred.

1)  WHEN the song was raised
2)  IN PRAISE to the Lord
3)  THEN the glory of the Lord arrived and filled the Temple


Here's what I got to thinking about, specifically as I've been wrestling with the concept of JOY, of what it means and how it arrives.

I'm wondering.

Is God waiting for my first move?

You see, that important word *when* kept jumping out to me.  WHEN the people raised their voices in songs of praise to the Lord, THEN He arrived and filled the Temple.

Is this a key to the concept of JOY?

Of course we know that as believers we have the Spirit of God living within us. We are His temple now.  So, He's there.  But perhaps, just perhaps, His JOY cannot arrive until I open the door through praise.

Another word picture.

We live in the mountains, up a winding switchback road.  But before you can come up this road, you have to enter a coded gate.  (Trust me, I see the irony of living "out in the boonies" but still behind a gate…)

So, the road is there all the time.  But, you can't get in unless you know the code.

Is it like this with the Holy Spirit and joy?

Is He there all the time, just waiting to arrive with joy, but waiting for us to open the gate?  And is the *code* that opens the gate – praise?

I truly felt like the Lord spoke something wonderfully true to me here.

Yes, the key to joy is praise.

Now, in the midst of struggles and strife, it is sometimes near impossible to feel happy.  But we're not asked for that.  We are called to praise God, in the midst of everything.

But I am also seeing in these verses, what we are to use as the basis of our praise.  I'm not sure that God expects us to be thankful for the struggles and strife.  We don't have to like it much when we’re overwhelmed by life.

But, we can always, always praise HIS character.

And that's what the Israelites did.

"For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever."

Can I do this?  Can you?

Yes, I can answer YES!

Even if I'm really nervous, or really afraid, or really hurting, or really anything…I can still turn to the sky and raise my voice in praise to the One who is GOOD, and LOVING, and STEADFAST.

The One whose faithfulness endures FOREVER.

The key to joy is not found in the surrounding circumstances, it's not found in WHAT'S going on.  The key to joy is found in the character of our Lord, it's found in the WHO we turn to in the middle of all of it.

The unchanging One.  The One who never slumbers nor sleeps.  The One who sits on the throne.

The One.

So, Lord, here I am.  

Raising my voice in praise to Your name for who You are, and for who You are to me.

I'm entering the code to the gate…

I can hear it open up…

And I am waiting eagerly for Your presence to fill the temple of my heart.

JOY is driving up the road…

Looking for JOY
in all the right places!

(*Look closely - I'm there in the middle of the road!*) 

"Sing a new song to the LORD,
for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
his holy arm has shown his saving power!
The LORD has announced his victory
and has revealed his righteousness...
He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful...
The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
Shout to the LORD...
break out in praise and sing for joy!
Sing your praise to the LORD...
Make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King!"  

(From Psalm 98, NLT)

"Shout with joy to the LORD...
Worship the LORD with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation."

(From Psalm 100, NLT)

"Sing praises to God, our strength...
I heard an unknown voice say,
'Now I will take the load from your shoulders;
I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.
You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you...'"

(From Psalm 81, NLT)

"Praise the LORD!
For he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
The LORD gives his people strength."

(From Psalm 28, NLT)

"Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!" (Nehemiah 8:10, NLT)

What is something that you can praise the Lord for today?

Linked today with:


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Thank you for this post Sharon and AMEN

  2. Hi Sharon! I am so happy to read this today! So glad that you 'cracked the code' and found some joy again. Maybe God really was waiting for your faith and wanting you to reach out? But in any case, his spirit has burst forth in you and you can perceive his love and treasure.
    This is the day the Lord has made!! I pray that you will be in joy and dance in it :)

  3. By george, I think you've got it ...

    As always Sharon, the mystery unfolds with beautiful illustrations of your words and images ... and it's always an honor to come alongside someone and pray as we wait for a breakthrough or an answer ... and the PRAISE precedes the victory!

    Love the photo of Sharon in the middle of the Way ... love how once again JOY comes in the morning and a package and even with a code ... and the courage to praise Him for who He is, not how I feel, or the circumstance but IN every one, I can seek Him and praise Him for Who HE IS for the WHEN and the THEN... we will see His glory!

    Continuing to pray and adding more praise and thanks for you ... with love and a HUG ;0)

  4. Sharon - What a wonderful laying out of this beautiful truth. I've always been fascinated by the idea that the Lord "inhabits" our praises. Maybe this passage of the arrival of his glory is a picture of that truth. When we praise, he is there.

    And I love the idea of the coded gate. So much of what is true for us spiritually is always true - it just requires us to see it, embrace it, believe it.

    Thank you!

  5. That's IT Sharon! HIS order... so often I want the joy, or the answer, or the whatever... and THEN I will praise God when it comes. Nope! Praise, in faith that the answer IS coming! Love this.

  6. Praise is the key that unlocks the joy. We so very often prefer to reverse this order, don't we. Waiting to praise after we feel the joy. Love the word picture you've woven here, and to read it as your testimony that God has used it to touch your anxieties makes it all the more precious and hopeful. Thank you for linking up at Unforced Rhythms.

  7. Loved the picture of you, Sharon, in the snow! I love how you linked it up with praise, no matter what is going on around us! I too want to enter his courts with praise and find his joy that he wants to give to us.


  8. In some churches, when the presence of the Lord is so strong, the people cannot stand but fall to the floor. I had forgotten about the priests in Chronicles not being able to stand before the Lord. That must have been difficult to play an instrument and only shout and sing praises unto God. Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

  9. Great post! Very inspiring! Thanks <3

  10. Just such a wonderful post, Sharon.

    I found that key to unlock the joy door so effective back when the husband lost his job two years ago. (Has it really been TWO YEARS already??) I just decided that I couldn't sit around begging and pleading, and I also decided that even worship songs which were about the begging and pleading (and there are many) weren't going to cut it for me. I just didn't need any reason to cry. I started just intentionally praising with great joy. I would find one song after the other of great praise with one simple theme: God and his awesome greatness. I praised him not because of what he could do or because of what I wanted him to do but merely for who He is.

    I can't explain it better than this: I truly believe that the sound of that praise released the armies of God. It wasn't just that we got a job in short order; it was the effect it had on this household in the waiting.

    Thank you for your beautiful insights this morning and the reminder that he really and truly does inhabit the praise of his people.

  11. This is so wonderful, Sharon...praise IS the key! And happiness is not to be confused with JOY, is it? Joy comes from the Lord and can and does certainly produce happiness often, but JOY comes from knowing the Lord and letting His holy spirit minister to us during those times... when we are not so happy. Thank you for this insight! Blessings, sweet friend!

  12. "But, we can always, always praise HIS character." Powerful line. Loved your post and I agree praising Him changes us. I like to open scripture and then use it for my praise and prayer time too. I like the little study on the Chronicle verse you delivered! Love fellowshipping with you!

  13. Sharon, abso-tively fabulous post about joy. Don't you love the picture of the noisy temple when God shows up in His house? (And people get upset with drum solos and smoke machines..........why, I wonder. Sounds like God.)


  14. I love the analogy with the gate; knowing the code to get in!

  15. "The key to joy is praise." Love this! Thank you for sharing your insight with us at Testimony Tuesday. Glad that you are finding joy!

  16. Wow, Sharon!! What a wonderful, encouraging post! I, too, have been reading much in Chronicles, and oh, the blessings I have been gleaning from it! God is teaching, and I am receiving like a little baby bird being fed!! God will feed us if we are hungry. You are so right that praise unlocks the glory of God and invites it to fall from Heaven. I love the Scripture about how God inhabits the praises of His people. So grateful for you and your precious, enlightening words, dear friend. God bless you!!

  17. That is so beautiful (the photos) - and the message such a full meal. The covenant relationship is not a couch-potato relationship where one sits on the couch, shakes the glass and He fills it up. We each have responsibilities, tasks that need to be done to trigger the promises in the covenant. So glad you shared your revelation - true meat for the soul!

  18. So thankful He has shown you this Truth, my friend, I see an over-pouring of JOY heading your way! (thank you for the sweet birthday wishes!)

  19. Oh sweet, friend. I am so grateful we share the same word for the year. Have you read Ann Voskamp's book. She talks a lot about how thankfulness and praising God comes before joy (not sure if I'm putting that correctly). Your message so reminded me of what I remember her sharing. There is ALWAYS a reason to give thanks. "The key to joy is praise." AMEN AMEN! Oh I just want to meet you and hug you. Would you give me the code? hehe Much love. xoxo

  20. Thanks for giving us the secret code to joy Sharon! It is not always an easy one to put into action when we would rather sit and sulk but it's a power pack one when we use it. I love how God uses our natural day to day lives to impart spiritual wisdom.

  21. Wow Sharon! This is so good! What a revelation! I totally see what you see here. Praise God!

  22. "Is God waiting for my first move?"
    I love that God gave you this insight, Sharon. It's a beautiful one, and one we can all take to heart. Choosing joy through music is one thing I want to remember to do during the anxious times.

  23. Glad to hear you're doing better, Sharon. As I read the verse, "Draw nigh unto Me and I will draw nigh unto you." I so love all of His words, but that one spells out our responsibly. Pretty easy to conclude that if we don't draw nigh unto Him, He won't us…

  24. It seems we always wind up next to each other at Lyli's! Joy is my word for 2014 so I especially loved your words.

  25. I am singing with you. Praising the Lord with you, Sharon, and looking to Him for my joy. I am glad I came by from Beauty Observed and so grateful as I needed this today.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  26. Sharon this post blesses me from the top of my head all the way to my toes. Praise, praise, praise you Lord for touching my sister. What a powerful truth God has revealed to you. Stopping by from Fellowship Fridays linkup. Blessings on your weekend.

  27. Sharon, I'm so glad that the Lord is leading you down the path to His "Joy." It's a path that will set you and others free. It's not a feeling but a deliberate intention to praise God "for who He is." Praying for you my dear friend.

  28. Hi Sharon, Awesome observation. Often times God wants to do something, but is waiting for us to do what He has asked us to do first.

  29. Beautiful, beautiful post! Love this --> Is God waiting for me to make the first move? Grateful you shared this observation with us all! Blessings!!!

  30. I love the picture of you Sharon, so small in the middle of the road. It reminds me of just how small we are in the bigness of the world and just how much we need Him to lean on. Hugs and wishes for a great weekend.

  31. I love what you've pulled out of your Bible Pick 'Ems--the "when," the code! I may need to try this "technique." (I like, too, that you read both pages for context.)

    I'll be carrying these thoughts with me today.

  32. I just love this particularly: His JOY cannot arrive until I open the door through praise. - I love that. We need to work.. and in working we find Him and find Joy.
    Blessings to you,

  33. I read your blog for the first time last week and was deeply moved by the outpouring of love and encouragement from your online friends. You're obviously a thinker/processor - and apparently a publisher of 2 blogs. Amazing!
    May you continue to praise God, hear from him and share his goodness. Bless U

  34. We sang "sing a new song" today in church -- it's amazing what we gain when we give praise. Thankful that your online community rallied around you. You are a precious jewel!

  35. He is my joy and I will praise Him continually! Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew.

  36. I hope I always remember the code! What a great picture you painted with your words.

  37. My sweet friend, you sound like you are doing so much better than last week. I am so amazed at all the encouragement you got. You shared a lot of meat in this post. I enjoyed your 'hint' ;-)

  38. thanks for sharing the code with us today Sharon. in praise and in joy , let us sing. your offering to the #GiveMeGrace community is a blessing.

  39. Sharon - This post brings joy to my heart. How grand and glorious that the Lord reserved such a clever title for your revelation "Code of Joy" - and wasn't Beethoven using that very code when he wrote Ode to Joy so long ago! Your word pictures are perfection and I'm so blessed. "Joy" is a word I adopted out of obedience and desire. How desperately I want to be a woman of joy - a personification of all my best motivations to be light, goodness and beauty in the earth for His glory. How I miss that mark more times than not. Still - I will ever and always sign my name prefaced with "joy"!

    I am joyful to know the Lord ministered to you in this way. Doesn't he always turn our captivity and give more than we had before - just like Job. And, don't we always fight being Job.

    Blessings, dear lady!

  40. May we sing a new song of praise and thanksgiving to Him, for great is His Name, and wonderful are His deeds and words! Then He will pour out joy, peace and love that we cannot even begin to contain. Thanks for the beautiful post & God bless!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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