A Year of Smiles – Day 293

Reason to SMILE #293: FAIRY TALES

Well, of course, today’s SMILE is fairy tales! Reason to SMILE #292 was musicals. The only logical choice for today’s SMILE was fairy tales. What else could it have been?

Okay. Logic may have had nothing to do with it. I’ve been binge watching “Once Upon a Time” on Netflix. That may have had a slight affect on my SMILE choice for today.

Nah. Probably not. 😉

What’s not to love about fairy tales? They’re filled with colorful characters, magical lands, nonsensical creatures, beautiful princesses, handsome princes and all sorts of other peculiarities and whimsies that captivate the imagination. And in a fairy tale, you’re sure to find epic battles between good and evil, daring adventures of unassuming heroes, courageous quests of valiant knights and beautiful stories of finding true love.

Not everything is honky dory in a fairy tale, though. There are hurdles to jump, tests of character to pass and sadness to overcome. But no matter how dire the circumstances of the hero, knight or princess, no matter the setbacks, the struggles or the flaws of the protagonist, there will always be a happy ending in a fairy tale. Darkness never wins and love conquers all.

Boy, that sounds good! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could call on a fairy godmother when life is too hard, if we could wish upon a star for our every need, if we could wave a magic wand to right every wrong and solve every problem? Wouldn’t it?

It’s easy to get caught up in a fairy tale and wish that real life could be so, well, fair. We want life to make sense. We want justice to win. We expect good to vanquish evil and love to always win out over hate. But it’s not always that way.

There is always hope, though. You just have to read the right story to find it. You see, the answer to life’s problems can’t be found in a story that begins with “Once upon a time.” No, the story of real happiness, real sacrificial love and real lasting hope begins with “In the beginning, God.”

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The truth of God’s Word brings hope that will put a SMILE on your face for a lifetime! You really should read it. 🙂

 

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 284

Reason to SMILE #284: SPROUTING OF THE SEEDAdobe Spark (25)

“Mrs. Karen, do we get another memory verse tonight?” one of the kids asked.

“Next week we’ll have a new one but not tonight,” I replied.

“Awwww!”

Two kids asked that question as we finished our Wednesday night activities. Both responded with the same disappointed groan. I was thrilled! No, not that they were disappointed – well, actually, yes, that they were disappointed! For their disappointment over not receiving a new memory verse was a clear indication of their desire to know God’s Word! Woohoo! How cool is that!

This may not excite you as much as it does me but knowing I played a small part in developing a child’s desire for God’s Word gives me a SMILE that I will carry for a lifetime!

A Year of Smiles – Day 277

Reason to SMILE #277: FINDING THE “AARONS” AND “HURS” IN YOUR LIFE

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Do you know an Aaron or a Hur? Is there someone you can count on to pray for you when you need it most, to hold you up when you’re struggling to stand, to fight beside you in your battles? If so, then you know an Aaron and a Hur and I know your life is better for it.

Curious about these two fellas? Check out this post which I wrote about these amazing friends of Moses: Victory: Our Supporting Role. You can also read their story from the source, itself, in Exodus 17:8-13 (NIV).

I have discovered that I have many Aarons and Hurs in my life – those who will stop what they are doing to pray for me, to help when needed and to be my strength when mine is gone. Oh, what comfort to know my family and friends are praying me through the struggles of this life. And though the struggles wage on, I can SMILE knowing I am being held up by so many faithful Aarons and Hurs.

What about you? Do you need someone to hold you up today? Let me pray for you. Or maybe you know someone who is losing their own battle. Maybe you can be that struggling soul’s strength. Begin praying now. Then reach out and let that person know you will stand by their side and hold them up until their battle is won. Don’t wait. Time is precious and the SMILES are waiting.

A Year of Smiles – Day 276

Reason to SMILE #276: YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER

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I will not be overcome!

What power in this phrase.
What victory when spoken.

Though tossed about by life’s responsibilities,
I will not be overcome.

Though overwhelmed by fears of failure,
I will not be overcome.

Though attacked by changing circumstances,
I will not be overcome.

Though the enemy tries to steal my courage,
I will not be overcome.

For I am a child of God,
And my God will overcome.

No longer need I worry over threatening tasks.
No longer need I live in the shadows hiding from the unexpected.

I will cower no more under the abilities of others.
I will not live subjected to the expectations of this world.

Though I may be shaken or even set aback,
I will not be overcome.

The promise of my Lord is
He will overcome!

A Year of Smiles – Day 274

Reason to SMILE #274: STEPPING OUT OF THE BOAT

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Because God’s Servant Stepped Out of the Boat

(Click the link to read the story of one who faithfully stepped out of the boat and changed the lives of countless, including the lives of my son and husband!)

Comfort is a good thing. We like it and that’s okay. Comfort, however, tends to beget complacency. And complacency makes it difficult to do the work God calls us to do, especially when the work is something new or somewhere new. Often times, God must wake us up out of our complacency if we are to be of any use to Him.

Just as He called out to Peter to step out of the boat and walk to Him on the water, God also calls out to us to step out of our boats, to step out of comfort zones. At times, the step God wants us to take may be small, such as reaching out to a new neighbor with an invitation to church or sharing the Gospel with a co-worker. Other times, the step God calls us to make is a giant leap of faith, such as packing up your life and moving to a foreign land to serve the Lord as a missionary or pursuing a new opportunity for ministry.

No matter the size of the step, when we heed God’s call to get out of the boat, the result will always be a blessing. If we step out in faith and keep our eyes on the Lord, the SMILES will not only be ours but they will belong to every person whose life we touch along the way.

A Year of Smiles – Day 265

Reason to SMILE #265: THROWING OUT THE GARBAGE

From the moment I hit the publish button on yesterday’s post, one song has filled my mind:

Cast your burdens 

Unto Jesus;

He cares for you.

(Repeat and repeat and repeat)

It’s a song straight from the Word of God:

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭”Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭55:22 “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

‬God is quite the communicator, isn’t He? He’s always faithful to remind me of the answer to my worries, discouragement and disappointments – giving them all to Him. No. Let me rephrase that. You see, God doesn’t want me to simply hand over my fears and anxieties. God wants me to cast them off. He wants me to throw away my discouragement with great force, to reject my disappointments with disgust, to propel all of my burdens off of my shoulders and onto the shoulders of the Almighty. 

Wow! That’s some serious garbage disposal. 

And it is serious. All of this mess that the devil throws our way will only weigh us down and distract us from God’s plan for us. If we could only remember that God can handle our burdens so much better than we can, we’d find ourselves spending less time in the muck and mire of life and more in life’s abundance. 

It’s easier said than done but today, I’m working on throwing out the trash. I’m sorting through the mess that’s overwhelming me and tossing – – No, I’m hurling my burdens onto the Lord. This doesn’t make the problems of life disappear. It does, however, free me from the ‬weight of these cares and allows me to find joy (a/k/a SMILES) once again. 

A Year of Smiles – Day 262

Reason to SMILE #262: TODAY

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This IS the day the Lord has made – yes, even THIS day. And all the days He made before it have prepared you for today. All the moments of gladness, moments of struggle, moments of doubt, moments of triumph and moments of sorrow that have filled your previous days have built the foundation of strength that will see you through this day.

This IS the day the Lord has made and HE will not allow you to live this day alone.  HE plans to spend it with you. HE intends to experience every moment by your side.  You can walk through this day with confidence for there is nothing in this day that will take it’s Maker by surprise.

Yes, this IS the day the Lord has made.  No matter what it holds, joy or sadness, healing or pain, celebration or mourning, THIS day is God’s gift to you.  And in this great gift, you can REJOICE and be glad!

A Year of Smiles – Day 254

Reason to SMILE #254: SOUNDTRACKS TO LIFE


I am a music person. I love music. I always have the radio playing in the car and at work and, yes, when the music is playing, I am singing along. So it should come to no surprise that at any given moment, there is always a song or two running through my head. The funny thing is each song tends to narrate the events of my life. For example, when I’ve accomplished something big and it’s time to celebrate, what lyrics do you think I hear? “Celebrate good times. Come on!” When a friend stands beside me and helps me through a tough situation, I hear Dionne Warwick singing, “That’s What Friends are For.” When life gets me down and all I want to do is cry but don’t have the time for an emotional crisis, I hold my chin up bravely to the lyrics, “Don’t cry out loud. Just keep it inside…”

That’s not weird… Right? 😂

Well, today was no different. As I waited for Irma to pass and prayed for God to hold in their places all the aging pine trees in my yard, one song was stuck on repeat in my mind:

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face

While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place

‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry

Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more

Till the clouds roll forever from the sky

Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand

Keep me safe till the storm passes by*

The songs that run through my head and the strange times at which they do always make me SMILE, even giggle from time to time. On days like today, though, I’m grateful for the soundtracks of my life and the reminder that I have a God who holds me in the hollow of His hand.

* “Til the Storm Passes By” – Mosie Lister