Do you miss the joy of Rich Moments by stewing over situations that keep you captive to sadness or sorrow? Paul could have plummeted to depths of despair over perils and persecution he endured, but he didn’t! Have you suffered for seasons with little hope of pulling from the pit of pity that consumes and keeps us from enjoying the good life? What good life, you just don’t know my troubles, happiness went when my loved ones left, you might be thinking. Negative thinking and living consumes, giving an open door for the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan has no power when we stand firm, not being swayed like waves of the ocean, and seek contentment by trusting Christ to strengthen and show us the way to HAPPY living filled with RICH Moments!
Paul (when he was Saul) thought he had everything, prestige as a Pharisee, degrees of higher education, and fame for persecuting Christians, but after his conversion on the Road to Damascus, he had contentment with Christ. Persecutions you and I feel we’ve faced pale in comparison to what Paul endured; yet, everything he went through helped him serve the Lord with greater joy and effectiveness. Paul learned to be content no matter what his conditions were.
As Charles Stanley says, “Paul’s contentment is wonderful news for us because it means we aren’t at the mercy of our circumstances: we, too, can learn to be content regardless of what we’re facing.”
Paul’s rich moments came when engaged in service to the Savior and helping others! Mentoring young Christians was his cup of tea that satisfied his thirst to serve God! Sharing the good news wherever He was called to go kept Paul writing, speaking, encouraging, and staying closely connected to Christ through prison time, isolation on island time, prayer time, ANY time! Are we willing to sacrifice our time to spread the joy of Jesus and serve Him with contented, happy hearts…even in persecution? Rich moments come when we rise up and reach out in love.
This series of stories stirred while studying about Paul, finding a picture of Cameron and me sleeping in front of our fireplace (our winter bedroom in 1980) and reading entries from my 2013 journal. On August 30, 2013, my entry was titled Beach Blessings - It’s a Small World! Reading the details of that day James and I shared together at the southern tip of Topsail Island brought joy to my (still being mended by the Master) heart. The Rich Moments of that day (and memories of Rich Moments of the past) are best captured in the words I penned while James and I soaked up the sun’s rays on the sandy shore by the sound. James hoisted his net to catch minnows with me admiring his strong body and big heart. I could see his lean, healthy body and his happy, big heart by the way he lived and loved. We soaked up every rich moment God gave as we enjoyed and cherished our time together.
Experiencing the joy of him castingour lines, securing the poles, kissing me on the forehead, and reeling in his catch (hoping for a flounder large enough to keep), was proof that contentment can come in all circumstances! God can fill hurting hearts with happiness and bring miracles from brokenness when we believe and give love a chance.
Thanking God for this journal entry, I feel led to share with you the joy of rich moments that can be lost if we do not take time to make them and record them on our hearts and paper.
“7:30am Aug. 30, 2013God’s timing always right. James came back to house to get me after setting up our fishing spot. We loaded our picnic lunch and headed to the point. Within 10 min. of settling down with poles in water - God opened a door to minister ( love our prayer time every morning when we pray - to be a blessing to someone that day - it’s our best times together) A couple (our age- grey hair) walked by and asked James about the foam on the beach. James explained, shook hands, and went back to his fishing pole. They walked away but turned and came back to ask where James got his fishing cart. I closed my journal and laid it on the chair so we could talk. They (Dennis and Barbara from Ind. Indiana) looked at my journal and said “I see your book with “I Believe” on it. Are you Christians?” James said, ‘Oh yes we are’! Within min. we were both sharing how God healed and helped us. His wife walked up on the dunes and stared at the water. Her husband started to follow but hesitated. “My wife had breast cancer 20 years ago. 1 week before we were to leave for this vacation, the doctor called to say a spot was on her other breast. She is devastated and wanted to stay home. We decided to come anyway - a week away to think and relax. He stood still - James and I gripped hands and began sharing about Jesus. We told him about God’s healing power; he said they couldn’t talk about it or Jesus. We talked about God’s healing power and shared where we’d been. Then, we all joined hands and prayed. I gave him a card with our name and number promising to pray for them. He wiped tears and said - thank you - it’s a small world. They held hands and walked away. James and I praised God with happy hearts.”
Our beautiful day together brought even more healing to us when we were a blessing to a couple we did not know, but God did and sent them our way. James and I talked about people who blessed us in our broken seasons - our children, brothers and sisters, friends, neighbors, Pastor Roberts, Pastor Charles Allard, James’ mother, Tim’s mom, and strangers divinely placed in our paths. God was with us every sad moment we suffered (just as He is with those reading this story who feel trapped in sorrow and situations that seem hopeless)! Healing and happiness come when we get our hearts right with the Lord, loved ones, friends, even our enemies…and step in faith to the plans God has for the rest of our lives.
Next week, I will share the joy of finding clear guidance and being a blessing to people. Until then, take time to make rich moments and record them in your hearts…and in your journals. One day, when those loved ones might not be here to share sunsets and early morning prayers… you’ll be glad you did.