When Life Loses Its Taste

There are seasons, it seems, when life loses its taste. By that I mean that the things that once tasted savory or sweet no longer taste like anything, like sand.

I don’t believe, I don’t want or choose to believe, that these seasons are healthy, normal, nor helpful. I don’t believe they are indicative of reality – meaning a loss of taste does not mean a loss of an ability to taste. When life loses its taste, it is more likely a symptom of a deeper problem.

It could very well be that the issue is that one has had an appetite for the worthless. Like cheap chewing gum, worthless things lose their taste quickly and just become a chore to chew. The often-attempted solution is to get more gum, only to repeat the above cycle of disappointment.

Or, perhaps the things that should be joyful and rewarding don’t feel that way. I say, “don’t feel that way” because it is a feeling, not a reality. Relationships, family, hard work, achievement and improvement – those are all time-tested, God-ordained tasty morsels. They are gifts that meet the nutritional needs of our soul. So, what makes them taste bland?

If life loses its taste, it is because a lie has numbed our tongue. We tasted a lie. Some deceitful, discouraging accusation about God, ourselves, or the circumstances around us has been offered to us like the proverbial apple-in-the-garden and “chomp!” we’ve lost our taste. Things feel sad. The music of hope isn’t heard. The anticipation of good (joy) is flat. “What’s the use?” “I don’t care.” Passion disappears. Then comes cynicism, accompanied by criticism. If I can’t taste it, I don’t believe others can either; “who are they kidding?” Of course, this is quietly accompanied by deep jealousy over the apparent taste others are enjoying, but to acknowledge that someone else is experiencing a genuinely joyful moment is to acknowledge it is possible, and that the problem may not be “out there” as much as it is “in here.” Life hasn’t lost its taste, I have.

So, how do we recover? If a lie has displaced our taste, then the lie must be replaced. It isn’t easy to go lie-hunting; that too often leads to tail-chasing, introspective, too-much-like-Freud behavior. Instead of trying to look for the lie (which has already hidden itself into the landscape of your life), turn to truth. Just turn your eyes, your heart, your will, toward what is true. This seems to be what the Psalmist so often did, “I will…”

Consider Psalm 9:

  • I will give thanks to you Lord, with all my heart
    • Deliberate gratitude, fervently and deeply expressed gratitude is one of the most powerful and proven means of increasing our joy. It re-calibrates our thinking and speaking away from “woe is me” and forces a focus on the good we have received, and the good-will behind it.
  • I will tell of your wonderful deeds,
    • Rehearsing testimony and repeating good news strengthens our faith and repaints the canvass of our imagination with the truth of what the Lord has done.
  • I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your Name, O most high.
    • It is possible, it is prescribed, and it is powerful – to rejoice on purpose. Yes, literally just get-your-joy-on. It is like deciding to get out of bed. You just get up. And it isn’t a joy that is superficial or based on a mood or whim; it is a joy that is rooted in the person, nature – the Name of the Lord. Rejoicing in Him and because of Him is like slipping a long straw into the refreshing waters of eternal joy. We taste and see that the Lord is good. We rejoice in Him: His word, His ways, His will, His works, and then hope rises. Our perspective changes. Our countenance and conversation changes. Our taste-buds return.

When truth regains its rightful place, the power of the lie atrophies and dies. In fact, only when we first and most satisfy ourselves with gratitude, trust, and praise toward the Lord will we be able to enjoy the taste of all the things He graciously provides for our pleasure.

May you enjoy the feast available to you today – with thanksgiving.


Starting and Finishing Your Day Better


“It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening” (Psalm 92:2)

What if I did that?

I think there is more than just poetic rhythm here. Often I’ve read a phrase like this and wondered, “what if I did that?” I don’t mean just give thanks or sing praise (v. 1), I mean literally, actually proclaiming (stating, celebrating, meditating upon) His unfailing love in the morning (like, when I first get up and as I go about the early moments of my day) and actually proclaiming (stating, celebrating, reflecting upon) His faithfulness in the evening (before I initiate the days-end rituals, and as I lie staring at the dark ceiling before sleep takes me). What if I did that?

What if my mornings were greeted by grateful and praise-filled thoughts and words of God’s unfailing love? I can’t think of a better way to begin a day. Consider the bright hope that would be painted across the canvas of my imagination. Think of the peace that would join the start of each day’s journey. Imagine the confidence, the anticipation of good, and the readiness to rejoice. And, I wonder how much more I might be quick to lavish love on others. What if I did that?

And then, what if my evenings were tucked-in with grateful and praise-filled thoughts and words of God’s faithfulness? I could savor the goodness of God. I could view the day’s events through the lens of God’s faithfulness, and fuel the faith for the day to come with the burning coals of gratitude from today. Imagine the peace that would accompany my rest. Consider the potential of displacing of regret, resentment, and discontent with gladness, gratitude, and trust. And imagine what hope will greet my morning. What if I did that?

What if you did?

Thanks for reading,


Whosoever Has the Most Joy Wins


A merry heart has a continual feast.

I am fan of joy. I have mentioned joy a couple of times, here and there, on this blog. I readily admit that joy is one my favorite themes. I have also found that it is one of the most helpful disciplines in living-out-my-faith. There are a host of solid reasons that scripture invites, implores and enjoins us time and again to rejoice in the Lord – always. And Proverbs 15:15 provides a second-to-none good reason: “a merry heart has a continual feast”. Today’s paraphrase thereof: Whosoever has the most joy, wins.

Joy is the Finish Line

I think that it is reasonable to say that, both in terms of short and long term goals, people want joy. We were made for it. A great deal of the things we do and accumulate are means to enlarge or secure our joy. Trouble is, a great many of those things fall short. Or, in order to sustain the “joy” they give us – we need more or better or new means to joy. However, if I am able to decide to derive joy from and in The Lord – His presence, His promise, His faithfulness, His truth, etc. – then I have a direct, immediate source and reason for joy. I can literally feast on joy now, and not wait until circumstances, people, conditions or assets change. I win!

Joy is Winning

Furthermore, joy precludes and displaces the junk that keeps me from winning. There are a host of loser-attitudes that joy squeezes out of the room like light does shadow. I cannot rejoice and complain at the same time. I cannot rejoice and be bitter. I can’t rejoice and blame others. I can’t rejoice and criticize others. I can’t rejoice and be negative. I can’t rejoice and be greedy. I can’t rejoice and be afraid. I can’t rejoice and be bored. I can’t rejoice and be impatient. I can’t rejoice and lust. I can’t rejoice and lose my temper. I can’t rejoice and despair. I can’t rejoice and give up. But I can rejoice and be grateful, hopeful, patient, positive, kind, gentle, faithful, grateful, optimistic, bold, fearless, encouraging, generous, grateful, content, forgiving, innocent and grateful. With joy I can persevere. With joy I can stand. With joy I can hope. With joy I can rise. With joy I am strong. Really, really strong. I win!

So, no need to wait until the Holiday Season to start feasting. Dig in! The merry heart has a continual feast. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say it – rejoice.

Be a winner. Rejoice.

Thanks for reading,


Seven Reasons to Invite Someone To Church This (every) Weekend

casual hands shaking

What if we sought to cultivate a habit, perhaps already present for some but maybe new for others, of inviting someone to church every weekend? No pressure; no gags; no gimmicks; just a happy and sincere invitation: “would you come to church with me this weekend?”

I hope to encourage many in our home church to embrace this habit, and maybe a few others, too. And there are at least 7 good reasons why.

First of all, inviting people to church who currently do not have a home church significantly increases the probability of them hearing the gospel, which in turn significantly increases the probability of them believing said gospel. This is a two-fer: two good reasons summed in one.

Secondly, when you invite someone to church, it will likely increase your propensity to pray for them, pray for your church, pray for the actual gathering to which you are inviting them, and even pray for “me” (Lord, help the pastor to say something that somehow connects with my friend/family/neighbor/colleague). This, too, is a multi-faceted benefit, as is usually the case when we pray.

Next, when you bring someone to church with you, it increases your sensitivity to and awareness of the environment. You are desperate for the other people at church to appear friendly and warm and genuine (and maybe not unnecessarily weird). You yourself might sport a metaphorical “hey I am happy you’re here and care about you” button. This, often, in contrast to when we come guest-less to church with the temptation to just slink in and keep to ourselves (often too distracted by the eclipsing importance of what irritated us on the way to church or what we want to eat afterward – and “why is this church coffee so bad”). Furthermore, you might well pay more attention to the appearance of the facility, the need for improved sound equipment, and for pens in the back of the chairs that actually work. Who knows, you might even become aware of how important the hospitality crew is, finding yourself volunteering to serve on those front lines.

Inviting people to church has an ego-involvement benefit. By that I mean that when you invite people to church, it becomes “your” church. You are a greater stakeholder than when you remain simply a visitor emeritus.

The general likelihood of your church (and hopefully my home church) continuing to grow numerically is increased in direct proportion to… new people coming there. So, inviting people to church regularly is a really terrific way of causing your church to grow. Luke 14:23 hints pretty strongly that our Lord is a fan of His House being full.

Many Christians can trace their family’s faith to the salvation of a parent or grandparent. Others encountered Christ as a child or teenager – because somehow someone brought them to church. What I am saying is that inviting one person to church might impact the destiny of generations. Whole families might well be saved. Marriages can be restored. Children can hear of hope and promise. Teens can learn security and integrity and purpose. A man (a godly prayer warrior, helper of the hurting and servant of children) in my church is the great-great (maybe another “great” I can’t remember) grandson of General William Booth of the Salvation Army. Consider what generational avalanche might occur if we invite people to church – this weekend.

Finally, if we make a habit of inviting people to church, for all the above reasons and more, we will change the world. So, essentially, the fate of the world really hangs on you inviting someone to church this weekend. (Too much? Well, you get the idea anyway).

Thanks for reading.

~ Dav

A Resolve to Rejoice

rejoice in a field

If ever it were clear that joy is no trifling matter, no mere elective in the course of life, it is so in Habakkuk 3:18. The prophet has just acknowledged that even if all the normal or natural causes of celebration are null (no figs, no grapes, no olives, no crops, no flocks or cattle), he would rejoice in the Lord; He would take joy in God His savior. The syntax is strong, indicating a strong resolve to continue rejoicing. Come hell or high water, Habakkuk will keep rejoicing: “I will joy in the God of my salvation.

I am afraid to consider how often I authorize my own forfeiture of joy. Too much do I give myself too easy reason to choose a lesser and weaker attitude. And truthfully it never works out. Indulging in impatience, anger, pride or fear never, absolutely never, shares the divine dividends that joy does. I welcome the prophet’s testimony of his unyielding commitment to joy. I share in said resolve.

I can trust joy. Joy will always lead me to the highest good; joy will always make me my best self. Joy will always keep my heart and mind and actions congruent with the climate of heaven. When I rejoice, I am agreeing with heaven in terms of who God is (His profound goodness and faithful love), and with regard to the full force of the finished work of Jesus (and the bright realities thereof). I see people, circumstances, opportunities, obstacles, hardships and heartaches, challenges and successes in the light of the prevailing truth of Heaven.

A joy-based climate in my heart is an environment that precludes the presence of anger, anxiety, or fear. Joy is none of the above. Rather, joy is a greenhouse for a host of godly virtues and benefits:

  • Joy is gentle (consider how joy and gentleness are neighboring imperatives in Philippians 4:4-5)
  • Joy is generous (2 Cor. 9:7)
  • Joy is strength (Neh. 8:10)
  • Joy is peace and hope (Romans 15:13)
  • Joy is healing (Proverbs 17:22)
  • Joy is a continual feast (Proverbs 15:15)
  • Joy is trust in His Name (Psalm 33:21)
  • Joy is being ever aware of His presence (Acts 2:28, Psalm 89:15)

Joy is always the right choice (I Thess. 5:16). Joy will never let me down. My resolve to rejoice transcends the fluctuating circumstances of earth; my joy agrees with the unchanging nature of God. I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Thanks for reading; feel free to share.

~ Dav

When is it okay to eat off someone else’s plate?



There is something sacred about the parameters of a plate. That is just some really personal space there. To sneak a nibble off a stranger’s plate is among the more indelicate actions conceivable. There is a pretty big difference between walking through a restaurant and noticing that what someone has ordered looks good, and deciding to find out on the spot for yourself if it is tasty. Pardon me, mind if I have a sip of your soup? In general, unless you’re dealing with toddlers-who-need-bites or spouses-who-wish-they-ordered-what-you-did, you simply do not eat off someone else’s plate. That is, unless we apply it to Thanksgiving.

No, I don’t mean that at the thanksgiving table one should be free to sample other’s side dishes or (by any means) mooch my mashed potatoes. I mean thanksgiving as in the act of giving thanks—gratitude.

Gratitude is the one arena where I can freely enjoy eating off of other’s plates. I can celebrate and give thanks for what is happening in the life of a friend, a family member, or even a complete stranger. I can give thanks to God for my friend’s promotion, for my brother’s new job, for the sweet deal on a new dryer that a lady in my church found. I give thanks for the stories I hear from around the world where love has overcome hostility, where faith has risen from failure, and where compassion has confronted suffering. I can (and do) give thanks for the stories of God’s grace at work in lives of people who lived and died generations ago.  I don’t even need permission to eat off of other’s plates when it comes to gratitude. I can eat to my heart’s content. The grateful heart has a continuous buffet.

What if my own plate is lacking? What if it seems like all I have are some crumbs and some wilted garnish while someone else’s plate seems to be overflowing gravy-goodness? Well, I have two options: I can fuss and feud. I can complain about my lack and criticize the injustice of what others have. I can sulk in my sadness. I can do that as long as I want to. I will then be no happier, no more content, no more hopeful, no more generous, and no more full than I was earlier. And my plate will still appear quite empty. OR I can give thanks for the grace I see in other’s lives. As I do, the first thing that will happen is my own joy will increase – because gratitude always leads to greater joy. Further, celebrating the victories and joys in others’ lives encourages my own soul. The same God that is at work in the lives of family, friends, and total strangers is the same God who loves me and knows my name. Gratitude for God’s goodness in other’s lives testifies to God’s ability and willingness to cause His goodness to prevail in my own life. The more stuff on other’s plates that I see, the more evidence I have for hope. So I will feast off of the full plates of others for the sake of my own soul.

Finally, I should note that a curious thing about gratitude is its powerful effect on perspective. Giving thanks helps me see just how much I am blessed. My plate is nowhere as barren as I imagined. In fact, I probably have enough for others to start eating off of my plate.

Happy Thanksgiving.

~ Dav




Keep your joy on


Rejoice… for your own good? There is reason a plenty for us to rejoice – to honor God, to encourage others, etc. But I’d like to emphasize how important it is that we abide in joy – that we keep on rejoicing in the Lord – for OUR OWN GOOD.

It is not unusual for Paul to enjoin his audience to rejoice (Philippians 4:4, I Thess. 5:16). When he does, he urges their joy always. Paul’s priority of and purpose for joy is revealed in his letter to the church at Philippi (Philippians 3:1).  Here’s an augmented translation of Paul’s counsel there:  “Whatever happens, from here forward, keep on rejoicing in the Lord. I never grow weary of telling you this; I tell you for your own good, for your strength, to safeguard your faith.”

Believers should rejoice in the Lord, and keep on rejoicing, for their own good. Why should we be so serious about joy? Consider the following reasons:

To rejoice in the Lord is to agree with truth

When I rejoice, I am agreeing with heaven. I am saying “yes” to the truth of God’s nature—His Goodness, loving kindness, faithfulness, wisdom, and power.  When I rejoice, I am also responding to and agreeing with the glad consequences of the finished work of Jesus. It is finished; I am glad. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him (Heb. 12:2) – the joy on the other side of the cross. I am glad to be on that side with him, the joy side. When I rejoice, I am agreeing with the promises of God—all that He has promised to be and do for us in Christ. I rejoice because, like Paul, I know that God is causing all things to work together for my good (Rom. 8:28). That is grin-worthy.

Not incidentally, by recognizing that joy is agreement with heaven helps me see that joy – rejoicing – is a heart posture and mindset. It need not be loud or wild, it need only gratefully agree with truth. Joy is agreeing with Heaven.

Furthermore, I can (and should) agree with heaven anytime, all the time. Too often in times of frustration, crisis, and heartache it is easy to forfeit joy. I might argue, “Hey – this is a tragedy and no place for joy for cryin’ out loud!” But I would be wrong. Because Joy is agreeing with heaven. In crisis, joy looks like hope. In heartache, joy looks like compassion. In conflict, joy looks like gentleness and love and patience and forgiveness.  Even in broken-hearted grief, joy may mourn, but “not like those who have no hope” (I Thess. 4:13). I bring my joy with me into hard times, because there is no greater need for heaven than when we hurt. Keep on rejoicing – for your own good!

To rejoice is to strengthen ourselves

There are few things more devastating than despair, and the slow drain of discouragement can leave us empty. Melancholy moods, ambivalent attitudes and the drip-drip-drip of negative thoughts and words weaken our soul. We are left unprepared for challenge, distracted by the unimportant, and confused as to why we feel so grumpy.

The joy of the Lord, on the other hand (the joy that comes from Him and in response to Him), is our strength (Neh. 8:10). Joy strengthens our soul. Joy lifts our attitudes and sweetens our demeanor. Joy makes us optimistic and resilient. Joy gives us strength to endure, to overcome, and lets us enjoy the ride. We are most powerful when we are most joyful. Keep on rejoicing – for your own good!

Hope is a byproduct of joy

Without hope, faith is dormant. Faith is the substance, the currency, of things hoped for. Without a resilient hope, our faith isn’t reaching for or laying hold of anything. Robust faith requires resplendent hope. This kind of hope is produced and protected by joy. Paul prayed in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you will all JOY and peace in believing so that you will OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Overflowing hope is the product of being filled with joy. Hope thrives in the atmosphere of joy. Keep on rejoicing. For your own good!

Rejoicing repels the ugly and unhelpful

When I rejoice, I reject and displace other things that produce nothing good. Joy cannot coexist with ugly attitudes. Joy will not abide anxiety. Joy is not irritable. Joy is never pessimistic. This makes perfect sense when I remember that joy is agreeing with heaven, with truth. My mind is never as clear and calm as when truth is prevailing there. Joy keeps truth in pole position. For those who might struggle to overcome unholy habits or unhelpful behaviors, I boldly prescribe joy. You’ve probably tried to beat yourself up, struggled to abstain, or maybe even flicked a rubber band on your wrist. Behavioral modification might work on puppies, but joy is heaven’s antidote to your angst.

Rejoicing 101

What’s that look like? Well, there’s not much complexity to it. If I begin with the conviction that rejoicing is agreeing with truth – then I can simply decide to rejoice in whatever expression I choose. Seriously. Sometimes I just smile really big on purpose. (Smiling actually sends signals to and through your brain that triggers natural pleasant and happy feelings.) Sometimes I will breathe in deeply and find something to give thanks for or just begin to praise God. Most often, however, rejoicing is as easy letting out a good chuckle. Seriously LOL. “Hey Dav, I don’t want be fake.” No one does, and rejoicing never is – because it always agrees with truth. And furthermore, why would you feel so obligated to be loyal to a bad mood? What’s that bad mood ever done for you? So, laugh out loud. Laughing is worship. Laughing is agreeing with the Lord of the Cosmos. Laughing is celebrating the finished work of Jesus. Laugh with God. Rejoice.

Finally, in those moments when smiles and laughter are not on the menu, don’t forfeit joy – never do that. Rather, quiet your heart. In silent reflection, remember who God is, what Christ has done, what God has promised to be and do for us, and place your trust in His nature. And let your heart rejoice in Him.

Joy will protect your thoughts, guard your heart, strengthen your soul, sweeten your spirits, promote great hope, and keep you in agreement with Heaven.

Keep your joy on, for your own good.