Joyous Anticipation

Want to bring a smile to a crusty old rancher’s face? Watch what happens when he turns the corner by his barn each morning and heads toward the steers in the feedlot. “Benigno” (Little Ben) and “Homer” are two of the more expressive characters in this year’s group of steers. Not quite a year old and born within two days of one another, these two half-brothers are best buddies and almost always together. They eat and sleep together, play tag with the donkeys, and entertain the entire herd with their antics.

What brings my smile is not how healthy and satisfied they seem to be, it’s how they greet me each morning. Since planting winter forage, I use the walk-through gate near the barn (pictured above) instead of entering from the west pasture. As they hear my UTV nearing, they move to the barn gate and you can almost see them vibrating with joyous anticipation.

I understand they’re expecting feed more than me, but it sure feels good when they call out and stick their heads through the gate as I approach. I’m always amused as these two smack their lips and jockey for position to see which one gets the first treat. As I answer their call with, “Buongiorno miei picollo vitelli” (Good morning my little calves), they strain forward, putting their heads through the gate’s bars. I can’t help but wonder if God feels this same way when we approach His throne in prayer.

Do we invite God into our lives with joyous anticipation? Click To Tweet

If I’m honest, there are some days when I awaken and say “Good God, morning” instead of my usual, “Good morning God”. This life is sometimes full of trials, temptations, and difficulties. And while we expect they’ll be days like this, we know we don’t have to remain in that funk. As I talk with my steers, I can’t help but think of one of my favorite Bible verses.

“You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.”

(Acts 2:28, NKJV)

It’s when I purposely invite God to come into my life each morning that I find the fullness of joy in His presence. Even on those difficult mornings when I force myself to sit down and enter His presence through His word and a prayer-filled visit, His joy always seems to fill me. My “God time” ends with a sense of peace, joy, and hope. Spending time with God calms my spirit and reminds me that all is but a momentary affliction (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Whatever is attempting to control my thoughts and emotions always pales in comparison to the promised end of my journey.

As I enter my quiet time of study, prayer, and reflection each day, I think of the words of Psalm 62:1; “Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.” In focusing on these words, I’m reminding myself that I can’t save myself and I can’t earn God’s salvation; I can only achieve it by letting Him work in me. So how do these words fill me with the same joy I see in my playful and dependent steers? The Apostle Peter explains it better than I can. When I consider the coming day of the Lord, these words explain the fullness of joy in my life.

“whom having not seen you love. Though now you
do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy
inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end
of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

(1 Peter 1:8-9, NKJV)

Ms. Anne Graham-Lotz shared a devotion some time ago that I treasure. She asked, “Have you ever considered that you have a divine appointment when you get up early for your quiet time of prayer and meditation on His word?” Ms. Anne described how Jesus waits patiently to meet with you in your “God time.”

I wonder how our lives could be filled with more joy if we consider every act of worship (going to church, studying the Bible, helping others) as a divine appointment. What if we view our every action as an opportunity to be with God Himself? I think in doing so, we too would live in joyous anticipation.

I pray you’ll consider how my little steers make my day brighter through their joyous anticipation of what is coming. How they greet me with eager anticipation of the reward that comes from being in my presence. Let us endeavor to bring God that same smile when we joyfully come to Him each morning.

God’s blessings,

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52 thoughts on “Joyous Anticipation

  1. So needed today as it has been one of those days. Trying to stay joy in the Lord. Your words certainly helped me. Thanks as always JD

    1. Indeed, we find our true rest and the fullness of joy in Him gracious friend. Will be praying your day gets better and better as more it is spent in His presence. God’s blessings ma’am.

  2. How your little calves must make your heart sing when you see their joy at your presence. What a sweet picture this brings to our hearts of how much God loves to be with us. Thanks for sharing with us your ranch lessons! Wishing the best to you and Ms. Diane.

    1. Aww… thank you for the blessing Ms. Barbara. Like you, I love how God uses everything in our lives to show us things He wants us to see and understand about Him, even silly little 600 lb. calves. I was reminded of this lesson Thanksgiving Day when we spent the day with some dear members of our faith family. When I introduced the gentleman to our donkeys (the first time he was ever up close and personal with one), I encouraged him to touch their muzzle. He was amazed at how soft and supple it was. As I watched his expression of amazement and enjoyment, God revealed what it must feel like to Him when we are surprised to learn new things about Him from His word. Oh, the joy of being in His presence my friend.

  3. I look forward to my early mornings with God as they truly are the best part of the day. May we meet with Him joyfully and expectantly for He will fill each of us with all we need to meet the day. Thank you for sharing Ben and Homer and their antics!

  4. Your words were part of my “God morning” right now! Next will be seeing His promised sunrise making a new day for me. To think the Creator is waiting to hear from me takes my breath away. Anticipating next-what He wants to tell me. Blessings to you and thanks for painting a beautiful picture not to be ignored.

  5. Our early Sunday class leader talked about the joy of the Lord and included this, “You don’t have the right to wake up and decide to be grumpy.” These little calves (almost as big as my house) surely are a good reminder that joy comes from within. The divine appointment statement strikes a rich cord. Thank you for your devotion to God’s Word.

    1. Love it Mr. Warren. My wife keeps threatening to hang the sign I gave her many years ago. It reads, “Some mornings I wake up grumpy. Other mornings, I just let him sleep.” 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed the post sir; and I think your early Sunday class leader is onto something profound there. Thank you sir.

  6. I apologize, J. D., for being absent from your wonderful blog for two weeks, but we were on vacation to visit the grands at last. What a blessed time we had, and I’m so grateful to God for every moment we enjoyed together!
    Your calves are an amazing reminder of how eagerly God waits for our coming to Him in prayer and worship. I love this imagery so much, my friend, and will remember it well when I spend my quiet time with Him. Blessings!

    1. Am so very glad you got to spend time visiting family ma’am. What a blessing that can be. Am also glad you enjoyed the post ma’am; and found joy in how my little fellas greet me when I come to visit them each day. Like you, I pray God gets as big a thrill out of seeing me approach His throne as my calves do my approaching their feed trough.

  7. What a delightful picture Ben and Homer make as they await your arrival! I love to think of my time each morning with God as a divine appointment. Every person we encounter throughout our day, every situation we face can be a divine appointment.
    Blessings on you and Ms. Diane.

  8. Great post, Mr. J.D.! I love the picture your paint of God anticipating our arrival each day. I wonder how often I disappoint Him. I’m printing out this photo and putting it on my bathroom mirror as a reminder. Thank you, my dear friend!!

    1. Yes; I’ve often wondered that same thing. Does God see my arrival with dread, as in, “What did he do this time?” or does He welcome His wayward child with open arms with a mindset of “Here child, let Me make it all better for you.” I think the latter. 🙂

  9. J.D., my two standard poodles greet me with that enthusiasm. It sure does make you smile to have someone seem so happy to see you. Love the picture of your guys. May God grant us pure hearts that see Him when we open our eyes to begin a new day.

    1. Yes ma’am. Whether it’s the calves, Bubba, or even Ms. Diane, I love see the adoration for me in their eyes they each display in their own special way. I too pray God sees that same in us when we approach Him each day Ms. Debbie.

  10. I love the way you reinforce the Scriptural foundation for the joy you experience and for making it clear that it affects your whole outlook. We’re surrounded by a culture obsessed with the notion that it’s someone else’s job to make us feel good and it’s their fault if we don’t. The uplifting, joyful scenes you shared in your characteristically personal style impart another encouraging and refreshing lesson from the ranch that all of us can apply. The joy we feel in some activity is often much less about the activity itself than about who we share it with. Thanks again, my friend. God bless you for reminding us that the One who invented joy is waiting to pass it along to us every morning, regardless of the task that lies ahead.

    1. SO many great points here Mr. Ron. I should post your response as my next post sir. What a great lesson my friend, our joy is perhaps found in the act of caring for God’s creations. I agree; we honor God when we care for all He’s created and blessed us with. Be that caring for the land and environment, farm animals, or other humans (His greatest creation), each act of care and devotion pays homage to Him. Love that thought sir. Thank you!

  11. J.D., I love this question you posed: “What if we view our every action as an opportunity to be with God Himself?” I agree with your response: “I think in doing so, we too would live in joyous anticipation.” Our days are more joyful when we acknowledge Him, spend time with Him, and praise Him. Thank you for this post that filled me with joy and anticipation.

    1. How very kind Ms. Jeannie. This world tries very hard to rob us of our joy, but when we remember that our joy comes from within, when Christ is living within us, it makes it so much easier to look inward and shut the world out in doing so my friend. Thank you for your sage counsel.

  12. There’s a lot to like and ponder about this message! I especially love Ms. Anne’s suggestion to consider our God-time as a divine appointment. That helps me see that time as holy, important, and not to be taken lightly. What a privilege to meet with Him anytime we want for a divine appointment!

  13. How very appropriate and significant that you’re sharing this topic at Christmas time. As we “abide” and see every opportunity as God’s invitation, we remember the ultimate demonstration of Jesus entering our world offering His presence. I’m wiggling with anticipation of Christmas celebrations and drawing ever closer to God through the good and bad of life.

    1. Yes Ms. Kathy! As I read your words, I would think back to the days approaching CHRISTmas and how my adopted mama would allow excitement to build up within her to the point she could no longer contain it. Oh, how I loved those mama hugs and wonderful smiles; but at CHRISTmas time, they seemed be broader and last a bit longer. She was so filled with the joy of the Lord that she had to share it with everyone around her. What a blessing it was to be near her.

  14. I know what you mean when you said they probably look forward to feed instead of you – my cats do the same, wrapping themselves around my legs and purring as I fix their dishes. But your mornings with the Lord are such sunshine to my heart.
    Also, I know about appointments as I get older – so many doctors want to poke and prod me. But, an appointment with God! How I should love those daily meetings. Lord, help me not to be so lazy!!

    1. I can’t imagine a lazy bone in your body Ms. Jackie, but I sure understand how making time for God can sometimes be a struggle. I find that my hardest time to praise God is when my tank is nearing empty. Yet that is exactly the time I need to go to Hi to be refilled with His oil of gladness. God’s blessings ma’am.

  15. “It’s when I purposely invite God to come into my life each morning that I find the fullness of joy in His presence.” Yes! That fullness of joy can feel elusive, like reaching for a tomato seed on the bottom of the sink. Just when you think you’ve got it, circumstances cause it to slip away. Your mention of Anne Graham-Lotz reminds me of a devotional I wrote called “When I Don’t Show Up”. It speaks to the fact that God desires to greet and interact with me every day and is sorrowful if I don’t show up … while I can’t say the same with confidence about the people in my life. Thanks for the romp around the farm and spiritual lesson today, JD.

    1. I love that devotion Ms. Mary; I have to find a copy of that ma’am. It’s important to God that we “show up” at His heavenly doorstep each day. Your words made me think of God’s pursuit (calling out for) of Adam immediately after the fall. When we don’t show up, how we must cause concern for God. Sort of like when your child is late from school or a date. We start to worry immediately. Let us not cause God any concern.

  16. This is beautiful! I love thinking how wonderful it is to know that Jesus waits for me to come to Him every morning. Every morning, I open the front door and then, the back door, and say “Good morning, Lord. Thank You for this glorious day.” We are truly loved by Him. I am comforted knowing that He will wait for me, as long as it takes.

    1. I can almost see the blue birds, cardinals, robins, and squirrels romping around and chirping back their greeting to you as together you send up a chorus of joy unto the Lord with each morning’s greeting Ms. Melissa. Why did your words make me feel I was suddenly in a Disney movie my friend? 😀

  17. Thanks for sharing your morning greeting from my namesake, Benigno. ;0) I can related to your comment at times when this body reacts in a way that seems to be “Good God, morning?” Not every night is restful do to age, aches from labor the previous day, or worries. But when I get into the Word and then learn something completely new (to me) and then fire off the prayers for the many on my list, my opening statement becomes “Good morning, God!”

    1. So true Mr. Ben. There are days when this life just isn’t joyful. It’s in those moments that we need to remember that we are not made for this temporary life and that more, much more, awaits us on that day my friend. I pray that thought always brings a smile; and thank you for your prayers this week sir. They were both felt and appreciated.

  18. My horses greet me with anticipation at feeding time, too, but I don’t think their personalities are as congenial as your two friendly steers. But we can certainly learn this lesson (or try to do better) and greet our Father every morning (and throughout the day) with joyful anticipation of our divine meeting. Such an inspiring message, my friend. Thank you!

    1. Awww… Thank you Ms. Katherine. I can’t wait until the day I get to share a treat or four with “Peaches” and your other beauties ma’am. I’m guessing you also wonder what they’re thinking as you scratch their heads, brush their mane, or merely give them a loving pat. I’m certain they know they are safe and cared for deeply. In much the same way God reminds us of His care for us.

  19. What a joy-filled post, J.D.! Thank you!

    Your Anne Graham-Lotz quote reminds me of what I often think of when I arise in the morning: God’s first recorded words, “Let there be light.”

    1. Absolutely Ms. Connie. I love how God smiles upon the world with each sunrise and sunset. Each is different, and I pray that each one is a satisfied smile in knowing that His child did their best to represent Him this day. God’s blessings gentle friend.

  20. I love your post, with its sweet story about Benigno and Homer. They sound like such characters! And I especially love your reminder that the calves’ happy greeting reminds you that God must be that happy to greet us when we come to Him for our Quiet time in His presence! And He has treats for us, too! “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8

    1. Amen Ms. Kathy! I pray I will someday be able to give God as much joy as He gives me ma’am. I’m not sure eternity will be long enough for me to repay all the blessings in my life.

  21. This brought a smile to my face and heart, J.D. I often think the same thing about our dog–her absolute devotion and utter fulfillment just to be with us. Wonderful spiritual connection, thank you!

    1. I’m so very glad I did Ms. Wendy. I pray you found great peace and contentment for a few minutes as you visited with us here. I’m betting that you bent down and loved your baby at the first chance you got after reading this too. I know I did Bubba. I invited him into the house to sit on the sofa with me for a few minutes before I had to leave for an early appointment last Wednesday. I hope God gets as much enjoyment out of showering us with His love as we do showering His love upon those He’s entrusted to us to care for. God’s blessings ma’am.

  22. I love your mention of divine appointments, J.D. Every day the Lord has them planned for us. We can delight in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit is guiding our steps inside of God’s will. One of mine is caring for my mother who now has dementia. What a joy-filled way to live as we do life with Jesus. Blessings, dear brother.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Yes, our moments with God become even more important when we find we have to find them in those precious brief minutes we get to ourselves when we’re a caregiver. When I was blessed to care for my aging dad a few years ago, I cherished the times when I could be alone for just a few minutes as he was seemingly my shadow throughout the day. And while I loved him dearly, God knew when I needed a break and He would almost always come seek me out in those moments of solitude. The most amazing times came when He would enter into my and my dad’s world in the midst of “a moment” and bring both of us great peace. We could visibly see the changes in each other when He made His holy presence known in our lives. I’ll also cherish those nights of sitting beside his bed with my hand touching him as he suffered through the panic attacks that accompanied his night terrors. I pray he remembered the peace and patience I tried to always show him when he would forget things or get upset at something he could no longer accomplish on his own. As caregivers for aging parents, we walk a very fine line sometimes. My prayers are that when you begin to feel your peace imploding, you feel God step in to carry your load. God’s blessings sweet lady; and know my prayers are with you.

  23. So many times in the past few years I have found myself saying aloud, “Come, Lord Jesus, come soon.” There is a sense of joyous anticipation that all the earth and all the inhabitants within it will be forced to recognize who You are and acknowledge Your power and salvation. I find such sweet vengeance in that knowledge towards those who mock and blaspheme the great I AM. But in the meantime, I’ll take the ever so wonderful joyous anticipation of my dogs every time I see them!

    1. Yes ma’am; I’m right there with you! Let us shout MARANATHA! I think in every few generations that have been those of us who so long for the Lord’s return; and while it seems He may be delaying what we believe to be so imminent, we can only trust that He knows what we can’t. As much as I desire to be taken up at the trumpet’s call, I stand in faith, ready to endure what I must to honor my Lord and God. Like you Ms. Karen, we’ll gladly accept those divine appointments we have to cherish time in His presence. And yes ma’am; it’s amazing how often He uses our animals to show us what His love and devotion to His children looks like. How blessed we are.

  24. I relish my times with God. It seems I can’t get enough of those divine moments with Him these days. I pray the excitement I have in this season continues until Christ returns or He takes me home.

    Blessings to you, friend.

    Tammy

    1. Sometimes we get so trapped in our own business, and become too entrenched in the worldly things going on around us, that we find ourselves being drained of the joy of the Lord; at least I do from time-to-time Ms. Tammy. I can remember my dad’s warning to my brother to “Don’t become so heavenly focused that you become no earthly good.” I thought that funny until I got older and started to understand what he meant by that statement. If we are solely focused on God (praise, worship, study, etc.), then we aren’t keeping watch in this world for opportunities to carry out Christ’s great commission to us. We become selfish and keep wanting to shine His light inward, but when we do that, we’re not honoring God, we’re hoarding Him. I pray you too find that right balance in this life we are living so that when that upward call comes, we will have expended everything God equipped us with to help others find their way to Him. God’s blessings sweet little sister in Christ.

    1. Thank you Ms. LuAnn. Yes, the way our pets and animal friends greet us is indeed God’s way of illustrating how we should approach Him. Not with fear and trepidation, but with love, joy, and excitement to be in His presence. He loves me just as I am, because He doesn’t see the me I am, He sees the me He’s going to end up with. 🙂 God’s blessings sweet lady.

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