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This morning I find myself pouring over a book by songwriter Lynn DeShazo, More Precious Than Silver, while listening to Michael W. Smith’s rendering of her song, Ancient Words.

This powerful “poem” of praise, reinforces the treasure we have in these “Holy words long preserved, for our walk in this world.”

Noticeably missing in Smith’s recording are the words below.  I understand their omission was for political sensitivities (hold that thought) given the time of his recording in 2002, amid the challenges between Irish Catholic and Protestants.  The verse reads as follows:

Martyr’s blood stains each page,

They have died for this faith.

Hear them cry through the years,

“Heed these words and hold them dear!”

Why this introduction to an entry entitled Happy?  I am trying to sort through a conversation with a friend last evening at a birthday gathering.   Her statement to me was, “When I read your blog, you don’t seem to be happy?”  She is not the first person to tell me that happiness seems to be missing from my life.

Another author, whom I am now reading, addresses the necessity of evaluating start-up companies by elaborating on how one might forecast success.  His formula is simple; first ask women not men, then listen to your friends.  With comic relief, he buffers his writings by saying, “If three friends tell you that you are drunk, call a cab!”   In other words, if three friends, at least one who must be female, tell you that your business idea stinks, don’t invest further.

So, I guess if three friends, at least one being female, tell you that you don’t seem happy, then, you must not be?

I am not sure that I any longer know how to do “happy”, and possibly to my detriment.  Then again, if an American Christian comments on your lack of “happy” is that a bad sign, given the trivialness of our belief system, and the lack of impact by the institutional churches of this land?  See, there I go again, slipping off the negative edge in my writings.

Yet, I somehow must believe, that with the great favor given to me by the Lord, and the numerous God moments in my life, which often cause me to burst into deep tears of joy and awe, may be more what I am after personally?   Not to say that I need not change for the sake of readership;  but, when I reflect on those who have had transformational impact on this world, in comparison to the “happy go lucky”, I expect life to be a little taxing at times?  Perhaps, I may need to mask it more?

I am not oblivious to the concept of martyr complex, and certainly am not trying to find a chopping block to rest my neck upon, but neither am I reluctant to pay whatever price truth telling requires.

Back to Lynn’s last verse, and yes, I feel I can refer to her by first name, since my wife and I just spent four days together with this globally significant writer (now I’m name dropping for credibility, sorry Lynn).

How does one comingle truth with humor (my attempts above) and not miss horror?  Humor may at times be false joy, just as the horror of sin may be too harsh for happy Americans?

Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, grieved over Jerusalem.  I grieve over America.  Not those who are oblivious to the principles of Christ, but those who use His Name in vain, each professing their own brand of Christianity, while their nation tanks.  He will not hold them harmless on that “Day”!

Truth has come with a great price and truth telling carries its own burden; especially, if one tries to be a truth teller both inside the sanctuary, while participating openly and publically in “the debate” within our land.

That seems to be my lot and the current institutional church seems to be my target of opportunity.  Am I angry at the church, or angry at myself for participating in what the church has become?  I am not sure and thus my reason for participating in the “healing conference” last week.

Maybe it did not work, as I obviously came away less than the happy I should be?  I did have four marvelous days of worship and moments of deep consideration of the un-forgiveness and rank sin that can easily reign in the heart of man, to include myself.

Martyr’s blood stains each page,

They have died for this faith.

Hear them cry through the years,

“Heed these words and hold them dear!”

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