What is the joy of the Lord?

My quest this year to find JOY in my life everyday has been probably the best thing I can do to keep my focus on God and off of me and my problems. As I’ve written before, true JOY originates from the Lord, but what does that really mean?

GotQuestions?, one of my favorite sites, answers that question very well in this question of the week. Although I like to capitalize the word JOY and it’s derivatives, the piece below will stand as it was written by the author.

What is the joy of the Lord?

Question: “What is the joy of the Lord?”

Answer: The joy of the Lord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus was born, the angels announced “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). All who find Jesus know, with the shepherds of the nativity, the joy He brings. Even before His birth, Jesus had brought joy, as attested to in Mary’s song (Luke 1:47) and by John’s response to hearing Mary’s voice as he “leaped for joy” in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44).

Jesus exemplified joy in His ministry. He was no glum ascetic; rather, His enemies accused Him of being too joyful on occasion (Luke 7:34). Jesus described Himself as bridegroom enjoying a wedding feast (Mark 2:18–20); He “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” (Luke 10:21); He spoke of “my joy” (John 15:11) and promised to give His disciples a lifetime supply of it (John 16:24). Joy is reflected in many of Jesus’ parables, including the three stories in Luke 15, which mention “rejoicing in the presence of the angels” (Luke 15:10) and end with a joyful shepherd, a joyful woman, and a joyful father.

Read the rest here.

Give Thanks

Brief update: I’m back from Florida after seeing Dad with my sisters. I wrote a prayer request about this here. It wasdifficult trip because I don’t travel well any more, and dealing with overcrowded airports and airplanes piles on a lot of stress. However, through it all, I felt God’s presence as He filled me with a calm and peace I sorely needed. I’m convinced that was only because of the prayers of His faithful, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers on behalf of me and my family.

It was so good to see Dad again. He has changed so much in the several years since I was last able to see him, and it is evident that soon God will call him home. It was difficult saying goodbye but I know I’ll see him in heaven, and that’s soothing to me.

Ps95-2-November 2015 Proclaim Freebie - Give Thanks-50

1 O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
“When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
10 “For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
11 “Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”

I am thankful for so much, sometimes even for things that God is not allowing in my life. I know that sounds strange, but from past experience I have learned that when we pray for certain things and rush ahead of God’s timing on them, we might get what we pray for but it may not necessarily be God’s plan for us, therefore not good for us. I can tell you from personal experience that’s a hard place to be in!

I believe without a shadow of doubt that God desires His very best for each and every one of us. And sometimes that “best” is something so small and seemingly insignificant that it may escape our notice. Let’s try to remember to notice every single thing with which God has blessed us and “come before His presence with thanksgiving.” And then let’s share our joy and thanks with others. We live in a fallen world and all of us sometimes forget those little things in our daily struggles.

Beloved, it is my prayer that all of you enjoy a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

New American Standard Bible (NASB). Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


Please and Thank You


A couple of weeks ago I encouraged you to try the Thank You Challenge 2015. I didn’t remember until recently how and when my own thank you lifestyle began, so I want to share that with you today.
Back in the late 90’s, I served as a counselor at Royal Family Kids camp, for abused and abandoned children. On the last night of camp when all counselors and administration staff gathered to pray, we counselors were surprised to receive a special gift. Although we didn’t know it, the camp administration team had been watching all of us counselors as we interacted with each of the children in our charge. They met each night to search the Scriptures and find just the right verse to describe each of us.
To my utter surprise, Hebrews 11:1 was given to me.

God called me to this ministry even though I felt totally unprepared and uneducated for the task. I tried to ignore God’s call on my heart but He kept showing me that He wanted me to go there. I resisted, until one night at a prayer meeting I heard Him whisper to my anguished heart, “I want you to do this for Me.”

How could I ignore that?

One of the little girls in my charge was a particularly tough case. This sweet little 8-year-old had been shuffled from one foster home to another. She was certain of only one thing: that she could expect abuse or negative treatment on a regular basis. Like so many of these abused children, she learned to bury her true emotions and instead developed a defensive posture, along with the frequent tendency to declare “No!” in response to any suggestions, fun or not. 

Her stubbornness was not easy for any of us to deal with. Whenever we were to start anything new, whether it was crafts, chapel, or even games, her standard response was “No!” She would literally crouch down and keep shouting this over and over again. I found myself praying almost constantly that entire week. My prayers would start, “Please, God…” and as the Lord helped me deal with each difficulty, they then became, “Thank you, God…” 

Our goal was to give these children a week of carefree fun, but her tantrums kept testing my patience and that of the camp directors. After a couple of days of this negative behavior, we had a discussion about sending her home early which greatly upset me. How could we take away this one week of fun from someone who rarely had the chance to do anything enjoyable? I pleaded with the directors to give her another chance and they agreed. 

That night I asked God what I could say or do to help her adjust better because I wanted her to enjoy her camping experience. He showed me that her life was full of commands. She was never asked about anything. He then gave me one word: choices. 

Even at camp she was expected to adhere to rules and a schedule, which in itself is not a bad thing, but difficult for her to deal with considering what the rest of her life was like. As I prayed about all of this, God showed me that if she was given some limited choices, her responses might be different. 

That week at camp was a mixture of faith and fear, trust and anxiety, exhilaration and fatigue. God heard my Please and Thank You prayers and honored them as I faced each new challenge. The completely awesome part of this whole story is that before camp week was over, my stubborn yet sweet little charge asked Jesus Christ into her heart. And not only that, but a few years later, I heard that she was a counselor-in-training there! 

Beloved, Please and Thank You are very powerful words. They bless the giver as much or maybe more than the receiver.

 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
—James 4:10

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought,
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

—G.K. Chesterton

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Grateful in All Circumstances [shared from Abandoned To Christ]

Can we truly be grateful for every single thing in our lives? The good and the bad? Today I decided to share a wonderful post about this from Abandoned to Christ. It speaks about this better than I have read anywhere else. Thank you, Sunny Shell, for showing us that it is very possible to be grateful for all things in our lives!

Grateful in All Circumstances

What does it mean, to give thanks in all circumstances?
In First Thessalonians chapter five, the Apostle Paul closes with a list of things that every Christian ought to do (vv. 12-22), but can’t do in our own strength or by our own sheer will. Perhaps we can accomplish some, or all that’s on this list, but it would only be a temporary appearance of godly character rather than a faithful and continual walk. For we know if we do not abide in Christ, we will not bear His fruit. And any true godly quality we exhibit is a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit within us (1 Cor 2:5), not from our flesh that continually desires the ways of this world.
I often refer to my physical trials as a gift from the Lord and something He has seen fit to work in my life for my greatest benefit. And often, I get questions and comments from people who are outraged by my proclamation that a good and loving God would bring pain into my life. They tell me I’m rather foolish and audacious to claim God would do anything besides make me healthy, wealthy and happy. But that’s not what God says.
Read the rest here.


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How to Be Happy [Repost from 4-15-2012]

A blast from the past on this . . .


On this Happy Sunday, I’d like to share what I’ve found about this thing called happiness.

The dictionary defines happy as:

  • delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing
  • characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy
  • favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky
  • in high spirits
  • satisfied

Here are some synonyms that also describe being happy:

  • blessed
  • cheerful
  • content
  • delighted
  • glad
  • joyful
  • peaceful
  • upbeat

On the other hand, here are a few words that describe what happy is not:

  • depressed
  • discouraged
  • dissatisfied
  • miserable
  • sad
  • sorrowful

What struck me most reading through all of this were the words satisfied and peaceful—two wonderful words describing how one can most times lead to the other. If we’re satisfied with what we have and about our life in general, we feel peaceful about it —that “peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

I have found that being truly happy does not depend on our circumstances. Consider this: no one’s life is perfect. We all struggle with something in our lives, oftentimes several somethings all at the same time. All of these somethings come with bad and good. Let me explain with a very personal example.

I struggle every single day with several chronic illnesses, but the worst of my health issues these days are debilitating migraines. I start each day with a migraine and a lot of the time it subsides for two to three hours (sometimes more on a really good day) before it returns around dinner time to reclaim me as its unwilling victim.

These migraines impact every single aspect of my life. I have had to cancel or postpone countless appointments, trips and gatherings with friends and family. I very often have to turn down my sweet hubby’s invitations to go out with him for a meal or a motorcycle ride.

Those are my bad somethings.

I used to have the “poor me” attitude until God worked in me to remind me that nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37) with Him in my life. It has only been through my utter dependence on Him and my faith in Him as my constant Comforter that I have finally realized the good that has come from this season in my life. I now have a more complete reliance on Him for everything. There is also the realization that my pain-filled existence on this earth is nothing compared to the joy that awaits me in heaven. Adding to these is the awareness that God is teaching me new things about myself through these experiences every single day.

Those are the good parts of my bad somethings.

Wow. Can you see how much more there is to the good parts? The good parts are the positive results of those negative somethings. I can honestly say that in all this I have found that peace of God that transcends all understanding!

Here are a few great quotes I found about being happy:

  • “There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means – either may do – the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier. —Benjamin Franklin
  • “He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.” —Plato
  • “The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.” —Woody Allen

Finally, here’s some of what the Bible has to say about being happy:

  • “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” —Proverbs 15:13
  • “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. “—Ecclesiastes 3:11-13
  • “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.”  —Ecclesiastes 7:14
  • Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”  —James 5:13

Singing songs of praise and thanksgiving…


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Thankful for the Little Things


This just happens to be a Thursday so I thought I’d celebrate that by sharing a “Thankful Thursday” post from almost two years ago, titled Thank You Challenge.” I love what the image above states about gratitude. It really ties into my blog tagline:

gratitude turns what we have into more than enough

How about you, Beloved? Look around you. Do you view even the tiniest of blessings with thankfulness and gratitude?



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