Now may the God of hope fill you
with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you will abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Here is a great devotional that is a good addition to my JOY theme this year. I read this yesterday at Crossmap.com titled “Not Simply to Endure or to Choose God’s Will but to Rejoice in it.” The author of this devotional is none other than L. B. Cowman of Streams in the Desert.
I live with several chronic pain illnesses and have often pondered the subject of God’s will, especially during this particular season of my life. Is it really possible to truly rejoice in God’s will, no matter what our difficulties are? Yes it is, and Mr. Cowman’s devotional is a good reminder of this. I especially appreciate this part of the devotional: “the most magnificent psalms arose from the most profound agonies of the soul.”
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. (2 Corinthians 6:10)
A stoic person despises the shedding of tears, but a Christian is not forbidden to weep.Yet the soul may become silent from excessive grief, just as the quivering sheep may remain quiet beneath the scissors of the shearer. Or, when the heart is at the verge of breaking beneath the waves of a trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice. But there is something even better.
It is said that springs of sweet, fresh water pool up amid the saltiness of the oceans, that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged mountain passes, and that the most magnificent psalms arose from the most profound agonies of the soul.
May it continue to be! Therefore, amid a multitude of trials, souls who love God will discover reasons for boundless, leaping joy. Even though “deep calls to deep”(Ps.42:7), the clear cadence of the Lord’s song will be heard. And during the most difficult hour that could ever enter a human life, it will be possible to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you learned this lesson yet?
Sing to the Lord,
for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.
Reblogged from Lynn Mosher: Encouraging the Heart-Uplifting the Soul.
This wonderful post from my bloggy friend, Lynn Mosher, goes along with my JOY and FAITH themes this year. Lynn has a special way of making a story come alive, and I know you’ll appreciate this as much as I do.
Thank you, Lynn, for allowing me to share this with my readers.
Once upon a time, twin sisters, Joy and Sorrow, lived in the same house with their Father, whose name was Comfort.
Joy skipped along her way enjoying every moment, savoring the sights and sounds of her everyday life, as her heart overflowed with praise and thanksgiving to her Father.
Sorrow, on the other hand, was somewhat defiant, rebelling against her Father, grumbling because of the pain in her life.
Nevertheless, they both experienced the same trials and heartaches, and yet, they each went about their day singing a different tune.
The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.
When I rededicated my life to Jesus and was baptized back in 1995, I was still a baby Christian. I spent lots of time reading my Bible, but to help memorize Scripture verses, my wonderful friend Donna gave me several audio tapes containing songs set to actual Bible verses. Oh, did I ever love singing along to these songs, and to this day when I read certain Bible passages, the songs I learned back then immediately start playing in my head.
I was researching passages about JOY recently, and my eyes zeroed in on Psalm 90, verse 14:
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
I suddenly remembered a song I had memorized from one of those tapes, so I did some online research and actually found it on youtube:
Granted, the entire song is comprised of only the words of this Scripture verse, but that is exactly what helped me memorize it so well.
I found those audio tapes today (yes, I still have them!) and since I also still own a cassette player, I am going to start playing these again to refresh my memory. Call me a dinosaur for holding on to these old things, but why should I buy the CD or MP3 version of these if I already have them in an older format that still works perfectly?
Beloved, how about you? Have you ever used music to help memorize Bible verses? Share your experiences with us below.
This is a story I wrote several years ago. It is pure fiction except for one thing: millions of people live with physical pain—or emotional pain or financial difficulties or _______ (fill in the blank)—every single day…
When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
Your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
Your consolation brought JOY to my soul.
“Good morning!” Sherri smiled and waved, then hurried to help Macy up the ramp.
“What’s so good about it?” grumbled Macy. She stopped and leaned hard on her cane as she struggled with her shoulder bag.
“Here, let me.” Sherri slid Macy’s purse strap up higher, then gave her friend a hug. “Can I help you with your shopping?”
Macy’s eyes filled with tears. “I’d be so grateful. Today has been a pile of things gone wrong.”
Sherri helped Macy into the store’s motorized cart and then pulled a shopping cart out for herself. They moved from one aisle to the next as Sherri tried to keep the conversation light. Macy just responded with grumbles or shrugs.
At the checkout, Sherri placed Macy’s items onto the checkout counter before unloading her own cart. In the parking lot, she stashed Macy’s grocery bags in her trunk and then turned to help Macy out of the cart.
“There you go! Do you need any help getting this stuff put away at home?”
Macy’s eyes widened. “How can you be so nice when I’ve been so rotten to you?”
“I figured this wasn’t a great day for you when you couldn’t even appreciate the beautiful blue sky,” Sherri replied. She lightly touched Macy’s shoulder. “The pain is pretty bad today, isn’t it?”
Macy nodded. “Yeah, but I had no choice. I needed so many things and I’ve been putting this off for days.” She struggled into the driver’s seat and looked at Sherri. “How do you do it?”
“You know. You look and sound so joyful when you must be feeling so bad yourself,” Macy said as she gestured to Sherri’s leg brace and the splint encasing her right wrist.
Sherri smiled. “I just picture God’s comforting arms around me, holding me close. Just the thought of that brings joy to my soul.”
Macy regarded Sherri for several moments. “You know, I should probably try that too.”
Beloved, life is not easy! But I’m sure you already know that. Please understand that I am not saying that thinking differently will change your circumstances. What I believe to be true is that changing our thinking can affect how we perceive our circumstances.
Trying to find joy in our circumstances is not easy, but I can attest to the fact that it can be done. I fail at this a lot but I’m thankful that most times I remember to reach out to the only One Who can bring true joy into my life: my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
May I pray for you about this? Please reply in the comment section below this post or shoot me an email: faithlhj777 at gmail dot com.
The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.
Have you ever noticed how many Scripture passages there are about being happy and full of joy? Today I’d like to share some of those with you to remind all of us of the immense happiness and JOY we have in Jesus Christ.
This is the praise song that I often sing to the Lord at night just before I go to sleep. It is based on Psalm 5:11:
I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice
To worship You, O my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, my King, in what You hear;
May it be a sweet, sweet sound
in Your ear.
How about you, Beloved? What songs of praise for our Savior and Lord Jesus fill your heart to overflowing?.
As I wrote in JOY and FAITH earlier this week, I will be writing about JOY and FAITH during 2015. I am purposely capitalizing those two words, and if you want to think of it as my shouting them, that’s exactly right! How can we feel true JOY or FAITH without thinking of them in such a huge way that we want to shout it out to the world?
Today I’d like to share with you another of Pat Knight’s devotionals. She has written about JOY many times in her writing career, and I always appreciate what the Holy Spirit has given her to share about this important subject.
By Patricia Knight
What a small word for such a giant effect it creates in others and us. “Joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8) is how our Guidebook, the Bible, assumes is the attitude and method of every Christian. Joy is dynamic and ready to do its work. Joy can flow out from one person to another or it can rush in to fill a life.
The exchange of wedding vows, the birth of a child, the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord of one’s life are times when joy knows no bounds. It overflows, gushes, whirls, either causing an action or a reaction. We cannot ignore joy. And, who would want to disregard such an important emotion?
The times we remember best in our lives are the joyous occasions, those that offer us great delight and gladness of heart.
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalms 126:3). “Filled with joy” is not a phrase I hear used often, but it sure does sound like a good idea to be infused, saturated, slathered with a good dose of joy. Imagine the result if we were all living joy-filled lives. I rarely hear about it, though I have heard of the opposite—”to be filled with anger.” I can even envision that anger at work, as a person’s face reddens and his voice and actions become irrational. As Christians, we are commanded to have joy. There’s no preference of when to have or when to share it. Joy must be an integral part of our being, with instant preparedness for sharing.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:4-7). Notice how joy, thanksgiving, and prayer have all been interlocked in this command. For us to have joy, we need to be thankful. If we follow God’s command to give thanks in all things, we will be joyful people. If we have joy in our own lives, then we yearn to give it away. Living in perpetual communication with our Lord, our supply will never be depleted.
“Let your gentleness be known to all.” God means all-inclusive, no matter to whom, in whatever conditions and circumstances we find ourselves, and for all reasons. The word “all” can be a little tricky. It is a small, three-letter word that can easily be ignored. It isn’t a difficult word to understand, but applying its meaning to our everyday life presents a challenge. In my personal life, I have struggled with expressing joy and thanks for constant pain. There doesn’t seem to be a purpose to it. That’s when God asks me to be thankful and trust Him enough to be joyful regardless of my life’s circumstances. I have to acknowledge that before the pain enters my body, God has approved it and because it is part of His plan for my life, I can thank Him that His will is being done and be joyful in His decisions for my life.
“The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will overtake them and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 51:11). To be “overtaken by joy”? That is what God says. What would result if all of us took a new approach to joy? I suggest that we all begin a new day with an abundant, heaped-to-the-top-and-running-over package of joy.
Perhaps that sounds a little fantastic, not really credible. If God is in charge, and He tells us that “all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27), then being overtaken with joy is possible. I want to be overtaken with joy so that there is no room for conflicting negative emotions. Nothing can quench the joy. If it were God’s wish that we be completely consumed with joy, then why do we find ourselves moping about at times, bemoaning our situation? God may wonder too. If He has given the instruction, He will also give the strength and power to accomplish what He has commanded.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline”
(2 Timothy 1:7).
God not only fills us with joy but also adds a sweet fragrance to that joy.
“But thanks be to God,
who also leads us in triumphal procession in Christ
and through us spreads everywhere
the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.
For we are to God the aroma of Christ
among those who are being saved
and those who are perishing”
(2 Corinthians 2: 14,15).
“The fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” Now, that should cause us to smile. So much revenue is spent on cosmetics, many for the purpose of erasing deep frown lines that have formed over the years. Smiling takes substantially fewer muscles than frowning. Did you ever practice smiling in front of a mirror? It provides a light-hearted experience, putting a smile on your face, and one in your heart.
There are some extremely expensive fragrances on the market for which both women and men pay lofty amounts. As aromatic as these may be, there is no sweeter fragrance than that emitted by Jesus. We “are to God the aroma of Christ” among people being won to Him. What a privilege and a responsibility! We need not think we have to spread His joy alone. God manufactures it and gives it to us, the most expensive fragrance in the world, bought with the highest sacrifice in heaven and on earth. Then, God will help us distribute it to the destitute in heart. The source is readily available, renewable, and inexhaustible.
Joy is one of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22). In a long line of attributes, joy is second in line, snuggling right up close with love. We are told to have joy, ALWAYS! Have we been neglecting something important in our lives? We need possession of the immediate joy that sparks a flame of excitement plus the persistent joy that produces a daily expression of happiness and thanksgiving.
Worship flows naturally out of a thankful, joyful heart.
Praise, song and love all emerge from a heart previously primed with joy.
When we are consumed with joy, there is no room for negativism. As we are caught up in serving God and men with a happy heart, we are celebrating God and the joy He places there for us. When we share with others, our joy multiplies and carries with it a sweet aroma. People are encouraged.
We are commanded to do everything without complaining or grumbling (Philippians 2:14). I have never learned how to express joy while complaining, nor do I believe God intends for us to combine the two.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:12). Choices are made from the attitudes we form. No matter how negative our lives appear, no one can force us to match it with a negative attitude. Even though we tend to blame others for our problems, we as Christians are to rise above our circumstances. We choose our responses. We also choose joy. Though joy is free flowing and available, we have to embrace it for our personal life style for it to become an effective tool for us. An outpouring of our inner joyfulness is our gift to others.
In my earlier career, I worked at a medical facility where a friend of mine was later hired in the social services department. Martha was the most effervescent, enthusiastic and happy woman I had ever met. She possessed a beautiful smile and used it unsparingly, with a deep, engaging laugh. Other workers were aloof toward her and later shared with me that they didn’t trust Martha and were suspicious of her. They reasoned that she was too happy and smiled too much. I am still shocked by their logic. The unhappy, insecure workers were not going to befriend a newcomer who embodied joy and confidence. Studies have proven the power of a positive attitude in achieving the healing and recovery process. Martha understood the benefit of permeating her life and profession with joy.
Each day we have a predetermined amount of energy. When our supply of energy is used positively and creatively, we contribute to the joy in our lives and in the lives of others. If we look for laughter and sunshine wherever we go, we are able to increase the joy that we discover. Joy shared is multiplied. Joy restrained is limited. God commands that we prioritize joy. Look for the brilliance in the early morning sunrise, the diamonds bouncing off the rippling water, and the crystals radiating from newly fallen snow. Then, store those scenes in your mental imagery and share that beautiful joy with someone else when the opportunity arises.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name”
(Psalm 100: 1, 2, 4).
That same compelling joy will gladden your own heart and travel far and wide to affect the lives of others.
Pat, you are one of the most joyful people I have ever met and I am so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you so much for allowing me to share this wonderful and joyful devotional!
For the past few weeks, I have been pondering the word JOY. Such a small word for such a huge and amazing emotion.
How can I describe JOY?
How can we feel any JOY at all while in those valley places?
And why do we feel JOY in the first place?
Stay tuned, beloved!
So the natural progression—in my mind at least—led me to next think about the word FAITH. Hebrews 11:1 (above) was given to me years ago during a particularly stressful time in my life when God showed me that FAITH in Him can carry me through any situation.
I have always tried to live by that kind of faith, and this Christmas I received two special bracelets from my Rick that were faith themed. As you can see in this photo, one of them says “Keep the Faith.” The other reads “Faith Hope Love.” They look really nice worn together, and are serving to remind me that my FAITH is found only in the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary.
Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said,
“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,
even as You gave Him authority over all flesh,
that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.
This is eternal life, that they may know You,
the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
I glorified You on the earth,
having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.
Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself,
with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
This year I hope you’ll join me in exploring JOY and FAITH, especially as it pertains to each of us individually. I don’t think this subject can ever be exhausted because God fills us up with unending amounts of JOY and FAITH. It’s up to us to grab hold of both of those and never let go!
Heavenly Father, we need You more than we can ever imagine. We so need Your JOY and Your FAITH. JOY that You think of us as the apple of Your eye. JOY in and through every single circumstance in our lives. FAITH in the mercy and saving grace of Your Son, Jesus Christ. FAITH that we can always count on You—and only You—to see us through those inevitable valleys in our lives. Oh, Abba Father, we are so utterly thankful for how much You lavish Your JOY and FAITH upon us!