Choose Joy

“…so don’t be sad. The joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong.”

Nehemiah 8:10b GNT

Sometimes our bad days turn into bad weeks or bad months. Many times we ask God to take our problems away or to give us strength to endure. But we can still suffer while we endure. Having the strength to get through our struggles doesn’t remove the distress we sometimes experience. And God doesn’t want us to spend our lives engulfed in sadness. He wants us to enjoy life! He gives us joy to make us strong enough for any troubles we face. The strength that comes from the joy that we find in The Lord is not just a strength that allows us to endure bad day after bad day. It’s more than a strength that allows us to just survive problem after problem. This strength allows us to take pleasure in every day despite any circumstances we encounter.

So how do we turn a bad day into a joyful day? Where do we find joy when we feel like we have run out of it? 

1. CHOOSE  When we are sad, we feel helpless and weak. But the joy that comes from knowing Him gives us strength. 

Everything seems to go wrong when you feel weak and depressed. But when you choose to be cheerful, every day will bring you more and more joy and fullness.“ – Proverbs 15:15 TPT

2. SEEK

“All who seek The Lord will praise Him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.” – Psalms 22:26b NLT

3. SPEND TIME Joy is not found in the absence of problems. Joy is found in His presence.

“You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in Your presence; You always give me sheer delight.” Psalms 16:11 NET

4. PRAY Ask God to give us the joy to love our lives while we endure the trials we face.

5. OBEY

“So rejoice in The Lord and be glad, all you who obey Him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!“ – Psalms 32:11

6. BEAR FRUIT

“22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a NLT

7. SERVE We serve The Lord by serving others. 

“As you serve him, be glad and worship him. Sing your way into his presence with joy.“ – Psalms 100:2 TPT

8. CONTINUE Practice. Continue to choose. Make a conscious effort to repeat these sources of joy until it comes naturally. 

Thank You, Lord, for the joy You bring and the blessings You have given me. Please help me to remember to continue choosing joy, no matter what I face. Amen


Joy in His Presence

“You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight.”

Psalms 16:11 NET

The Lord leads us to a life full of joy. If we choose to follow His path of life, we find ourselves closer and closer to His presence. In His presence, we are filled with joy. Not just a little bit of joy – FILLED with a complete and boundless joy! He wants to guide our steps, so that as we draw near, we find our source of joy through relationship with Him. 

It’s pretty simple to feel this joy every Sunday at church, or during what I like to call “Coffee and Jesus Time“ each morning. But there are times when it is more difficult to experience this joy. We all have bad days. So when our hearts are heavy, our minds are weary, and we are physically exhausted, we need to pull Him into those areas of our life where we need Him most. Remember that the same God who is there with us at church and in our Bible study time is still right there beside us when we struggle, too. When we bring Him into these situations, and allow Him to wrap us up in His love, we can experience that joy even in our troubled times! Our faith in Him brings us hope, and this hope can fill us with joy and the strength to endure all things. 

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the joy you bring! I pray that today I follow where You lead me on this path of life. I pray that this joy that fills me in Your presence will stay with me throughout the day. I want to share this joy with everyone I see today. Thank You, Lord, for blessing me with your ceaseless presence. You never leave my side. Amen

When I Am Weak, He Is Strong

“But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 GNT

We have all felt, at some time in our lives, that we are not enough. That we don’t have enough. We feel weak and helpless in some of the situations that we face. 

“I’m not smart enough to figure this out.“

“I’m not strong enough to get through this.“

“If only I had more time.“

“If only I had more money.“

“I’m not qualified for that promotion at work.“

“I don’t have what it takes…“

As hard as we try, not one of us is perfect. And we don’t have to be perfect, because our God is! God gave us our abilities, and He gave us our flaws, because His power works best in our lives when we admit our own weakness and turn to Him. Once we realize this, we can look at it like Paul does in the Message version of this verse: 

“I quit focusing on the handicap and begin focusing on the gift.“ 2 Corinthians 12: 9b MSG

Giving our attention to His wonderful gift allows us to be content, and even cheerful, rather than feeling like a failure. It allows us to feel blessed instead of feeling like we are lacking. When I feel I’ve reached my limit I will pray: 

Dear Lord, I’ve done all I can do, and it’s not enough. I need to feel the protection of Your power working in my life. I am laying this at Your feet and I know that however it turns out, You are working it for my good. It brings me so much joy to know that when I am weak, You are strong. Thank You so much, Lord, for Your amazing gift of grace. 

Amen

Take Care of Each Other

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

— 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

We are meant to take care of others when they struggle, the same way God gives us the hope and encouragement to get through our own troubles. 

Lord, I thank You for giving me strength every time I felt like giving up. I am so blessed to be able to find hope in You when my life feels hopeless. Please help me to reach out to others who are troubled. Lord, I don’t want anyone to suffer in pain, alone and hopeless. Please give me the courage to comfort those who need encouragement, the way you comfort me when I am in need. 

Amen

You Are Now Free in The Lord

“And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord.  God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.”

— 1 Corinthians 7:22a, 23

Because of God’s sacrifice, we are no longer imprisoned by our past mistakes. We are no longer held back by the chains of our addictions and depression, the weight of our stress, worry, and fear, or our thirst for money and power. We have been set free so that we may dedicate our lives to following Him. 

This doesn’t mean that our struggles are over. It doesn’t mean that we will never have a battle to face. It means that we turn to the power of God to help us deal with these battles, rather than allow these areas of our lives to hold us in bondage. It means we change our mindset so that we can stop living our lives as a slave to the things of this world. 

No more defining ourselves by our greatest weaknesses. 

No more being content to go through life living as though those labels are our truth. 

If we continue to give these things our attention and all of our focus, they will still have a hold on us. It is only when we let go of these worldly things that they lose their importance. The more committed we become to focus on following God, the weaker the grasp of the world becomes. 

The more driven we are to pursue him and serve him, the more liberated we become. 

God paid such a high price for our freedom. But we have to CHOOSE to live free. 

When I feel like something in the world is holding me down, I will pray: 

Dear Lord, thank You for setting me free from the areas of my life that have had a hold on me for so long, and from the things of this world that I have pursued and sought after. Lord, I have placed too much importance in these things for so long that they sometimes find a way back into the spotlight and start pulling me down again. Please, Lord, help me stay focused on You and Your path. I want to be bound only to You. I choose to be confined to the path You have set for me. I wish to be compelled to serve You in every way I can. Please Lord, help me choose to live free. Amen

I Love You, Lord. You Are My Strength.

“I love You, Lord; You are my strength.”
– ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:1‬‬ NLT

Dear Lord, I praise Your name and I just want to take a minute to thank You for the strength You provide. I turn to You daily to ask You for a little more.
Sometimes I wonder if others are as needy as I am in this department.

I’m not strong enough to face my storms alone.
I can’t find the courage within myself to fight my battles on my own.
I’m too weak to break free from things that are tearing me apart.
And every once in a while… I don’t even think that I have the strength to go on anymore.
But every time I turn to You – every single time I plead, “Give me strength, Lord. I need Your strength.”
– I find my burdens become a little bit lighter.
– I lift my head a little bit higher.
– I feel your strength flowing through me.
– And I KNOW I’m going to make it through this time, because I have You by my side.

So thank You.
I love you, Lord.
You are my strength.
Amen ❤️

He is the God Who Makes Me Strong

“He is the God who makes me strong, who makes my pathway safe.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:32‬ ‭GNT‬‬

Our paths won’t always be free of obstacles, but He will guide us through safely.
Our lives will never be completely trouble-free, but He will arm us with the strength to prevail.
Our journey may seem littered with potholes and roadblocks, and we may even begin to question if this is really the road that God intended us to travel.

This verse reminds us of three key things:
He is God. This is all under His control. And He wants the best for us, who love Him.
He gives us strength. And power. And victory. We can overcome any obstacle with the strength that He provides.
He makes our pathways safe. He guides us and delivers us. He helps us navigate through the trials and tribulations. Even when it looks like there’s no way – He MAKES a way.

When I think that I’m not strong enough, and I’m tempted to stop moving forward on my journey, I will pray:

Thank you, Lord, for arming me with Your strength and then aiming me in the right direction. I love you, Lord, and I will follow Your path for all the days of my life! ❤️ Amen