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


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

He Renews My Hope and Cheer

“When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”
– ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:19‬‬ NLT

Stress, worries, doubts, fears… it’s easy to allow these things to fill your mind to the point of feeling hopeless. But allowing yourself to suffer isn’t going to solve your problems.
Turn to His comfort and make room in your head and in your heart for hope, cheer, and even joy!! Deal with the problems that are causing your anxiety and doubts…but do so with the right mindset, knowing that God’s promises are true.

When my head is full of worries and doubts, I will pray:

Lord, please renew my hope.
Comfort me in my distress.
Bring me joy in my sadness.
Help me to push the stress out of my head and remind me to hold on to my hope in You, Lord. Amen

Get Up, Child…

But Jesus took her by the hand and called out, “Get up, child!” – Luke‬ ‭8‬:‭54‬ GNT

Although this verse is just one verse in the story of one of Jesus’ many beautiful miracles, this verse stands out to me in a powerful way. The image that comes to mind is me at my lowest, huddled on the ground with my head down, thinking there is no way out, when I hear him call out to me…
“Tania…”
I look up to see His hand reaching out to me.
“Get up, child!”
He pursues us. Even when we are too lost in our circumstances to reach for Him, He is reaching out to us. To lift us up from our lowest places. It isn’t over. This isn’t the end. He has blessings in store, even when we think we can’t go on.
In our day-to-day lives, this may not look like the image in my mind. But it is just as real. He reaches out through those around us.

Through that verse of the day that grabbed your attention.

Through that Facebook post that touched your heart.

Through that friend who took the time to listen.

Through that stranger’s act of kindness.

Through that loved one’s hug.

Through that co-worker’s kind words, that soothed your soul.

His love can reach out to others through us, as well. We can be His hands that lift others to their feet again. We can be His voice when someone needs the encouragement to get up and go on.

When you feel like you are not in a season of joy, remember – you are in a season of hope.

Lord, thank You so much for taking me by the hand and pulling me out of the pain of my circumstances so many times. I want to stay on my feet no matter what I’m facing, and remember that I’m never alone and that there is always hope. Please open my eyes so that I may see every opportunity for You to reach out to others through me when they need help getting up again. Amen

The Light of the World

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
– ‭‭John‬ ‭8:12‬‬ NIV

Sometimes during a bad storm, the power goes out. There’s a storm going on, and we’re surrounded by the darkness. What is the first thing we do?

We want to find our way to a source of light! A cell phone, a flashlight, a candle…
And even though a storm is raging all around us, we feel a little bit of relief when we have that source of light in our hand. Eventually the storm will pass, and the sun will shine again.

Jesus is that source of light for all the storms we face in the world. When we feel surrounded by the darkness of our problems, our worries, and our mistakes, He can bring us back into the light and restore peace where there was turmoil. If we continue to follow Him, we never have to feel alone in the dark again.

When I feel the darkness closing in, I will pray…

Dear God, thank You for bringing hope when I am in despair. You light up the darkness in my life. You turn my pain into contentment, peace, and even joy! Please shine your light on the choices that I make today. I want to reflect Your light for others to see, so that You may also chase their darkness away. Amen

A Future and a Hope

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
– ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬‬ NLT

No matter where we are or what we are going through, it is important to realize that God has a beautiful plan for our future. He promises that His plans will enrich our lives. That we will flourish. Through our faith in Him, we have hope.

But how do I know what  this big plan for my life is? How do I know if I’m doing what God has planned for me?

– Start by praying. Ask God to reveal his plan for your life.
– Open your eyes to what is going on around you. God has placed you there for a reason.
– Continue praying. You may not be immediately enlightened after one prayer. Keep praying, and ask God to help you follow His plan.
– Spend time with God every day. Go to church. Join a Bible study group. Read the Bible. Follow a reading plan. Pray. Make it a habit to bring him into your day.
– Try to live your life like Christ every minute of every day. Look for opportunities to share His love with every step you take. Even if you can’t see the “Big Picture” of His plan for you, you know that you are on the right path if you think this way.
– Hope. It’s a part of His plan. Wherever you find yourself, let this hope anchor you and keep you holding onto Him.

Lord, I know that you created me for a purpose. Please help me discover your plan for me.
Amen

Rivers of Living Water

I “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”
– ‭‭John‬ ‭7:38‬‬ NLT

Jesus says that if we believe in Him, trust in Him, and rely on Him, we should come to Him. We should seek Him out and drink of His living water – the Holy Spirit. And that rivers of living water will flow from our hearts. We will be so filled with His spirit and His love that it will pour out of us!

Don’t allow anything to block that flow. Your pride, your pain from the past, your fears and anxieties, your mistakes, your shame… These are some of the things that can slow the stream down to a trickle.
Tear down these dams.
Clear away these obstructions.
Open up the floodgates and let His Holy Spirit flow from you freely, for others to see so that they, too, may come to Him and drink.

Dear God, I come to You to receive Your living water. I want to let it flow from my heart each and every day so that everyone who knows me will know Your love through me. Amen