Choosing Joy

“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

Some of the things that steal our joy are the circumstances we face in everyday life. But what about when all is calm and we are just WORRYING about the next disaster? These worries, doubts, and negative thoughts steal our joy one little nugget at a time. Before we know it, a beautiful day can turn into an imaginary catastrophe.  

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?”

Psalms 27:1 NLT

Why SHOULD I worry? I have The Lord on MY SIDE!  If we take comfort in knowing that He is beside us in every battle, then why spend our time worrying when we are in between battles?

God wants us to be FILLED with joy!

“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”

John 15:11 NLT

Through His love for us, He wants us to experience so much joy that it overflows us and spreads to others as we show God’s love to them. 

If we are too busy living in the negatives of our lives, we are not living the joy-filled life that He intended for us. 

We may not be able to share His message effectively.  

We may miss an opportunity to help those that He wants us to help. 

We might not be there to encourage our friends when they need our support. 

We may be failing to serve our purpose. 

We don’t have to pretend that our lives are perfect. We don’t have to hide our struggles. But we should be reflecting His light and revealing His joy in the midst of these struggles. 

We can’t dwell on the bad things that have happened to us in the past. We can’t let our worries linger. 

Choosing to live with the stress and the worry weighing us down is the SELF-focused choice. 

If we find ourselves focused on OURselves and OUR problems, we can be certain of one thing – we are not focused on Him. 

If experiencing joy is limited to times when everything that you’d hoped for is going exactly as YOU planned, then you have got to adjust your definition of what joy is and where it comes from. 

We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control our attitude. We CAN choose joy. 

We start by:

– Choosing HOPE over worry

– Choosing FAITH over fear

– Choosing GRATITUDE for what He has blessed us with over grief for what we have lost 

– Choosing SURRENDER over control 

Dear Heavenly Father, I just want to start my day by praising Your name and thanking You for all of the blessings that You have brought to my life. I want to embrace the joy that You provide. Let it flow through me to everyone I encounter today. Amen

Strength From 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

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

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

Be a Blessing

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God wants to bless us so we can be a blessing for others. He doesn’t want us to hoard His blessings and keep them for ourselves, He wants us to share.

Have you ever been in a drive-through and paid for the vehicle behind you? You don’t expect anything in return, just sprinkling a little bit of joy on someone’s day…
Have you ever pulled forward to the second window to pick up your food and noticed in your rear view mirror that the person you just blessed was blessing someone else? That’s what this verse is talking about! Only God’s blessings are even bigger and better than burgers and fries!
God wants to put joy in our hearts so we are inspired to make a difference in someone else’s life!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Here are just a few ways you can be a blessing:
– Acts of kindness – even when it’s not needed, sometimes the smallest gestures can brighten someone’s day!
– Kind words – words of encouragement, compliments
– Listening – sometimes people just need to be heard and understood. Give someone the attention they need!
– Donations – whether it’s a charity that is near and dear to your heart or a coworker who is going through hard times, sometimes monetary donations are a blessing. When you are doing your spring cleaning ask yourself if someone at a homeless shelter could find your items useful, before you just toss them.
– Acts of service – volunteer at your local food bank or check with your pastor to see if there are any volunteer initiatives that you could participate in.
– Prayers – sometimes the best thing you can offer someone is a heartfelt prayer.

Dear God, I thank You for all the blessings that You have given me. I am so overjoyed that you want to make ME a blessing! Please open my eyes so that I might see every opportunity to bless others. I hope that by blessing others, I will bring glory to Your name!
Amen