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

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

Continually Seek Him

“Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.”
– ‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:11‬‬

Never stop seeking Him.
Never stop exploring His Word.
Never stop bringing Him into each and every day.

Every day that you spend holding on to Him is a day that you are not letting go and drifting away. Whether you spend 5 minutes reading a devotional, 15 minutes studying the Bible, 30 minutes journaling, an hour volunteering your time to serve others…continue to seek His face.

Dear God, I seek You and Your love with all my heart. I don’t want to spend a day without You. I want to keep You in my thoughts and actions. I pray that I grow closer to You with every passing day. Amen

Do What Is Right

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
– ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4:7‬‬

God encourages us to do what is right. We might think that our hands are clean, or that our behavior is “good enough,” but just because we are not actively sinning doesn’t mean that we are doing what is right.
God knows what is in our hearts. He knows our motives.
He knows when we are not giving our best.
He knows when we are telling the truth, but not the whole truth.
He knows when we wish our competition would fail.
God warns us that if we do not do what is right, sin is right outside the door. Every time we do not do what is right, we are opening that door a little wider. If you allow yourself to be greedy, if you allow yourself to envy, if you allow yourself to hold on to anger, if you allow yourself to hate…you are allowing yourself to slip and slide dangerously closer to sin.

We all have been angry. We all have times when we feel like the situation we are in doesn’t feel 100% right. God is telling us that we have the power to control that. We have the power to do what is right and close the door on sin. Slam it shut, lock it, and slide the deadbolt!

When I feel like I’m failing to remain in control, and I’m afraid the door may be cracking open, I will pray:
Dear Lord, I must confess that I haven’t done what is right. Please open my eyes and give me clarity when I am allowing my emotions to get the best of me. Help me to resist the urge to deal with situations my own way. In my heart, I want to live in obedience and follow you. Thank you for guiding me back to the right path when I start heading in the wrong direction.

Amen