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


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

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

An Anchor for the Soul

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.“
– ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:19‬‬a NIV

Life is full of uncertainties. It is impossible to know exactly what the future holds or what struggles tomorrow will bring. Our faith in God gives us a confident expectation that He has a plan for us. This hope holds us steady, like an anchor connecting us to God. It prevents us from unknowingly drifting when we are enjoying the calm waters of a beautiful day, and it stands strong when the waves are crashing down around us through the stormy nights.

When I am in the midst of the storm, I will pray:
Father, although I struggle sometimes, I have hope in You. This unbreakable connection to You gives me the strength to go on, knowing that You will see me through every tidal wave. 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