Tag Archive: joy

  1. I Choose Joy!

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    “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” ~Philippians 2:1-2 NLT.

    God is asking us to have the attitude of Christ.  It can appear to be a big demand on our lives due to Christ being perfect.  He is not asking us to be Christ but Christ-like.  Christ thought of others above Himself.  He lived a life pleasing of His Father and brought joy to all who would listen.

    One of my daughters’ names is Abigail.  It means “her father’s joy.”  My husband couldn’t have been happier when she was born but he owned his joy without knowing her outcome.

    Declaring before knowing does make a difference.

    For many years, I have struggled with fertility issues.  During my first marriage, I had several miscarriages and then had two beautiful daughters.  When my husband and I got married, he loved my girls and wanted his own biological children as well.

    We went through three years of infertility, briefly discussed adoption, and finally decided to try In Vitro Fertilization.  The doctor told us it could make or break our marriage–and he was not kidding.  My emotions were all over the place from all of the injections I was taking.  At times, my husband thought I was losing my mind.  Our lives were turned upside down but we were finally able to harvest 19 eggs.

    Out of those 19 eggs, only 10 were mature enough to fertilize.  There was plenty more technical things that we had to go through but I am giving you the Cliff Notes version.

    Joy often comes out of suffering.

    We were required to wait for a few days to see how they continued to develop before placing any.  Once the waiting period was over, only two had continued to develop.  Both were inseminated.  Two weeks later I was scheduled for bloodwork.  The results were disappointing.

    My fertility specialist informed me that I needed to prepare myself for another miscarriage because the numbers were too low.  This was on a Friday and protocol dictated that the test be repeated in Monday for verification.

    We were devastated.  My husband was beside himself with grief and angry at God.  With defeat in his eyes, he surrendered to the possibility of adoption and to God’s way.  Over the weekend, we looked into adoption agencies, in the country and overseas.

    Joy comes from surrender.

    Monday morning, my blood was drawn and that evening they called with a different report.  My numbers had quadrupled over the weekend.  The doctor wanted me to redo the bloodwork after two more weeks but I knew what it would say.

    Through surrender, our prayers were answered.  We already knew the baby would be a girl because of In Vitro, so we began the name choosing process.  We didn’t get very far.  Her name is Abigail.  Her name means “her father’s joy” and boy was he joy-filled at the news.  There was no guarantee that she would make it, though.

    When we heard the results, I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving to God.  I informed Him that I would be joy-filled for any time He allowed me to have with her.  If I get a few weeks of pregnancy, I will be happy for a few weeks.  A couple of months of pregnancy, then happy for a couple of months.  If she makes it to birth, I will be happy for her delivery.  No matter how long I get her, I will be joyful.

    Joy comes through tears.

    When she was born, my husband and I couldn’t help but cry.  The tears flowed for several hours as we held her and shared those moments of bliss with one another.  Since her birth, there have been tough situations and learning experiences we have had to muddle through.  Joy is still present and each day gives us another chance to choose joy.

    Things don’t go the way you plan.  It might not work out the way you had envisioned.  But choose joy.  Nothing can compare to the results of feeling joy.  Joy actually increases your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  It is the best medicine for anything that troubles you.

    I choose joy, do you?

  2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing…’Tis the Season to be Jolly!

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    “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” 2 Corinthians 9:15.

    On the day Christ was born, the angels sang.  They understood how glorious it was to see their King in the flesh, to see the Savior of the fallen world arrive.  They were excited to witness what was happening and what was going to happen.  Great things were going to occur, for us!

    There are so many experiences we have in life that come close to this type of joy but still none can compare.  I remember how excited I was on my wedding day.  Having designed my own wedding gown and my soon-to-be husband not having see me in it yet left me with anticipation for his reaction.  His smile in that moment was priceless to me.

    When I discovered I was pregnant with each of my children, joyful emotions flooded my heart.  Having had a few years of infertility and nine miscarriages caused a lot of worry but each positive test somehow made things better.  And when each one of my children were born, I couldn’t get enough of them.  I was meant to be a mom and every moment is worth singing over.  I imagine Mary felt the same, even though she didn’t fully understand the magnitude of God in flesh.

    Joy is always there.

    There have been many moments in my life where the joy of it was worth singing about.  Joy is always with us because God is always with us.  Joy, unlike happiness, is not circumstantial.  There is never a short of it and it is present even in horrible, dreadful times.  Happiness is fleeting and is activated by your circumstances.  Such as, I am happy when my daughter has good grades, but I am joy-filled to have my daughter.  She could have issues that make her appear less shiny but my joy never leaves.

    Your joy comes from the Lord and He was born over 2000 years ago to save the world.  He took on human form to be the sacrifice for our sins so that we had a chance to get out of our misery and oppression.  Christ wants every person to have the chance and He sacrificed Himself for that provided opportunity.  He will not force Himself into your life, so you will need to take the risk and ask for Him to enter your life.

    There is no greater gift to receive!

    Some have chosen not to believe and accept the gift because they see it as they are being asked to give up stuff.  Yes, you will need to give up stuff.  That same stuff is what has been holding you back, though.  Once you rid yourself of the dead weight that you have been carrying, you will feel better than ever.

    Trust me when I say, I have experienced this first hand.  I was a smoker, drinker, promiscuous, disrespectful, listened to horrible music, watched filthy movies, controlling, angry and bitter, depressed and anxious, and cursed like a sailor.  Giving those things up felt, at the time, like someone was caging me.  The opposite is true now that I am completely free of them.  Some of those things were pleasurable things that I just wanted to keep, causing me to place a roadblock between me and God.  Other things were lies from Satan that were holding me captive.

    None of what I had before truly brought me happiness, let alone joy.  At best, they were temporary fixes of euphoria.  They did feel nice, for brief moments, but nothing compares to how I feel now and who I am because of Him.

    His birth made the way for a second chance.

    Even though Christ was born 2000 plus years ago, in a time when the world needed the ultimate “lamb” for slaughter.  In Bible times, people sacrificed spotless lambs (or doves if they were poor) to cleanse themselves from sin.  The world got too sinful and needed something that would cleanse it from all sin until the end of time.

    Jesus was the perfect Spotless Lamb.  He never committed any sin. As God on earth, He lived a blameless life.  When he went to the cross for us, He took on all of our past, present, and future sins.  There is reason to be singing for joy because what punishment we completely deserved, He accepted on our behalf.

    If you know anything about the crucifixion story, then you know it was the worst punishment imaginable.  You would also know that those who were punishing Christ took it on further than any normal person would have.  You can read about it in Matthew 27:1-54, Mark 15:1-40, Luke 23:1-48, and John 19:1-30.  (I will go into more details about this story around Easter because many people misinterpret the Bible about the facts of His crucifixion.  Ironically, this is one of the times when people bring their personal views and bias into reading the text but they should be looking at it from a Scientific-factual-gathering-of-information perspective.)

    His death was not a time to mourn but a time to rejoice because “it is finished!” No more excuses to get right.

    Hail the Son of Righteousness! 

    Joyful all ye nations rise. 

    Join the triumph of the skies. 

    Glory to the new born King!

    No matter which lyrics you sing from your favorite Christmas Carol, remember His birth is the reason for the season and should be enough to sing out with great joy!  Merry Christmas.


  3. Not the Flower Power Version

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    I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

    Look to Him to find peace. 

    This too shall pass. 

    Run to the Father, again and again. 

    Surrender anything to God and He will give you peace. 

    Get in the Word, daily, and it will have the answers that you need. 

    Just pray about it. 

    What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

    These were the common phrases I heard throughout my entire childhood.  They were meant to answer my tough questions, maybe because the people I was directing the questions to did not know the answers.  Or maybe because they knew the truth and understood that I had to discover it for myself.

    We need Him, whether we know it or not.

    I still have people who do not recognize me from the childhood version I once was.  They stare in awe and wonder, attempting to try to figure out what happened to me.  I was a tormented person, messed up by emotional, sexual, and mental abuse.  I rebelled against the world because either people didn’t want to see what had happened to me or they were just in denial.

    My family took my behaviors personally and at times treated me, from my viewpoint, ugly.  I would often hear those above statements, in reference to hoping I would change when I discovered God for myself.  They didn’t know what to do with me or how to respond.

    When you don’t know what to do, move out of the way!

    God has a plan.  His plan is perfect for our lives, from start to finish.  We get in our way.  Others get in His way.  If things do not seem as though they are going well, it is probably because you are in the way or allowing someone else to be in His way.  More often then not, this was my problem.

    For many years, I looked to other things to take away my hurt.  When drinking wasn’t enough, I allowed things to happen to me because I felt I deserved it.  When that didn’t work, I tried witchcraft and living the hippy-dippy-love-joy-peace-flower-power-child life.  None of it worked.  Peace did not come from any of those substitutes.

    There is only ONE way to find peace.

    I have chased and chased and chased after things that I thought would give me peace.  I was running in the wrong direction.  When I discovered that the peace began to grow in me.

    Having lost hope on all of the other things I tried, I broke down asking for help.  I knew who He was and believed that He did exist but did not have a relationship with Him.  Much like Peter and Andrew, I experienced the call to follow after him and leave everything and everyone behind.  Being a fisher of men (women) never felt like a big task to me.  Simple, in fact.  Compared to every other version of “peace” I had reached for, this just came naturally.

    Like inhaling fresh mountain air after a morning rain shower, was His peace.

    Choosing to do things His way, moving out of my own, peace came quickly.  As peace became the compass, I began to recognize the difference between His way and the way of the world.

    With each new day of morning devotionals, my prayers developed and knowledge of who He is to me and others, grew.  The closer I got to God, the less negative my responses were and the more loving I became.  Peace has been my compass, pointing me straight to Him.

    Ironically, every life event that occurs has the possibility to cause anyone to break but they have caused me to grow stronger.  Anytime I am walking through something now, I think about how great it will feel to look back on it and discover the characteristics that were created out of that, lessons learned, and how the experience will help me through the next thing.

    We are constantly in process, progressing towards are finish line.  People can see the obstacles as something that is tearing them down, run from it, or make unhealthy choices that lead to dangerous consequences.  Those that have the hope in the Lord see the same obstacles as a way to refine the rough edges we still need to smooth out in ourselves.

    Refining is a tough course, yes, and the most precious and beautiful things come from it.

    I have peace.

    It is used all day, everyday.  When things feel overwhelming and I feel like I am struggling, I get my compass out and get back on track.  Peace has been my guide, giving me direction back to the Father, again and again.  Stuff will continue to come up and I just pray about it, surrendering my way to His.

    Yesterday, I had the privilege of conducting two great things: giving the benediction for my sister’s funeral so that those attending will hear about Jesus and then marrying my niece to her long time boyfriend.  Beautiful events that just needed peace from the circumstance that brought us together.

    They got to see Jesus through my example, my other sister’s example, and the words we shared.  We prayed for peace ahead of time and God got the glory.  He was able to be seen through our eyes, during a moment that could have been filled with misery, there was joy and peace.  Those that were closest to us, prayed for and over us, throughout the entire service.  And when I felt as though the attendee’s grief was creeping in, I prayed in tongues and pulled out my compass of peace.

    This did not kill me, making me stronger for the next attack of the enemy.  This too shall pass because His mercies are new every morning and there is joy every morning.  I will run to the Father, again and again.

    Thank you, Father, for the peace that passes all understanding.  You bring peace in the darkest of situations.  Your Son, the Prince of Peace, made a way for us to receive His peace and I will share that message anywhere you call me.  Like Peter and Andrew, I leave everything else behind to follow after You, to share Your news even to the grieving.

    Flower Power has NOTHING on You!