~ Nehemiah 8:10b
JOY! I can not believe that SO much can be packed into three little letters. When you see that word each and every one of us has a different picture in our head of what JOY is. The great thing is this though…JOY is not something you can buy, fake, make, prepare, manufacture, predict, or manipulate…it is just something that is deep within your core. It’s just a part of you.
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.-Mother Teresa
I have been blessed to have a friend that I did ministry with at my previous church who would call my cell phone periodically and leave me an encouraging message and she would always end the message with Nehemiah 8:10, and she would claim it for me in my name…she would say, “The JOY of the LORD is YOUR strength Melissa.” I can’t even begin to tell you just how much that affected me. I knew she was a prayer warrior and to know that she was there praying that specifically for me gave me the strength and courage to do the ministry God had called me to at that church. She & I have both moved on and yet to this day when she & I talk she will claim it for me with such passion and such a presence that I just know that God has called her to bring me that message.
1 Chronicles 16:23 – Sing to God, everyone and everything! Get out his salvation news every day! Publish his glory among the godless nations, his wonders to all races and religions. And why? Because God is great—well worth praising! No god or goddess comes close in honor. All the popular gods are stuff and nonsense, but God made the cosmos! Splendor and majesty flow out of him, strength and joy fill his place.
Isn’t that simply magnificent? You see, JOY is something that each and every one of us has access to. It is not something that is out of reach, but yet something so near. It’s as if you can reach out and touch it but it isn’t there on the outside…it is deep within. I love this quote below:
We may not be able to give much but we can always give the joy that springs in a heart that is in love with God.-Mother Teresa
I want each and every one of us to stop for a minute and reflect on the grace and mercy that we have been given. I know people that are struggling to find money for groceries, who are jobless and searching, I know people who are scorned, hurt, and bruised, no not physically but emotionally. I know people that are just trying to get by. You know people like that too. You might even be one of those people, but you have an unexplainable JOY deep down inside you that says, “It just doesn’t make sense, but I know we will be better than ok, we will stand firm in the face of this storm and share the JOY of Christ with those God puts in our paths.”
You see, you have a choice…yes, times are tough, the economy stinks, gas prices are soaring and they are still on the rise, but you have a CHOICE. You can CHOOSE JOY! I knew of a woman who used that same phrase as her life motto. I love it…it says no matter what she chooses JOY!
Here’s one of my favorite women in the Bible…look what she says about JOY. Esther 9:22“as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.”
Ladies, there are so many reasons not to be joyful, I know, but if you and I stop right now and consciously CHOOSE JOY then maybe, just maybe, we can start to get those around us to start thinking and choosing JOY too! Can you imagine how incredible that would be? Yep, in the midst of an economy crisis for women all over the world (wow, the www is amazing, isn’t it?) to stop focusing on the “stuff” and start focusing on JOY. It could be life changing for generations to come.
If you want to have sustained joy, you have to not only make sure that you think right, but you also have to make decisions now that are going to guarantee some joy in the future.-Joyce Meyer
There are so many more astonishing verses on JOY. Literally I could fill three weeks worth of posts on JOY and the verses I have found…but I would love to encourage you to stop what you are doing right now, and seek them out on your own. Grab your Bible, get a cup of coffee (cocoa, tea, mocha), your fuzzy slippers, your journal, a pen and go outside and do your own research.
Here’s what I can tell you…you can find JOY in whatever version of the Bible you have, and in the NIV 242 times, TM 125 times, NLT 333 times, KJV 187 times, NASB 211 times. That’s a WHOLE LOT OF JOY just waiting for you to find. Start now…come on, you know you want to!
PS – Come back and visit on Monday or Tuesday…I have a few Giveaways coming up this week and a couple of games as I launch the re-design of my business blog.