Discovering Joy. It’s the title of my blog, but I do not recall ever talking about it. I also am not the best at updating either. But hey, sometimes the urge to write strikes me, and tonight is one of those nights. This post will just be some ramblings of what I think about Joy. Hopefully, there will be some coherent message out of this.
One of the biggest lies I think I hear from people is that someone is stealing their joy. I truly believe that is not possible. Joy does not leave you. Joy is firmly supplanted in our hearts when Jesus consumes our heart. He will not leave us. Thus joy and peace will never leave us. No one can steal Jesus away from us.
Now I include myself in that statement sometimes too. I buy into the lie that someone is stealing my joy. In reality though, I am the one who is stealing the joy from myself. When this occurs, my eyes are not fixed upon Him. My vision is muddied by what the world is throwing at me. Also, I begin to merge happiness and joy. I begin associating the feeling of sadness with my joy being gone. This is not right either. Being happy or sad are emotions. They are fleeting. They change. They fluctuate with what my circumstances are.
This is where the issue truly begins. Do I let my circumstances define me, or do I let me define my circumstances? This is where the perception changes. My joy is found in who I am. Who I am is Jesus. If I can go into my circumstances with that mindset, then what can stop me? If you go into your circumstances with that mindset, then who can stop you?
There is joy in every situation. The reason for this is because Jesus is in every situation. John 15:11 says, “…that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Our joy is full because we have His joy.
So I will leave us with one thought. Mainly, this is just for me to remember, but it may come in handy for you too. My joy is not defined by the situation I am in at the time. My joy is defined by Jesus. Nay. My joy is Jesus.
It has finally rained in the state of Georgia. It did not rain once in the month of August. I am one of those people who actually enjoy not walking out and sweating because of just how hot it is. But now I must contend with the sweating because of the humidity. Oh well. This is why I love the south. But a whole month of no rain. That’s a long time. I knew it hadn’t rained in a long time, but a month? Wow. Truly astounding to think I would go a whole month just wondering if it were going to rain or not rain. The funny thing is though that sometimes I do the same thing with God. Always wondering when His blessings will pour out. When will I encounter Him again? Why have I not heard from Him lately? Where is He? All legitimate questions. I guess you could say I go through droughts, much like the state of Georgia.
Granted, I just said they were legitimate questions, but I know where He is. I know how He speaks to me. I just do not know when His blessings will pour out. I know they will. I know they continually will be poured out on me. I just have to be able to recognize them. This is why we need to be cognizant of when we are going through a drought. Something I have learned is a drought to us is not a drought to Him. It is a time of preparation. A season of waiting. He is preparing us to be at a point where will be able to accept the blessings He is pouring out on us. These droughts remind me of when Elisha tells the army to dig ditches in the valley. They have ran out of water and are about to go battle. It has not rained in a long time. The last thing a tired, thirsty army wants to do is to dig ditches for the “rain” that Elisha says is coming. The army ends up digging the ditches and it rains. This aided them to be victorious in their battle. What happens if they did not dig the ditches? They would have completely missed out of His blessing. That is eye opening. We could possibly miss out on His blessing! Even more of a reason to be aware of when we are in a drought because we do not want to miss that rain. So when we reach that drought, we just need to dig those ditches. These ditches are going to look different for everyone, but they will allow to fully participate in His blessings He wants to give us!
June 12, 2011 was a great day. I love how God is moving in Athens and this generation. I had three experiences that further supplanted my belief that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. I went to the 11:15 service and during a break in worship I overheard a group of guys talking about what they thought about church. These guys were college-aged. The conversation centered around what they thought church was (their previous experiences) and how this service reignited a fire in them to want to come church. I love that. I love that we can create irresistible environments that cause people to want to come back. The next occurred after service when I was walking through UpStreet. There was a boy walking with his mom and kept on saying this was awesome. He wanted to come back. I love that. I love seeing kids excited to go to church. And the last impression I got was when I went out to eat for lunch. I love walking into a restaurant and seeing it full of volunteer t-shirts. There is no better way to live than to be connected to a local church.
The Greatest Investment
What is the greatest investment one can make in life? I’ll give you one hint: it involves time, but doesn’t involve money. Einstein said the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest. I believe that is a ver true statement. I want to take a slight deviation from his statement though. I want to tweak it to say the most powerful force in the universe is compound encouragement. When we enter into an organization and/or a relationship that produces a culture of encouragement we never want to leave. People want to be encouraged. This is why the greatest investment we can make in our lives is in other people.
I find it sad that we rarely acknowledge how much weight our words carry. On the flip side though we know how much word weight when they are spoken to us. Why is it we discount our words? I think we would not discount our words if we place ourselves on the receiving end of what we were about to say. I suppose the old adage is true: think before you speak.
What would the world look like if everyone followed that simple advice? A whole better than it does now. Everyone who is breathing should be encouraged. Easy take to undertake, right? I think we can do it. This is where we meld Einstein’s statement with the Liberty Mutual commercials (where good deeds are passed along). An encouraged person is more likely to encourage another person than a non-encouraged person is. We have already been encouraged through God, so it is our job to get the ball rolling.
I will leave you with the definition of encourage: Give support, confidence, or hope to (someone). I think we can look back in our lives at our relationships and realize how important encouragement is, especially if a vital relationship did not contain it. I can only imagine what our lives would look like if we the conscious effort each day to encourage one another.
Always come back to this video. Messes me up each time.
Came across this today and thought I would share
Great message from Charles Swindoll.
- Following Christ means more than believing in Him. It includes obeying Him.
- Obeying Him means more than accepting truth. It means tasting death.
- Tasting death means more than an occasional act of unselfishness. It means dying to something everyday.