3.28.2011

Be Joyful Always...

Last week I realized that it had been a long time since I had felt joyful. I kept thinking about the verse in Galations 4:15 which says, "What has happened to all your joy?" I knew exactly what was going on to make me feel this way, but I was unsure about how I could get my joy back - despite my circumstances. When I talked to Peter about it, he informed me that what I was feeling was known as despair. Well now, there's some encouragement for ya (he made up for it with the whole tea-tray thing later). His word choice reminded me of the website Despair.com - which, if you haven't been there, you should go if you need a laugh. Some of the posters are seriously funny (as seen below).

Despair.com

So that's pretty much how I was feeling. One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy and I could no longer find it - that deeply saddened and concerned me. The only thing I knew to combat the feelings of despair and sadness was to do a search of the word "joy" in my Bible's concordance. I'm happy to report that although I am not totally out of the funk, God's Word never lets me down. When I'm feeling like there's no light at the end of the tunnel, these verses (and many others) are there to remind me that I'm not alone and that my joy comes from my Father - He holds my hand on the darkest and longest of days. I'd like to share some of my favorites with you...

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for JOY and I will give thanks to him in song. (Ps. 28:7)

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring JOY to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. (Ps.86:3-5)

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for JOY and be glad all our days. (Ps.90:14)

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. 
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought JOY to my soul. (Ps. 94:18-19)

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete. (John 15:10-11)

Be JOYFUL always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes. 5:16-18)

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY... (1 Peter 1:8)

...and one of my all-time favorite reminders to persevere...

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:1-3)

Sunset

This too shall pass and the light will dawn again at the tunnels end and the joy will return. In the meantime, I'm reminded that the Lord will use even the darkest of times to shake us out of our complacency and remind us of our total dependence on Him. I'm sorry I needed the reminder, but I'm thankful that in the words of the old song, "He's still working on me..." Praise the Lord for His faithfulness at all times!

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