Sunday, November 29, 2015

Choose Joy

I love it when my day goes great!   

I… jump out of bed when my alarm clock beeps and stay ahead of schedule all day

…get all the meals made on time

…the horses greet me at the gate

… play all the right notes on my piano piece

…the vehicle starts like a charm,

…and the cows graze contentedly in the pasture.

Those are the days I feel happy and am so glad to be alive!  I’m fooled into believing this is joy—a feeling one has when everything is going fine!


 Now, what about the days when:

I …hit the snooze button, wake up late, and run behind on everything I had planned

…burn the meal because I had the heat cranked up to make it cook a little faster

…the horses high tail it to the other end of the pasture when I rattle the gate chain

…I end my piano piece on the wrong note, making myself and any musical ear cringe

…the battery’s dead on the vehicle I was going to drive because somebody left the door ajar

…and the cows walked the creek and are running down the road for the second time this week!

Those are the days joy seems like a faint memory and an impossible attitude to embrace in the midst of my stressed, chaotic, and frustrating day!

How can one have joy when everything seems to be going wrong?  When life takes a turn for the worse? What if it looks like life is going to be rough for a while?  God has helped me to realize that joy doesn’t come from people, things, or circumstances.  It comes from God!  So that means joy doesn’t come from one’s family, friends, spouse, money, pets, car, the weather, holidays, etc.  When God frustrates every source of joy, it is then we are forced to seek out joy in what should have been our only source: God, the only real lasting joy you’ll ever find.  Habakkuk 3:18 (NLT) says,  

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”  
Now for you to fully understand the significance of this verse you must read the one before it:  

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines, even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty.”  

 Now do you see?  After explaining what would be a gardener, farmer, or rancher’s worst nightmare, Habakkuk challenges his readers to rejoice in the Lord.  How is that possible?!  God is the giver of joy.  We just have to ask for and choose to have joy.     

Stop worrying and start praying. 

Stop complaining, start thanking. 

Stop pouting, start praising.  

When you stop to consider who God is and his greatness, the bleakness of any circumstance fades in the brilliance of God’s glory.  Choose joy, God’s joy!

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, Rejoice.”  Philippians 4:4

“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”  Psalm 16:11

Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.”  Psalm 86:4