Posted on April 16, 2021
Defiance is a disposition to resist. The joy we have in Christ allows us to face adversity through the perspective of victory. Jesus has already defeated death. The strength of God sustains us when we are too tired to trudge through this world. The joy Jesus died to grant us is set apart from fleeting feelings of happiness or sadness. Joy remains regardless of what we’re feeling. It’s a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit, residing in every believer. This world, though saturated in disaster and discord, will be righted once again by its Creator. Jesus will return to make all things right. And in this tired world, our joyful defiance shines like the stars in the sky on a clear summer night. We can star gaze with a grateful smile knowing we’re loved, and He’s coming soon.
Posted on April 5, 2021
“Be joyful always…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
The difference between joy and happiness is substantial. We often assume that the fleeting feeling of happiness, giddy laughter and contentment in the comforts of life is akin to the joy we experience in Jesus. But joy supernaturally sustains our souls in seasons of heartache, injustice, and sorrow. Enduring the valleys of life is nearly impossible without the life-giving fuel of joy in Christ.
There is a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a reaction to something great. Joy is the product of someone great. Let us never forget the difference, nor fail to enjoy both happiness and joy fully on this earth. Jesus died to erase guilt and shame. Every day we come to Him for grace, and He is faithful to give us grace upon grace upon grace. When we are quick to confess and forgive, we can move forward in the freedom of a repentant life in Christ.
Posted on October 10, 2019
Even surrounded by people, we can still be painfully lonely if our relationships fall out of alignment with God’s purpose for them in our lives. When we’re looking for others to fulfill our every need and comfort our every hurt, we are bound to be disappointed. And in my own lonely season, I was. But the wonderful thing about our Almighty God he is always with us – we are never alone, never apart from his unfailing love.
Seasons of loneliness leave us vulnerable – we begin placing our trust in things or people other than God. In one such lonely season of my life, I began to rely on the people around me more than the Father who placed them there. Suddenly, their opinions mattered the most to me. I began blindly following their advice, assuming my best interest was always at the center of their universe.
Posted on September 19, 2019
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This verse has evolved in my heart like a fine wine over time. What used to be a handy Biblical version of my childhood motto, “Don’t worry, be happy,” now drifts through my tired-mom soul like the aroma of freshly-ground. Joyful takes on new meaning when I am striding through life with Jesus. The more I run with Him, the deeper into the concept of joy I go.
The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible states that “rejoicing might be associated with praise,” and it references some of the following verses:
“I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:2 (NLT)
“Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing sound praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord- rejoice in his presence!” Psalm 68:4 (NLT)
Joy is more than giddy happiness. It’s praise. Rejoicing. The Strong’s definition of the original Greek word for “rejoice” includes: “to be well, thrive; and in salutations, hail!”
We see how to thrive, be well, and rejoice exceedingly (regardless of our circumstances) when we observe how Jesus maintained joy though He knew the cross was coming.
Posted on January 29, 2019
“Be joyful always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (GLT)
The Bible commands us to “be joyful always,”(1Thessalonians 5:16) but it takes strength to hold onto joy when life threatens to snatch it from our hands. How do we recognize a threat to our joy, employ a strategy to refute it, and come out stronger on the other side of it …still gripping our God-given joy?
The misconception of Biblical joy is that it feels like happiness. Even though “always”encompasses happy times and feelings of bliss, true Christian joy can endure through extreme hardship and pain. Happy feelings aren’t a requirement to be “cheerful no matter what,” as the Message paraphrase of 1 Thessalonians 5:16reads.
“Be full of joy all of the time,” the New Life Version translates. “Always be joyful,”reads the New Living Translation. “Celebrate always,” the VOICE paraphrases, and“Rejoice always,” the New International Version states. Joy is an emotion of great delight. Praise expresses approval. Worship regards something as sacred. Celebration makes something known! (dictionary.com) Where do we find the strength to rejoice in the middle of trials, frustrations, and heartbreak …sickness, death, and despair …loneliness, fatigue, and unfairness? The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible states that “rejoicing might be associated with praise.”