This week's memory verse:
"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is my strength." Nehemiah 8:10
Today's Bible study begins with a prayer that I would like to pray for us all...Dear God, let us take all the pieces of what we have learned about joy and put them into active practice in our lives. Amen
It is one thing to know what the Bible says about joy, and another thing to actually put that knowledge to work in our lives every day. It is not easy...I know! There is so much in our lives that bring us down. Just turning on the news can make take the joy of our day and send it down the drain! We have a CHOICE to be happy or not. Whatever our circumstances, we can choose to be joyful or choose to wallow in our sadness and our pain.
BUT, please know that there are situations where your body is working against you in this. Some of us have medical reasons for our sadness, or even depression. I have several friends who have suffered with clinical depression or other mental issues that need to be treated in order for them to find joy again. I do NOT want to put undue pressure on people to CHOOSE to be happy when their bodies are fighting them.
For many of us, though, we choose the attitude we have in most circumstances. When there are so many things to be sad and depressed about in our lives, how can we CHOOSE to see the bright side of things? If you believe that God is alive in our world today, and believe that He wants to guide us through this hard life, then you will believe he gave us tools to help us. The Bible refers to joy over 242 times. God loves us and wants us to find joy in our lives. Read the following verses for yourself and think about what each one is telling us about joy.
Psalm 90: 14
I'm going to write this last one out because I think it says it all:"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Christ's will for you in Christ Jesus." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
WOW! While it's not EASY...it is that SIMPLE! God says we are to rejoice in everything (even the bad), pray continually (stay in constant communication with Him) and give thanks for all.Just take a moment and think about all the blessings God has placed in your life. Even if many bad things have happened in your life...there ARE things to be thankful for. Think about them, and give God praise and thanks for placing them in your life. How do these things bring joy into your life? How can you hang on to that joy in hard times?
Take these feelings of gratitude and joy and put them into practice in your everyday life. Make someone smile today! Do something nice for someone else...something unexpected! Sing a song that makes you feel good! Have lunch with a friend! Call a friend you haven't seen for a while! Share a funny story with a coworker! Say Hello and smile to a stranger on the street! Strike up a conversation with a clerk at Walmart and thank her for being so nice! There are SO MANY ways that you can CHOOSE to put joy in your life...and if your not feeling joyful...fake it (with feeling!)