Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 22, 2017
Always be joyful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16, NLT
Joyful followers of Jesus are fun to be around. Because God is so good, they are glad and joyful in their faith. Through the ups and downs of life people of joy are stabilized by the Holy Spirit. Their joy is not contingent on circumstances, but on Christ alone. They engage life and often have energy to spare. Because of their uplifting attitude they are able to be productive in their efforts. Like mental software, joyful people program their thinking with Biblical principles. So, what are some joy factors that facilitate a happy life? Here are a few:
Feed on God’s Faithfulness
Similar to a nourishing meal—we can feed on God’s faithfulness and not eat the morsels of man. The Holy Spirit satisfies and fills our soul’s longings. We can’t help but be glad when we go to God and experience His consistent care and concern. Our heavenly Father is faithful, even when we experience a drought of faith—His love is a stream in the desert of our spirit. Joy comes to those who go to Christ in humble dependence. His eternal security brings a smile to our soul.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness” (Psalm 37:3, NJKV).
Learn from the Lord’s Discipline
We don’t have to like the Lord’s discipline, but we must learn what God wants to teach us. A teachable heart sets us up to be glad, not sad. When we look back on a hard circumstance and see how our Savior grew our capacity for grace and love—we can laugh at ourselves for fretting over our unfounded fears. Joy learns from Jesus. If we resist instruction from the Lord, we may forfeit the joy of the Lord. God may withhold a good thing, until we learn a thing or two.
“Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions” (Psalm 94:12, NLT).
Rest in God’s Refuge
Rest sets us up for joy. When exhausted—our tendency is toward a negative, even critical attitude. Fatigue can bring out our worst, while a restored body and soul sings praises to God Almighty. A sense of protection gladdens the heart. When we lift our voices to the Lord in joyful praise—He lifts our spirits. God’s orchestra of glad tidings performs in His place of refuge. If we take the time to enjoy heaven’s harmony— we can engage the world with a glad heart.
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy” (Psalm 5:11, NLT)
Trust Christ to Change Your Mourning Into Rejoicing
A heavy heart is the Holy Spirit’s opportunity to lighten our load. The natural outcome of our loss is grief and mourning. We mourn the loss of life, but we rejoice in the life we gain in Christ. Our temporary exile from our departed loved one is an opportunity to be loved by the Lord. Joy comes in the morning, after a night of mourning. The depth of our hurt will be surpassed by the depth of joy we have in Jesus. When our laughter returns—pain’s perspective is clearer.
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11, NLT).
Celebrate God’s Call to Worship
Worship awakens our glad heart. God seems bigger when we sing His praises—He is larger than life. His presence is calming. In the same way a volcano’s molten lava erupts from deep within, so hope in Christ erupts joy deep within our bubbling soul. Just simply proclaiming the victory we have in Jesus brings tears of joy. Our countenance glows when we give God the glory He desires and deserves. As we bring sacrifices of joy to God—His presence makes us happy!
“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord” (Psalm 89:15, NLT).
Enjoy Your Successful Work
The satisfaction of a job well done brings a smile to our heart. When we are a vessel of the Lord’s faithfulness, we can enjoy the fruit of our labor. Successful work is a way to display Christ’s calling on our life. We have great joy when we know our fulfillment of God’s will brings joy to Him. When we work in our giftedness, we work with a glad heart. Yes, our gratitude for a good job brings us joy. So, take the time to enjoy the fruit of your hard work.
“You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be” (Psalm 128:2, NLT)!
Fear the Lord and Follow His Ways
Just as forgetting the Lord contributes to fear, so fear of the Lord is a force for joy. Joyful assurance comes as we see our Savior Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf. We are glad in God when we fear God. Joy also comes when we follow His ways. The way of the Lord is not loathsome. Sin is a snare and discouraging, while joyful obedience liberates and is encouraging. Our loving heavenly Father gives us strength and joy when we do His will. We discover joy as we fear and follow the Lord. We find joy in Jesus!
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord— all who follow his ways” (Psalm 128:1, NLT)!
PrayerHeavenly Father, grow me into a gracious, joyful follower of Jesus.
ApplicationWhat is one way I can grow more joyful in my leadership?
Related Reading2 Corinthians 9:12, 13:11; Philippians 1:25, 4:1; Hebrews 12:22
Post/Tweet todayOur joy is not contingent on circumstances, but on Christ alone. #joyful #WisdomHunters
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