I just had to share one of those wonderful, happy "accidents" the Lord so LOVES to pop into our lives every once in awhile simply to let us know He is watching and completely involved. Don't you just love Him for that sweet kind of intimacy????:) A couple of months ago I was getting ready for the summer blog and it was suggested that we use the book Choose Joy. I went right online to Amazon and bought the book; well, I thought I had bought the book. What I ended up buying was a book by Angela Thomas called Choosing Joy which is a 52 week devotional. I had not thought about this book or even picked it up until today. Wow! It is a great little devotional, and, of course, right where we are in our focus for this blog. I did five days in one sitting this morning:) and I have to share this one quote from Angela...
Choosing joy in your everyday life means more than just knowing the right things to think. The correct passages to quote. The theological doctrines of joy.
Choosing joy is a radical decision to honor God by experiencing the depths of God's promises to us. It's desiring Him above all else, rejoicing in His character, and living joyfully, according to His Word.
Radical joy is sin-destroying, world-changing, wound-heaing, other-centered, and mission-minded. Radical joy creates a God-glorifying life. This year, may we choose radical, sold-out joy. Come alive joy. Passionate joy. Change-me-competely kind of joy.
I'll be honest with you girls and admit that I thought "choosing joy" would be just that: a choice to THINK joyfully when unjoyful situations came into my life and then BOOM! joy will hit my brain and somehow trickle down to my heart and feeling joy would be a reality. Even at the very beginning of this study, I am realizing this joy the Word talks about is not what I had in my mind at all! It is a lifestyle lived out because of what I believe as a Christ lover and follower.
Circumstances in my life affect my joy...sometimes they douse my brightly dancing flame of joy with a cold bucket of water...in an instant I can go from delighted to depressed. This isn't the biblical joy that we are being introduced to in this study or in the devotional of Angela's. I don't use the word "introduce" lightly in this context. This "Jesus joy" is something completely different. It is a part of us like our faith and actually because of our faith. Here is the eye opener for me today: In this world circumstances affect my joy, but in my walk with God and believing He is exactly who He says He is, my joy in Him should affect my circumstances!!!
Sometimes I have situations I am just not looking forward to AT ALL. I dread them like the plague...go over the scenes in my mind a thousand times and have anything but peace and joy. But what if I believed truly that my Lord was in control...that this situation would be used for my good and His glory if I simply walked it out in faith? What if I truly believed God had my ultimate good in mind in every situation and I could trust Him to guide, direct and strengthen me? What if I believed wholeheartedly that my Savior redeems all...even the most broken situations in my life and I can trust Him completely? Couldn't this heart change bring deep, reassuring joy?
I loved Angela's definition of radical joy: sin-destroying...world-changing...wound-healing...other-centered...mission-minded. As I thought about these words in context with those situations that tend to "steal" joy from me, I could clearly see how radical joy could accomplish all this...that is power, my friends.
I was reminded again today how grateful I am that my sweet Lord refuses to allow me to stand still much in my walk with Him. He does allow a rest from time to time between "lessons" but then it's "OK, let's get at it again, Cherri"... and, in a moment, I feel the excitement of this new adventure: the "change-me-completley" kind of joy!
Have a joy-filled day!
Love to you....