If you read my last post, you may remember that I chose JOY as my word for the year. The choice of this word has been confirmed again and again over the past few weeks.
I came across a note that I had written down some time ago. I recall that someone had asked me what the difference was between happiness and joy. This was in the notes for the book of Philippians in the Life Application Bible, New Living Translation.
"In contrast to happiness stands JOY. Running deeper and stronger, JOY is the quiet confident assurance of God's love and work in our lives--that he will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but JOY depends on Jesus." [emphasis added]
I have added this to my auto signature in my email, so if you get multiple emails from me during this year, you'll see this quite often. No, I'm not apologizing... We all need this reminder.
At our first official prayer meeting of the year, the pastor shared I Thessalonians 5:16-18. I referenced it in The Passion Translation which I have been using in my verse of the day app. Side note - I typically will look up verses in several translations. In addition to TPT, I currently like the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), the New English Translation (NET), and the New Living Translation (NLT).
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (TPT):
Let joy be your continual feast.
Make your life a prayer.
And in the midst of everything be
always giving thanks, for this is
God's perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.
I'm trying to commit this to memory in this new version. I've chosen Proverbs 3:5-6 to memorize as well.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (TPT)
Trust in the Lord completely
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.
In a quick Google search of the biblical meaning of joy, I found the following descriptions.
Biblical joy comes from the Lord. It is a perpetual gladness of the heart that comes from knowing, experiencing, and trusting Jesus. Martin Lloyd-Jones said, “joy, in other words, is the response and the reaction of the soul to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (https://www.wordsoffaithhopelove.com/what-is-joy-in-the-bible/)
Joy is a choice. Rick Warren gave us this definition of joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” (https://www.gcu.edu/blog/spiritual-life/weekly-devotional-fruit-spirit-joy)
I don't know what this year will bring. I have embarked on being more intentional in studying the Bible. Not just for studying's sake or checking the box on a task completed. I want to become more intimate with God - to truly know and experience Him.
I'm praying and trusting that I will have JOY in all circumstances.
I came across a "theme song" to go along with my "theme word," sung by one of my favorite Christian artists.
opening photo credit: Pexels by David Osborne