“Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. Joy isn’t just a smile or a laugh. Joy is something that is deep within and doesn’t leave quickly. Joy is given by God and something that He wants us to have…” ~ Theopedia
We talk a lot about JOY at this time of the year. Joy to the World. Christmas Joy!
And yet, in a few short hours Christmas will be behind us and we’ll go back to the realities of life that try to stifle our joy.
But true joy is grounded in so much more than the celebration itself.
True JOY is found in the person of Jesus.
So, I’m praying…
God, I Want Jesus to be My Joy
Father, Christmas is about celebrating Jesus, the Word made flesh … thank you!
And yet, too often when the festivities are over … I take my focus off Jesus and the stresses of life challenge my contentment, confidence, and hope.
Please forgive me.
I want Jesus to be my JOY … not just at Christmas but every day, every moment of my life.
Please help me.
You show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presenceand the pleasures of living with you forever.Psalm 16:11
What an amazing promise, Father.
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! Psalm 30:11–12
You have forgiven me and carried me through pain and brokenness. You’ve shown me Your healing grace. You have given me faith in Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
And although I have only see Him through the Words of Scriptures and in the hearts of Your people, I love Him. Through Your Spirit, I believe in Him. And in Him, I have a joy that cannot be explained. (based on 1 Peter 1:8)
Please help me. I want Jesus to be my Joy!
Show me the way of life, grant me the joy of your presence and help me focus on the pleasures of living blessed by and in Your presence forever. (based on Psalm 16:11)
And with Your help as I focus on all the blessings I have in and through Jesus…
I can be joyful because of the hope I have in Him. I can be patient when trouble comes, and I can enjoy coming to You in prayer with every need great or small. (based on Romans 12:12)
Father, by Your grace and with Your help … may I be full of the Joy only You can give.
Yesterday we took our failures and broken promises to God in Jesus name asking Him to forgive us yet again!
And He did! He does!
So today’s prayer is one of humble gratitude…
God, Thank You for the Awesome Gift of Forgiveness
Father, It wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t what I deserved as I entered Your holy courtroom with my head hanging in shame. I expected justice and fairness but justice requires punishment and fairness demands retribution.
I knew I was guilty. I had no defense.
All I could say was, “I am so sorry. Jesus, I need You. Please help me! Please forgive me!”
And Jesus stood with me. He became my defense and instead of justice and fairness, You pronounced me innocent … You declared me not guilty.
I am forgiven!
Although, I may still suffer the consequences of my failures in my flesh…
Your Word says:
If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.1 John 1:9
Father, Your justice is full of grace and mercy because Jesus took my guilt and suffered my punishment, I am cleansed. Before You, I am CLEAN!
And although my heart’s desire is to obey Your commands and follow Your will, I fail. Day after day I must humbly enter your courtroom and say, “Father, I’m sorry! Please forgive me for Jesus’ sake.”
And You respond with the gift of forgiveness…
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Psalm 86:5
And when You forgive, sins are unconditionally gone…
He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:12
Through Your grace and mercy, I am pronounced not guilty…
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. What joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.Romans 4:7–8
Thank you! Words somehow fall far short of the overwhelming joy and gratitude I feel.
Father, please fill me with Your Spirit and help me…
♥ Live out loud the gratitude I feel.
♥ Honor and obey Your will for my life.
♥ Let go of the past.
♥ Trust You with my future.
♥ Live with joy for Your glory today.
♥Surrender my self completely to Your perfect love.
Father, Paul wrote to Titus:
When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.2 Peter 1:3
Father, Your grace and mercy cover every part of my life. You not only forgive my sins but through your Holy Spirit, You give me a new life … everything I need to live with gratitude and joy. All I need to worship You by living each day of my life for Your glory.
A little less than two weeks until Christmas but in many households joy-filled wonderful is not filling the air.
I’ve heard from a number of people who feel there is not enough time, money, or energy to see them through to the end of the year. They’re exhausted physically and emotionally . . . and stressful anxiety is causing their joy tanks to run dangerously low.
How’s your joy tank?
If you’re feeling joy depleted . . . like you’re going to be running on empty days before Christmas arrives. This post is for you!
First, and this is important…
You absolutely must fill up your joy tank!
You can’t keep pouring into others without getting a refill. It’s just NOT possible.
Oh moms, we’re guilty. We want to make everything perfect for our loves. So we add extra shopping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and school activities to already full work schedules.
Every group has a Christmas party and every kid wants to have a friend over. You’re exhausted and every day it seems like your list grows as you check things off one by one.
How can you and I fill our joy tanks when we don’t have any room in our long lists of to-dos?
5 of the Best Ways to Fill Your Joy Tank
1. Say ‘no’ to joy stealers.
Friend, you don’t have to do it all. The truth is you can’t do it all. Your family will survive if you don’t make grandma’s sugar cookie recipe this year. Your friends will understand if they don’t get a card. Plan an Epiphany party instead of a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party.
Shop the sales and give your children a couple of Epiphany gifts.
You might be surprised that your family and friends are more excited about adding joy to the second week of January than they are with one more thing in December.
Before you say “yes’ to something ask yourself, “Will this add to or deplete my joy.” A simple question that can help you make those tough last-minute decisions.
“…there are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don’t really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.” ~Elaine St. James
2. Do something you love and fill your joy tank.
The best thing about joy fillers is they don’t have to take a lot of time. Play your favorite Christmas song. Better yet, sing it really loud all by yourself. Grab a tiny candy cane for a sweet pick-me-up. Carry joy-filled verses with you to read while you stand in line or wait for an appointment.
The Lord Himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). Isaiah 7:14
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. Galatians 4:4–5
And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. 1 John 5:11–12
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7–8
If you have a little longer than two minutes, take a bubble bath, cuddle up with your family, drive through your neighborhood and look at Christmas lights, etc.
Don’t think of joy filling as selfish, think of it as emotional and spiritual therapy.
3. Ask God to fill your joy tank.
Jesus said we should ask, seek, and knock. Your Father wants you to have His joy. Ask Him.
Pray with me…
Father, thank you for Your countless blessings. You fill my life with life and love. Take my hand, Lord. Guide me in Your ways. Help me follow what You know will give me joy. You know me better than I know myself. Father, help me trust and faithfully follow wherever you lead.
My heart’s desire is to celebrate the joy of Your gift of salvation . . . Jesus. May I, by Your grace, keep my focus on Jesus, the source and perfecter of my faith. May He be my joy every moment of my life. I ask this in Jesus holy name. Amen.
4. Look for small ways God is already offering you joy.
Open your eyes. Stretch. Feel your body work. Savor that first sip of coffee and first bite of breakfast.
Stop. Look into the eyes of those you love.
Walk around your home. Celebrate heat and hot water, electricity and plumbing.
Go outside. Look at the sky. Enjoy the beauty around you.
Celebrate His blessings.
In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Colossians 3:23
5. Thank God for the gift of joy.
What a blessing to love and serve a Father, who wants us to experience joy. He not only wants you to have it, He wants to give it to you. Joy is a blessing given through the Holy Spirit.
Remember – the God who made you wants you to be joyful.
Do you need a joy tank fill up?
Ask God. Then thank Him . . . He wants you to have more joy than you could ever hope for or imagine. That’s why He gave you Jesus.
Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God.
With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:19–20
To close today, I have a question for you…
What’s your favorite joy tank filler?
Leave your prayer requests…
and stop to pray one or two of the requests listed.
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Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Philippians 4:4
You and I can choose where we focus our thoughts and attention but we can’t choose joy.
Joy is a gift!
A gift found in God’s presence. So, the more time you and I spend in the Lord’s presence the more joyful we’ll become. How cool is that!
You will teach me how to live a holy life. Being with you will fill me with joy; at your right hand I will find pleasure forever. Psalm 16:11
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7
It’s such a simple equation, I wonder why I fail at it so often.
Focusing on junk equals dissatisfaction and sadness. Focusing on Jesus and the blessings He gives equals joy.
Jesus makes it possible for us to have joy even when life when there is junk all around us.
I like the way the Message puts it…
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective. Colossians 3:1–2
I’m making a list of ways to “act like it.” Ways I can pursue the things over which Christ presides.
Seriously, aren’t you ready to stop shuffling along, with your eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you?
The NIV puts it this way . . . “set your hearts on things above.” Maybe you’ve even memorized it that way. However you remember, let’s make it a goal for the days and weeks ahead to habitually turn our thoughts toward “Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
25 Wonderful Ways to Find Joy in Jesus
1. Focus on Jesus.
I have placed the Lord always in front of me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved. And so my heart is glad. My soul is full of joy. My body also will rest without fear. Psalm 16:8–9
2. Make a list of your blessings.
Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows. James 1:17
3. Take a break from the chaos.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” ~St. Augustine
4. See everyone as someone who is precious to God.
As God opens His heart to be known by us and as He builds His heart into us, His love will flow through us to those who are in desperate need of His forgiveness, His compassion, His healing, and His life.” ~Bill Mils
5. Be kind, caring, and compassionate.
You must be kind to each other. Think of the other person. Forgive other people just as God forgave you because of Christ’s death on the cross.Ephesians 4:32
6. Give yourself a daily dose of encouragement.
“God made you unique and wonderful with purposes in mind for your life. No matter where you go, you cannot get away from God who made you, loves you, and will help you be what you should be.” ~Unknown
7. Smile more – at others and in the mirror
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” ~William Arthur Ward
8. Take regular breaks from the news and social media.
“It’s the simplest properties that will help you clear yourself of negativity … The profound power of a simple prayer. The strength of a deep breath. The gentle guidance of good music.” – Jeffrey Wands
9. Sing, dance and spin around. Do something fun.
Let them praise His name with dancing. Let them sing praises to Him with timbrels and a harp.Psalm 149:3
10. Make random acts of kindness a habit.
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.” – Henry James
11. Be a student – never stop learning.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss
12. Invest generously in your relationships.
“One day spent with someone you love can change everything.” ~Mitch Albom
13. Savor each moment. Don’t wish your life away.
Once you stop rushing through life, you will be amazed how much more life you have time for. ~Author Unknown
14. Keep moving – it increases those happy endorphins.
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ~Henry David Thoreau
15. Accomplish a goal – even a small one.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” ~Edward Everett Hale
16. Forgive and let go of resentment.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13
17. Look for reasons to laugh.
“Laughter is the most beautiful and beneficial therapy God ever granted humanity.” ~Chuck Swindoll
18. Do your best even if it’s not perfect.
“When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” ~Helen Keller
19. Enjoy simple pleasures like a fireside picnic or a walk in the park.
“A nice warm shower, a cup of tea, and a caring ear may be all you need to warm your heart.” ~Charles F. Glassman
20. Ask questions – listen to understand.
He whose ear listens to careful words spoken will live among the wise.Proverbs 15:13
21. Set limits. It’s okay to say “no.”
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and non-apologetically – to say “no” to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside.” – Stephen Covey
22. Express love with words and actions.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proudor rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.1 Corinthians 13:4–5
23. Learn God’s promises.
“God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises, leading us along the best and straightest paths to Him.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
25. Surrender to God’s will.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
I want lasting joy. Joy found in Jesus.
So I’m focusing my heart and mind on Him as I prepare to celebrate His birth and I’m praying He will help me turn this into a habit that will last for the rest of forever.
I will find joy in Jesus and…
By God’s grace, I will live with joy and I’m praying you will, too.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if Jesus’ followers became known for being the most joyful people on the planet?
Now it’s time for…
Faith ‘n Friends Link Party
I’m so glad you’re here!
This is a place to share faith, make friends, and have fun.