JoyFULLy

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 In Your (God’s) presence is fulness of joy.
Psalm 16:11 NKJV

When thinking about how I would sign my blog, I chose “Joyfully, Cheryl” because I felt this described my overall temperament and because joy is what I want to convey to my readers.  Joy comes from my inner being and does not depend upon outward circumstances.  I may be happy when things are going right, but I can choose to let joy bubble up within my soul even when things are not going so well.  I felt this signature would give my readers a positive conclusion.
I love when I make a decision and then God confirms it!  Shortly after I decided upon the signature of “Joyfully, Cheryl”, I began reading the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Ann is an amazing writer and I am grateful for her choice of words. I will refer to her book by page number at various times and you can click on her link given in this paragraph.

This the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!
Psalm 118:24

Each morning when I wake up, these are the first words I speak in my mind. To be joyful and to rejoice is a conscious commitment I make every morning.  We have an epigram on the wall in our hallway that says, “Find the JOY in Life.”  This encourages me to actively seek joy and not just expect it to come to me.  One way to experience joy is to rejoice.

I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:18

Since “joy” is a noun and “rejoice” is a verb, the feeling of joy begins with the action of rejoicing.  But, how do I rejoice?  I do it by giving thanks!  In order to be full of joy, I must empty myself of anything that is not joy.  This includes my no longer being pridefull or fearfull or hatefull etc.  I must be thankfull in order to be joyfull.

Be joyful always.
I Thessalonians 5:16

It is interesting that Paul tells me in this verse to always be joyful and then in verse 18 he tells me to give thanks in all circumstances.  He also states at the end of this verse that this is God’s will for me. God and joy and thanks all fit together!  My situation may not be joyful, but if I am thankful to God for being with me in the situation I can experience a deep joy and peace that goes beyond my understanding. Ann Voskamp describes this as “Ugly Beautiful”.

Consider it pure joy, my brethren, whenever you face trials of many kinds.
James 1:2

Why must I consider trials a joy?  Because verses 3 and 4 say that testing and  persevering lead to my being mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If I do not lack anything, then I will be filled with joy!  Ann Voskamp says, “True saints know that the place where all the joy comes from is far deeper than that of feelings….Joy is God and God is joy and joy doesn’t negate all other emotions – joy transcends all other emotions.” (p. 176)  “All emotions” includes whatever I might feel during trials.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Ann Voskamp describes joy as being “the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped.  God gives gifts, and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.” (p. 57)  She also says that counting blessings unlocks the mystery of joy. (p.82)  “We really can’t experience deep joy in God until we deep trust in God.” (p.149)Trusting God, or having faith in God, is another key to experiencing joy!
  My Reader, I pray that you will be filled with this kind of joy and peace today.  As I sign my name at the end of each blog, I am extending joy to you.

Joyfully,
Cheryl

Thought for the week: “Joy is God’s lifestyle.” (One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, p.117)
                                                                                                          


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