Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope you have a weekend full of refreshment. This morning did some writing and a Bible Study, and made a roast dinner. This afternoon we are invited to friends for coffee and that brings sunshine to our day.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Joy takes courage! Perhaps we have all had times when we don’t embrace joy because of fear of what could or may happen. That way we feel it won’t hurt so much if disappointment comes. Since we have all had experiences of bad things in our lives where we even put the blame on God, we hesitate to believe in our heart that He is the source of good things too. Tish Warren, Anglican priest, lost two babies and it was hard for her to hope again that she could carry a baby full term. She said that “to risk joy requires hope and to hope is to ‘borrow grace’.” We don’t always know what the outcome will be but we can count on God to be present and to shield us. Love involves risk and life is full of risking again and again. But if we lose good gifts as circumstances change, we can still have joy; that is because we know the Giver who is our Joy. He is our source of every good gift. Tish goes on to say joy is not only a gift but a practice, similar to a muscle. When we exercise that joy muscle, we become stronger. Joy is choice we make each day when we decide if we will trust God’s unconditional love. That doesn’t mean we won’t encounter sorrow but we can know joy and sorrow simultaneously if our joy is centered in the Lord. We don’t need to fake joy in difficult times but we can decide to choose joy. That is possible because we know in the depth of our hearts that His love is deeper than our deepest need or whatever could happen. We can share with God our desires but then tell God He knows best and we want His will above all.  Joy also seems to be inseparable from the practice of gratitude. Henry Nouwen said. “There, gratitude is joy and joy is gratitude and everything becomes a surprising sign of God’s presence.” Let us choose joy for God is trustworthy and gives us blessings even if they come to us in strange wrappings. Joy recognizes that the deepest reality is God’s love. Romans 15:13 (ESV) is my prayer for you today, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope,”
Challenge for today: The next time you experienced disappointment or sorrow, exercise your joy muscle.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy