Tag Archives: joy

Broken Joy? How to Get It Fixed

6 Oct

Pinterest has inspired many great crafts. 

But in at least a few cases, it has also inspired broken dishes!

I recently read about “12 Creative Crafts that Take Broken China from Trash to Treasure!”

Some of the new creations suggested were a watering can, a birdhouse, a birdbath and an end table. (I’ve pictured some in this article.)

A friend of mine actually broke some perfectly fine old—I would call them beautiful antique—dishes so she could make some “broken dishes” crafts with the pieces!

It’s not a Pinterest thing, but when I saw the picture of  the broken joy pottery (above), it inspired me to piece together a piece about “broken joy.”

Joy is such a beautiful thing. It’s extremely sad when it gets broken.

Pastor Jim Johnston wrote, “One key sign of spiritual danger is losing your joy. … Joy is one of the vital gauges on the dashboard of the Christian life.”

Here are 10 thoughts about fixing or rebuilding broken joy.

1. Joy wanes when we neglect time with God and His Word.

When I came to the Lord in faith, receiving what He did for me on the cross as the sacrifice for my sin, He made me a new creation and He fills my hearts with joy. He delights in His beloved children.

But many things can rob me of His joy—distractions and “joy-killers.”

That’s why David, after committing horrendous sins, prayed to the Lord, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation…” (Psalm 51:12).

After I confess my sin, I need the Word of God to water my soul and continually restore me to spiritual health. 

Joy is a byproduct of a relationship with the Lord through the Spirit of God. As a praise song says, “Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart when the King is in residence there.”

In the Lord’s presence is “fullness of joy,” and if we want joy full to overflowing, we must remember what Jesus has spoken to us in the Word of God.

2. Joy abounds when we are safe and satisfied in the Lord.

Being “safe” in my salvation, with my name written in heaven, helps me rejoice. Abundant joy comes when my heart is fully satisfied in Christ and not tempted by lesser things.

Whenever I am tempted to trust in something or someone other than God for my ultimate satisfaction, I quickly find these chosen idols can’t help me.

The Lord is the only One who can make known to His children the “path of life that leads to satisfaction. We are wise to take refuge in Him. When we rejoice in the Lord and share our heart and requests with Him, He floods our hearts with protective peace.  Kingdom Life is filled with God’s goodness, peace and joy in the Spirit. But to experience this kind of joy, we must shift our focus to Jesus and His work in and through us.

3. Scripture connects joy to spiritual obedience and ministry.

Believers are twice commanded to “rejoice” in one verse: Philippians 4:4. It’s a powerful command! I will abide in God’s love and experience His joy when I keep His commandments. It’s not a feeling. It’s a response of love.

The Psalmist says we will “come home with shouts of joy” when we minister to and invest in people. This is especially true when we bear the “seed” of the Word of God. We are to help others walk in the truth to experience the Lord’s love and joy. Be a disciple-maker.

4. To be more joyful, choose holiness.

Simply put, when I am “pure in heart,” I will see God; and dwelling in His holy presence, there is “fullness of joy.”

Pastor John Starke explained why holy people are happy people: “Not surprisingly, God’s designs for our sanctification are most satisfying. In contrast, a life in sin is tiring, placing joy just outside our reach.”

Our reason for choosing holiness is a key factor, however. “We aren’t pursuing holiness in order to be happy with ourselves. No, our holiness focuses our vision on Christ….” We want to put aside anything that obscures our view of and satisfaction in Him.

5. Life-building within God’s will brings us greater joy.

The Apostle Paul says joy comes when we “finish our course,” the ministry given to us by the Lord (Acts 20:24). God wants us to grow, and we need a plan for the process to cooperate with Him.

As I am intentional to build within God’s will, I can become more like Jesus, “increasing” in every area of life: spiritually, socially, mentally and physically.

6. For more joy, squelch conflicts with humility and forgiveness.

Paul encouraged Christ-followers to interact with unity and pursue peace. This takes humility and love for others that grows from the love of God within us. We are to bear with one another, but also forgive each other’s offenses.

Sometimes we come across tough situations. When we have done all we can, it may be necessary to follow the biblical process for confrontation with the goal of reconciliation.

7. Joy is enhanced by gratitude and diminished by comparisons.

A God-ward focus will tend to make us more grateful; but I’ve noticed in my own life how much “comparisons” with others diminish my ability to be grateful. It’s foolish to measure others by my own measuring stick in order to commend myself. A grateful-to-God heart has no time for silly comparisons.

When we cannot find anything else to be thankful for, we can always thank God for our salvation! But we need to cultivate thankfulness, because it is God’s will for us. Make a list of God’s blessings. Watch your joy increase.

8. Practice contentment to experience real-time joy.

Whenever I have a lot of “what ifs” in my life, I struggle with joy. Don’t you? It’s the silly “grass is greener” syndrome; we want what others have and fail to see our own blessings.

The Lord wants us to practice contentment. He knows our many expectations for things and entitlements. “Hope deferred,” not getting what we hope for, can make our heart “sick.” Contentment has to be learned, and the greatest source of contentment is to remember “The Lord is my portion.” He is all I need!

Some of my favorite ways to let go of my attachment to “stuff” and practice contentment are: to give away what I think I need; to stop self-focusing, and to think of ways to invest in others’ lives.

9. Walking in wisdom can set you up for joy no matter what you face.

Walking in wisdom, making the best use of time and seeking the Lord’s will, is a set-up for more joy! When I listen to God’s counsel and hear His voice, I can walk confidently in Him.

Circumstances change and can even be painful, but joy comes in embracing godly wisdom in the midst of struggles (Psalm 30:5; Romans 8:28).

10. Guard against the joy-robber himself: Satan. 

Just as the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10b), broken joy from our enemy saps our strength!

I’m learning to be alert to the schemes of the devil as I watch and pray. Also, focusing on the Lord helps me not be shaken when tough times come. I don’t want to neglect the body of Christ either, because it’s a source of encouragement and instruction in joyful living.

If your joy is broken, don’t lose heart. Follow these suggestions and search the Word of God, speak to Him daily and seek to know His heart. In due season, you will reap a heap of joy!

Graphic adapted, courtesy of MissCaraReads, Pixabay

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But I Don’t Want to LOL!

10 Jun

I had to laugh when I read about a little girl who asked her mom for frozen stuff for Christmas — meaning from the movie Frozen.

She wasn’t too happy when she got a bag of frozen peas.

There are some days I’m not too happy either.

Life gets hard or I’m disappointed. Or I mess up for the umpteenth time.

I just don’t want to LOL.

I know the Bible tells me to give thanks and rejoice (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), but sometimes it’s just hard.

We must choose joy and gratitude as we walk in the spirit, because our fleshly desires sure don’t want to cooperate (Galatians 5:16).

When Pam Farrel and I co-authored the women’s devotional, LOL with God,* Pam included this wise and practical page titled, “10 things to Do When You Don’t Feel Like LOL.”

I want to reprint part of that page here — mostly because I need it today!

#1. Be Proactive. 

Do something you know you’ve enjoyed in the past that is healthy and good for you: a bubble bath, a walk on the beach, checking out a favorite book from the library, watching a favorite movie, reading a joke book or an online joke page (the clean ones only!).

#2. Be Relational.

Call a friend—or your mother! Make a connection with someone you love and who loves you: your husband, son, daughter, mom, dad, sister, brother, in-law, friend or mentor.

#3. Be Productive.

Work! Often, accomplishing something will help you feel better about yourself or life.

#4. Be Organized.

Spring cleaning or revamping a drawer or closet can be cathartic. A fresh start can come with fresh, clean surroundings. We know it’s hard to believe that cleaning house might make you feel better—but it can!

#5. Be Active.

Get off that couch and move! Exercise releases endorphins that will make you feel better after working out.

#6. Be a Model.

Do a personal makeover. Go to the mall and request a free makeover at the cosmetic counter of a department store, or invite a friend over and have her mix and match your wardrobe for some new looks.

#7. Be Relaxed.

Have a spa day (at a spa or at home). Give yourself a facial, a manicure, and/or a pedicure, or sit in a Jacuzzi. If you have funds, splurge for a massage at a spa or health club.

These practical suggestions can do wonders to lift your spirits, but the best suggestion ever for a “struggling to LOL” day is to allow THE Spirit to teach you joy.

Being filled (walking) with the Holy Spirit is the equivalent to allowing the Word of Christ—the Bible—to dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16a); and the result will be gratitude, a singing and worshipful heart, and joy (Ephesians 5:18-20; Colossians 3:16b) as well as the “fruit” of the Spirit living and working in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

Struggling to LOL today? Which of these seven practical suggestions might help? Does the Spirit of God live in you? Consider how He might give you lasting joy.

– Dawn

* Note: LOL with God: Devotional Messages of Hope & Humor for Women by Pam Farrel and Dawn Wilson is no longer in print, but some are still available here.  The information included above is from p. 113 in that book.

  Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay

Are You ‘Excited’ about Jesus?

10 Oct

In their excitement, people do some really over-the-top things at athletic events. Think about it:

  • They make  and raise huge signs (to be seen on TV?) – blocking the view for people behind them.MinnesotaVikingsFan_SourceUnknown
  • They mysteriously show up in the same color or wear “costumes” to identify with their team (some better left to Halloween).
  • They raise their hands together and do “the wave.”
  • They show their support for their team with yells and mantras – “We will, we will Rock you!”
  • They aren’t afraid to taunt the other team … or the refs.
  • With passion for their team, they shell out money for symbols of their support (like giant foam fingers).
  • They get crazy about their team … and nobody thinks they’re weird!

I wondered recently, why don’t Christians show similar excitement about Jesus?ExcitedAboutJesus_LOLwithGod

In all fairness, we do sometimes.

In September I attended an Air 1 tour concert. The music and lights, the crowd’s enthusiasm … it wasn’t hard to be carried along in the musicians’ high praise to the Lord of Heaven!

People got into the music, their hands swaying back and forth overhead. (A Christian version of The Wave?) They shouted out responses at musicians’ cues. Many rushed to the lobby to purchase rainbow-colored lights (used like metronomes in the darkness, keeping in time with the beat). The excitement level in the auditorium was as high or higher than any ball game I’ve experienced!

I’m sure the room was filled with many kinds of people that night. Some were there just for the music. Some were there to experience an event. Others were there to worship, or hoping to connect with God in a new, fresh way.

It was a great, exciting night! But it was just one night. And I wondered the next day, how many are still excited to know the Lord as they go back home, or to school or work?

The Christian life isn’t a one-night, one-event, one-conference “high.”

The Christian life is joy filling the heart regardless of circumstances. It’s excitement about who Jesus is and what He has done for us. It’s faith and faithfulness, appreciating God’s goodness and grace. It’s abiding in Christ. It’s the outflow of the Spirit.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says (answer #1) one of our main goals in life is to “enjoy” God forever. Maybe “enjoyment” is a better word than “excitement,” but anyone who’s been in love knows the two are linked. 

Enjoying God doesn’t just happen. We have to know Him. We have to understand what He’s done for us. And to experience lasting joy, we have to hop on board with His plans for us. 

Just as when we go to an athletic event, we have to “get excited” about Him and being on His team!

Here are some scriptures that speak to me about why I can enjoy God:

Psalm 16:5-11. . . . I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices. . . You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 144:15. Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

With that in mind, here are just 10 ways I’m nurturing my enjoyment of the Lord, which lead to greater excitement about Him.

  1. seek His presence and read His love letter and guidebook (the Word).
  2. I spend time with others who love Him too, so we can enjoy Him together.
  3. I find new ways to appreciate Him – to praise and adore Him (singing, writing, etc.)
  4. I talk to Him about everything, because He is my Lord and my friend.
  5. I view my life as an adventure with Him, with opportunities to grow and serve.
  6. I cooperate with His work in my life, knowing I am becoming more like Jesus.
  7. I embrace the freedom I have through His grace and transformed thinking.
  8. I use the gifts He’s given me to make a difference in the world and for the Kingdom.
  9. I rejoice in His work in others’ lives, the progress I see as they trust Him and obey.
  10. I am amazed whenever I see His handiwork in creation.

How do you “enjoy” God? How do you build excitement in your life for Jesus and what He is doing in the world?

* I could not find the original source of the Viking Fan photo. If you know the source, please tell me so I can properly credit.

“Excited” Graphic adapted: Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 – Dawn

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