A study on what I want my life to be filled with

Category: Joy

Shout for Joy!

I’d like to end this month of joy with more scripture than usual. There are so many examples of people singing or shouting for joy in the bible that I figured it would be a good idea to just read some so we can be inspired.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Psalm 5:11, NIV

We can sing for joy because God is our refuge and he protects us!

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Psalm 28:7, NIV

We can sing for joy because the Lord is our strength and shield, we can trust him and he helps us!

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalm 32:11, ESV

We can shout for joy because we are glad that we know the Lord and can rejoice in him!

Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!”

Psalm 35:27, ESV

We can shout for joy if we delight in the Lord’s righteousness and be thankful that he wants good things for us!

The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.

Psalm 65:13, NIV

I love that the meadows and valleys shout for joy as well!

Shout for joy to God, all the earth!

Psalm 66:1, NIV

Everyone and everything can shout for joy to the Lord!

I don’t do a lot of shouting in my daily life, and I’m guessing you don’t either. What if we decided to shout for joy occasionally? I wonder… how would that affect our souls?

(Also check out my blog post: The Greatness of Joy)

(Photo by Adriel Kloppenburg on Unsplash)

Rejoice!

Just hearing that word makes me happy! To rejoice is to feel joy or great delight. Who doesn’t want that?

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4, NIV

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2, NIV

I learned a new word while studying for this blog: rejoicer. I want to be known as a rejoicer in my life. There are so many other labels we live with and sometimes we seem to strive for: stressed, busy, tired, distracted, depressed, lonely, etc… none of which lead to a life of rejoicing. In these few verses we are given a small glimpse into a life of rejoicing. It’s doesn’t come from nowhere, and it does take work, but it also takes work to be busy, tired, and distracted. I’d rather put in the work to be a rejoicer.

True rejoicing comes from the joy we have received from the Lord. In Philippians and Thessalonians, Paul, Timothy, and then Silas are encouraging the believers to rejoice in the Lord, pray continually, and give thanks. Then David, in Psalms, is showing how to rejoice by praising the Lord with ALL his heart, telling of the wonderful things he has done, and singing praises to his name. None of these are easy tasks, but they are all worth it. What is holding you back from a life of rejoicing? Are you giving thanks in all circumstances or only the good ones? (see my blog: Am I supposed to have joy in ALL things?) Are you praising the Lord with ALL your heart or just part of it? Are you telling others about the wonderful things he has done for you or are you taking credit? Are you singing praises to the Lord or silently complaining?

Let’s start small and see how rejoicing leads to more joy in our lives.

(Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay)

Joy as Medicine

“Laughter is the best medicine!” What a wonderful saying. But it’s not just a saying, there is research that shows that laughing is good for you! The Heart Foundation says there are 5 reasons to laugh: Increased blood flow, it counts as cardio, it strengthens your immune system, it reduces stress, and the benefits can last up to 24 hours. Also, if you look at children they are always laughing and so carefree. On average, they laugh about 300 times a day! Compare this to adults, who only laugh about 17 times a day. I honestly think 17 is a stretch for most people. Our society thrives on stress not on laughter. What happens to our funny bone as we get older? Why do we go from laughing at everything to laughing at hardly anything? Life is stressful but laughing is a stress reliever! I have found myself laughing more lately. I’m not entirely sure why, but I can tell it’s doing me and my husband good to have more laughter and lighter hearts in our home.

It’s also in the bible as being a good thing. Proverbs 17:22 ESV, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” What would it take for you to have a more joyful heart? I think it starts by appreciating what you have in this life. If you don’t appreciate what you have and you are always looking for something different, that is stealing your joy! That’s certainly nothing to laugh about. Be thankful. Enjoy the little things in life: the sound of birds chirping, the smile of a stranger, your favorite flowers in bloom, even a five-minute walk in the sun. These are all seemingly small and simple, but when you start noticing the little things they add up. Soon you are enjoying life and taking that “good medicine” of a joyful, laughing heart.

Look around you, what small things can you take joy in right now?

(Currently mine are my cat curled up on her bed and the tulips on the table next to me).

(Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash)

Glorious Joy

This description of joy is so beautiful. Reading this verse, you can miss the beauty if you don’t look close enough.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

1 Peter 1:8 (NIV)

Peter saw Jesus and loved him. None of us can say that. I have seen the move of God and how that can affect someone, but I have never physically seen Jesus. Peter is addressing the believers scattered all over Europe and Asia in his letter who have never seen Jesus but are living for him and suffering through trials on his behalf. He is commending them, and us, on our faith to believe in Jesus, having never seen him. Because of that belief we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy because our souls are being saved.

There are several definitions of glory in the dictionary, here are a few that I feel go well with this passage: worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving; a state of great gratification or exaltation; great beauty and splendor. When you think about joy being described in these ways it gives it a whole new depth. If this is what knowing Jesus looks like I need to get to know him better so that my joy can be filled with praise, honor, thanksgiving, exaltation, beauty, and splendor. It makes me excited just to think that my joy can be lived out that way.

(Another short article that I found interesting on this same verse can be found here)

(Photo by Sebastien Gabriel on Unsplash)

The Joy of Being Used…by God

Being used in a worldly context has negative and often painful results, but like most things associated with God, being used by him has the complete opposite effect. If you don’t think you have what it takes to be used by God, I challenge you to look at almost any biblical example. Take Gideon. He was hiding in a wine press, threshing wheat to keep it from the Midianites who were oppressing the Israelites.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.

judges 6:12-16

God found the weakest clan and took the least in the family and used him to defeat the Midianites and save Israel.

Or take Rahab. She was a prostitute living in Jericho, the land the Israelites had been promised by God. Two Israelite spies when to check out the land and stayed with her. The king of Jericho found out and wanted her to hand them over, but she hid them and told the king that they left the city. She saved them and in return asked that her family might be spared when they came to take over the city. They replied, “Our lives for your lives! If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord give us the land.” Joshua 2:14

God found someone who was the lowest in society and used her to save the lives of the two spies and help them spy out the land and in turn her whole family was spared and she even ended up in the lineage of Jesus!

I found myself being used by God just yesterday, in a small way, but it impacted me very deeply and gave me such a joy that I find my heart wondering how else God can use me. I woke up with a person on my heart who I haven’t spoken to in about three years and just felt the urge to reach out to her. I did, and it turned out that she was having an emotional day and just needed to know that God was thinking about her. I felt very humbled that God would use me to encourage her and remind her of his love.

If you don’t think God can use you, think again! He uses those who have a willing heart. It’s not about status, ability, age, or anything else that we value, it’s about our hearts. Are you willing to be used by God?

(Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash)

Full of Joy

Is fullness of joy a real thing or something that we just talk about and wish we had? I must believe that it is not only real, but it is within our grasp. Psalm 16:11 gives us the cut and dry answer,

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

Sometimes in life we must dig deep to find the answers to our questions, but this one is right here out in the open, no digging required.

Then the question becomes, why don’t I feel full of joy? And the answer there would have to be because you aren’t spending enough time in the presence of God. Well you say, “I go to church, I read my bible, and I pray, isn’t that time enough in the presence of God?” Again, I would have to say no. Kind of harsh, I know, but it’s the truth. When you look at your life, where do you spend your time? With your phone? Social Media? Gossip? Sports? Career? Are those things bringing you fullness of joy? I’m guessing not. I’m guessing they are most likely stealing your joy.

To know the fullness of joy you must spend time with the one who created joy and fully embodies it. Jesus wants us to be filled with joy, his joy, the best kind!

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:9-12

Joy and love go hand in hand. Being loved by God fills you with joy so you can love others and pass that joy along. I do not spend enough time in the presence of God to know this fullness of joy very often, but the times that I have were so amazing and unlike any other joy I have ever known. Knowing that it is possible makes me want it even more and I hope you are inspired to spend a little more time with the one who knows what joy is all about.

(Photo by Preslie Hirsch on Unsplash)

The Greatness of Joy

Joy is one of the hardest concepts for me to fully grasp. Joy and happiness are interchanged so frequently that the lines between them become blurred. Even the dictionary uses each in the definition of the other word! I believe they are uniquely different and can be experienced in different ways. The simplest way for me to explain a distinction between them is to say that happiness is based on the immediate circumstances and joy is based on a deeper understanding of those circumstances.

I would like to focus on how often the bible talks about “great joy” and how encouraging that statement can be. I found eleven occurrences of the phrase “great joy” in the scriptures. All these instances followed a move of God. The response to that move was great joy in the hearts of the people and many times was accompanied with shouts of joy that shook the ground. Since I live in the PNW I can’t help but think of the 12th Man when it comes to shouts that shake the ground. When the Seahawks play the fans literally cheer so loud that it shakes the ground and it has even shown up on seismic equipment. Can you imagine if our joy for the Lord was that loud?! If every Sunday when Christians got together our worship shook the ground?! There would be earthquakes all over the globe! Now that is a move of God! Here are a few scriptures to inspire you:

And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.” (This is right after Solomon was anointed King)

1 Kings 1:40, kjv

Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” ( This followed the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem)

Nehemia 12:43, kjv

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” ( This was after the start of David appeared to the Maji who were looking for the baby Jesus)

matthew 2:10 kjv

When God moves there is cause for great joy! God is moving all the time in our world and in our lives. It doesn’t have to be something as big as the announcement of a king for us to be filled with great joy. Look around and see how God is moving in your life and let yourself be filled with the great joy that follows!

( Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash)

Am I supposed to have joy in ALL things?

There is a popular verse among Christians when we are struggling with any given trial, “Consider it pure [all] joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV). That refers to any trial in life, right? When you stub your toe and limp around the house the rest of the night, that certainly isn’t a joyful experience. Or when you get in a fight with a family member and leave the conversation feeling angry and hurt? Again, not really a joyful experience. But if we finish the rest of the verse and notice the part about how these trials are testing our faith, those are the ones that we should see as bringing us joy.

Tests. Just the sound of that word makes me cringe. It brings back to my mind the hundreds of tests I have taken over my lifetime and how I didn’t want to take any of them. Let’s think about this for a moment. If all you ever did in school was sit in class and coast by, most people wouldn’t do very well. So, classes have tests to see how well you know the material being taught. The same is true for Christians. If all we ever do is coast through life, I don’t think we are doing a service to ourselves or anyone else. If we didn’t have trials that tested our faith, how would we know what we really believe or what we need to continue working on?

Now let’s go back to the first word of the verse, “consider.” If we are thinking carefully about the trials in our lives, I think we can find the joy in them. It may not be joy that we can feel or that makes us all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It may instead be joy that we can see, in the work God is doing in our faith, knowing he wants us to have a more mature, productive faith. He loves us too much to let us coast through life living on the fleeting joys that come from the world. He wants us to have an eternal joy that stays with us through every trial we face.

( Photo by Abigail Lepaopao on Unsplash )

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