As I was browsing on my Facebook newsfeed, I came across this photo below posted by one of my friends.
It makes me think of how God’s time really run? How does God’s time really work? As what Joyce Meyer says, “we often say God is never late, but generally He isn’t early either. Why? Because He uses times of waiting to stretch our faith in Him and to bring about change and growth in our lives.”
Exodus 13:17-18 tells us that God led the Israelites the longer, harder way on their journey to the Promised Land because He knew they were not yet ready to go in. There had to be time for their training, and they had to go through some very trying situations. They wasted a lot of time wondering about God’s timing, but God never failed to take care of them and show them what He wanted them to do. When the Lord closes a door, it means that He has something better for me than I had for myself. (Meyers)
Imagine this way, you see an open door. You want to walk through it. But before you get there, the Lord quickly shuts it. You are left no choice but to turn around and walk away, each step asking ‘why?’. Sometimes, you are fortunate to learn the reasons later on and sometimes you don’t. Either way, you continue to put one foot in front of the other and learn to praise God in the hallway.
This revelation reminded me of this verse:
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
I don’t know what my future holds, the doors that will be opened, the opportunities that will arise. I’m in between. Last night, as I was also browsing inspirational quotes on Pinterest, I came across this saying from Corrie Ten Boom (she’s the author of the book, The Hiding Place. It’s about her life hiding both physical and in spiritual place):
So simple yet so powerful. When I think of Corrie ten Boom and her life-threatening situation, my situation pales in comparison. Corrie didn’t know if she would live to see the next day, let alone her future. But she continued to trust that the Lord had a plan. Her strong faith and unwavering trust inspire me.
Likewise, in my in-between, “when I can’t trace the Lord’s hand, I’ll trust His heart.”
The last time ago our ministry leader thought us about “Joy in the Lord” and it really strikes me out! That is why it was made possible because of that idea.
So how do you define happiness and joy? Is there any difference between the two? What does it mean to be truly joyful?
Everyone wants to enjoy life. The world places their source of joy in what they own, in their reputation, in their status, fame, money and other luxurious things. Yet, all of those things are unstable and can easily evaporate. It can only give you a temporary satisfaction.
Happiness is external and comes from experiences and those around us. It is temporary and depends on what is happening at that moment. Happiness is concerned with earthly things while Joy is internal and eternal. Joy comes from the Lord.
If you are looking for the right path, it’s with Jesus Christ. The One who died for you and rose again. He wants your heart because He loves you, that’s why He died for you. All you have to do is accept Him and believe.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9ESV
Salvation is a free gift of God! He can give you a new life like never before. Surrender your WHOLE heart 100% to Him and He can give you outstanding joy like no other, which cannot come from any other source but Him. Joy is a sense of fulfillment not a temporary feeling of bliss. All you have to do is believe in Him, it’s your choice, like God said many are called but few are chosen because few choose to believe in Him but if you do He can make you clean and bring you to the light. I want you to find Him because it’s just so amazing when God makes you a new person, make things clear for you and brings understanding, that’s the joy I have in the Lord!
Have you ever notice that sometimes you have everything in life yet you feel happy in a moment then suddenly there’s a touch of incompleteness again? Well, happiness is like a cosmetic, it is on the outside while joy is character, it is on the inside. Happiness only meets your surface needs, but joy meets your deepest needs. Therefore, happiness is like a thermometer, it just registers conditions. Joy is the thermostat that controls the conditions. Happiness evaporates in a crisis. Joy many times intensifies in a crisis. Happiness is wonder but let me tell you something, friend. Happiness is at its fullest when it is blended with joy, when you know the joy of the Lord.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice.” So if you live for happiness, you are a prisoner of circumstances because if the circumstances change, then you are not happy anymore.
As Christians there is one thing we should model, it is the joy of the Lord. God designed the Christian life to be an abundant life. The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22).
Joyless living makes us vulnerable to the attacks of Satan, not to mention that it’s a miserable way to live.
I’ve listed here some simple questions that indeed brings me to understand how significant joy in the life of every people.
Why is joy important? a. Joy helps us stay positive and encourage others and reminds us that there is something better waiting for us. Joy draws us closer to God and keeps our hearts from hardening.
“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
Where do you find joy? a. Possessing joy is a choice. With all the trials and challenges happened to me, I find joy knowing that God is at my side and that He is thinking about me. I find joy when I am able to show grace to someone else because of God’s daily grace to me. I find joy knowing that Jesus finds me worthy even when many people don’t and I sometimes even don’t consider myself worthy.
What kills joy? a. Comparing yourself to others. This comes in so many shades that we sometimes fail to see it for what it is and I’m guilty as charged here. You might be looking at someone else’s lighter workload, more vacation time, less pressure, or desirable spiritual gifts. None of it is wise. You will either feel cheated or inferior—and joyless.
God gave us each different gifts—unique gifts, valuable gifts, admirable gifts. But when we compare our ministry or opportunities with others, we are bound to lose our joy.
“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”—Galatians 6:4
b. Impure thoughts. When you allow temptations to play in your mind, you will lose your joy. Christian cannot have impure thoughts day after day without experiencing the conviction of the Holy Spirit. And no one who is under the constant conviction of the Holy Spirit can be happy.
We must have a pure heart to see God for who He is and there is fullness of joy in His presence.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” —Matthew 5:8
c. Seeing outside the will of God. This is complicated because we can easily believe it is God’s will for us. Be careful. When your mind is out on a plain of “what ifs,” you will not regain your joy for where you are. If it is the difficulties of ministry or the struggles in your family or another relationship that are prompting your dreams, renew your time in God’s Word, give thanks for the blessings, and stick it out. Finish the race with joy!
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” —Acts 20:24
What daily strategies help you focus on joy when times are tough? a. Pray, pray and pray. Seriously, even when my happiness fades, I never lose my joy. I look around at what God has given me, how He lifts me up every day, how He has protected me and I can be unhappy yet joyful at the same time. My strategy when times are tough is to stay positive, connect with like-minded people who uplift me, and listen to some of my favorite worship and praise music.
There is only one source of Joy – God Himself. The world can offer you a lot to make you happy but finding joy can give you a fulfillment in life. There are many joy killers, but there is one joy-Giver. His name is Jesus.
Jesus can give you a life better than the one you have now, a life full of joy, love, peace, understanding, hope and thankfulness but He wants you to come first to receive Him whole heartedly, turn from your sin and to your own understanding and abide in His truth. Cling to His promises daily, obey His word and fear the Lord! BELIEVE.
“ And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6