The letter we focus on this week is the letter J. The letter J stands for joy. If we are going to grow in our relationship with God we have to make sure we focus on the joy that we can find in that relationship. So, how do we find joy in a society that is struggling so much?

I think the first thing we have to do is understand joy and happiness are not the same. As I have talked about many times before, happiness depends upon the situation, or situations, that are taking place around us and in our lives. Sometimes the situations we find ourselves in do not bring about an honestly happy feeling. For example, it’s hard to be happy when someone gives you bad news. It’s hard to be happy when finances are too small and bills become too big. It’s hard to be happy when you lose a loved one. On and on we can go to see that there are just some circumstances where being happy is just not possible.

Joy, on the other hand, doesn’t depend upon the situations around us. Joy depends upon our relationship with God. Joy is about understanding that no matter what events are taking place around us, God is always with us and will take care of us. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” It is that understanding that gives us joy in our hearts. As the verse says, the joy of the Lord is our strength. If we want to be strong in our relationship with God we need to make sure we focus upon the joy that we find in being one of his children. You probably remember the old song some of us used to sing as children that simply says “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” While this may be a very simple song, it carries with it a very big message. The message is we need to have the joy of the Lord in our hearts in order to live in our relationship with God so we can have the strength we need to live each day. It is that joy of the Lord that gives us the strength.

So how do we do this? The way we do this is to focus upon the blessings of God instead of focusing upon the things we find negative. For example, while it may be very hot outside, at least we have the sunshine. While the weather may be dry, we have the hope of rain. While we go through the summer, we have the promise of a cooler season ahead. While this day may not bring the happiest events we would like, it is another day God has given to us. That’s how we focus on the joy of the Lord instead of the things we wish were better. The joy of the Lord. It is definitely our strength. Until next week…

Peace and Blessings..