Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life; the quiet confidence that ultimately everything will be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.
July’s Tuesdays are finished, and the powerful Choose Joy study led by Kay Warren has come to a close, but the women at Saddleback Huntington Beach are lingering in what they have learned; reflecting and trying to put into practice what they have absorbed during the past several weeks.
“When the series began,” Rosalie said, “I was at a place in my life when I was really struggling with personal issues, especially with my children. What I learned was that even though Jesus was the sacrificial lamb, witha serious message of repentance, he was also a very funny guy. People wanted to be around him.” She paused to reflect on what that meant to her. “Now, I am always looking for ‘laugh lines’ when I read the Word. I can choose depression or joy, but the Word says, ‘This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.'” Psalm 118:24.
Cora said, “The timing of the conference was perfect for me. I was really down. I was thinking, ‘What am Igong to do?’ But, during the study I realized that God was always there from the beginning. Nothing is ‘the end of the world.’ God allows things to happen and we become stronger, if we choose joy.” “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'.”Jeremiah 29:11
“I realized that I have a choice every day, in every situation, to choose joy or not,” Trina said. “Even though there will be struggles in my life, the true basis for joy is choosing the eternal over the temporary every time. The true source of joy is God.” Trina’s women’s small group attended together, and plan to hold each other accountable. “The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” Psalm 145:13
Another woman shared how in one session she had been motivated to make a serious change. “I realize now that I am killing joy in my husband when I question him and am disappointed with him,” she said. “Because of my own expectations, I am not giving him affirmation for anything he does. I need to work on changing this.”
“‘Finding the bless in this mess’ stood out to me,” Cheryl said. “I am trying to do that, to find something to be thankful for in every situation. Laughter and tears come from the same well…I never thought about that,” she concluded.
“Every day is a terrible day for a miserable person, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15