The month of May marks the first anniversary of this Devotional Blog that God has given me the privilege to share with all of you. Often, I am asked why I sign it, "Choosing JOY". It goes back two years ago when God first spoke to my heart and showed me how to choose JOY in the midst of circumstances filled with pain and sorrow. One day shortly after that, I sought to change how I was signing all my e-M updates from "Choosing Joy", to "Reaching for Joy". But GOD... stopped me before I could hit the "send" button. He instructed me in His gentle way to go back to "Choosing Joy" - revealing to me that "reaching for it - is never enough"! He showed me that JOY is always available - but I must choose to clothe myself with it daily! How about you?
Notice from all these passages HOW Choosing JOY is not empty - but full of:
- Instruction of Truth
- Feasting together at God's table
- God's own Presence
- Prayer & Worship to God
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.
14 Be joyful at your Feast—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy.
17 For the dedication of this house of God they offered... [sacrifices].
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. 23 So the Jews agreed [chose] to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them.
He [Job] prays to God and finds favor with Him,
he sees God's face and shouts for joy;
he is restored by God to his righteous state.
Psalm 16:11 KJV
Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
3 Send forth Your light and Your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to Your holy mountain,
to the place where You dwell.
4 Then will I go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise You with the harp,
O God, my God. [all emphasis mine]
My prayer is that many of you have now set out to "Choose JOY" daily in your own lives as a testimony of what our LORD Jesus Christ has done for you and for me. Together, may we lift holy hands of praise, offer our lives as living sacrifices to our God, and share the JOY of our hearts - His very Presence!
When Praise Demands a Sacrifice
words and music by Russell Mauldin and Sue C. Smith
When praise demands a sacrifice…I’ll worship even then
Surrendering the dearest things in life
And if devotion costs me all
He’ll find me faithful to His call
When praise demands a sacrifice... I'll worship even then!