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All About GOD - Growing Relationships with Jesus and Others

Here is something you can grab ahold of for will radically change your life. JOY.

Listen along here:

Have you ever heard that God has a good sense of humor? Well, he does.  Come with me as I show you why that is true.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of speaking at a women's retreat in Los Angeles--it had been on the calendar for many months. 'Just pray about the theme, and we know God will lead you to what is just right for our Laguna Beach people,' the leaders had said. And so I did. And so he did.  


The theme: Choose Joy . . .  your life is up to you!   I knew it was right and went to work on outlines and illustrations, connected with Morea, the worship leader, and was all set . . . and then life happened, as only life could.  Three trying things exploded into my family's life--all out of my control, and I was truly put to the test. Joy? hmmm.


Driving through the hills over to Forest Home in the San Bernardino Mountains, I caught sight of something I carry in my heart--millions of California golden poppies in bloom on the hillsides!   While I couldn't help but smile at the beauty, my white-knuckled hold on my steering wheel betrayed a smile that was only skin deep. 

Here's what happened as I spoke--bearing in mind that when it comes to weekend retreats, Friday night sessions are always challenging because some folks have worked a good part of the day, all had the long drive, and it is the end of the week... ugh.  

I knew my energy was low, but truth be told, most of my listeners didn't know the usual 'pep in my step', thankfully. About 20 minutes in, I just stopped, stepped away from my notes and came clean, telling them the big things that were going on in my family, weighing heavy on my mind.  

And then I said the most honest thing I could--the things I absolutely believe:

         >'In the midst of all of this, I know a few things to be true:

         >None of these things caught God off guard

         >God is good

         >God does good

         >God is always at work 

         And though my heart aches, my joy has not been robbed one iota

              because I trust God.'


Then I continued to build my case for choosing true joy and living in that joy daily, which as Paul wrote to the Philippians, is possible no matter our circumstances.1


Especially when times are challenging, we do well to remember Jesus' words, "My Father is always working, and so am I." Take heart--though you might not see movement in your area of need, your prayers have not been answered yet, be assured of this-- God is at work.

'Interesting timing that just the day before I had taught on what Jesus is doing these days (having just celebrated his resurrection and ascension into Heaven)Jesus is praying for us ... literally sitting at the right hand of God and interceding for us.3 What a picture that is! How empowering that notion, that the Savior of the world prays for me. 'O Lord, come and do what only you can do.'  


So, what about joy? Step a little closer.

Joy seems to be inextricably tied to hope. Without hope, 

    there is no joy.      


Joy is linked with the heart of God - yea, it comes from the heart of God, because at the heart of God, are all things good.  At the heart of God is only good! For some, that is hard to swallow because religious or judgmental individuals have painted God as harsh, austere, far-off, possibly vindictive or a cosmic killjoy - whereas God is none of those.

Hmmm . . . let's think. Isn't it interesting that there is only one time of year when joy is splashed on signage, cards, music and advertisements?  Christmas.  If only we could apprehend the angelic message given to the shepherds that night in Bethlehem for ourselves . . . if only we could read the following words as for the first time:  'I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day... a Savior!' [Luke 2] Yes, I am onto something. This ought be a message we carry in our hearts every day--we have great news: a Savior born to all!

 Hmmm . . .  joy  linked with Jesus from his first days on earth?  Yes, Jesus, God's idea of redemption for his beloved creation, is the source of joy for all people.  And do not miss the stated truth: joy is meant for all people.

Again I say, 'hmmm' . . . because this joy thing, and particularly, the notion that joy is a choice takes some thinking.  Note, beloved Paul said 'I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances...'  Learned -> contentment, joy.


Joy is a decision of the will first, before it is a felt thing.  So let's do this - let's do what Paul said and 'rejoice in the Lord always'4 - no matter what is happening, we choose to thank God as a dint of our will. Here's the thing: I know that I can honestly rejoice in God when I bear in mind: nothing is happening in my life that caught Him off guard; God is good, God does good, and He is always at work. I can rejoice in those truths.

The lyrics of this song - also attached to the podcast remind me of God's goodness: "...Your mercy never failed me, all my days, I've been held in Your hands...all my life You have been faithful." Ah, you just gotta listen to it. It is so solid. The lilting tune carries truth to penetrate our minds and thinking, encouraging our hearts or flagging energy.

Choose joy,


1 - Philippians 4.11-12

2 - John 5.17

3 - Hebrews 7.25

4 - Philippians 4.4

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