Joy in Hard Times

Dear Precious Friends,
I love this beautiful picture of God's creation and the reminder of where we find our joy... Our joy is in the Lord, it is in His goodness.
With the bombardment of fear and constant news breaks of bad news, closures,etc... it can feel like our joy has been taken away from us, however as Christians we can have joy unspeakable as we pray and trust in the Lord and His mighty power to carry us through the worst of times.

The great thing about joy compared to happiness is that joy can't leave us any more than the Holy Spirit can. It may seem to have disappeared sometimes, but because we are Christians, we have been given the Holy Spirit to continuously work inside of us. Joy is an automatic part of the package! John 15:11 says, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." Also, Acts 13:52 says, "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."

Yes, you and I both know that hard times will come. We are walking in them now!! We know from God's word that " In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world". But for the believer, God promises that those trials have a purpose (see Jeremiah 29:11). Let's look to Him during those difficulties and remember that no trial lasts forever, but our God-given joy does!

Experiencing God's joy is a choice. During dark days, when we think we just can't make it another step, let's remember that Jesus never leaves us no matter what we are going through. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
In the midst of trouble, remember that even while you are suffering, you are being perfected for a greater purpose. There is a reason for all the hurts and pain. Remember James 1:12 in those tough times, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

Choose joy and reflect God's love to all today.
This is our opportunity as Christians to share God's love and joy with others:

Here are ways we can reach out to others: Reaching out always brings joy!

WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR SOMEONE IN NEED TODAY?
Examples:
1- Do you have an elderly neighbor who is worried about going to the store? Ask them for their grocery list.
2- Do you have a college student home with a car? See if they can help your local Meals on Wheels program.
3- Do you have a neighbor who has to go to work and now has a small child at home? Volunteer to babysit or have your high schooler babysit for them.
4- Take some baked goods or fresh fruit baskets to your local fire station or police station and tell them thank you for being first responders.

So many little things we can do individually for our communities that don’t require being in a group. And here is an easy one we can all do sitting in our homes - pray for our world

Lets show our joy in the Lord through our actions and do ALL THINGS WITH LOVE.

AMEN!

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