Opportunity for Joy

Opportunity

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2–4, NLT).

Opportunities come but lack the power to make us take them. The choice to take hold of, to make use of opportunities that come is always and only ours. An obstacle to the process of seizing opportunities is that we do not always recognize opportunities as opportunities for positive change, as growing-in-His-image opportunities. Especially when the opportunity comes in the form of trouble.

We can more readily see trouble as an opportunity to whine, complain, be immobilized by fear, activate intense efforts to control everything and everyone to manage our anxiety—the list goes on. Yet our Father tells us through the apostle James that trouble is an opportunity for joy. Yes, joy.

The verses indicate that recognizing trouble as an opportunity for joy is tied to knowledge. It is tied to knowing there is a purpose to trouble and the purpose is not to destroy us but to strengthen and mature us. Trouble, an opportunity for joy. And growth.

“Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4, VOICE)

Note: A version of this post was published is in the book, Sliced Bread: Food for the Spirit (2016).

The Joy of Advent: Day 16

Joy (1)

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23, AMP) 

Prayer

Father, I thank You that I do not have to manufacture joy. It is the result of Your presence, the fruit of Your Spirit within me. I have joy. Thank You for the grace to choose joy today.


Other posts in the Advent 2017 series can be found here.

Advent Week 3: Joy

Joy

Introduction and Day 15

Joy
a feeling of great happiness
a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
success in doing, finding, or getting something

Joy. True joy. Where can we find it? Its source is the Omnipresent One. 

“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

(Psalm 26:11, AMP)

“For You make him most blessed [and a blessing] forever;
You make him joyful with the joy of Your presence.”

(Psalm 21:6, AMP)  

“In Your presence is fullness of joy.” “You make him joyful with the joy of Your presence.”

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, AMP). 

“In Your presence is fullness of joy.” “You make him joyful with the joy of Your presence.”

“… I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually — regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, AMP)

“In Your presence is fullness of joy.” “You make him joyful with the joy of Your presence.”

Immanuel. “God with us.” 

“God with us.” “God with us.” “God with us.” “God with me.” You can make it personal because it is true. Your circumstances may be characterized by uncertainty and pain this Advent season and you may be tempted to ask, “God is with me in this?” The answer is, “Yes.” The answer is always, “Yes. ”

“God is with me.” Whisper it like a secret to your wounded soul. Apply it like a salve. “God is with me.” “God is with me and in His presence is fullness of joy.” I have joy, regardless of my circumstances, because of Him. Embrace the truth. Stretch out on it. Wrap it around you like a comforting blanket. Drink it in. Feast on it. “God is with me and He is with me always [remaining with me perpetually – regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”

Joy. True joy. It is found in His presence. Fullness of joy. It is based on the Omnipresent One and He is with you always.

Prayer

Father, thank You that “Immanuel” is not just a word; it is truth. You are with me. In the midst of all that is not going well. In the midst of the challenges. In the midst of the hustle and bustle. In the midst of it all, help me slow down to rest in the truth that You are with me. I am in Your presence right now and I rejoice in You.

 


The definition of “Joy” is from merriam-webster.com. Other posts in the Advent 2017 series can be found here

 

 

 

Advent Week 3: Day 7 – JOY

joy-psalm-30_4-5-nkjv

“Promise of Joy”

This weeping.
Your weeping.
You have tried to stop it.
Keep it hidden from those who know and love you.
Not wanting to cast a gloom on the preparations
for the celebration of the birth of the Messiah.

And you have been successful.
Smiling when others are around.
But needing hiding spaces.
to let it out:
The bathroom.
Your pillow.
Your car.

It continues.
This weeping.
This anguish.
This sorrow.
This aching of the heart.
This weariness of the soul.
It has lasted longer than you ever thought it could.
Sapped your strength.
Made even ordinary tasks seem monumental.
But you are holding on with everything you have.
Trying to hold everything together.
And you have not let go of hope.
Even through the tears.

Dear One,
He sees you.
And He is holding you.
Even around the jagged edges.
And whispering this truth to you.
Listen.
“This weeping. This anguish. It has an end date on it.
The night will end. Morning is coming. Morning is coming.
And with it joy.
The joy known only to those who endured the night.
Reached again and again for grace.
White-knuckled hope.
Whispered broken Hallelujahs.
Kept on trusting.
Chose to say, like Habakkuk, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
This is His promise of joy.
And He, your exceeding joy, will keep it.

© E. W. Wright December 2016

Advent Week 3: Day 6 – JOY

joy-psalm-95_1-niv

Prayer

Father, we accept the psalmist’s invitation to sing for joy to You, YAHWEH. We shout aloud to You, the Rock of our salvation, even if we do so through tears. Even if our days may seem long and our nights unending during this Advent season. We sing for joy because You are our Refuge and our Fortress and You are with us every moment. Immanuel. And joy is found in You.

 

Advent Week 3: Day 5 – JOY

joy-psalm-66-v-1-and-2-niv

Prayer

Almighty God and Father, if there is ever a time for us to shout for joy to You, sing the glory of Your Name, and make Your praise glorious, the Advent season is definitely the time, as we focus on Your incomprehensible love for us.  Halleluiah!

Advent Week 3: Day 4 – JOY

joy-psalm-5-v-11-amp

Prayer

Abba Father, You are our refuge. We chose to trust You, trustworthy God, and today we sing for joy at Your goodness and amazing, incomprehensible love. You cover and shelter us, Father. Your very name is a strong tower into which we run and are safe. We exult in You!

Advent Week 3: Day 3 – JOY

joy-psalm-126-v-niv

 

This song, “Noel,” sung by Lauren Daigle, fills me with wonder and joy, and I wanted to share it. “Noel. Come and see what God has done.” “This is His doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

 

Prayer

Father, this Advent season, let us hear and read and experience this truth as if hearing and reading about and experiencing Your amazing love for the first time. Noel.

 

Advent Week 3: Day 2 – JOY

Advent Joy Gal. 5_22-23.png

Prayer

Father, I thank You that I do not have to manufacture joy. It is the result of Your presence within me. I have joy. Thank You for the grace to choose joy today.

Advent Week 3: The Joy of Advent

advent-joy

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, AMP)

“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

(Psalm 16:11, AMP)

“Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.”

(Psalm 21:6, NIV)

“… I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:20, AMP)

Joy. True joy. Where can we find it? Its source is the Omnipresent One.  Read again the promise spoken hundreds of years before the Word became flesh.

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, AMP)

And read again the words of Immanuel, the Word made flesh,

“… I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, AMP)

“God with us.” “God with us.” “God with us.” Make it personal because it is true. “God is with me.” Your circumstances may be characterized by uncertainty and pain this Advent season and you may be tempted to ask, “God is with me in this?” The answer is, “Yes.” The answer is always, “Yes. God is with me.” Whisper it like a secret to your wounded soul. Apply it like a salve. “God is with me.” “God is with me and in His presence is fullness of joy.” I have joy, regardless of my circumstances, because of Him. Embrace the truth. Stretch out on it. Wrap it around you like a comforting blanket. Drink it in. Feast on it. “God is with me and He is with me always [remaining with me perpetually – regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” Joy. True joy. It is found in His presence. Fullness of joy. It is based on the Omnipresent One and He is with you always.

Prayer

Father, thank You that, “Immanuel” is not a word; it is truth. You are with me and in the midst of all that is not going well, in the midst of the challenges, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, help me slow down to rest in the truth that You are with me. I am in Your presence right now and I rejoice in You.