Here is the 1st of a 7 Day Devotional that I put together for the retreat.

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Day 1.

Joy is essential to the Christian life.  Did you hear that?  Essential.  I don’t know about you, but I sure want to have JOY in my life.   Well guess what… the Scriptures are pretty clear about it: God’s people are both commanded to rejoice and characterized by rejoicing. Sounds to me like our Father is not indifferent about this. “Joy is not a garnish on the dutiful entrée of the Christian life.  Joy is not the icing on our cake, but an essential ingredient in a complex batter.”  I love this quote by David Mathis from his devotional “Joy is not Optional.” Find his devotional on joy and read it here.  

It’s not like we have joy every moment, or that there is only joy, but that even in our most painful times or anxiety ridden days, we can discover how deep the depths of Christ’s joy runs!  “Only here, in difficulty and darkness, do we taste the essence of such joy — that it is not thin and frivolous and empty, but thick and substantive and full.”

So, if joy is essential, then it must mean that joy is possible! Can I get a Hallelujah?!  And guess what… As a believer in Jesus Christ, by faith, this JOY is already ours! We can “Rest in the goodness of God” my friends.  We don’t have to work to attain Peace, or Joy, or Love.  Jesus teaches us that it’s by FAITH, not works, that we have this rest in Him.  It all comes from Him and is BECAUSE of the goodness of our Savior that we get to enjoy it all!  In this crazy world we live in, isn’t it such GOOD news to hear that God desires for us to have joy?! 

Now let’s take a look at ourselves a minute.  If we are really honest, we can see how little we are truly joyful… (rejoicing regardless of our situation.) Being happy is always tied to our circumstances, whereas joy is permanent.  Joy is not fleeting and doesn’t leave when the going gets rough.  It stays, even through the hard times.  And even with all our shortcomings, our failed attempts at “attaining joy”…  isn’t it such wonderful news to know that God himself is utterly committed to our everlasting joy in Him! That this is not something we must work to do, but rather something we must ENJOY and believe by faith! “In fact, there is a sense in which God is as committed to our joy in Him as he is to His ultimate purpose in the universe: that He be honored and glorified.”  Our joy is tied to His glory, and I’ve never really thought of it this way before. Yes, Our Lord and Savior DESIRES us to have true Joy!

In the words of John Piper:

“God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him.”

So take the next step, by faith, and believe what God’s Word is telling us about Joy. Let it settle in your heart and rest in your soul. 

That is where true JOY will be found!

At the end of each devotional throughout the week in Italy, we took some time to write in our Traveler’s Notebook Journal. I would encourage you to also take some time to read the following verses and write in a journal answers to the following prompts:

John 15:9-11

Deuteronomy 26:11

Psalm 32:11

Psalm 96:11

(Notice each verse is in verse 11? I noticed this a lot when researching the subject of JOY in the Bible!)

1. Thank the Lord today that joy is ALREADY yours if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord & Savior.

2. In the midst of our trials and hard times, why is it so important to focus on Christ instead of our problems?

3. Write in your journal a prayer or poem of praise for this JOY we have in Him.

I will post Day 2 on here tomorrow. Have a GREAT day !

Hugs,

Laura

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