It seems that each of us have many emotions we go through in our lives. Daily we come across things that make us happy, sad, anxious, worried, elated, and more! This being the time of the year where many people are celebrating graduations and weddings, there are many opportunities to see happiness and new beginnings. We also can read the newspapers and see many opportunities for mourning . . the sadness of losing loved ones and various other trials that come with today's economy and with life.
God does not promise that we will have no sadness or trials. He does not promise that we always be happy. Happiness is something we certainly love to strive for, but there is something greater. Something God does offer us! That greater thing is Joy. Did you know that joy is mentioned 242 times in the Bible? And joyful is mentioned 27 more times. In James 1:1-3 it says that we can have joy in trials, and we will persevere. Psalms 5:11 says that we can take refuge in God, and we can sing for joy. Psalm 16:11 says that God has made known that path of life, and filled David with Joy.
Recently I have seen this joy in an amazing way! For several years there has been a nationwide drug treatment center in Brainerd, Teen Challenge. Although Teen Challenge started out being for Teens in New York City, it is now for adult males and females and is across the country. These men join the program, sometimes reluctantly, but come out totally changed! In fact, soon after they join and become a part of the choir and tour our area sharing about how their lives have changed. Watching over 50 men sing and share about their lives is an amazing thing... And watching the joy on their face is almost overwhelming!
These men's lives are changed because they let God in their lives. Sometimes we are afraid of this! Afraid of our past sins that weigh us down. Afraid He will reject us. Afraid to be still and listen. However, God tells us that He loves us! He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins and failures. If Jesus already paid the price, does it seem right that we should try to make things right ourselves? He has paid the price, He just asks us to come to Him and receive Him into our lives. Then we can experience the real peace and joy that only God can give. That He can give when we are in the depths of sadness. That only He can give in the happy times too... A joy that supercedes happiness! God's Word also says that hope deferred makes the heart sick! God has a cure for this . . The hope and the joy that comes from letting God into our lives. If the Bible mentions Joy 242 times, maybe today would be a great day to take it out and let God's word, the Bible penetrate our heart, and give us the greatest joy... The Joy that God promises.
Central Minnesota Teen Challenge is located on the South edge of Brainerd on Business 371. 2424 Business 371, Brainerd, MN 56401. Contact by phone or fax: Main: 218-833-8777, Fax: 218-833-8778
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