Ever since I finished week 4 of my Beth Moore bible study last week I have wanted to write a blog about joy but just haven’t found the time until now. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m trying to preach on this subject but God has just laid it on my heart to share it with you so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. While I love all of my weekly studies with her, this one made a special impact on me at this particular time. The title of our weekly study was called “The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength.” The first day’s lesson talked about how we should find joy in the fact that if we believe, our names will be written in heaven so that one day we will rejoice with Him.
The second day’s lesson talked about being surprised by joy. I think this was the lesson that spoke to me the most because it talked about finding joy in the midst of your circumstances. Many of you may be familiar with the apostle Paul writing from prison walls in Phillipians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice.” Beth Moore states that losing everything was worth it to Paul because he discovered that “to know Him” was greater than any loss he would suffer. I think it was perfect timing that I read this not only because I too am going through a trial of my own but also with the celebration of Easter this past weekend. It really puts things into perspective to think about Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins. Our preacher yesterday made a perfect point when he said that Jesus could have saved Himself and not had to struggle any longer on the cross but then we wouldn’t be saved. If He could overcome the grave, then I know that I can overcome cancer with His help.
The third day’s lesson talked about restoration joy. This day’s scripture was Psalm 71:20,23 ” You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the earth. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; and my soul which You have redeemed.” Beth talks about how God gives us trials in our lives because He desires to reveal His joy to us through restoration. I find hope in 1 Peter 5:10 which states “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
The fourth day’s lesson talked about how we will find joy if we abide in Him. One of my favorite verses that it gives is from Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all of your heart.” It is so sad to me to think that many people never experience the joy of the Lord because they do not seek Him and His word. It gives several reasons why believers lose their joy as well including the following: when our outpour exceeds our intake, when our talk exceeds our walk, when we become “wonder junkies” (looking for God in miraculous events and failing to see His gentle whispers), when we are exhausted, or when we feel all alone. I think all of us are guilty at times of at least one of these.
The last day’s lesson was called “my joy and my crown.” Paul calls Jesus Christ his “joy and crown” in Phillipians 4:1. We are to share this with others and fellowship with other believers to experience His “joy and crown.” Beth ends the weekly study stating that everyone is looking for happiness that comes from within and if you are a believer in Christ you have it. We should be willing to share anywhere, anytime just like 1 Peter 3:15 states “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
I really hope that there was someone reading this that needed to hear these words as much as I did when I completed the study. I also hope that everyone had a great Easter. I had a busy but wonderful weekend. To give you a little recap, I stayed in with Will on Friday night and we watched “War Horse” which is a great movie! Saturday, I went shopping in OKC with my family and then visited with my neighbor’s daughter Ashley and her husband Heath which was great because it had been so long since I had seen them. That evening we had dinner with some wonderful friends, Emily and Brian. Sunday we went to church, had Easter lunch with my family, and then watched the kids in Will’s family hunt Easter eggs! It was a somewhat sad evening because it was the end of the Masters golf tournament which I love but I was glad to see a great win by Bubba Watson.
I have chemo again this Wednesday which will be a big milestone- halfway!! I seemed to recover a little better this time than I have before so hopefully this next week won’t be bad either. Especially since I will have to be in class all next week. Thank you once again for your prayers. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful support group of Christian believers. To God be the glory given. As the chorus of the new song by Jeremy Camp “Overcome” goes “Jesus, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all of our praise, You overcame.” If He overcame death, then we too shall overcome our many circumstances and find joy in Him.