ROAD TO JOY TIPS

Joy in Christmas Dreams

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

What is your dream for a perfect Christmas? Does it include peaceful family gatherings, perfectly prepared food, an amazingly decorated home, white snow on the ground, and Santa’s gifts? It’s interesting what we deem to be important and how often we are not satisfied if the reality doesn’t meet our expectations. As we near the season of Advent, take a few moments and make a wish list for your perfect Christmas, ranking each item in importance. Then, ask God to help you re-align your emphasis, where needed, to focus on Jesus. May God bless your preparation time and fill you with joy as you reflect on the perfect gift of the Christ child.

Joy in Rest

 A rest area can become an oasis along the highway if fatigued drivers choose to take a break from their journey. Do we heed the call to rest, or push on, becoming even more exhausted along the road? So, too, our life can make us weary as we travel through our days, but God calls us not to harden our hearts to His call, but to listen and respond. When we do that, He promises that He will provide us with rest for our weary souls: There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:9-10). “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7); instead, respond to His call, spend time with God, and receive joy as you rest with Him.

Joy in Praise

Just go outside and listen. Do you hear it? It’s the sound of nature praising our Lord and Creator. From the birds singing their song, to the wind rustling through the leaves and the waves crashing on the shore, each one seems to be shouting out their praise.“Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and crops burst out with joy!  Let the trees of the forest rustle their praise!” (I Chronicles 16:32-33b). Perhaps we should follow their example and join in with their joyous praise each day and “give thanks to the Lord for he is good! His faithful love endures forever”(vs 34). Starting today, lift up your voice and be filled with the joy of praising our Lord and Savior.

Road to Joy Tip: Joy in Laughter

There is no better way to experience spontaneous joy than through laughter. Studies show that not only is this good medicine, it binds us together with others. And of course, we all know, it is contagious. How can you resist joining in with a baby's giggle? The Bible highlights this gift when God granted Sarah a son in her old age. Naming him Isaac, which means laughter, Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." (Genesis 21:6) Look for ways to enjoy and spread God's gift of laughter.

 Enjoy this video of a set of quadruplets giggling. I dare you not to laugh!

Road to Joy Tip: Follow the Clear Path

Road to Joy Tip: Follow the Leader

Road to Joy Tip: Navigate!

Road to Joy Tip: Rejoice in Construction

Road to Joy Tip: GO!

Road to Joy Tip: Heed Yellow Light Warnings

Road to Joy Tip: Turn Around & Repent

Tip: Repent

Road to Joy Tip 23: Hear the Joyful Call to Worship

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. Psalm 89:15 (NLT)

Where have you heard the call to worship and how have you responded? Each day, God gives us opportunities to see and hear Him in both ordinary and extraordinary things. Maybe we can see Him in the blessing of a friendship or a hug from a loved one. Maybe His love can be found in the sound of laughter or in a friendly smile. Perhaps the color of the trees or the beauty of the flowers reminds us of God’s amazing creativity. Or, it could be in the words said by a pastor or read within the Bible. Whatever its source, may you be reminded of God’s amazing presence and respond to His joyful call to worship Him. Let your heart sing in joyful praise as you walk in the light of his presence. 

Road to Joy Tip 22: One Starry Night

One Starry Night
based upon Luke 2
by Kathe Matthews

It was a cold and starry night 

Nothing but sky was in their sight

 When suddenly out of the blue 

Down from heaven an angel flew

  

He illuminated the sky 

His brilliance and voice cried 

“Glory to God in the highest” 

A Word from the Holy Mightiest 

 

The shepherds collapsed on their knees

 All movements among them ceased 

Their arms and legs trembled and shook 

As they tried to take a good look 

 

“Don’t be afraid” the angel said 

“The Savior was born in a manger bed 

Go and see that my words are true 

Your life will change and be brand new” 

 

The shepherds rushed to go and see 

Baby Jesus on bended knee 

Along the way their hearts soared 

As to their Savior they moved toward

 

  They saw Him as the angel had told 

Reassuring and making them bold 

To tell everyone in their sight 

The Good News of Jesus, the True Light

 

 This is the message we are to hear 

That Jesus, our Savior, is near 

May this Good News transform your heart 

To you, His mercy and grace impart

 

 Copyright 2015 Kathe Matthews

 

Road to Joy Tip 21: Joy in Thanksgiving

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

Have you given thanks in all circumstances in your life? This command seems difficult to follow, especially when we undergo trials and our days aren’t always filled with happiness. But, it is by the grace of God’s mercy that He can lift our spirits and cause us to rejoice in Him, no matter what we are going through. Ask God to help you experience joy in your heart and to show you how to give thanks in all circumstances. As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, let us rejoice, pray, and give thanks, for this is God’s will for us.

Road to Joy Tip 20: Seek the Lord and Rejoice

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!”  Psalm 70:4 

Where is God during the hard times? I’ve asked this question so many times as I’ve walked through difficult days and wondered why He has abandoned me. But, as I look back, it becomes clear that God was with me all along; it was my response to the circumstances that dulled my awareness of Him. To continue to feel God’s presence, seek Him. Look for Him in the faces of those around you, in the beautiful rainbow or sunset, the singing birds at sunrise, or within the Bible.  Ask God to reveal His presence and let Him fill you with joy and gladness as you proclaim, “The Lord is great!”  

Road to Joy Tip 19: A Prayer

This is our prayer for you today and always:

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

May you live your days in joy and peace as you trust in God and the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Road to Joy Tip 18: "Lord, help!"

Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.  Psalm 107:19-22 (NLT)

Who or what do you turn to when faced with a difficulty?  Friends, family, Facebook, the internet, God?  It seems that each of us will experience times of hardship and who we choose for support can become a very important decision. Supportive friends and family can be a gift from God, but it is through God, alone, that we find divine strength to endure our crisis. The next time you are going through a difficult time, cry out the words “Lord, help!” He will hear the cries of your heart and provide you with His supernatural comfort and strength. Then, bask in His love and praise Him for the joy of His presence as He helps you to endure.

Road to Joy Tip 17: Rejoice in Truth and Love

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
I Corinthians 13:6

Are you ever afraid to share truth with someone you love? Maybe they are going down a dangerous path and you want so badly to warn them about it but you are too afraid so you just show love to them instead. Or the opposite, you come at them with truth but no loving humility or grace. Either approach will always fail because love without truth is not love at all. And truth without love is simply noise. The Bible tells us, however, that when both are expressed together it is something to rejoice in. Jesus demonstrated the perfect combination of love and truth for us when He went to the cross. The joy we have because of this is ours for eternity and for the here and now. Go forth and rejoice in truth and love.  

Road to Joy Tip #16: Sing for Joy

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.  Psalm 96:12

Thinking about the trees "singing for joy" reminds me of listening to the rain as it falls on the forest. As it hits the leaves, the sound can be almost deafening, filling my senses with peace. It seems that the trees are applauding to God and thanking Him for the blessing of the rain. During the next rainstorm, step outside and experience the joy of the forest singing. Then, thank God for the joy He places in your heart and join in the chorus singing His praise.  

 

Road to Joy Tip #15: Rejoice in the Lord

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

Some days, it is difficult to find things to be joyful about. With kids screaming, deadlines to meet, volunteer obligations or financial pressures, we may experience anything but joy. Fortunately, we can choose to rejoice because there is always something to be glad about in the Lord.  We can rejoice in His presence, goodness, faithfulness, love, comfort, justice, strength, or any other attributes that come into your thoughts. We can make this choice every day and God will give us the joy of His presence with us. Join your heart with His and start your day saying “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it”. 

Road to Joy Tip #14: The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b

There is a song by Rend Collective that has captured our hearts and we are so very excited to share it with you. Based upon Nehemiah 8:10b, it worshipfully shows how God’s joy can fill us with praise, even during difficult circumstances. It is our prayer that you will feel the joy that the Lord intends for each of us. As you listen to the song, let your heart sing along as you worship our amazing God.

Link for “Joy of the Lord” by Rend Collective:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVIhb-c_4Tw

 

Road To Joy Tip #13: Joy in Forgiveness

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!  Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)

Have you asked God to forgive you for an ongoing sin that plagues you? These unconfessed sins can stop us from hearing God’s voice and following His will for our lives. For me, when I am caught in the sin of worry, I cannot follow God’s will or feel His joy in my life. It is only upon seeking forgiveness that I am released from worry’s hold as God puts that sin out of sight. As you prepare your heart to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Easter, ask God to show you where forgiveness is needed. Then, turn to Him with a repentant heart and experience the joy of having that sin be “put out of sight”.

Road To Joy Tip 12: Joy in the Rear-View Mirror

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30-32

Have you ever experienced the joy of God’s presence when you looked in the “rear view mirror”?  Sometimes, it takes the perspective of hindsight to recognize that He was with us during our trials. Jesus’ followers were no different.  After His crucifixion, they were confused, scared, and blind to what it meant. But, the resurrected Jesus began to walk alongside them on their journey. And when the time was right, Jesus opened their eyes to see His presence with them.  Oh, the joy of looking in the “rear view mirror”! As you go through difficulties, be assured that God is with you as you struggle. Ask Jesus to open your eyes to see Him in the “rear view mirror”. May the hindsight view of His everlasting presence bring you joy on your journey. 

Road To Joy Tip #11: Joy to the World

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King.  Psalm 98:4-6

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing

This beloved hymn is one that most of us will sing during the Christmas season. But, did you know that this hymn, based on Psalm 98, does not actually proclaim the Christmas message? Instead, it announces the second coming of Christ, which will bring a joy so profound that all of heaven and nature will sing. As you prepare for celebrating Christmas this year, open your heart to the miracle of this gift. Let the birth of Jesus make your heart sing as you anticipate His glorious return to the earth as conqueror of all. 

Road To Joy Tip #10: Search for Joy

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.  Isaiah 49:13

What does God’s Word say about joy? Unbelievably, the word “joy” appears within the Old Testament 174 times and 68 times in the New Testament. Does it make you curious about what He’s saying in all of those verses?  Perhaps you could do a word study within your daily readings and search for that amazing word; for every verse that you find with the word “joy” in it, write it in a notebook. You will be amazed at the blessings that God provides as your notebook pages fill up. Ask Him for an open heart for your search and be prepared for the blessing of joy in your life. 

Road To Joy Tip #9: Make Over in Christ

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26

God loves us just the way we are, but He doesn’t wish to leave us in that imperfect state. Every day of our lives, until we reach perfection in heaven, God wishes to make us over until we begin to resemble Him.  As the great Make-Over Artist, He can take our stubborn, stony heart, and turn it into one that is soft, malleable and beautiful. But, before that can happen, we need to ask Him to point out our ugly sin and seek His forgiveness.  When we do this, He will transform us from the inside out. Go to God, today, and begin to live in the joy of His transformation. 

Road To Joy Tip #8: Dance for Joy

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14 (NIV)


Joy seems almost innately implanted within small children who take such delight in little pleasures. Recently at an outdoor concert, a toddler became the audience’s source of entertainment as he danced with abandon and joy; he just couldn’t stop himself. As I chuckled about his antics, I began to wonder why adults fail to express themselves so joyously. Where did our joy go? God grants the ‘kingdom of Heaven” for those with a childlike faith, one that is filled with joy and trust in Him.Wouldn’t you like to find this kind of faith? Ask God to show you how to nurture a child-like faith so that you can dance for joy.

Road To Joy Tip #7: The Joy Mentor

One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.  As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”  Mark 1:9-11 (NLT) 

 

Are there some days when your attitude is joyless? When we get into this frame of mind, it can become difficult to shake. Sometimes we need someone who can mentor us on how to live our lives joyfully. Do you know anyone who could become your joy mentor?  Ask them to hold you accountable to cultivating a joyous spirit in your heart. Then, lean on the most important Joy Mentor of all time, Jesus.  If He can give God great joy, He can fill us with a joyful spirit too. Ask Him to be your joy mentor today. 

Road To Joy Tip #6: Discipline Brings Joy

Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions.  Psalm 94:12

How does discipline bring joy? When I received discipline as a child, I don’t remember experiencing any joy. But, yet, there was learning and refinement in that discipline and it was likely that I would not repeat the undesirable behavior.  So, perhaps, the joy is in the lesson learned and the training received. God, as the loving Parent, provides discipline in order to change our behavior and to help us to begin to resemble Him. It seems that we can only become a disciple when we submit to the refinement of God’s perfect discipline. And, as a disciple of Jesus, we experience His perfect joy in our lives. So, rejoice in God’s loving discipline knowing that He is providing instruction on how to become His disciple.

Road To Joy Tip #5: Choose Joy

So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. John 16:22

“You can’t steal my joy”, my co-worker exclaimed as he walked into the workroom. As I quizzically looked at him, he explained that he was not going to let anyone take away his joy today, no matter what they said.  In the days after that encounter, I’ve pondered that statement and its reality. Do I let other people steal away my feeling of joy by their actions or words? Do you? God gives us joy in our heart, but we have the choice to either remind ourselves of His joy or to let other people draw us into their non-joyous state. What choice will you make for this day? Please join me in praying, “Lord, help me to choose to live in your joy today.” 

Road To Joy Tip #4: Hunting For God's Treasure

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.  Matthew 13:44

God’s Word is like a “treasure hidden in a field”.  But, how do we find it, if it’s hidden? The answer is seemingly simple; we need to ask the One who has hidden the treasure to show us. When we come to Him with an open heart to receive His message, God will give us a hunger to discover more. And, by His amazing grace, God will reveal His precious gifts when we are ready to receive them. Ask Him to reveal to you the hidden treasures within His Word. Then, open your heart and eyes to joyfully accept what God has prepared for your day.  

Road To Joy Tip #3: God's Word Is a Treasure

I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.
Psalm 119:162 (NLT)

What do you consider to be a treasure? For some, it could be our family, house, or job. For others, we may just love the “hunt” for the treasure as we spend time exploring garage sales or antique stores. But does that treasure bring you great joy? Or does the wonder wear off after the shopping is done or tough circumstances arrive? God wishes that we would rejoice in His Word like “one who discovers a great treasure”; He knows that His great riches are buried there, just waiting for us to uncover. Open your Bible, today, and ask God to show you something to cherish.  His Word will bring you everlasting joy, which is the most important treasure of all.  

Road To Joy Tip #2: Fill Your Mind With Good

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

What are you filling your minds with during each day? What TV shows, movies, or books are occupying your free time? It seems that the more violent or explicit things we view, the less joy we begin to feel. It’s kind of like “garbage in, garbage out”; when we choose negative things to put into our memories, our thoughts, dreams, and actions can reflect them.   

Thankfully, we can make a choice to fill our minds with good, positive things, instead. Perhaps we can choose to listen to Christian music, read Christian fiction, or memorize Scripture. God desires that we fill our minds with thoughts that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable”. When we do that, we begin to think about things that are “excellent or praiseworthy”, which leads us to feel joy within our heart. May you experience God’s joy as you choose to fill your mind with God’s good things today.

Road To Joy Tip #1: Do Not Be Anxious

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Worrying and anxiety can create one of the greatest barriers to experiencing joy. When we concoct worst-case scenarios in a fictitious game of “what if”, we likely feel all alone and overwhelmed.  In His infinite mercies, God commands us to stop our silly game and to “not be anxious about anything”.  Instead, we are to bring ALL of our concerns to Him and express our gratitude for His listening ear and answers.  When we remember to turn to Him, God will provide amazing peace, which is rooted in Christ Jesus.  May you experience the joy of this peace as you give your worries to Him in faith and thankfulness today. 

ROAD TO JOY TIPS

 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.    Philippians 4:4-8 (NIV)

Road to Joy Ministries was formed with Philippians 4:4-8 as its road map. Through these verses, the apostle Paul commands us to “rejoice in the Lord always” and gives us instructions of how to travel along this road. It may seem simple, but the reality of finding and experiencing “joy in the Lord” can often be elusive, especially as we go through difficult circumstances. Throughout this year, we will be exploring what it means to find God’s joy and how to live it out in our daily lives. To help us learn together, bi-monthly “road to joy tips” will be sent to your inbox. We hope that you will join us as we take steps to “rejoice in the Lord always.”  

 

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