Day 13: M is for Morning

… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

M is for morning. Morning means the period between midnight and noon, but more specifically between sunrise and noon. I am not a coffee drinker, but if I were, morning would still be my most favorite time of the day. Is it your favorite time of the day as well?

Our country has seen some very severe storms this summer. I know for us here, we have had a couple. It seems like they invariably come in the middle of the night. Yikes! Storms bring their own darkness, but add to it the dark of night and the darkness is so thick that it feels like it is penetrating to your very soul.

It is the same way in our spiritual lives. Storms of life come in pairs or back-to-back with no relief between them for the weary worn believer. I have been there. I am confident that you have been there as well, my friend, have you not? Or you may even be there right now.

When those storms come, what do you do? Well, for me, when those storms of nature come, I find my prayer closet (I literally go into our closet and start praying). Nature’s storms strike great fear in my heart … when I say great fear, I mean GREAT fear! So, when I find my way to my prayer closet, I do two things. One, I close my eyes and cover my ears (squeezing hard) because I want to shut out every bit of the noise and lightening that is completely surrounding me. Two, I start praying as if my life depended on it … because when the storms are so great that our mobile home is rocking, yes, make no mistake, my life is depending on those prayers!

Storms of life can be great and they can put great fear in our hearts. They may even be shaking us to the very core of our being. But, what must those storms do? They must drive us to our prayer closets and in those closets, we must shut out every bit of the noise and storm that is raging around us. When the noise has subsided, we then can find God. It is here that we can cry out to Him in prayer … sharing our every fear and our every burden. It is also here that we can find His still, small voice speaking to us.

No battle was ever won nor storm endured that did not find oneself anchored in Him. Where do we find Him? In His WORD! Storms will come, my friend! There is no avoiding them. The question is  … how prepared are you? Are you in His Word searching for life’s answers? Are you writing them down? Are you claiming them in your storm?

Always remember that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Hang tight, my friend, morning is coming!

Lesson Objective: To understand the blessing of the storms in life. To find ourselves in our prayer closets seeking the face of God and clinging to His promises … that the weeping will only endure for a time and then His joy and peace will follow.

Did you pass or did you fail?

Day 10: J is for Joy

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of JOY; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

J is for Joy. Joy is a feeling of great pleasure, happiness, or delight. According to this definition, one could easily think that joy was an emotion. But, it is not.

There is so much heard and seen in the world today about happiness. It seems like it is a world-wide … or at the minimum, a nation-wide … epidemic, correct? It seems like we are over-run with unhappiness. What is the world’s answer? Make yourself happy! They tell you to stop letting others dictate your life. In other words, DO things that make YOU happy! Hmm!? It makes me believe that happiness is based on the circumstances around me. Is that what you are seeing as well?

The definitions of joy and happiness are very similar, and, therefore, can be mistaken as one and the same. But, as I study this word, I am seeing more and more of a difference between the two.

In fact, out of curiosity, I looked up to see how many times the word happy was found in the Bible. It is found 25 times. That really is not a substantial amount seeing as there are 783,137 words in the King James Bible. So, that means that the word happy appears in .00003 percent of the words of the entire Bible. Wow! That is a great indicator of how important our happiness should be in our lives.

Now, look at the word joy. It is found 187 times. I did not read each of the verses with happy and joy in them, but I read enough to see a pattern coming forth. “What is that pattern?” you ask. Well, I see where happiness was always surrounded by happenings. Joy was always surrounded by inner peace and contentment that had nothing to do with the circumstances surrounding it. Take time today to check it out yourself and see if you can see this as well.

Out of all of the verses on joy, I love Psalm 16:11 because it just seems to so simply put true joy into perspective … and I need simple! True joy is found in God, my friend! You can try to change all of the circumstances around you in search of that peace and that happiness, but you will never find it … aside from God Himself!

True joy comes from being close to God … being in His presence … and being obedient to Him. It is not all about Y-O-U, my friend, but it is all about Him! I am sure that you have heard of the simple acrostic for J-O-Y (Jesus-Others-You). When we put Jesus first, others and yourself will fall into their proper place (Matthew 6:33). When you spell Y-O-U backward, what do you have? U-O-Y … does that even make sense? No, because U are in the way! Put J-esus first and then you will have J-O-Y!

Lesson Objective: To understand the difference between joy and happiness. To understand how “U” (you) can get in the way of true joy. To learn to put J-esus first, followed by others, and leaving yourself (“U”) for last.

Did you pass or did you fail?