Choose Joy

[This week I am publishing a devotional written by my son, Brent. He is the Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Thanks, Brent, for sharing this great word with us.]

It is almost a guarantee—put me in rush hour traffic and I will lose my cool, my patience and my joy! While standing in line three deep at the local supermarket, I tend to lose my joy there too.  The more I think about it—I seem to be living in a “joy-less” society.

People are grumpy.  We make lousy neighbors. We come home, close the garage door, and retreat into our own lives.  We look to medications, doctors and therapists to help us discover happiness.  We think buying that one more big toy will make us content.  Somewhere as a nation we have bought into the lie “more is better.”   Thus we have become “joy-less.”

I love how the Bible is full of hidden treasures.  Psalm 16 is a powerful chapter that unlocks the secret to “joy-full” living.  It is so powerful that it can change the course of a person’s life; yet it is almost a whisper in scripture.  If you find yourself reading for quantity – you might just miss it.  Personally, I think our culture as a whole has missed it. Because we live for quantity of life, we have missed the whispers of God’s still small voice.

We may find a clue to our dilemma in verse 11:  “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  This verse lends to beautiful worship songs and inspiring art work; but as far as practical theology—let’s face it, we don’t practice it very much.  Could the reason we have so much road rage and too many impatient shoppers is because we have no joy?

Statistics tell us that the number of people attending church each year is decreasing.  Alarming news headlines certainly reveal that fewer people are living out their faith.  If Psalm 16:11 is true, and we know it is, then it makes perfect sense that our culture is angry and empty. Simply put: If time in God’s presence equals joy, then no time in God’s presence equals no joy!

This may be overstated, but I believe we lack joy because we fail to spend time in the presence of God.  Something happens when we start the day with God.  It puts the rest of the day in proper perspective.  It places the circumstances in His control and the stress in His hands. Yet, many of us are far too busy to stop and enjoy our Creator.

Instead of talking about the grumpy drivers on the highway and angry shoppers at the supermarket – let’s talk for a second about you.  Do you have joy in your life? Do you see the world as a heavy place, full of things that press your buttons; or do you see the world as God’s creation and His masterpiece to be celebrated and enjoyed?  The difference in how you see the world may be in how you spend your time.

As followers of Christ, we should choose joy!  Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”   I encourage you to choose to spend time in God’s presence this week—it has the potential to change your outlook on life.  ~Brent Kellogg

One thought on “Choose Joy”

  1. Janie,  Enjoy your web pages, Earthen Vessels.  I am not very good at emails (or texting either)  but glad you share what God has given you.  I suppose I told you that I broke my leg on June 1st (fell in a hotel bathtub) and so I am not able to do much so have more time to go back and read my emails.  I couldn’t go to church for 3 weeks but I am able to go in a wheelchair now.  You don’t realize how much you depend on your weekly “meals” from your pastor’s preaching until you can’t get there.  But I am doing good and expect to be able to put weight on my “new” leg in the next week or so.  But I am thankful for your “meals” in the Word of God now that God has slowed me down.  We love you and always enjoyed your Christmas letters.  God Bless,  Cheryl (and Frank) P.S.  My primary care doctor asked me just yesterday if I am using home health care.  I said Yes, Frank is my home health care nurse.  Frank says he is working on his LPN’s liscense.  *smile*


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