There’s always joy to be found

To be happy we must keep our joy. Whatever happens in this life, we can still find something good. We have more blessings than problems, and we can be thankful for that.

The book of James begins with a strong encouragement for Christians everywhere: “Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for where the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character full and complete” (James 1:2-3 TLB).

I must confess sometimes I haven’t been too happy to grow. I feel like one of my first-grade students who said to me one day when he didn’t finish his work, “Well, Teach, that’s life!”

Granted, it is not easy to “count it all joy” in the midst of trying circumstances.

It’s at these times we must put our faith to work, in our talk and in our walk. That’s where the rubber meets the road, and I try to remember “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Showing love to others, even those who are causing the problem, enables one to overcome selfishness. Asking God for wisdom in dealing with trials leads to peace, humility and self control.

The bottom line is we came into this world with nothing and we will leave it the same way. Material possessions will not go with us. Yet the child of God leaves a wealth of riches in memories, godly examples and love of others.

Someone once said, “Life is like a bicycle … stop pedaling and you fall off.”

My greatest heroes are those who “keep pedaling” in life. Regardless of the losses, pain and hardships, they keep on keeping on. You will not catch them in the “self-pity” trap. Somewhere in their hour of pain, they still find the strength to help others. They have learned that even in pain, they don’t have to be a pain to someone else. They have discovered a very important principle: “What is given to life is returned to you,” good or bad.

The important things are God, family, friends and the needs of others. Happy are those who give life their best shot.

We may not be millionaires in material things, but we surely are millionaires in things money can’t buy. Joy is found in being alive, a burst of enthusiasm for a butterfly, a smile of a child or running in the rain. It isn’t the years of our lives, but the life we put into our years.

Special moments happen when the loving heart reaches out to a hurting soul.

Exceeding joy occurs because God is faithful to his children … even in the darkest moment, joy explodes! Everlasting “Light” bursts forth. For the Christian, the road to maturity may have thorns, but the beauty of roses brings blessings. Blessings like these I share with you:

“Knowing death cannot keep loved ones apart.

A church singing “How Great Thou Art.”

New friends and old … so precious to me,

The rich brown colors of my maple tree.

My husband’s arms holding me tight.

The “Hi Mom’s” phone call at night.

A school bus filled with children I miss,

A former student greeting with a kiss.

Living in a town that’s love and caring.

My neighbors near who are always sharing.”

Today is a gift from God. This present moment is all we have to learn to love and to forgive. Today is the time to live. Tomorrow may not be. All the stress and worry leads to calamity. So live for Jesus today. Serve and obey Him, too. You’ll find real peace in His presence and joy awaiting you!

A joyful spirit is a wonderful life.

Keep your joy!