Finding Joy

What Do You Crave Most?

At Craving God Ministries our goal is to provide encouragement through truth in the word to ignite passion and relationship so that you can answer this question with the one thing that matters most, God.

 

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“Jesus came E N J O Y I N G life.” Matthew 11:19 (Phillips)

The Lord is not the God of “try harder.”

So often I thought I had to work hard and grin and bear suffering as I persevered through life as Christian, but our God is NOT the God of “try harder” and “white knuckle your way through it.” Instead: He is the God of rest; He is Jesus that asks us to cast all of our cares and troubles on Him; and He is the Holy Spirit who holds all things together.

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” Exodus 20:11

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

Instead of trying harder under our own strength, we are called to surrender and trust Him, for He richly provides everything for our enjoyment. (See 1 Tim. 6:17b) Does this mean God is like a magic genie granting all of our wishes? Of course not. Jesus spoke to the trouble we all have living in the world. Often, if not always, we do experience suffering in our lives.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

So in the middle of our pain, how do we “take heart’? I, for one, am making laughter and joy a high priority every single day.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

During an overdue time of rest this summer, I found joy again. I am now convinced that building in time for rest and time to laugh is essential to finding joy and “taking heart.”

I have aging parents, including a mother who is very ill. My only sibling is disabled and dependent on my parents and I for care. I am a single parent to a teenager. Many women I know carry these burdens for family while also sustaining marriages and relationships, caring for disabled children, serving others through ministry, working, going to school, running businesses and maintaining deep friendships. As women, we carry seemingly impossible burdens, but we know the truth as Christians: all things are possible when we give these same burdens to the Lord. We have the power of Christ working in us and through us.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Enjoying life is a choice and Jesus chose to come, enjoying life! Following Jesus means living a full, abundant life – laughing and having FUN. Yes, this is often done in the midst of our messy lives, full of “issues” and pain. But nevertheless, we are called to ENJOY life. This Phillips paraphrase version has come up in my studies and in listening and reading various pastors who’ve been at the ministry thing quite a while.

“Jesus came E N J O Y I N G life.” Matthew 11:19 (Phillips)

This is what I want: JOY of the resurrected life- confidence in the Lord who holds my future- even when I’m a little afraid about what is around the corner. I have rediscovered this joy through deep rest in the Lord.

“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy…”
 Matthew 28:8


Action steps:

  1. Pray and ask the Lord to show you joy and rest. What is the Holy Spirit guiding you to or away from?
  2. Be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is urging you to do. For me, it was for this “Type A” girl to rest!
  3. Create priority space in your life for the Lord, for rest and for joy.
  4. Live out gratitude: to God and to people.
  5. Reach out for help: ask the Lord for help and ask people in your life for help. We are not meant to do life on our own separated from God or separated from community.

~ Kristen Love

 Finding Joy

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