The Joy Jar
Have you ever had one (or two or three...) of those years where everything just seemed to be falling apart all around you? My extended family has been having such a run of years for some time now. The thing is, if we are in Christ, we can have victory even in the midst of such turmoil by making a "simple" (now there's a relative term!) choice each day (and every second of each day!). We can choose to walk through the fires with joy.
For those who are in Christ, joy is a real choice: "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." (Philippians 4:4-7 NIV). We do not need to be victims of our circumstances if we choose to walk in joy.
Sure, we will still feel sadness and disappointment and heartache. We are human after all. Yet, we don't need to live and dwell in a spirit of depression if we choose to trust God in the midst of our circumstances and know that God is good and "... that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28 NIV). (Of course, we do need to remember that God's definition of good isn't necessarily ours. We need to rejoice in His definition instead of insisting on ours.)
At a women's luncheon, I shared about using a "Joy Jar" to help keep our focus on Christ each day instead of our circumstances. I suggested taking a jar and placing in it 52 Bible verses, with many verses that focus on joy specifically, along with others that are helpful toward reminding us to walk in the Spirit (instead of the flesh) and to trust God in spite of our circumstances. The idea was to print the verses on sticker paper, cut the verses into 52 stickers, then place them in the jar. Each week, a new verse is pulled and the sticker placed in a "Joy Journal," with room to journal thoughts and experiences throughout the week based on that Scripture.
A woman who attended the luncheon asked if I could share with her the Scriptures I chose for the jar, so she can make a "Joy Jar" for her mom. I decided to post the Scriptures here in case others want to make a "Joy Jar" for themselves or for a loved one. EnJOY!!