Good Morning, Praying Friend!
I am excited about what 2024 will offer in ministry opportunities! Thank you for your continued prayers, friendship, and financial support of this work. Later this month, you’ll be receiving our 2023 Year In Review booklet. I can’t wait for you to see what this little ministry accomplished last year! If you don’t want to wait for the snail mail, check out the QR on the insert in this letter, and it will take you right to it via your phone. Enjoy!
This past weekend, I had the honor of delivering the message at a funeral for a young woman, just 33, who passed from aggressive cancer at the end of January. I first connected with her family last October. Walking alongside the family during this time was very difficult. Having had my father pass in 2020 from the same cancer, Sarcoma, it was challenging at times to remain positive. But this young woman’s Joy was remarkable. Even in the certainty of death—she had an unspeakable joy.
Where is your Joy derived from? I am not speaking of happiness. Our emotions are fickle. We can be happy in one moment and sad, even distraught, in another. I am speaking of deep-rooted Joy.
Have you ever noticed how some trees with deep roots withstand strong winds and heavy storms while others with shallow roots topple over easily? This is because deep roots make the tree stronger. Just like a building with a strong foundation is more likely to withstand the forces of nature, a tree with deep roots is more likely to withstand adverse weather conditions.
As the tree grows, its roots extend deeper into the soil, providing a strong anchor that keeps it firmly in place. The deeper the roots, the more nutrients and water they absorb, making the tree healthier and more resilient.
It’s vital that as we mature in Christ, “the Joy of the Lord” does become our strength. (Nehimah 8:10) This deep-rooted Joy will become the strength to hold us firm during the storms of life.
The word “joy” appears over 200 times in the Bible! Joy is not just a fleeting emotion but a deep sense of satisfaction and contentment that comes from knowing and trusting in God. The book of Psalms is filled with verses about Joy, such as Psalm 16:11, which says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The Bible instructs us that Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and that it is something that we can experience even amid arduous circumstances. We can find Joy in our relationship with God, in the love and support of others, and in the beauty and wonder of the world around us.
If you are having difficulty experiencing deep-rooted Joy, here are 3 ideas to help.
Prayer. Connecting deeper. During your quiet time, pray that God will give you deep-rooted Joy in Christ. Meditate on Christ’s words and the numerous verses in His word on Joy. Joy is a gift from God, and when we focus on Him and His promises, our Joy can remain constant, even amid trials and hardships.
Practice gratitude: Make a conscious effort to focus on all the good things in your life and be thankful for them. This will help you cultivate a positive outlook and increase your sense of Joy.
Read. While Christ is the source for cultivating deep-rooted Joy, and as mentioned above, diving into scripture is vital, there are great books that can help you grow in Joy. Here are a few recommendations:
Invite Christ to guide you to deep-rooted Joy so that when the storms of life blow in, even though you may sway so as not to break, you’ll hold firm in the foundation of His love and grace.
Sharing His Wonder,