Merry Christmas!

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 NIV

Joy to the World…the Lord has come!  The promise has been fulfilled and we are saved because Christ has come.  Give thanks for Him…because Jesus has come we can have Hope, Joy, Peace and Love.  Thanks be to God for this amazing gift.  Merry Christmas!

Joy To The World by Chris Tomlin

DSC08480 publish

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Luke 2:11 NIV

(This photo was taken in December of 2013 while on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

Joy Because Of Jesus

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Jesus has made the Way for us to be reconciled with God.  He came to earth as a baby like one of us…He taught us how to live and then He suffered and died to take the punishment we deserve.  Yet that is not the end of His story…He lives!  We can have Joy because He lives.

DSC_0084 publish

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:1-2 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a park in Winterset, Iowa)

Joy Because Of Who God Is

Shout for joy, you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;
    burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”

Isaiah 49:13 NIV

We can have Joy because God is who He says He is…God’s character, His love, His grace, His mercy, His compassion and the comfort of His presence.  These things and many more things about God is why we can have Joy when we choose to believe in Him and have a personal relationship with Him.  Seek the Lord and you will know Joy.

DSC_0144 publish

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.”

Psalm 145:8-9 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Happiness – Joy

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

Genesis 3:1-7 NIV

Happiness and Joy…what is the difference?  Happiness is a worldly pursuit for temporary pleasure…Joy is spiritual and the benefits are eternal.  Happiness relies on worldly circumstances and Joy is built on belief, faith and trust in God, no matter what your circumstances.  When you achieve happiness you don’t necessarily get joy…yet when you seek Joy…happiness gets added to you.  Seek Joy…not happiness.

DSC_0042 publish

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.”

Psalm 19:7-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a field near Kimball, Minnesota)

The Joy Of The Lord

“Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

We are not here to do this life alone.  God created us for relationship with Him…He is greater than anything in this world and with Him we can overcome anything we encounter.  If you think to yourself, I don’t have the strength…you were not made to have the strength to do life alone.  Surrender to Jesus, He is alive, He is with you and His Joy can be your strength.

Joy Of The Lord by Rend Collective

DSC_0975 publish

“The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Exodus 15:2 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

Advent – Joy

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

Luke 2:9-10 NIV

Joy…it goes deeper than happiness.  It is not about our circumstances…it is based on the foundation of faith and knowing that God is good and that He wants good things for us.  Our circumstances may not be very good at times yet joy in the Lord reminds us that we are not alone and that if we believe in Jesus and seek Him by reading God’s Word and growing in faith there is nothing or no situation He won’t help us over come.  Remember Jesus came to bring great Joy to all.

PXL_20220717_013758789.PORTRAIT-EFFECTS publish

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

John 15:11 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2022 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

The Joy Of The Lord

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

John 15:9-12 NIV

When you feel lost, discouraged and unsure of what to do or where to turn.  Put you hope in God.  Turn towards Jesus Christ and offer up your situation to God in prayer.  Pray to the God of the universe who is with you and for you…no matter what.  Priase Him and trust His way.  The joy of the Lord is your strength.

Joy Of The Lord by Rend Collective

DSC00094 publish

“Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2014 on the island of Maui, Hawaii)