Welcome back to “Friday Feature!” Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and enjoy today’s devotion! If you missed the last devotion, you can read it here!
Jessica Curtis brings us today’s devotion titled, “A Lesson in Joy.” Jessica and her family were missionaries for 9 years to the Ukraine, but she and her husband, along with their six children, are now back in the states where her husband is currently pastoring. Jessica has composed several songs, and she also has a blog blessedpurposefulliving.com Give Jessica a follow! Her posts are all so encouraging! @blessedpurposefulliving
A Lesson in Joy
Joy. It is something I am passionate about encouraging Christian women in. Not a fleeting-silly joy, but one that goes deeper – to the soul. A joy that helps you smile when everything is crumbling around you. A joy that is at peace and content. A joy that only comes from the Lord.
For me, the Lord began dealing with me on the subject of joy fourteen years ago. It was a lesson that I did not know I needed, nor probably would anyone else have guessed it as I was a pretty “joyful” person. Yet, the Lord knew and exposed it to me.
I was 6-7 months pregnant with our first child. We had just flown into Ukraine where the Lord had called us as missionaries, and I’m sure that big change mixed with crazy pregnancy hormones did not help me. That first day was rough! I had a hard time holding back the tears, and I just wanted to get back on the plane home! I smiled on the outside, but just wanted a place to cry. It felt, at that moment as I walked around the dusty streets, that God had called us to the ugliest place!
The next day, I arose much earlier than anyone else. I took my Bible to the kitchen and turned to my reading for the day, Philippians 4. With mixed reading and praying, I begged God to forgive my wrong attitude from the previous day. While I was praying, a little corner outside the kitchen window caught my eye. It was tiled and lined with a little flower bed spot. My mind immediately drifted to thoughts of how beautiful that would be with flowers, vines, and a little sitting area! PERFECT for morning devotions! As I was day dreaming, it was as if the Lord quietly spoke to me and saying, “See. I have beauty everywhere and in every situation. It just depends on what you are looking at or dwelling on!” And my eyes lighted back down to my Bible to this verse.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
As tears began to fall, the Lord renewed my joy and love for the place He had called us to. After that day, that verse became one of my favorites! I memorized it, and the Lord has brought it to my mind whenever I begin to have negative thoughts. I often use it to check my thoughts by it.
Is what I’m thinking…lovely? Is there any virtue or praise in it?
If it cannot pass these tests, I ask the Lord to take it from me. Then I try to fill my mind with thoughts that are lovely and pass the tests. Sometimes it’s by singing or putting on some Godly Christian music; or it may be to read or listen to and encouraging blog post/podcast, turning on preaching, scripture reading…anything to get my eyes back on Jesus and praising HIM. I have found that when my heart is full of thanks to Him, there is little room for discouragement.
My desire is for each of you to be able to do the same. Paul and Silas sang in prison, after being beaten! We have the same God that enabled them. He is STILL the same. he wants to give us that same strength to sing in the storm. He has it ready. He’s just waiting for us to come to Him.