Dear Church Family
It was great that last night's Annual Meeting of the church was set in the context of praise and worship, beginning and ending in song, giving glory to Christ. It was good to look back with thanksgiving, and to look ahead in faith. As we press on into the year ahead, we must do so in joy.
Joy is one of the most precious gifts God gives to us. In her wonderful book 'One Thousand Gifts' Ann Voskamp says that 'God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.' Joy is intrinsically linked to giving thanks, which is why Voskamp goes on to say '...we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip the holy grail of joy.'
Joy is not the same as happiness. It's good to be happy, but happiness is an emotion and so often dependent on circumstances. Joy is much deeper and more profound. It's the contentedness that comes from knowing the presence of God with us. Kay Warren in her book 'Choose Joy' defines joy like this: 'Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.'
That's so helpful. And because of that we can enjoy joy, live in joy and choose joy. In the good times and the tough times too.
So whatever you are going through today - give thanks - and find joy. And when we gather as God's people, let's intentionally give thanks and re-joice. Why? Because the Lord is consistently good and his love endures forever.
Beni Johnson is right when she says 'The world doesn't need our sadness; they need our joy.'