Choose joy

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Laugh Again”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Choose Joy”
 
I read an interesting statement the other day about choosing joy. It read, “Without exception, people who consistently laugh do so in spite of, seldom because of anything. They pursue fun rather than wait for it to knock on their door in the middle of the day.”
 
I think the author is correct. People who are habitually happy, upbeat, and joyful – people who laugh easily and often, are that way on purpose. They’re intentional about it. It’s not that they don’t have issues, they do. And it’s not that their lives are problem free, they aren’t. It’s just that those people have chosen to be intentional about maintaining an upbeat and positive attitude. They’re not being naïve, they’re just “choosing” joy.
 
Is it really possible to be faced with problems, even serious problems, and to actually deal with them effectively and realistically without giving in to brooding and despondency? Evidently the Apostle Paul thought so. In Philippians 4:4 he issued a very direct command. There he told us to rejoice in the Lord always. And just to be sure we didn’t miss his strong emphasis he repeated, “I will say it again: Rejoice!”
 
Philippians is considered to be the most joy-filled letter in the entire Bible. This is especially significant and meaningful because Paul wrote it when he was an old man, sick and in prison, and probably facing execution for his faith. Therefore, we need to understand that Paul wasn’t telling us to ignore our problems or to pretend they don’t exist, he was simply telling us to not be defined by our problems and to not let them steal our joy. It is possible to deal with your problems head-on, embracing them in a constructive and positive way, and to still be happy about everything else in your life that’s good.
 
Speaking of dealing with annoying problems, did you know that churches in the Las Vegas area frequently receive casino chips in the offering plates? It’s true. They get lots of them. Especially the bigger churches. That was an irritating and troubling problem because the church treasurers then had to make the rounds to the different casinos so they could cash-in the chips. So, there were always lots of church treasurers cashing-in casino chips all over Las Vegas – and it didn’t look good.
 
But then an enterprising Franciscan monastery, located just outside of town, offered to be the collection point for all the chips received by the churches. One monk is then assigned to sort them by casino and to go cash them in. Can you guess what his title is? Why, the chip monk, of course.
 
May you find humor and joy in the midst of your problems and challenges today.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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