Look for Joy

Joy by Robert David Bretz

Nehemiah 8:10 (NRSV)
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Psalm 16:8-11 (NRSV)
I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit. You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, not of our gratified emotions. – Evelyn Underhill

Laughter is sunshine; it chases winter from the human face.
– Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile
and sometimes your smile is the source of your joy.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

It is the devil’s greatest triumph when he can deprive us of the joy of the Spirit.  He carries fine dust with him in little boxes and scatters it through the cracks in our conscience in order to dim the soul’s pure impulses and its luster.  But the joy that fills the heart of the spiritual person destroys the deadly poison of the serpent.
St. Francis of Assisi

Joy does not simply happen to us.
We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.
-Henri Nouwen

Look for joy. You’ll find it in the middle of the busy. Or under the ridiculous. Or hanging from the overwhelmed in its underpants. Joy’s like that. It’s in the middle of everything. It’s completely unpredictable. And it will surprise you when you’re not expecting it. Like vomit and diarrhea, except good. – Beth Woolsey, 20 Things Every Parent Should Hear

And if we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end. But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy. … May God grant us joy as we strive earnestly to follow the way of discipleship. May we be enabled to say “No” to sin and “Yes” to the sinner. May we withstand our foes, and yet hold out to them the Word of the gospel which woos and wins the souls of men. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
– Dietrich Bonheoffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Exuberance is ancient, material and profound. “The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things,” wrote Louis Pasteur. “They bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language- the word enthusiasmen theos – a God within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a God within, and who obeys it.”- Kay Redfield Jamison quoting Louis Pasteur in Exuberance: The Passion for Life

For more wonderful quotes and some exquisite photos on the theme of joy, click here for a post by Steve McCurry. Do yourself a favor and spend a few moments enJOYing this.

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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