The secret of Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

I love how the apostle Paul expresses himself. Here he is (in prison, no less!) telling the people of Philippi, “Be joyful in Jesus ALL the time. Did you get that? I say, be JOYFUL!” I think I get why he puts such emphasis on this point. I crave for my children to feel the joy of the Lord in their spirit. Because I know that once they’ve tasted real joy in Jesus, they will never want to let go.

Have you ever watched Veggie Tales’ DVD ‘Madame Blueberry‘? It’s about a lady (or rather, blueberry) who tries to buy joy. She knows it’s out there, but she doesn’t know how to get it. Until one day she sees a little boy rejoice despite his circumstances. Suddenly, Madame realises that joy is closely tied to thankfulness. She is well quoted in our house: A thankful heart, is a happy heart. Proverbs 17:22 tells us the same thing: ‘A joyful heart is good medicine.’

Paul tells us we should be joyful always. If joy is tied to thankfulness, that means we should be thankful, always. Not just when we live in peace. Not just when we are well. Not just when we get what we want. Always. We can be barren, threatened by terrorists, or plagued by illness, yet we can rejoice.  The secret is keeping that eternal perspective. ‘Joy in Jesus’ is because of Jesus, and not dependent on anything this world can or can’t give us. His sacrifice and victory and freely offered grace are the source of an eternal joy that we can know and live despite our circumstances. However saddened we are by the situations we are in, they cannot and should not rob us of true joy.

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deut. 6:6-7

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deut. 6:6-7

The question is, how do we impart this joy to our children?  I have shared before some practical ways to encourage joy in our children. We also need to be living joyfully ourselves. On top of this, I believe teaching our children to live life God’s way will help them access joy, as it says in Proverbs 19:8 (emphasis mine):

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the
heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Most importantly, we need to infiltrate their lives with the Good News. Grace should be woven into every conversation. We need to talk about it as we sit in our house, as we walk along our way, when we go to lie down and as we wake up to each new day. It should be inextricably bound up in our words and actions. It should be sprinkled throughout our home.

As our children go through life they experience all its frustrations, fears, temporary pleasures and empty promises. We must be there to help them see things from the right perspective. To help them grasp that yes – life will fail them. But this is not the same as God failing them. Because God looks at the big picture, the forever. And with regards to eternity, He has sorted it out on our behalf – eternal joy.

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Just for fun

Prince: Mommy – do Germans get sick more than other people?

Prince wanted to give a friend of ours a present…
Me: But we don’t really know what he likes.
Daddy: He likes sociology!
Prince: What’s sociology?!
Me: It’s about how people relate to each other.
Prince: Relate? Relate… relations! I know, we could give him Uncle Ryan!

This girl has SO - MUCH - CHARACTER,

This girl has SO – MUCH – CHARACTER,

I told the kids to tidy their room, and if they were quick they could read before bed. After a short while, this conversation ensued…
Princess: Mommy! I need to send this dress to charity.
Me: Why?
Princess: Because it’s a faster way than cleaning up.

Princess, on her way through the kitchen, noticed the dishwasher open, clean and full: “Mommy – I would be happy to unpack the dishwasher for you!
Prince, putting down his toys in the lounge: Me too!

Princess declared that: Granny Margaret, Pauline, Auntie Helen and Mommy will be the bridesmaids at my wedding. GUB [her great-uncle] will be the photo-er.

Prince, after our history read-aloud: I have more cashews than almonds. It’s like Babylon taking over Assyria!

Prince: You know, Mommy, not everything is made out of molecules.
Me: [Blank stare]
Prince: Molecules are not made out of molecules!

Prince: I want to have a 4×4 when I grow up.
Daddy: The trouble with 4x4s is that they aren’t very economical – they cost a lot to run.
Prince: Yes – but I want one so that Papa will like it when I drive him in it.

Princess:  My favourite country is Papua New Guinea. Because the first part is Papa.

Princess in the morning: I think I really can fly, you know. I think I remember flying before.
Later that the evening: I can’t fly. I tried. I just kept landing.

Princess: Isn’t it wonderful? What God has blessed us with?

Prince: I don’t think this bear can be in the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Princess.
Princess: Prince! It’s the WIFE!

Princess:  Mommy, it’s quest time on Classic FM. I’d really like to do a quest.

Princess’s morning prayer:  “And God, thank you that you can hear our prayers even at the same time as other people might be praying. I know you have a thousand listeners. I don’t know what listeners means, but I just made it up. But you know what I mean, God.”

Princess:  Will, do you like tomatoes?
Will: Why, yes, I do!
Princess:  Oh… sorry – I ate them all.

Princess:  After eating two slices of pizza, a plateful of veggies and a blueberry muffin, my five-year-old looks at me and says, ‘Do you know what I am? A hungry Princess.’

Prince:  This house is one of heaven’s many mansions.

Life is so fun with this cool kid :)

Life is so fun with this cool kid 🙂

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