Hope for Living: Cultivate ingredients in recipe for joy

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One of the things I have started to do over the last couple of years is cook. It’s been a little bit of an adventure, but I’m finding it more and more satisfying to grab a recipe, gather the ingredients, follow the instructions, and serve it up to family and friends.

When I get a home run, I tend to want to share the recipe with some other dudes I know that like to cook. The new year is here, so I thought I’d share with you a home run recipe that might come in handy as we live our way through 2022.

It’s a recipe for joy. It has only four ingredients. You can find all the instructions in the Bible to mix it up an get a taste of joy for yourself.

The first one is God’s pleasure. Our default thinking about Him and how He sees us is more about displeasure and pain than joy and delight, but the Bible tells us something different. Psalm 103 is a good place to go to get it into our hearts how much God loves us and showers us with blessings. Waking up to His smile over you is the first ingredient.

The second is His presence. Psalm 16:11 reads, “In your presence there is fullness of joy.” Don’t go a day without some intentional time spent right in God’s presence. Be with Him like that, and you’ll find Him with you wherever you go.

A third ingredient is a promise of God. These are all over the Bible, but I’ll point you to one of them. Romans 8:28 says God works out something good from all things that happen to His children. (My paraphrase). When you can’t get joy from things happening in the present, you can find it in God’s promise of good that’s coming your way in the future.

Peace is the last ingredient for joy. Without peace, joy is impossible. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to not be anxious but pray about everything and the peace of God will come, which beats having it all figured out yourself.

The prayer that verse encourages us to pray is about surrendering people and circumstances into God’s hands. When we know God has got them and got this and got us, that brings an internal peace, and that is the ingredient for joy.

This new year is just getting started, and let’s face it, there are many things that are going to steal our joy. When it happens, pull out this recipe and give it a try: pleasure, presence, promise and peace. I’ve found it to be a home run for bringing joy to life when it seems there is none to be found.

God is with you, He is for you and He won’t let you down. Trust Jesus, and He will get you through whatever is coming our way.

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