As a child of the 1950 and 1960s, I learned a song in Vacation Bible School. I’ve got the JOY JOY JOY JOY down in my heart. WHERE? down in my heart, WHERE? down in my heart, I’ve got the JOY JOY JOY JOY down in my heart, down in my heart to stay. I wonder if the author of the song took this song from the verses in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-26. This set of verses is powerful. These verses impact me to this day.
First of all, I memorized the verses 16-18, in the NASB, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Chist Jesus. So how do you rejoice when your child is sick, when your job is threatened, or you are unemployed, when you are in pain emotionally, physically, or mentally. The verses do not give you an option, it does not say rejoice sometimes, or pray when you feel like it, give thanks for some things. I have days when this does not come easy but as I walk with the Lord, I trust him. I practice Rejoicing always, praying without ceasing; in everything give thanks.
Second, I read God’s word and write out my prayers., daily. I have done this for years as the writing helps me to stay alert. I learned to start with Praise and end with Thanksgiving. In 2005, I purchase a formal prayer journal, My Prayer Partner Journal by Becky Tirabassi, there are eight sections, the first four is MY PART, Praise, Admission, Request and Thanksgiving. The last sections are GOD’s PART, Listen, Messages, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, and a tab with a daily schedule. So as I read God’s Word and I begin with praise, my heart settles down to wanting His will for me, his good and perfect will.
Another verse in the song is, And if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack, OUCH, sit on a tack, OUCH, sit on a tack and if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack, sit on a tack to stay. Satan wants to rob our joy. He wants me to doubt God and his perfect plan for my life. He wants me to question, Why me. The perfect way to stop Satan is to praise and thank God. JOY is Jesus, Others and YOU.
The last verse, I’ve got the peace that passes all understanding, down in my heart, Where, down in my heart, Where, down in my heart. I’ve got the peace that passes all understanding down in my heart to stay. After I have written verses from the New Testament reading and the Old Testament, Proverbs, listened, admitted my failings, prayed for the requests God has laid on my heart, I thank him for the blessings. Then the peace of God fills me and I know in my heart I am where he wants me to be. The circumstances that cause me pain are the same circumstances that draw me to God.
Two other songs I learned as a child are Trust and Obey and Count Your Blessings. The last way that I practice JOY on a daily basis is trusting and obeying and counting my blessings, naming them one by one. Oh there are days when this does not come easy as I suffer from chronic pain, but the alternative of feeling sorry for myself is not a choice as I continue to put one foot in front of the other as I walk with Jesus. Trust and obey as there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Count your blessings name them one by one, count your MANY blessings see what God has done.
I Thessalonians 5: 23-24 Now may the God of peace, Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame ath the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. Blessings.