Masters Plan

Go Therefore and Make Disciples


Our Relationship WIth Others


Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks;  for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.                                                                                                                      1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The word happiness comes from the same root as the word happening, suggesting that happiness is based on something happening to us.  Happiness is circumstantial.  If I pay off my car, I’m happy.  If I get a new shirt, I’m happy.  If my friends say nice things, I’m happy.  There is nothing wrong with happiness.  It’s wonderful.  The only problem is that it’s based on circumstances, and circumstances have a tendency to shift.  Most people who live with chronic pain or chronic problems have a hard time being happy.  That is to be expected.  Although there are moments of laughter, nothing seems to stay.  Joy, on the other hand, is something which defies circumstances and occurs in spite of difficult situations.  Whereas happiness is a feeling, joy is an attitude.  A posture.  A position.  A place. As Paul Sailhamer says, “Joy is that deep settled confidence that God is in control of every area of my life.”   

                                                         Tim Hansel, You Gotta Keep Dancing


Then Nehemiah said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.  Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”                    Nehemiah 8:10

The less you enjoy your life, the weaker you will be on your journey.  Why?  Because the joy of the Lord is your strength.  The strength of the living God becomes your strength when you enjoy God and he enjoys you.  You increase in strength when you live in God’s pleasure.  Nothing can stop you from accomplishing what God has awakened in your soul.  Your strength is the joy of the Lord—not the truth of the Lord, or the knowledge of the Lord, or even the power of the Lord, but the joy.  Your strength is not the rituals, not the religion, not the doctrine, and not the disciplines.  The more you enjoy God and enjoy the life he calls you into, the stronger you will be.  To enjoy life is a sacred act of worship.

                                                         Erwin McManus, Wide Awake


Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

                                                         C.S. Lewis


Joy is essential to spiritual life.  When we are not joyful, our thoughts and words cannot bear fruit.  Joy does not simply happen to us.  We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day…Jesus shows us, both in his life and his teachings, that true joy often is hidden in the midst of our sorrow, and that the dance of life finds its beginnings in grief.  The cross is a symbol of death and of life, of suffering and of joy, of defeat and of victory.  It’s the cross that shows us the way.

                                                        Henri J.M. Nouwen, Here and Now


  • In your walk with Christ, what currently is giving you the greatest joy?  What tends to rob you of joy on a daily basis?
  • What would it look like for you to choose joy everyday?  How is thankfulness connected to joy?
  • How will you apply the truths in this topic to your life this week?  Be specific.

verses related to this topic

  • Deuteronomy 8:10

    Deuteronomy 8:10

    When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

  • Nehemiah 8:10

    Nehemiah 8:10

    Then he said to them, ‘Go eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’

  • Psalm 16:11

    Psalm 16:11

    Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.

  • Psalm 30:5

    Psalm 30:5

    For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

  • Psalm 34:1

    Psalm 34:1

    I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

  • Psalm 100:4

    Psalm 100:4

    Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

  • Psalm 107:22

    Psalm 107:22

    Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.

  • Psalm 126:5

    Psalm 126:5

    Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.

  • Psalm 132:16

    Psalm 132:16

    Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, and her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.

  • Proverbs 15:15

    Proverbs 15:15

    All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

  • Isaiah 35:10

    Isaiah 35:10

    And the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

  • Jeremiah 15:16

    Jeremiah 15:16

    Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

  • John 15:11

    John 15:11

    “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

  • John 17:13

    John 17:13

    But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

  • Romans 14:17

    Romans 14:17

    for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

  • Philippians 2:14

    Philippians 2:14

    Do all things without grumbling or disputing.

  • Philippians 4:4

    Philippians 4:4

    Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, rejoice!

  • 1 Thess 5:16-18

    1 Thess 5:16-18

    Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

  • Hebrews 12:2

    Hebrews 12:2

    fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  • James 1:2-4

    James 1:2-4

    Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

  • 1 Peter 1:8

    1 Peter 1:8

    and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

books related to this topic

  • You Gotta Keep Dancin'

    You Gotta Keep Dancin'

    Stress, disappointment, heartache, hurt—all are part of the human condition. But while pain is unavoidable, misery is optional! The freeing message of You Gotta Keep Dancin’ is that no matter what your circumstances, with God’s help, you can choose to be joyful.

  • Wide Awake

    Wide Awake

    In Wide Awake, Erwin McManus opens readers’ eyes to see the eight crucial attributes of those who achieve the life of their dreams. It is every person’s responsibility to discover and develop the gifts given to them by God.

  • Here and Now

    Here and Now

    Henri Nouwen writes with his usual grace, drawing us close to the God who embraces us all with love—Editorial by The Other Side.

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