~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~LOVE and JOY, joy and love. They go together. If you have joy, you can love. Love isn't an emotion as we think today. It's an action. Okay,okay, we do 'feel' loving, warm and fuzzy, but real love costs you something. It includes sacrifice. When we really love we sacrifice our wants for others, our comforts, our preferences, our ways, our time.
To have this type of love, we first need joy. Joy is something we possess in spite of our circumstances. Little children have joy. Look at the small child's wonder at the world around them. Their joy in just being alive is contagious. Everything is a marvel. We possess that same ability, though by responsibilities, hardships, hurts, pain and unforgivness, it gets pushed down. Sometimes, we can't find it. It may be way down there, like a diamond in mountain of coal, like a Dandelion root, like the bottom of my laundry pile, but it is there.
How do you find it? Make an effort. Look around you and begin to recognize all that has been given you as a gift. Everything we possess is a gift from a loving creator. He has given us all things to enjoy. He has overcome the world and its problems and pain, he has overcome the grave, and he forgives our sin. His grace is abundant; his mercy rich. And, when we know him, we get to spend an eternity with him! There's joy in that!
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
When you find your JOY, which is part of who God is, you will find that joy is strength giving, hope giving, it gives us focus and it gives us the ability to truly LOVE. Don't let anyone or anything steal your JOY!