Monday, September 29, 2014
Do you remember how happy you were on your wedding day? All the hours of planning and endless preparations led up to this one moment in time – this moment when you first became “Mr. and Mrs.”. Extremely happy, you were in a true state of wedded bliss!
How long did it take for the happiness to wear off?
How long did it take before “real life” settled in, and the “wedded bliss” was replaced by financial struggles, personality conflicts, and job stress?
If the happiness has not yet worn off, congratulations! But let me warn you that there will come a time when the happiness will wear off. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is totally possible to have a happy marriage. But even in a happy marriage, the two people involved are not always happy all the time.
Why? Because happiness does not last! Happiness is a feeling, and feelings come and go. What we are talking about this week is not happiness . . .
Joy is much deeper than happiness. Joy is experienced when we are truly dependent on God . . . when we place Him in the center of our lives and our relationships and when we let Him guide us. .. when we focus on praising Him in whatever situation we find ourselves no matter what.
In Nehemiah chapter 8, the Israelites were faced with their own sinfulness. Hearing the Words of the Lord for the first time in years, they were overcome with grief at how they had strayed so far from the one true God. Grieving and mourning, they focused on their own lives and their own lack of obedience.
But Nehemiah came along and told them to focus on God. “Stop your mourning!” he said, “This day is holy to the Lord. Praise Him! For THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH!!”
According to that verse, it is through JOY where we find our strength! And, the best way I know to experience joy is to spend time in praise!!
No matter what is going on in your life or your marriage, GOD IS BIGGER!! Take a break this week from your worries and struggles and spend time praising God together! When you praise God, you will experience His joy, which will strengthen your marriage.
Following is a short Bible study to complete together that will help you in this process. If you prefer a printable pdf, the link to that is included below.
May God bless your marriage this week!
Monday Marriage Moment Joy (printable pdf)
But the fruit of the Spirit is:
ON YOUR OWN:
1. Read Psalm 100.
2. Think back on your life as a couple. How has the Lord shown His faithfulness to you? Try to come up with specific examples.
3. Spend time praising the Lord for His faithfulness.
4. Pray for you and your spouse to be able to experience the joy of the Lord in your lives.
1. Read Nehemiah 8:8-12 together.
2. Why were the people so upset? How did Nehemiah respond to them? Why do you think he responded in that way?
3. According to Nehemiah 8:10, where do we get strength? How do you think this happens?
The Bible tells us that the JOY of the Lord is our strength! No matter what is going on in our lives, if we learn to live in God’s joy, we will have the strength we need to persevere. This is true in our marriages, too. If we can learn to live in JOY, we can handle any stress that may come our way. The question is, how do we experience the joy of the Lord?
4. So, what do you think? What are some ways that the two of you can experience the joy of the Lord in your marriage?
One way that I can think of is to live in an attitude of praise. Spend time together PRAISING the Lord. Take some time out of each week to sit together and focus on the ways the Lord has been faithful to you the previous week, and then praise Him for it. Offer praise together on a consistent basis!
5. Read Psalm 100 together and share the answers that you came up with on your own of ways the Lord has been faithful to you.
6. Here are some songs that might help you as well.
FOR FURTHER FUN:
1. Psalm 100:2 says, “Serve the Lord with gladness”. Another way to experience joy in your marriage is to serve together. Find a way to serve together this week! (Examples: Visit a nursing home together, serve at a soup kitchen, babysit for a needy family, make a meal for someone who is sick . . . the list could go on and on. The important thing is that it is both of you serving – do this TOGETHER!!)
2. An old acronym I once learned was “JOY = Jesus first, Others second, Yourself third.” Try practicing this in your marriage this week. Look for ways to put your spouse’s needs before yours! (Note: We sing this song with our kids at church, so I couldn’t help but include it here. Watch it and try singing it together . . . it might just make you LAUGH!!!)
3. Sit together and SMILE!! Remind each other of the fun times you’ve had in your marriage. Think back to your dating days and share experiences you remember that made you laugh. If you have kids, share some of these experiences with your kids and LAUGH together!!
4. If you are going through a difficult patch in your marriage right now, be encouraged! Do not confuse happiness with joy. Happiness is a feeling that comes and goes based on circumstances, but joy is much deeper than that! Our joy is directly related to our dependence on God – spend time praying together for the difficulties in your marriage and then turn your focus entirely on God and PRAISE Him together!
5. But, since it is fun to laugh in your marriage, find a children’s joke book and read it outloud to one another. (Or try writing some of your own jokes. Try to outdo one another in silliness!!)
“The Joy of the Lord is my Strength” clipart courtesy http://www.christart.com/