“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
–James 1:2 (NLT)

Last Sunday was my birthday, and Timothy and I spent the day having a lot of fun together. After church we went to our favorite shopping mall. We had some lunch and I paid a visit to some favorite stores, including Disney and two bath-and-body stores. We ended the day at a hamburger restaurant, where I endulged in a free birthday burger. I could tell Tim enjoyed the company and the food more than the shopping, but we definitely had fun celebrating together.

A birthday, or any holiday for that matter, is a great example of temporary happiness. Holidays only last so long, and the happy feelings they evoke will only endure for a short while before the pressures of real life take priority once again.

In contrast to life’s short-term happiness, God offers us long-term joy which will last all through our lives and beyond. There are three steps you may take in order to obtain this joy. I’ve arranged these steps to form the acronym “J-O-Y”.

The J, of course, stands for Jesus. Our service to Jesus is a very important part of our lives. As our scripture states, we are meant to find joy in the midst of life’s trials. Now I know that trials aren’t enjoyable aat all. Nobody likes it when the air conditioner breaks down in the middle of summer, or that job you thought was secure goes out the window. And of course, a death in the family can be a sad and devastating experience. But the joy which Jesus’ loving and everlasting presence evokes in our lives will never fade. No matter how awful our trials may be, we can always turn to Jesus and ask for His peace and love.

One way to show Jesus’ love here on Earth is service to others, so the letter O in JOY stands for Others. God gives us many opportunities to help our fellow man. Your services may be small or great. You may give someone a helping hand on the street, or you may help build a house or do volunteer work in a nursing home. In any case, I challenge you to find your own passion in life, and use your God-given talents to do good deeds for others.

Serving others is wonderful, but don’t forget to give some love to yourself. The letter Y stands for You. Self-love isn’t narcissistic, as long as you don’t take it too far. As the Bible states, we love God because He first loved us. Because of His love within us, we can reach out and serve others.

Instead of relying on temporary happiness during your life, I pray that you will learn to look to God as a source of true, everlasting joy. Then bring that joy out into the world, and find different ways to serve others. Last but not least, I hope you will learn to receive God’s love as well, so that you can continue serving God and others with unconditional love.

Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 377 E. Chapman Ave., Suite 260, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, check out our online store at www.amway.com/burdicksbargains. In order to support us, please register for free on our store website before purchasing anything. Thank you!

If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 641-715-3900, ext. 874157.