One extremely practical and insightful book in the Bible is the book Proverbs. While the book is chock full of small bits of proverbial wisdom, one proverb especially stands out to me. "All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast." (Proverbs 15:15).
Solomon is so right. Have you ever been afflicted? That is, have you ever let a bad situation just utterly consume you? If you are anything like me the answer is yes. All of you who have been in this boat know what a horrible state it is to be in. You wake up worrying, you go through the day as a shadow of yourself and once you finally get to sleep at night it seems like no time before you have to do the whole thing over again.
The good news is that things do not have to be this way. Notice that Solomon does not say "for those who lose loved ones, the days to come will be bad." Neither does Solomon say "for those who can't quite make the monthly rent, the days to come will be bad." No, it is our own attitude toward our situations and not the situations themselves that dictate how we feel in the days to come. "The cheerful heart has a continual feast." Those who store up the joy of the Lord in their heart will not be defeated by the passing troubles of this world.
Pastor Daniel Kelly
Here are a few tips from the Word on just how to keep that joy in the face of trouble:
1. Trust in the plans of the Lord. He's got good in store for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)
2. Pray for strength and then rejoice in song knowing that God has heard. (James 5:13)
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
3. Remember, he feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field. He'll take care of us too. (Matthew 6:25-34)
4. Read Scripture. There is strength to be found in its pages. (Psalms 119:24,28)
5. Know that you are not alone. Paul and many others throughout the centuries have faced trials with joy. (2 Corinthians 2:4)
6. Act joyful, it might just stick. (Proverbs 15:30)
7. Keep your eyes on the heavenly prize, knowing that all this is just temporary. (1 Peter 4:12-13)
"Lord God, I am weak and tossed about by the troubles of the world. Help me to change my attitude so that I might change my life for your sake. Never let me forget the wonderful blessings which come through you. Father, may your Spirit fill me with joy. Amen."