Recipe for Joy

“I will continue to rejoice. For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance” (Philippians 1:18-19 NLT).

I love to cook.  As any chef will tell you, the key to a good dish is the proper ingredients.   Sometimes if I cook something good, I wonder what can I add to make it great?  God is known by many names but is seldom referred to as the “master chef.”  However, He provides all the ingredients we need to regain our joy. 

Sometimes in life things are simply falling apart and as men we try and try to put the pieces back together and get more and more tired and frustrated.  We cry out and ask, “Where is God?” when the fact is the He is right next to you waiting for you to trust in Him and let Him take the pieces of your old life and transform them into a new life that is centered in Him. 

We all reach a defining crossroad at times of great adversity.  Our options are to worry (depend on yourself) or worship (trust in God).  Paul modeled for us the value of choosing worship.  His ministry in Philippi was grueling.  When Paul went to this city to start a church, he was whipped, falsely arrested, thrown into prison, and survived an earthquake.  Despite these obstacles, Paul gave thanks.  “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Philippians 1:3).  Paul had learned the “secret of being content in any and every situation (Philippians 4:12).

Paul reveals several “ingredients” for strength for being joyful in tough times.  Paul says in Philippians 1:18-19, “I will continue to rejoice. For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.”   Paul keep his perspective on God and not his problems.  I like how Paul writes “For I know.” In times of trouble we fall back on what we know to be true.   Paul was falling back on the promises of God that he knew to be true.   

Paul knew that he had people praying for him.  He also knew that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16).   Paul also acknowledges “The Helper” (John 14:16) and received support from the .   The passage ends with “This will lead to my deliverance.” Paul had faith that God would work out his problem for good (Romans 8:28).

Paul had God’s perspective, the prayer of righteous men, the Holy Spirit, and faith.   Paul had all the necessary ingredients to continue to rejoice.” We also have the same ingredients.  So, do we choose to worship or worry during hard times?

Prayer: “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.   The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed” (Psalm 103: 1-6).

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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