Dear Sisters:

Have you ever looked for joy? So many people today are looking for joy. They look to the world of movies, to spending sprees, to friends or good times. So many pursue joy. Seeking but never finding or only finding it for brief moments of time. But for those of us who know Jesus, the source of our joy (Nehemiah 8:10), we know that joy is not illusive but very real. It's one of the gifts that God gives to each person who comes to Him, it's His promise to us (Gal 5:22, 23).

So why do so many of us walk around with looks of despair and distress? Over the years I've learnt that joy is not always seen in outward expressions. The surest test for joy is internal. How do you feel in the middle of that big problem. Do you have peace knowing that no matter what God will help you, that He will show up on time, that His Word is true and His promises sure. That's joy. It's not about whether I'm always happy and smiling. It's about knowing that I can trust God to do what best for me in all circumstances and that brings peace and joy. It a peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:6, 7).

As we face the unknown of 2009, one thing we all need is joy. Joy that surpasses the stresses of everyday life, joy that is greater than the unexpected trial, joy that is always present because Jesus is always present.

How do you get such joy, such peace of mind, such contentment? You get it by knowing Jesus. If there's one resolution we need to make for 2009 is making it a priority to have and keep a daily relationship with the source of our joy and strength.

Blessings for the New Year to each of my sisters around the world.

Heather-Dawn Small
Director, Women's Ministries
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists