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I’ve made some new goals/commitments for myself over the weekend (and I have accountability from several folks to back it up!). One of them is a renewed focus for this blog. So I’m also sharing it with all of you who read it, because you also keep me accountable.

First of all, I will post something new at least three times per week. That’s a promise, and while I hesitated to type it I know I need to stick with it.

Second, the new focus is on Scripture passages that mention joy. Can’t believe I didn’t think of it before this year. I’ve already compiled my list by searching BibleGateway for the words “joy” and “rejoice.” I looked at three different versions of the Bible as well, and came up with a list of 495 different verses. Sometimes I will use several together, especially when the verses are part of a longer passage that deals with joy. Some I may elect to skip based on the context that is used. In fact, the first appearance of the word “joy” in Scripture should be a skip, although I’m making note of it here.

Only once does the word appear in the book of Genesis, and only in one version (NIV). Here it is: “Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps?” (31:27).

This verse falls in the middle of Laban lecturing Jacob for taking his wives and flocks and leaving during the night, as instructed by God. Laban was Jacob’s uncle, and Jacob’s wives were Laban’s daughters (yes, they were cousins. It happened a lot in the Bible and throughout history. Get over it). If you read the entire passage (all of chapter 31) you’ll find that this is a story of lying and deceit and idolatry even in the midst of obedience to God. I think it’s safe to say that this particular “joy” reference is not about the joy of the Lord.

But don’t worry! There are many more to come, and we will walk this road together with joy in our hearts.