Smiling father, son and grandfatherThe winsome personality of Jimmy Houston has won the hearts of many anglers. His captivating positive attitude is infectious to anyone encountering this black bass tournament champion and television sports show host. 

Over the years, I have enjoyed Jimmy’s approach to life and his Christian testimony. Samuel Shoemaker once said, “The surest mark of a Christian is not faith, or even love, but joy.” 

What is joy? Joy is an attitude that is characterized by a feeling of satisfaction, pleasure, and fulfillment. It is contentment and calmness resulting from a strong and abiding faith in the power and grace of the Almighty. 

“Joy is prayer. Joy is strength. Joy is love. Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. He gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people we serve is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen.” – Mother Teresa

Joy appears 218 times in The New International Version. Joy is the currency of our faith. Joy is a deep inner peace that projects a sense of well-being, contentment, and confidence in the Lord. Happiness on the other hand is fickle, dependent upon our circumstances. We are happy when the job promotion comes in on time. We feel cheerful when our financial dreams are met. We are glad when our favorite team wins a game and especially happy when they go to a Bowl game. These feelings temporarily comfort a person until the next trial or failure occurs. With happiness there is no lasting or enduring significance to any event or material possessions.

True joy is centered on the Lord and emanates from the Lord. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) “You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11) Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11Joy recognizes that pain and suffering are part of life and therefore is not contingent on our circumstances. Because joy comes from Him who never changes, joy is ever available no matter what befalls us. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit, following in His steps, we exude the joy that He freely gives.

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:12; 14:17; 15:13

Personal Application: Yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life and cultivate joy by focusing on Him and all He has done for you and your loved ones.


Jim and Wendell signatures Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5