Joyce Meyer,
Seven Things That Steal Your Joy
(Time Warner, 2004)

Joyce Meyer is a practical, mission person whose religious products are based on her personal beliefs and biblical interpretations. Meyer reads her writings aloud in her husky voice on five CDs in this series that contains six hours of instruction.

She describes the seven joy stealers: Works of the Flesh, Legalism, Complicating, Excessive Reasoning, Anger, Jealousy and Discontentment.

Meyer is easy to listen to. Her topics are relevant to the aims of everyday people, and she attempts to simplify the route of living a life that is directly in tune with God and his plan for each of us.

Though she sometimes takes quotes from the Bible and gives them a new or extremely literal interpretation that may be a little too simplistic, she does offer many examples of practical thinking and good habits to follow that could lead to an improved spiritual life.

For example, CD #5 advises against discontentment and grumbling. It encourages us to appreciate our own situation and to try to reduce habitual dissatisfaction with our lives. She encourages one to spend time in God's presence. Meyer is an original writer and speaker. For instance: "There's a God-shaped hole in everyone of us, and we cannot buy something across-the-counter to fill that hole."

Comparing yourself to others will "Steal Your Joy." "Be not grieved and depressed." "Have a merry heart." She offers advice and encouragement in a voice that is strong and full of conviction. She also offers images into herself as an imperfect person who has struggled to reach the spiritual state she now enjoys.

In the world of independent preachers and missionaries, this set of CDs has something to offer. Even so, you might have issue with a few sections that require a bit more investigation, or a bit of biblical reading on your own to fully understand the truth of the Word. Everyone can decide for themselves, but I think there's enough good in here to bring some enlightenment to many lives.

Though books are often chosen as a way to explore and learn about ways to make spiritual improvements, a CD like this with spoken words can be more meaningful and purposeful for some. If you already have a strong religious background, this is a refresher tool, and if you are lost, it could open doors to renew your spiritual strength. It's not the beginning and end of learning one's faith, but is a tool to consider.

by Virginia MacIsaac
5 November 2005

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