Picture the contrast between a funeral and a wedding.

A funeral is somber, reflective, full of sadness, grief, perhaps even remorse.

A wedding, especially one between two godly believers, is full of gladness, delight, gless, bliss,  rejoicing and packed with hope on the horizon.

The wonderful majesty of God is that He has the ability and desire to turn our mourning into a wedding dance!

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have  taken away my clothes of   mourning   and clothed me with   joy…(Psalm 30:11)

I like to jump into the original language to dig into word meanings, With the descriptive synonyms, this sentence could be amplified to mean:

My WAILING and LAMENT  You have OVERTURNED into MERRY DANCING (with Timbrel and joyous instruments). You have LOOSED and FREED me from my SACKCLOTH FUNERAL clothes of grief and mourning and GIRDED and EQUIPPED me with DELIGHT, HAPPINESS, EXTREME REJOICING, PLEASURE, EXCEEDING JOY AND MIRTH like a FESTIVAL! 

Only God can transform your grief, wailing, mourning and lament into a Festival of Exceedingly EXTREME JOY!

What do you need God to transform in your life that would free you to live a life of joy in Jesus?

Trade in your funeral attire for a party dress! 

Let God transform your life as you unpack the delightful new Discovering Joy in Philippians: Creative Bible Study Experience. 

Come join me for a festival of joy– bring me to speak to your church group or join me online for the Discovering Joy in Philippians FREE Bible Study. Register Today.

  

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One of the benefits of writing about joy, like Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience,  is that you learn many unique facts that can in turn help you and those in your ministry.

In the New Testament, a common word is JOY! χαρὰ  (chara) from chairó is in N. T. 74 times! When God repeats Himself– that is a sign of importance or priority– so obviously His ability to help us walk in joy is on His heart!

To great someone and wish them JOY, was a a common greeting and farewell salutation. (Wouldn’t the world be a better place today if we exchanged our casual, “What’s up , dude?” For “May you be joyous and thrive!”

Some of the meanings for this word, Joy, are:

To rejoice ; Be glad: cheerful

  Rejoice exceedingly

  To be well/ thrive

  To lean in; favorable disposed to   happiness 

and our ability, the power to actually walk in joy is because this word, joy, is often  connected to God’s grace & redemption. Yes, life transformation and a welcome entrance to heaven is plenty cause to rejoice!

But by far, my favorite descriptive meaning of JOY! (χαρὰ ) is that Joy is CALM DELIGHT! This is my favorite definition because it gives me something to DO when depression, stress, discouragement comes rolling my way.

For example, if I get bad news, instead of giving into discouragement, anger, frustration or any of many negative, non-productive emotions, I can push pause, stop, and pray, Lord, right now show me what I can do, think, say that will calm me (or calm the situation). Or Lord, what can I I do, think, say, experience that would be a healthy delight?  

To prepare for success, today, make a list of things you can do, say, think that seem to calm you.

Then make a list of healthy, positive delightful distractive, experiences, thoughts, actions you can do when negative circumstances or emotions come your way.

Join me for some CALM DELIGHT, and be a part of my FREE online Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience.

Click to learn more or register.   

Pam Farrel is one of the three authors of Discovering Joy in Philippians (coauthored with Jean E Jones and

Karla Dornacher)  When Pam is not writing, she enjoys calm delights like drinking cold iced tea while resting on the deck of her live aboard boat, kayaking or paddle boarding near her “home” on the ocean or walking the beach hand in hand with her husband, Bill. Together they co-direct Love-Wise.

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When you are experiencing JOY, what is your response? Do you do a happy dance? Jump for joy? High five someone near?  Throw a party?

The Bible clearly connects joy with celebration. Here are a few verses:

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 explains this word meaning of joy as  a delight or to play.

When was the last time you jumped up and down in delight and glee over something God had done for you? Do you celebrate with God when He pulls you up out of despair and rescues you from stress and anxiety?

Or picture the glee of a child on a swing, jumping off the diving board, tossing a twirling baton or making designs in the nigh sky with a sparkler. Is that how you feel about your relationship with God?

Today, express yourself with the joy of a child and truly celebrate God — in a way more exuberant that you cheer for your favorite sports team!

I would love to add to your glee and delight by having you join me for Discovering Joy in Philippians online Bible Study beginning Sept 18. It’s free! (That’s cause for delight!)

And make Discovering Joy a party– invite your friends, your church group, your gal pals from work, or be a friendly neighbor and invite those living near you to join you.

The Discovering the Bible series is the result of team effort: Jean E Jones write the Bible study, Karla Dornacher is the artist who creates beautiful coloring pages and book marks, and Pam writes the devotionals to help apply what you are learning to your real life.

 

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In writing our first in the series of Discovering the Bible: Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, we dug into the familiar passage of Psalm 1. Immediately, my heart began a consistent prayer, Lord, make me a strong Psalm 1 tree! The first time I read that psalm, evn as a child, I knew I wanted to be one of those trees that no storm, no wind, no natural disaster could topple– but reflecting on the Psalm now, more than 50 years later, I see through life experience, just HOW MUCH we need God to help us become that strong, stable, Psalm 1 tree– and live a life He can bless!

 

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV) 

So when writing Discovering Joy in Philippians, God reminded me that joy in HIM is the pathway to strength in life. My assignment was to help others, as they studied Philippians, to connect to God in a personal and powerful way, so that through God’s Word, their lives could also be fortified by the Almighty.

In Nehemiah 8:10, we see a straightforward statement:

The JOY of the Lord is your strength (Neh 8:10)

Elliot’s commentary shares, “This beautiful sentence is, literally, delight in Jehovah is a strong refuge.”

In my personal study notes, after looking up key words, I have:

The JOY (gladness and rejoicing) of the Lord (Yahweh) is your strength (place of safety, protection, defense, a fortress, refuge and stronghold)

The Israelites in this story, were being led by Nehemiah and the priest Ezra, to rebuild the wall to protect the temple after being in exile (for their disobedience). Nehemiah give them meaningful work that honored God, Ezr gave them meaningful worship and call ed them to stand and listen to the Word of God.

The people realized they had drifted from God, and so were in grief and mourning. But their wise leaders knew that after repentance, staying in a state of shame, guilt and despair would be counter productive to finishing the wall and to their future calling to walk out being God’s chosen, anointed, people. So Ezra commanded them to stop grieving and celebrate!

In celebration and worship of God, we too can find strength!

 

Today, follow the footsteps of strength, do one or more of the following:

  • Repent of your disobedience, drifting, or defiance of God or God’s Word
  • Listen to the Word (on audio, on You Tube, in church, on radio or podcast. )
  • Worship God through song and celebration. 

In doing these, you will discover a strength building in your life too.

I would like the honor of helping build strength into your life through an online study of Discovering Joy in Philippians (Sept 18-Dec 4)

Register for the FREE study today. 

Pam Farrel is Co-Director of Love-Wise, with her husband, Bill, who she has been JOYously married to for 40 years. She is also author of 48 books, and an international speaker. She enjoys time with her far-flung family, and kayaking to get her mail from her live aboard boat in Southern Ca.

 

 

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On my birthday, as my newest book, Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience released, I pondered “What is joy, really?”  As I look back, seems God had me on a learning trajectory to find then live out joy.

As a child, first born daughter of an alcoholic dad, I was naturally joyful but our home situation was chaotic and unpredictable so when things got volatile due to my dad’s anger or his own depression, I retreated and became a sullen, sometimes, pouty and often emotionally teary-eyed little girl. But God had something greater, something better for me and He also has something better for you, too!: JOY!

Recently, I gave a speech for my Joy Jubilee birthday bash, and I shared a few things I have learned about joy—for the next few weeks, I will share them with you too—in bite-sized nuggets.

Joy is Relationship

The book of Philippians is often tagged the book of JOY, and the first chapter of Philippians is all about RELATIONSHIP:

I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, . . . 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart (Phil 1:3-7)

This thread of relationship continues through out the book, like in this verse from Phil 4:1 where Paul calls the believers at Philippi his JOY!:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (Phil 4:1)

Today, apply these relationship verses by:

Thanking God and praying for those you love—those who bring you joy.

Tell those you love HOW they bring you JOY and thank them.

I want to personally invite you to be a part of my FREE online bible study on Discovering Joy in Philippians:A Creative Bible Study Experience  Using Facebook Live I will teach and you can share and comment on our JOURNEY of JOY. It begins Sept 18 and runs 12 weeks. Register today.

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 48 books, and her newest, Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience is co authored with Bible teacher, JeanE Jones and artist, Karla Dornacher, is available in most Christian bookstores and online stores. (Harvest House) For many “extras”: audios, blogs, video tutorials, a leader’s guide, go to https://www.discoveringthebibleseries.com/the-books/discovering-joy-in-philippians/

Speaking of relationships: More than 30 influential Christian leaders have endorsed Discovering Joy!

There is no joy without Jesus! Only happiness that depends on happenings. Knowing Christ brings Joy. This is what our distraught world needs. Read Discovering Joy in Philippians, a new creative Bible study experience.

Jill Briscoe, author and international speaker
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