Life is marked by change. Eighteen months ago, my husband and I purged our earthly belongings and moved aboard a sailboat. This was no midlife crisis. We did it because God said “go.”

Transitioning from house to boat was my husband’s dream come true. He grew up in a waterfront home and drove a speedboat when he was six years old. He later built a small sailboat and then owned a 27-foot Catalina. As for me—well, I grew up on the Alberta prairies. The first time I rowed a boat, I did it backwards. I don’t even like cold showers.

Moving onto a sailboat was far beyond my comfort zone. Fear might have overwhelmed me except for one thing: understanding God’s character.

A lifetime of walking with the Lord through sunshine and shadow has taught me a few things about what He’s like: He’s faithful. He always has our best interest in mind. He never leaves our side. He surrounds us like a shield with His lovingkindness. He provides. He brings joy.

Change is inevitable. Sometimes it comes in a nanosecond with no warning whatsoever. Other times we see it approach and have time to prepare. Regardless, it often brings uncertainty, and uncertainty breeds fear.

Next time change knocks on your door, refuse to let fear stop you from opening it. Instead, focus on the truth about who God is. Thank Him that change brings opportunities to know Him more intimately.

Eighteen months after making our significant change, I have no regrets. I’ve experienced more joy and peace—and opportunities to give thanks when things don’t go as expected—than in the past two decades. Walking in the truth of who God is made the difference for me, and it can do the same for you.

Grace Fox is the author of nine books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation (Harvest House Publishers). She regularly speaks at women’s events across North America. As a career global worker, she also trains church leaders and national missionaries in Nepal and the Middle East. www.gracefox.com.

 

 

 

 

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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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Edie Melson announced that the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference is listed in The Write Life as one of the 31 best writing conferences in the world for authors, bloggers and freelancers.

 

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She’s the woman we all love to hate, and she used to really bug me. The woman Proverbs 31 praises so highly—she’s just too perfect. She meets everyone’s needs with a smile and looks great doing it. And she gets up early, well before sunrise, and gets right to work. Ugh.

Through the years I’ve tried to follow her example. I had my couponing-and-three-store-menu-planning phase, my make-crafts-and-sell-them phase, and I’ve even had more than one let’s-get-up-before-the-sun-and-get-this-day-going phase. But eventually I learned I was trying to copy this much-maligned woman’s activities rather than her character.

What the Proverbs 31 woman actually models for us is a godly life. She’s a wife and mother, a homemaker and an entrepreneur, but she could just as easily be a college student, a single mom, a grandmother. She’s faithful, diligent, industrious, generous, compassionate, kind, and wise—all virtues the book of Proverbs advises women and men to develop. Why? Because they honor God and make life work.

When we fear (respect and honor) the Lord, we begin to understand the world and ourselves as His, which is true knowledge. Taking what we know to be true and applying it correctly is living with godly wisdom. That’s what the book of Proverbs is all about, and that’s what the Proverbs 31 woman is good at.

Turns out there’s no reason to dislike her after all!

 

Diane Stortz

Diane Stortz

Diane Stortz writes best-selling books for children and adults. Her goal is making God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her newest book, from which this post is taken, is Encountering God’s Heart for You: 365 Devotions from Genesis to Revelation, available for pre-order now. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five young grandchildren—all boys! www.DianeStortz.com

Encountering God's Heart for You by Diane Stortz

Encountering God’s Heart for You by Diane Stortz

 

 

 

 

 

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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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