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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Marlene Banks
Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! I hope you’re keeping cool in this heat wave! Today I have the honor of interviewing multi-published author Marlene Banks, who calls herself a word warrior—don’t you love that? Marlene shares today about how she fights with those words of hers, in the only battle with eternal significance.

Tell us about your book, Generations Series…# 1~Land and Legacy.

Marlene Banks

Marlene Banks

The Generations Series is a collection of seven short stories (novellas) about several families explored through multiple generations. These stories focus on a bloodline’s spiritual DNA, the hand of God throughout the family as well as its persistent generational manipulation from the adversary. The series is on Amazon Kindle as an eBook. Land and Legacy is the first story featuring the centrally situated Shepherd clan. Followers of the Light is the second novella about the Carpenter family. Forthcoming is another family to the Generations collection, the Delmonts. The families are positively and negatively connected to each other as the saga evolves, revealing each family’s generational trail. Read More →

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In 1998 we moved from California to Atlanta, and a new friend asked, “What do you miss about California?”

Of course, the main things were family and friends, but then it hit me. “The Redwood Forest. It’s beautiful and Majestic, and I learned life-lessons from those giant trees.”

When you drive into the National Park and get out of your car, you enter a new world—an eerily quiet one. Your eyes scan the height of the magnificent trees, some 300 feet tall only allowing a trickle of light to peer through. The fringed tops seem to touch the sky, and you almost topple backwards.

But the strength of each gigantic tree is not in itself. Redwoods are held up by the strength of the “families” which grow in a circle. For every foot in height that these nature’s skyscrapers grow, the tree sends its roots three feet horizontally—some only six feet underground.

The roots grow toward each other, intertwine, and root-wrap. When severe storms blow in from the Pacific Ocean, the trees sway and bend, but they don’t break.

We humans do the same. We root-wrap with others. When storms blow into our lives, we sway and bend, but we don’t break. Ask the Lord to show you who needs root-wrapping.

Who has root-wrapped with you during a storm in your life? Send them a note of thanks.

The greatest root-wrapping occurs when we place our hand in the hand of Jesus. He will never let to.

Lynda T. Young is co-founder of Kindred Spirits International (KSI) whose outreaches include children’s hospitals and Amani ya Juu refugee women’s mission in Africa. She is a speaker and author of the You Are Not Alone book series which includes Hope for Families of Children with Cancer, Hope for Families of Children with Congenital Heart Disease, and Hope for Families of Children on the Autistic Spectrum. She earned a Masters of Religious Education (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Masters of Education (UNC Chapel Hill, NC.). She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, CLASS, SPEAK UP, and American Association of Christian Counselors. A speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, she lives in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, with her husband, Dr. John Young. kindredspiritsintl@yahoo.com.

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In Bible study on the Book of Exodus, our lecturer said the Ark of the Covenant was a “portable Eden.” It was a gold box God told the Hebrews to create so He could once again dwell among His nomadic people on earth and be in covenant with them as they traveled.

Once the temple in Jerusalem was built, God then dwelled there, in the midst of the land He’d promised them. It became “Eden.”

That talk sent a flutter through my chest. Why? Paul told the Corinthians that their bodies were the temple since the one in Jerusalem had been destroyed. It has never been rebuilt, by the way. Not that it needs to be because God now dwells in the hearts of believers.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1Corinthains 3:16).

That makes you and me portable Edens!

So, Eden is not a lost world. It still exists. The peace that passes all understanding still resides. Faith, trust, and compassion flourish. This wondrous place now travels with us wherever we go in this un-Eden-like world. It is our “go to” spot whenever we need it. Better than comfy pants or chocolate.

If this portable Eden is always with us, and thus God is, why are we not more serene and content?  Something to ponder. Also, if our hearts contain that marvelous, fruitful place called paradise, why do we try to bring the seeds of worry, strife, anger, and bitterness through the garden gate? Those need to stay outside. We don’t need to haul them inside to dwell where only God should.

Where can we find God today? He still dwells in Eden, a heartbeat away.

Photo credit: simon-wilkes-691856-unsplash (royalty-free photos)

Julie B. Cosgrove is a professional speaker, freelance writer, and award-winning author of twenty-one faith-based books. She is a digital missionary on staff at Power to Change (Campus Crusades Canada) assisting twenty-seven-plus volunteer writers from all over the world to produce free, daily devotionals as well as meaningful testimonies and articles. The two websites, The Life.com and Issues I Face, have yearly readership in the hundreds of thousands in five languages. Her blog Where Did You Find God Today? reaches readership in over fifty countries. Visit her website www.juliebcosgrove.com. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she’s an INSPY Award semi-finalist and a Grace Award Finalist. She was awarded Best Religious Fiction 2016 and Best Cozy Mystery 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors. Another cozy mystery, One Leaf Too Many is the ACFW Book Club book of the month for August 2019.

 

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Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin! It’s an honor for me to interview the very first Christian author I ever met, Kathy Collard Miller—she and my mother used to bowl together! Kathy is a multi-published author and a gifted speaker—I had the joy of hearing Kathy speak at a women’s retreat many years ago and was deeply touched by her words, her heart, and her humor. I know you’ll also enjoy hearing from Kathy today.

Kathy, please tell us about your book Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory.

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Pure-Hearted encourages and inspires any Christian to evaluate the inner motives of her heart and surrender in greater trust for godly reactions. The reader will also become aware of the wonderful God-designed benefits, including joy, self-control, selfless love, security and satisfaction and other fruits of the Holy Spirit.

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