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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If I am lost in a city, I like to go to a map so I can see the “big picture.” The same thing is true of discerning God’s will. Having an overall general understanding of God’s book, character, actions and words helps us to understand God and to understand how He works.

In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together, I suggest one of these  ideas to layer God’s Word into your life:

  1. Read the Bible through in a year. The One-Year Bible or one of Tyndale’s One Year Bible Devotionals, like Devotions for
    Women on the Go

    Women On the Go/Men On the Go Book Set

    Women on the Go are options.  You might read a new translation or use a different study tool as you read, but year after year – even if it takes you a few years to read it through – God’s Word will become anchored into your heart.

  2. Study the Bible chronologically. Studying the Bible this way has helped me form my philosophy and methodology of ministry. For example, because I see how God lays foundations, then builds on them, I want to do the same in my ministry.
  3. Study the character of God. By studying who God is, I get to see how He thinks, acts, and relates to people. When I am in a tough spot, especially when I have to make a quick decision, I go back and ask, “What would God’s character have me do?” This year, I had several important decisions on my mind, decisions that would dramatically impact my family, my ministry and my future. I felt compelled to travel back to the place I started my Christian walk more than 30 years ago – in the book of Matthew.
  4. Discovering Hope in the Psalms

    Discovering Hope in the Psalms

    I re-read all the words of Jesus in the gospels, seeking the heart of God on the matter before me.

  5. Dive Deep Into A Topic: For several years, I have been in the psalms. First as one of the writers for Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, then the following few years as a teacher of that study of the Psalms. The benefit of a focused topical study is you move closer to the heartbeat of God in that area of life or scripture.

Other ideas for study are the names of God in the Old Testament, the verses that speak of God as the Father, the names Christ is called in the Old and New Testament, and the names and character of the Holy Spirit. When you layer God’s Word into your life on a daily basis, you gain the ability to see things from God’s perspective. Jesus explains it with the phrase, “You are in me and I in you” (John 14:20, John 17:21-22). The Word of God is the key ingredient in protecting your life: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23).

Discovering Joy in Philippians

Discovering Joy In Philippians

A Couple’s Journey with God

About Pam Farrel: She is the bestselling author of 46 books including several devotionals: Devotions for Women on the Go; A Couples’ Journey with God, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, and soon to be released Discovering Joy in Philippians. The Farrels are the Co-Directors of Love-Wise.

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Several years ago, I was experiencing a season of hardships. The emotional pressure in my life had escalated – facing deadline upon deadline, bad medical news, grief over my father’s death, plus the daily stress of church leadership and family responsibilities. I sat in my doctor’s office in tears. All I wanted to do was escape, and drive to the beach to spend time with God. Only by talking to God, and having Him talk to me through the Word would salve this pain.

I knew that I would be okay if I could just get to the beach and let God’s love wash over me like the waves wash over the sand. So I drove home, told my husband I would be gone for a few hours, and I grabbed my Bible, journal, and a few devotional books. I rushed to the beach, anxious to spend time with God. I read, prayed, journaled, walked, listened – and read some more. Finally, both peace and a plan came.

Today, this is still my path to peace. The Psalmist agrees. “My soul finds rest in God alone!” Find a cozy place with God today, cuddle up with the Word, and let the peace of God wash over you. God’s peace is like the waves that wash over your toes planted in the sands, so faithful to come to shore, wave after wave, God’s peace will come to your heart, verse after verse, from His Word.

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of 46 books including Discovering Hope in the Psalms, Becoming a Brave New Woman, and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman. With her husband Bill, she runs Love-Wise and helps people with their most vital relationships, with God, in marriage and family, and friendships. Fin hope and help for your family at Living Love-Wise Community 

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