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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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert where it’s finally cooling down!

It was so hot that even the bees were dropping like flies. In our desert area of Southern California, my husband, Larry, and I get used to the soaring summer heat and we thought the insects would too. But we kept finding dead bees by our front door. We thought, “Can’t do anything about it and it can’t be anything too serious,” so we just ignored the strange phenomenon. Until we also noticed a dark spot on the wall near the ceiling—a wall that was close to the front door.

We called pest control and they checked the attic. The truth was revealed. Bees had taken up residence in our attic, having gained entrance through a small hole in the roof. The honey from the hive had started leaking into the wall.

And the dead bees on our walkway?

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Sherry Kyle headshotHi from the central coast of California. This is Sherry Kyle with a word of encouragment for you.

Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

 

I love this verse.  It reminds me of the chorus to the children’s song:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” 

 

Do you remember singing that song in Sunday School when you were a child?  For those of you who didn’t grow up in a Christian home, those eight words are repeated four times in a simple melody.  Simple words with great impact! 

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