The joy of the LORD is your strength.
The joy of the Lord as our strength can be a great constant in the life of Christians. This joy is strength for all moments of life! When we focus on the joy of the Lord, we can have lasting inward peace and contentment that provides hope and encouragement for each day.
The wonderful thing about the joy of the Lord is that it is not based on our decisions or who we are. God is the source and giver of this joy! For God had given the people cause for great joy. Nehemiah 12:43a. When we saturate ourselves in God’s Word, it will have a transforming effect on us as the joy of the Lord will be with us as a source of hope, encouragement, comfort, gladness, and so much more!
Pastor and author, Charles Spurgeon, has an excellent description of the impact the joy of the Lord can have on our lives. “There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy…[joy] is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. This blessed joy is very contagious…Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labor.” Proverbs 17:22 states it this way. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Joy from God’s Word and His promises can provide us with delight and purpose for each day.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Jesus’ teaching is always relevant because He knows everyone’s thoughts, what everyone
is going through, and what everyone will face in the future. He knew that there are things in this
world that can cause people to fall away from their faith. That is why the importance of reading
and retaining God’s Word is emphasized. God’s Word is powerful and transforming. Through
reading the Bible, discussing God’s Word with other Christians, and attending church we are able
to persevere in our faith until we are called home to our eternal dwelling place in heaven. Remember experiences, Bible verses, and conversations that made you better understand God’s goodness, power, and love. When difficulty comes, remember these important lessons.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner
being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and
established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God.
God’s love and grace is powerful. Coach Tony Dungy in his book, The Mentor Leader, shares how the most important knowledge of God’s love shaped his life. “From my perspective, a genuine sense of self-worth—the kind of confidence that can’t be shaken by circumstances—is best obtained through a relationship with God. The knowledge that He created me and cares for me does more for my mental health and overall well-being than any self-help book ever could. I am both humbled and empowered by the knowledge that Jesus Christ performed the ultimate act of sacrificial service for me. To know that God loves me that much is powerful.”
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Humans were created in God’s image and with God’s help and strength are capable of
great things. God does not make junk and every person has God-given talents and abilities that
can be used to glorify God. Know that you were created to be great, something special, something
only you can be. Being great is not based on your job, possessions, power, or appearance though.
It is based on what Jesus has done for us through His suffering and death on the cross for the sins
of the world and His victorious resurrection. Because of His love that gives us the free gift of
eternal life, we are able to show God’s love to others in whatever we are doing in life, wherever
we might be, and with whom we interact with in our daily lives. It is quite amazing to think that
the all-powerful creator God knows us, has a purpose for our lives, cares about us, and wants to
It can be frustrating when we have something to say and do not feel like a person is listening to us. With God there is no doubt, He always hears us and is listening intently. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14. That is quite amazing to think about. The all powerful God listens to us! When we dial the number we don’t have to worry about a busy signal or that the person is not available. No matter what God is doing, He is able to hear us as we pray. Prayer is so important that Jesus prayed often. He set the example of praying before He taught His disciples to pray. The disciples noticed that Jesus prayed often and requested Him to teach them. Prayer is the only tutorial the disciples requested.
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
The words, “Our Father” remind us we are welcome in God’s house because we have been adopted by the owner. We can talk to God because He is our loving Father who listens to us! All Christians are a part of the family of God and we know that our Father is always with us.
Some may wonder why is prayer so important? If God knows everything about us and all of our thoughts, then why do we need to pray? These people might think prayer is as useful as a lifeguard at an Olympic swimming event. This is not true though. It is true that God knows everything about us and our thoughts. Through prayer we can lay our burdens before the Lord. God can communicate truths to us that we need to hear and be reminded of. For example, Philippians 4:6 states, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
God wants to hear our prayers and has promised to answer them. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24. This of course does not mean if we pray for lots of money or possessions that we will automatically be given this. The more time we spend in God’s Word and in prayer, the more our requests will align with God’s will for our lives. We can believe in our requests because we know that they are God-pleasing and can be used to show God’s love to others.
A great prayer to remember is found in Hebrews 13:20-21. Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” This can be better accomplished by praying continually. This helps us to remember that God is with us at all times. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12.
Pastor, author and former seminary president, Milt Rudnick, states how prayer changes us. “We will know Him better, feel closer to Him, trust Him more, and long more intensely to be in contact with Him. God is very real to people who pray often.” Prayer is powerful communication, not because it involves us but because it involves God. God can use prayer to work through us to grow our relationship with Him and to better accomplish His will.
God is definitely a God of the details and cares about us down to the very number of hairs on our head. In creation, there is evidence that God takes care of the details as well. If the rotation or tilt of the earth was off slightly, plant life would not be sustained and the earth would be inhabitable. The earth is just the right size with the force of gravity enabling our atmosphere to hold in place. The moon is the right distance from the earth. If it were closer, tides would completely submerge the continents twice a day. Our atmosphere is about 78 parts nitrogen and 21 parts oxygen. Too much nitrogen would slow down all functions in the body and too much oxygen would also lead to shorter life.
Thomas Chisholm wrote the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, in 1923. The second stanza is a beautiful description of how God is a God of the details and shows His faithfulness for all times.
Summer and winter, and spring-time and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Faithfulness means long-continued and resolute loyalty, and unswerving steadfastness. God created the whole universe and is the only one around before and since the beginning of time! He will continue to be with us for all eternity. Christians know that God has a place for us in heaven. The verses from John 14 are a great comfort to know that God has taken care of the details. When we trust in Jesus, as our Savior, God freely gives us forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus said: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:2-3.
One of the greatest blessings of having the Holy Spirit dwell within Christians, is that the Spirit empowers Christians. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6. The Holy Spirit works to empower Christians to live a life in response to the love that God has shown us. Any good things in our life are a result of the Holy Spirit and God's love at work in our lives.
The Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christians so that we focus our thoughts, words, and deeds on God’s Word. By spending time in God’s Word it will be clearer what the Spirit is leading us to do. God’s Word is powerful and leads to changed and improved lives. The Holy Spirit uses the time we spend in God’s Word to empower us. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6.
Galatians 5:22-23 further describes what the mind governed by the Spirit focuses on. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. It is a tall order to keep in step with the Spirt, but the great thing is that it is not all on us. God has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us to keep in step with the Spirit. If we read God’s Word daily, talk to Christian friends, worship with a community of believers, pray daily, and watch what we see, hear, and experience there is no limit to what God can accomplish through us!
When worry comes, look back on your life for how God has sustained and carried you. Why would the future be any different? The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life. Psalm 121:7. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10.
The best way to remove fear or worry is to remember the Lord. I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6.
Pastor and author, Max Lucado, states it nicely, “Worry is an option, not an assignment. God can lead you into a worry-free world. Be quick to pray. Focus less on the problems ahead and more on the victories behind. Do your part, and God will do his. He will guard your heart with his peace…a peace that passes understanding.” With God on our side we can stop worrying about what might happen, and instead look forward to what will happen. This is because God is our help in the past, present, and future. We know that the blessed peace of eternal life awaits us in heaven! That is our sure and certain hope for the future! Bishop Francis de Sales states how Christians can approach each day, “The same Everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day of your life. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts.”
There are a variety of key points for effective communication that also tie into wisdom from God through the Bible. Some of the principles of effective communication from Author, Dale Carnegie, in his timeless book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, are (a) Don’t criticize, condemn or complain; (b) Give honest and sincere appreciation; (c) Become genuinely interested in other people; (d) Smile; (e) Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language; (f) Encourage others to talk about themselves; and (g) Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Let’s look closer at a few of these.
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. The Bible says: Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” 2 Philippians 2:14-15. If we want to have the best relationships with others, we should keep this advice in mind. When we do have to correct others, it is always good to talk about a mistake that you have made first, in order for it to be more likely that a person will take advice the right way.
Give honest and sincere appreciation. I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5. In these verses Paul is showing thanks that the people of Philippi have partnered with him in the ministry of brining people to know Christ. These are words that we can share with others, whether it is co-workers, family, or friends. We can thank God for them being in our lives and let them know this. One of the best gifts that you can give someone is to thank him or her for being in your life.
Become genuinely interested in other people. Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. Romans 15:5. Pastor, author, and professor David Augsburger, has said, “Being heard is so close to being loved, that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”
The motivation to care for and show love to others comes from God’s love to us. He cared about every individual in this world so much that He sent His Son to earth to die on a cross for the sins of all people. Through Jesus’ glorious resurrection, we are given eternal life! This provides us with great hope, endurance, and encouragement for our time on earth that we can pass on to others. Everyone is important to God and we in turn can show that this is true by showing interest in the lives of others. A simple way to do this is to ask questions about another person’s life or ask them about things they are interested in. In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4.
Smile. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4. Christians know that we can have inner joy no matter what our circumstances because God loves us and heaven awaits us!
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.