*Pastor’s Note: The Joy of the Lord is our strength. Very familiar isn’t it? So many people have misinterpreted this Scripture to take it’s meaning as MY joy in the Lord gives me strength. In actuality, it is meant to be read, the Lord’s Joy in us gives us strength. Have you ever considered how that joy is turned into strength. Sister Nancy Ruegg over at her website From the Inside Out has written a very inspirational article on just that question!
As usual, please stop by and let her know you appreciate her ministry for us as well as towards the Lord. While you’re there, check out her other articles. Sister Nancy is an excellent teacher and a very prolific writer. You WILL find something there to be blessed by! Remember, these teachings and exhortations are a sacrifice of praise and worship to the Lord! Give her a like and some encouragement in the comments! God Bless!
From The Inside Out – Home
You probably know it, have even memorized it:
Such a statement begs the question: how does joy—of all things–translate into strength? Wouldn’t it be faith in the Lord that makes us strong? Turns out joy is an important facet of faith.
That phrase “of the Lord” holds the key. When we delight in the Author of joy–who he is and what he does–that’s when our spirits begin to grow strong.
To foster that kind of joy and delight:
Tonia Peckover wrote, “The feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.”
Research has proven that keeping a gratitude journal works well to develop our appreciation muscles. Just a few lines per day can get joy percolating in our spirits.
Another strategy: turn mindless tasks like folding laundry, loading the dishwasher, etc. into moments of thanksgiving. Go through the alphabet, perhaps, and thank God for one blessing for each letter.
You might begin with AFFECTION among family and friends, BEDTIME and that first BLISSFUL moment on the pillow after a challenging day, COFFEE—the most delectable flavor to start the morning.
For an extra challenge, you might focus on who God is. He’s ACTIVE in our lives, BENEVOLENT to us, COMPASSIONATE, and DELIGHTFUL—you get the idea. (For a sample of such an alphabet, see “God’s Goodness from A to Z,” a post from 2018.)
Meditate on God’s Word
Here’s another joy-inducing, writing-exercise:
In a journal or on a piece of paper, write your reason(s) for being distressed. Then conduct a scripture search (Online resources abound!) for specific promises and encouraging passages that address your concern.
Praise God for each one as you copy it on the page. Express expectancy for the day when each promise is fulfilled, and feel radiant joy rise in your spirit as you do.
Martin Luther advised:
It stands to reason that something much smaller, our hearts, will also change when we pick up our pens.
That’s happened for me; the same will hold true for you.
Follow God’s Ways
Countless people through the ages have thought that following their own way—striving for success, accumulating wealth, and participating in self-pleasing pursuits—would bring them joy. But such quests never deliver, because that’s not where joy is found.
Joy is found in obedience to God’s ways. He made us; he knows what’s best for us. Of course, we know that. So why do many of us balk at what will bring maximum blessing?!
Anything God commands of us is so that our joy may be full.
Note that glorious word, full–as in brimming and bursting at the seams.
And what does fullness of joy include? Beauty and bounty.
Beautiful encounters. Beautiful endeavors. Beautiful moments.
Bountiful blessing. Bountiful fruit. Bountiful satisfaction.
When we yield in obedience to God’s voice,
he yields a harvest greater than we can imagine.
Denise J. Hughes
And so, joy becomes strength when we delight in who God is and what God does.
Joy becomes strength as we blissfully trust in the truth of his Word.
And joy becomes strength when we gladly follow his instructions.
* * * * * * * * * *
Lord God, I do want to experience your joy in my life, to delight in you so my spirit might grow stronger. Help me to make choices throughout each day that usher me into your fullness of joy!
(Psalm 112:1; 16:11)
 Quoted by Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts, 176.
 John 15:9-11
 Values for Life, 169
 Ephesians 3:20; 2 Corinthians 9:8
 Deeper Waters, 149