Strength From Joy

“…so don’t be sad. The joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong.”

Nehemiah 8:10b GNT

Sometimes our bad days turn into bad weeks or bad months. Many times we ask God to take our problems away or to give us strength to endure. But we can still suffer while we endure. Having the strength to get through our struggles doesn’t remove the distress we sometimes experience. And God doesn’t want us to spend our lives engulfed in sadness. He wants us to enjoy life! He gives us joy to make us strong enough for any troubles we face. The strength that comes from the joy that we find in The Lord is not just a strength that allows us to endure bad day after bad day. It’s more than a strength that allows us to just survive problem after problem. This strength allows us to take pleasure in every day despite any circumstances we encounter.

So how do we turn a bad day into a joyful day? Where do we find joy when we feel like we have run out of it? 

1. CHOOSE  When we are sad, we feel helpless and weak. But the joy that comes from knowing Him gives us strength.

Everything seems to go wrong when you feel weak and depressed. But when you choose to be cheerful, every day will bring you more and more joy and fullness.“ – Proverbs 15:15 TPT

2. SEEK

“All who seek The Lord will praise Him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.” – Psalms 22:26b NLT

3. SPEND TIME Joy is not found in the absence of problems. Joy is found in His presence.

“You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in Your presence; You always give me sheer delight.” Psalms 16:11 NET

4. PRAY Ask God to give us the joy to love our lives while we endure the trials we face.

5. OBEY

“So rejoice in The Lord and be glad, all you who obey Him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!“ – Psalms 32:11

6. BEAR FRUIT

“22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a NLT

7. SERVE We serve The Lord by serving others. 

“As you serve him, be glad and worship him. Sing your way into his presence with joy.“ – Psalms 100:2 TPT

8. CONTINUE Practice. Continue to choose. Make a conscious effort to repeat these sources of joy until it comes naturally. 

Thank You, Lord, for the joy You bring and the blessings You have given me. Please help me to remember to continue choosing joy, no matter what I face. Amen


When I Am Weak, He Is Strong

“But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 GNT

We have all felt, at some time in our lives, that we are not enough. That we don’t have enough. We feel weak and helpless in some of the situations that we face. 

“I’m not smart enough to figure this out.“

“I’m not strong enough to get through this.“

“If only I had more time.“

“If only I had more money.“

“I’m not qualified for that promotion at work.“

“I don’t have what it takes…“

As hard as we try, not one of us is perfect. And we don’t have to be perfect, because our God is! God gave us our abilities, and He gave us our flaws, because His power works best in our lives when we admit our own weakness and turn to Him. Once we realize this, we can look at it like Paul does in the Message version of this verse: 

“I quit focusing on the handicap and begin focusing on the gift.“ 2 Corinthians 12: 9b MSG

Giving our attention to His wonderful gift allows us to be content, and even cheerful, rather than feeling like a failure. It allows us to feel blessed instead of feeling like we are lacking. When I feel I’ve reached my limit I will pray: 

Dear Lord, I’ve done all I can do, and it’s not enough. I need to feel the protection of Your power working in my life. I am laying this at Your feet and I know that however it turns out, You are working it for my good. It brings me so much joy to know that when I am weak, You are strong. Thank You so much, Lord, for Your amazing gift of grace. 

Amen

Take Care of Each Other

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

— 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

We are meant to take care of others when they struggle, the same way God gives us the hope and encouragement to get through our own troubles. 

Lord, I thank You for giving me strength every time I felt like giving up. I am so blessed to be able to find hope in You when my life feels hopeless. Please help me to reach out to others who are troubled. Lord, I don’t want anyone to suffer in pain, alone and hopeless. Please give me the courage to comfort those who need encouragement, the way you comfort me when I am in need. 

Amen

He Renews My Hope and Cheer

“When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”
– ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:19‬‬ NLT

Stress, worries, doubts, fears… it’s easy to allow these things to fill your mind to the point of feeling hopeless. But allowing yourself to suffer isn’t going to solve your problems.
Turn to His comfort and make room in your head and in your heart for hope, cheer, and even joy!! Deal with the problems that are causing your anxiety and doubts…but do so with the right mindset, knowing that God’s promises are true.

When my head is full of worries and doubts, I will pray:

Lord, please renew my hope.
Comfort me in my distress.
Bring me joy in my sadness.
Help me to push the stress out of my head and remind me to hold on to my hope in You, Lord. Amen

All My Troubles

“In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.”
– ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:6‬‬

God doesn’t promise us that we won’t have problems, but when we turn to him and lay those problems at his feet, he will be there every time. This verse says, “He saved me from ALL my troubles.“
No matter how many times we cry out to him, God doesn’t give up on us.
No matter how tight of a spot we get ourselves into this time, he doesn’t turn his back on us.

When you are desperate,
When you are in too deep,
When you feel hopeless, anxious, and overwhelmed…
Pray.
He is listening.

Oh Lord, hear my cry! I am hopeless and defeated, and I need You! Please save me from my troubles! I will find hope in You, Lord. I know that even in this, You are working to bring good into my life. Amen

Be Still.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
– ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭46:10‬‬ NIV

Be still.
Wait.
Listen.
Stop the frenzy.
Calm the chaos inside of you.
Breathe.
Be still.
And know that He is God.
And He is bigger than all of your problems.

Lord, when I feel the weight of all my problems and I’m feeling overwhelmed, please remind me to slow down. Please remove my fears and fill my heart with Your peace. Amen

 

When Everything Falls Apart

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.
– ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭11:3-4‬‬

The question David asks in verse 3 is one that we have all had at times. When everything good is falling apart and we are looking around at the wreckage that we call life, what can we do? Where can we go? Who can we turn to for help?
The answer in verse 4 is simply that God is sitting on His throne.

He knows. But he is not afraid, he is not stressed out, he is not worrying. Because he is God.

…What? This is not the answer that we want to hear when we are in the midst of our fears, our frustrations, our depression, and our despair. We want the answer to be something that instantly makes everything better at the snap of our fingers. Like, “Whew! Glad THAT’S over! Because that was a disaster!” We want our pain to be gone right now, and our fears to be behind us.
What we really want is peace.
We want to feel peace when we are afraid.
We want to feel peace when our hearts are shattered.
We want to feel peace when the world feels overwhelming.
And David is absolutely right that the answer to that question is that our Lord is sitting on His throne. That is where we will find the peace that we need. Our focus needs to be on Him – not our circumstances. Not on what is tearing us down. Not on what is feeding our fears and anxieties. Turn to Him for peace. Lean into your faith for hope. And do the next right thing.

When I feel that my life is coming apart at the seams, I will pray:

Lord,please calm my fears and bring peace to my soul. My hope is in You, even in my brokenness. Please mend the broken pieces of my life. Amen