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Joy in the face of life – Nehemiah 8:10

Sept. 17, 2011
Nehemiah 8:10 (AMP)
…be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.

Joy in the pits of life exists even though the intellectual mind and heart say it cannot be. Yes – it is possible for Christians to experience joy in middle of trials. There is something very empowering about exposing our souls before God. Transparency before and dependence on God renews the intimate bonds we already share with Him.

Until I became a child of God, my feelings, emotions and thoughts took over and amplified my circumstances in very unhealthy ways. Now that I know a powerful and compassionate God, I know that I can hang on to His arms when I am facing the battles of my life. Oh, believe me, I face incredible battles – but I will not let go of God’s loving hand!
This is how I keep joy in my heart while I’m in the battlefield:

  • I realize that it’s easy to fall back into my old ways of thinking, so I ask the Lord to stop my wrong thinking.
  • I spend more time listening to God and reading Scripture.
  • I confess any sin that is blocking my relationship with the Lord. This is a critical key because this unlocks issues that God wants me to deal with that I prefer to ignore.
  • I also ask the Lord for protection from any evil that is attempting to stop my testimony – (Matthew 6:13 (AMP) And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.)
  • I seek help for my battles so I can move on.
It’s said that we come to really know God when we suffer. The truth is that we get specific guidance from God when we suffer. I am amazed at the ways that God meets me on the journey. The joy in my heart helps me deal with life.

It’s nothing short of a miracle.

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Scriptures for life

Compiled December 2011
These are a few of my favorite Scriptures. I cannot live my life without God and his word. I keep a 3x5 wire bound note diary of verses that pop off the pages of my Bibles. This helps me in case I need to comfort someone with a specific verse. Start your own collection!


Comfort

Psalm 119:76 Comfort me with your love, as you promised me, your servant.
Job 4:4 Your words have comforted those who fell, and you have strengthened those who could not stand.
Strength

Psalm 18:1 I love you, LORD. You give me strength.
Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.
Psalm 118:14 The Lord gives me strength and a song. He has saved me.
Isaiah 40:29 The LORD gives strength to those who are weary.
Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your shelter, and his everlasting arms support you.
1 Corinthians 15:58 … don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong, all who wait with hope for the LORD, and let your heart be courag…

Sin on the journey

Before I know it, sin drips from my mouth and floods my mind. Oh the struggle.
Romans 7:22-23 I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin. So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free. 
My current struggle is in not easily recognizing the extent of my sinfulness. I can easily preach it, but continuous righteous living eludes me.
Ouch. It hurts. I reveal this because I love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul, but the sinner in me wins. It's the same struggle the A…