Tag Archives: surviving

Choosing Joy


There was a time when I was so broken, hurt, and angry that I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I would see images that got me worked up. After a while of it, I gave up trying to sleep and turned on the TV. As I was flipping through, I found a local, Christian station. All night they played the music of worship songs. As the songs played, they showed pictures of flower covered hillsides and had Bible verses pop in and out. As I listened to the music and read the verses, I began to heal.

One of the verses that came on the screen was Philippians 4:4. It said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” The old song for that verse, that I had learned as a kid, began to play in my mind. After singing it a few times, I began to sing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart” and “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. Slowly the anger began to leave me. God’s Word was brining the healing that I needed and eventually restored the joy in my life.

King David was a man who had stresses and worries too. Running a kingdom is hard work. Plus he had many enemies, including his own son Absalom. In Psalm 119:143, David wrote, “I am filled with trouble and anxiety, but your commandments bring me joy” (GNT). No matter how much anxiety or trouble he was facing, he could turn to God’s Word and find joy. He knew he could choose to wallow in his anxiety or he could choose joy.

Each of us have the same choice. We can choose to focus on our troubles and become anxious or we can choose to read the promises of God and find joy. In the darkest nights of my life, I found the joy that comes from God’s Word. Did it take away my situation? No, but it helped me get through it. It reminded me that I can choose to rejoice, I can have joy and that the Lord’s joy gives me strength. With His strength I was able to make it through that time. You too can make it through whatever you’re facing in His strength.

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The Olive Tree


One of the cool things we got to see on our trip to Israel was the Garden of Gethsemane. It was at the foot of the Mount of Olives just outside of the Old City of Jerusalem. In the garden were several olive trees. The picture you see is one that I took of them. They were huge and were centuries old. These trees have survived droughts, earthquakes, and people taking parts of them because of care takers. They still produce olives to this day.

In Psalm 52:8, David said, “But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love” (NLT). David understood that if he planted himself in God’s house, watered himself with God’s Word, and allowed himself to be cared for by God, he would thrive and produce fruit all the days of his life. He would be able to survive what life threw at him.

We all go through spiritual droughts, have our world shaken, and even have people pick us apart. The question is, “Where are you planted?” Are you planted in the fertile soil of God’s Word? If we want to thrive, even in the toughest times, we must plant ourselves, like David, in God’s house and trust in Him. He will care for you and cause you to keep producing long after everyone else thinks you’re done. 

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The Joy Of The Lord

  
People draw their strength from many things. In sports, you’ll often hear of a team who had a big comeback to win. They will draw on that later in the season and it will give them strength to keep trying the next time they’re down. In business, many companies draw their strength from how much they have in the bank. If a company invests in themselves and their future along with a big bank account, we would say that’s a strong company.

For us, there’s inner strength and outer strength. Outer strength comes from lifting weights and exercising. Inner strength is much different. You can be strong on the outside, but weak on the inside. You can’t exercise anything to become strong on the inside. When adversity comes, many people tend to worry and become anxious. Some just try to weather the storm. Those with an inner strength seem to be able to handle anything though.

When my life was flipped upside down and the storm wouldn’t seem to quit, I remember just trying to make it through each minute. I thought if I could survive that minute, I could survive the storm. As I lay in bed one night, I remembered a song from my childhood. I began to sing softly, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I sang it over and over. I was reminding myself that on my own, I didn’t have the strength to survive, but through God’s strength I did.

As I read Psalm 84:5, I think about those long, sleepless nights. The Psalmist wrote, “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord” (NLT). He knew that you can find joy in the midst of your pain and suffering if you find your strength in God. That strength comes first by handing Him your problem. Admiring you can’t do it on your own is the first step. When we give it to Him, the sufficiency of His grace washes over our life and we find strength in Him.

From my experience, the storm will not end when you do that. What changes is how you see the storm and how you respond to it. God can give you His joy in the midst of sorrow. He can give you the strength to walk on water even when the storm rages if we keep our eyes on Him. The strength of the Lord will not fail you in your time of need. It’s something you can rely on over and over no matter how bad things get. Don’t try to go through your storm alone. Find your strength in the Lord and let Him provide you with the shelter you need.

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