www.joyfulheart.com    Saturday, December 2, 2023


You'll find a treasure trove here of hundreds of stories, articles and Bible studies. Why don't you sample it right now with a brief inspirational piece, a touch of humor, and the story behind America's favorite hymn. Feel free to use the articles you find here in your bulletins, newsletters, and sermons -- so long as you don't post them on a website.

Many churches and disciplers are using JesusWalk: Beginning the Journey, discipleship and spiritual formation curriculum, specifically designed for new believers.

Part of our ministry is pioneering the JesusWalk® Internet Bible Study Series. Why don't you sign up for one of our free online Bible studies, but only sign up for one at a time -- they're pretty intensive! Or you can purchase one of our Bible study books or e-books. There are nearly 50 free e-mail studies here.

New Bible study on 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, Leadership and Discipleship Lessons from the Pastoral Epistles begins Friday, January 5, 2024, free of charge via e-mail.

These are some of the more recent articles on this site:

  • Comfort for the Downcast (2 Corinthians 7:5-6), in The Joyful Heart (13 November 2023).  A brief study of how God comforts us in struggles, and also uses us to comfort others in their low points.
  • Cleft (Cleaved) for Me -- a brief meditation on the song 'Rock of Ages'. The Joyful Heart, 2 October 2023.
  • Skilled Workers in God's Word (2 Timothy 2:15). A phrase by phrase exposition and practical application.
  • Don't Give Up! A Brief Exposition of 1 Corinthians 15:58. The Joyful Heart, 27 April 2023. Paul exhorts us to see beyond our present struggles, to be steadfast, immoveable, looking for the final reward.
  • The Spokesman Who Is the Sacrifice (1 John 2:1-2). The Joyful Heart, 11 Aug 2022. Explores with awe that the One who advocates for us before the Father is the same Person as our Atoning Sacrifice, the Lamb of God.
  • Becoming a Confidant of Yahweh (Psalm 25:14). The Joyful Heart, 6 May 2022. Explores the intimacy promised in this Psalm for those who would know God as a Friend, and how to enter into that intimacy.
  • God Doesn't Admire Legs (Psalm 147:10-11). The Joyful Heart, 22 Apr 2022. The Psalmist teaches that God isn't impressed with human achievement. Rather he takes pleasure in those who love and trust in his steadfast love.
  • 'By His Wounds You Are Healed' (1 Peter 2:24-25), The Joyful Heart, 29 Mar 2022. Three brief thoughts in this passage that looks to Jesus' death on the cross.
  • Psalm 86 -- Praying in the Day of Trouble. The Joyful Heart, 28 Jan 2022. How do you pray when the walls are closing in? Here is an example of one of David's prayers.
  • Bring a Sacrifice of Praise (Hebrews 13:15-16), The Joyful Heart, 21 Jan 2022. An encouragement to worship continually, with our lips, our lives, our giving, and our praise. Here's my current list of Scripture songs that I often sing from in my morning devotional time to lift my spirit to God.
  • Catch and Release (based on Luke 1:5-11). The Joyful Heart, 1 November 2021. A short story of the call of Peter and Andrew with the miraculous catch of fish, and the promise that in the future they will be fishers of men, literally, "take men alive," from the unique Greek verb used: zōgreō.
  • Gentle Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30). A call to reject legalism and guilt, and receive Jesus' love, his rest, his light and easy-fitting yoke as a disciple.
  • Lean Not on Your Own Understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). The Joyful Heart, 22 Oct 2021. A brief exposition of two verses often seen as a formula to discern God's will and direction for your life.
  • Lives Like Sweet-Smelling Incense (Acts 10:4), The Joyful Heart, 9 Aug 2021. Often we're so self-critical that we never understand our Father's point of view. He breathes in our prayers and service as sweet-smelling incense -- they give him joy.
  • Joy in the Secret Place (Psalm 32:6-11), The Joyful Heart, 2 Sep 2021. David describes the protection of God's Hiding Place, his joy, his patient instruction, and his abundant steadfast love (hesed) Audio (15:12).
  • Come and See! The Joyful Heart, June 16, 2021. Jesus invites you to a winsome walk alongside him. Thoughts on John 1:29-51. Audio (9:30).
  • Psalm 73. God, Our Glory and Portion (Psalm 73:23-26). The Joyful Heart, March 16, 2021. An exposition of the confidence we have in the Lord, and his blessings both in this life and in glory -- the life to come. Audio (13:35).
  • "Jesus the Healer" (Mark 1:29-39), sermon preached at Rock Harbor Covenant Church, Rocklin, California on 7 Mar 2021. Overview of Jesus' healing ministry, and call for healing ministry today. Audio (19:21), Video (28:00, scroll to elapsed time 32:28 to begin the sermon portion).
  • Psalm 61 -- Lead Me to the Rock that Is Higher than I. Joyful Heart, 16 Jan 2021. Audio (14:01). An exposition noticing the intimacy of God's protection, his strength, and the joy of singing to him.
  • Archippus, Fulfill Your Ministry (Colossians 4:17). Joyful Heart, 30 Dec 2020. A brief study of Paul's exhortation to Archippus of Colossae to complete the ministry assignment God had given him, and its implication for our lives today. Audio (7:09).
  •  How I Pray for the U.S. President. Joyful Heart, 23 Nov 2020. A call to pray diligently for presidents, kings, and prime ministers for (1) humility and (2) wisdom, no matter whether we like them or not.
  •  Use Zoom to Facilitate Fellowship before and after Meetings or Church Services with Self-Selected Breakout Rooms. Joyful Heart, 9 Dec 2020. Techniques that allow participants to chat with each other before and after meetings to nurture friendships.
  •  Psalm 84 -- A Day in Your Courts. Joyful Heart, 5 Nov 2020. A verse by verse exposition of Psalm 84, where the psalmist, a Levitical singer and gatekeeper in the temple, describes the temple courts he loves, and extols the God he loves even more.
  •  The 7 Essential Elements for Growing as Disciples. Joyful Heart, 28 Oct 2020. Explores the non-negotiable elements needed to help us to grow optimally as disciples.
  •  I Invite You, Lord, to Examine My Ways (Psalm 139:23-24). Joyful Heart, 9 Dec 2020. David sees God intruding in his life and wants to escape. But then he sees God's tender love and opens his inner heart to God's inspection and leadership.
  • The Most Hated Man in Capernaum. Joyful Heart, 8 Jul 2020. A short short taken from the Gospel account of the calling of Levi (Matthew) the tax collector, and Jesus' saying, that a doctor comes to heal the sick, not seek out the healthy.
  • "Learn from Me," Joyful Heart, 6 May 2020. Reflections on Jesus' invitation to take his yoke upon you and learn from him, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
  • "Michael Archangel, Reporting," Joyful Heart, April 8, 2020. A monologue by the Archangel Michael, reporting on the events of Holy Week from the perspective of the Head of Security for the Kingdom.
  • Seeking God Diligently (Isaiah 55:6-9). Isaiah suggests that seeking God requires an active desire to connect with God, that we can't assume that we can 'find' God whenever we're ready. Seeking God must include repentance.
  • The Paradox of Voluntary Slavery. Thoughts on 'selling oneself to do evil,' and the Kinsman-Redeemer Jesus who buys back the slaves and sets them free.
  • Regaining Your First Love (Revelation 2:4). Joyful Heart, 3 April 2020. Thoughts on personal renewal from Jesus' Letter to the Church at Ephesus.
  • O, Come, Let Us Adore Him, a Christmas Meditation on the carol, "O, Come All Ye Faithful" (Adeste Fideles), with themes of praise, incarnation, and realization that the Baby in the manger is God himself in human flesh.
  • A New Year's Paradigm Shift -- Soaring not Struggling (Isaiah 40:28-31). Compares physical strength with the spiritual strength God gives us when we rely on him. The Joyful Heart, December 31, 2019.*
  • Become a Growing Disciple! Learn to Feed Yourself. Too Christians many are dependent upon sermons or devotional guides. Encourages believers to learn to feed themselves through daily Scripture reading and reflection. The Joyful Heart, 15 January 2019.*

  • The Cosmic Significance of the Cross, Considers what happened in heavenly places when Christ died on the cross, destroying Satan's work and disarming principalities and powers. Joyful Heart, March 25, 2019.*

  • Let Us Lift Up Our Hearts with our Hands, an exposition of Lamentations 3:40-41, a call for self-examination and fearless moral inventory, followed by repentance and faith. The Joyful Heart, September 24, 2019.*

  • The Steadfast Love of the Lord, an exposition of Lamentations 3:22-23, God's mercies that never fail, that are new every morning, 'Great Is Thy Faithfulness.' The Joyful Heart, September 24, 2019.*
  • Seek His Face Continually (Psalm 105:4). An exposition of David's Psalm 105:4, about seeking God with all one's heart -- always and continually. The Joyful Heart, August 19, 2019.*
  • The Lord Needs It. Musings on the donkey that Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on Paul Sunday. The Joyful Heart, April 14, 2019.*

  • Where Are You, Adam? We can have a devotional time as a duty. But at its best it is like walking with God in the cool of the day. Fellowship, enjoying each other's company. The Joyful Heart, March 4, 2019.*
  • Everlasting Arms. An exposition of the passage, "and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27) which refers to God's strength and willingness to do battle on our behalf. The Joyful Heart, September 15, 2019.*
  • Gym Training for Spiritual Fitness (1 Timothy 4:7-8). Compares regular training in a gym to spiritual exercises in one's devotional life, leading to spiritual fitness and spiritual growth. The Joyful Heart, June 25, 2019.*
  • God's Irrepressible Glory, reflections on Isaiah 6:3, "the whole earth is full of His glory." The Joyful Heart, June 25, 2019.*
  • The Bold Intimacy of Gethsemane, Meditation on why Jesus was so deeply troubled at Gethsemane, and what the cross cost Jesus and the Father. The Joyful Heart, March 19, 2016.*
  • Symbol of the TrinityFour Reasons Why I Believe in the Trinity, A careful reading of the New Testament requires a Trinitarian understanding of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now in booklet form for reprinting.

You can also browse using the categories at the left or by putting keywords into the site search feature at the top left of this page.

Now, sit back and get ready to enjoy a labor of love.

Why don't you check out some of these categories:

Beginning the Journey (for new Christians).
en Español
1, 2, and 3 John
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
1 Peter
2 Peter, Jude
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
7 Last Words of Christ
Christmas Incarnation
Christ Powered Life (Rom 5-8)
David, Life of
The Glorious Kingdom
Great Prayers
Holy Spirit, Guide to the
Jesus and the Kingdom
John's Gospel
John's Letters
Lamb of God
Listening for God's Voice
Lord's Supper
Names of God
Names of Jesus
Paul, Life of
Psalms, Songs of Ascent
Sermon on the Mount

Copyright © 2023, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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