Bishop Gary Lillibridge invited Diocesan Council to engage in a second Bible study, focusing on the word “strength” as found in the verse representing the annual theme, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
“Like ‘joy,’ the word ‘strength’ and its various derivatives, can be found throughout Scripture. According to my concordances, over 500 times,” said Lillibridge.
Examples include Exodus 15:2, “The Lord is my strength and my might, and has become my salvation;” Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me;” and 2 Corinthians 12:9, where Paul writes, “But he (the Lord) said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Lillibridge said in these examples, strength speaks to us about confidence. He said, “Hebrews comes to mind when I hear the words assurance, certainty, and confidence (11:1), “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen;” (NRSV) or “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certainty of what we do not see” (NIV).
“This exemplifies confidence in the faith that God will see us through, and thereby brings the literal meaning of the name ‘Nehemiah’ to bear in our own lives,” said Lillibridge.
Bringing forth other scriptural and liturgical examples, Lillibridge said, “Joy and strength become part of what we understand as the comfort and consolation of God, possible in all circumstances – even those events which we do not celebrate.”
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Diocesan Council then engaged in a study on the word “strength” together. You can find the questions, along with Lillibridge’s full introduction on the Go Green page.