Thursday, August 20, 2020

Finding Strength in Joy


“Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10

After the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt and all guards in place, the people came together as one and asked Ezra the Priest to read the laws of Moses.  He read from morning till midday, and the people listened not only with their ears but their hearts.  Then they turned their faces to the ground, prayed and worshipped God.

 As they worshipped, the people began to weep.  Humility broke out like the common cold on those that heard the words God gave to Moses.  The priest then tells them not to mourn or weep, and he speaks the verse above, telling them something I’ve often heard myself:  the joy of the Lord is your strength.

So what is the joy of the Lord?  How are we to possess that joy that becomes strength? 

What makes our God happy, what brings Him joy, that is the joy of our Lord.  For it to become our strength, we have to live in God’s will, doing what makes Him happy.  If you’ve ever been there, knowing that what you are doing is pleasing to God, you know that joy that is your strength.  It fuels a fire in your soul that will energize the work you do and give you pure joy and peace in doing it. 

I found this years ago teaching a group of preteens.  Nothing got me revved up like knowing that I was going to teach them something God wanted them to understand!  I would leave work in a hurry, run and collect a bunch of teens, and head to church.  By the time I got home it would be just in time to tuck the kids into bed and fall into bed myself!  And looking back, that was one of the most satisfying times of my life.  Why?  Because the Joy of my Lord kindled a fire in me from the love I have for Him.

We have all felt at one time or another the great joy of loving and being loved.  Think back to your first love, your first crush.  Remember how that felt?  It kindled a fire in you that put a smile on your face, and perhaps made you feel giddy and a little silly!   Friends, find that love for God in doing His will, doing ‘the Joy of the Lord’, and feel that kindled love inside for Him!  There is no joy like knowing you are pleasing God.

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