Devotions By Jan

Strong or Weak?

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Scripture for Today: Nehemiah 8:10 “Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'”

I get a whole lot done in a day when I am happy. There is something about being joyful that energizes a person. Even when muscling through a long difficult task, I can be exhausted but it is a “happy tired.” The reverse is also true. When I am feeling down and discouraged, I am also demotivated to do much of anything.

Today’s verse is an encouragement to the Israelites not to grieve. This group of returned exiles from Babylonian captivity should have been ecstatic as their walls were now rebuilt and gates were in place. But instead of joy, they were weeping. The Book of the Law of Moses was being read to them from dawn to noon. Their response was intense grief as they understood how far they had strayed from God’s laws. Sorrow over sin is necessary in asking forgiveness, but joy and celebration are to follow! New strength is found in that joy!

When I completely blow it, sadness over letting the Lord down dominates my thinking. But feeling that sorrow is not such a bad thing. It tells me my heart is still soft enough to be broken over my failures. What is so wonderful is that the Lord promises to be near those that are brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18) He is so good to restore that joy with the forgiveness He so freely gives! There is new energy in my step when rising from my knees! His joy gives me the motivation to persevere in living for Him!

Thank you Lord, for giving me strength in joy.

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