I have been looking through the book Reclaiming Your Joy by Lorraine Hill and it is so authentic and meaningful – I know this will be a wonderful study. I was praying about my own Journey to Joy and the Lord gave me a scripture from Nehemiah: Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh 8:10. Now Nehemiah was cupbearer to Artaxerxes, king of Persia, while the Israelites were exiled there. Some had remained in Israel and were living in and around Jerusalem, but there was no wall to protect the temple, the city or its inhabitants. The city was vulnerable to the surrounding peoples and no one felt safe. In fact Nehemiah was told, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” (Neh 1:3). God gave Nehemiah favor with the king and he was permitted to return to rebuild the wall – he was even given letters of permission to travel there and supplies for the wall from the king’s own forest (Neh 2). With God’s help and protection, Nehemiah rebuilt the wall in just 52 days (Neh 6:15). Afterwards Nehemiah instructed Ezra the priest to read and explain the Law of God to the people. When the people understood their shortcomings and failings, the began to weep and mourn. They were instructed instead to rejoice and they began to celebrate because they were glad they understood what God expected from them. They were told: the joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh 8:10b).
When others around you attack and you feel vulnerable, remember that God rebuilt the wall to protect an entire city in less than two months, surely He can do the same for you – let the Joy of the Lord be your strength. When you see your own shortcomings and are grieved by your sin – let the Joy of the Lord be your strength. When you are overwhelmed by God’s plan for you and realize you really cannot do it on your own – let the Joy of the Lord be your strength. Joy is a choice, a decision; it is much better than choosing fear or guilt or defeat. The battle is not with other people or circumstances, but with ourselves. So many scriptures testify to this…
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-8, 10
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… (2 Cor 10:3-5)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:4-7
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8
So be mindful of your thought-life today…with every opportunity choose God and choose Joy.
JustaGirl…just like you!