Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 3, 2016
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
God’s joy is free and available for all who will receive. The joy of the Lord is limitless. It is like a wellspring of living water that flows forever. You cannot pump it dry, even if you wanted to. No thirsty soul who has ever tasted God’s joy has been dissatisfied. The weak soul is rejuvenated under the influence of heavenly joy. An athletic victory is fleeting, to be enjoyed only so briefly; but the joy of the Lord penetrates the depths of who you are. God’s joy wells up to provide resilience during times of testing. This is the result of tapping into His divine resource. Natural resources deplete over time but the joy of the Lord is infinite. The joy of the Lord also travels way beyond happiness. Happiness is based on your circumstances; joy is based on your faith in God. Your circumstances will change, and with every change comes the possibility of losing your happiness.
God never changes. Therefore, the chances of losing your joy are nil, if you are focused on the Joy-Giver. Just as you depend on the local power company to provide your home with electricity, so the wise follower of Christ looks to God for his provision of joy. God’s joy is ready and waiting to be deployed into your heart. He is not stingy. Go to the eternal dispenser of joy and receive what the world cannot sustain and money cannot buy: the joy of the Lord; it is your strength. So, how can His joy be retained?
The joy of the Lord comes through the channel of faith. This is the coupon you need in exchange for this wonderful prize. Your faith is bolstered and made alive through the word of God. This joyful energy does not come from a cursory reading of God’s word, but rather a reading for understanding, application, and transformation. Joy explodes from the pages of Scripture as we understand our utter dependence on God and His tender compassion and mercy. Your mind is washed of the sin-stained lies of the world, and you begin to believe the truth that you have great significance in God’s eyes. Your exposure to the repetition and teaching of the Bible garners understanding. Your understanding of whom God is and what He has done—and is doing—for you, will cause joy to explode in your heart.
Furthermore, His strength created by His joy will sustain you even in the most difficult of circumstances. Holy Spirit-initiated life-change spews joy over you and everyone around you. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”(3 John 4). When a more mature Christian witnesses a young believer growing in the faith as a result of their discipleship time, it brings joy. When a spouse experiences unconditional love from their life mate as a result of a divine encounter, it brings joy. Application of God’s word elicits joy.
Lastly, joy comes from celebrating God’s faithfulness. Regularly recall the goodness of God. Once you were blind, but now you see. Your family, your health, your friends, your career, your opportunities, your joy, and countless other blessings are all gifts from God. These precious memories are cause for celebration. This is reason to be joyful. This is the joy of the Lord. This is the source of your strength. Be joyful in Jesus, so you can be strong in your Savior.
PrayerHeavenly Father, when I am weak and unsure I look to You for my strength and joyful obedience.
ApplicationWhat responsibility do I need to give over to God and trust in His power and guidance?
Related ReadingToday’s reading is taken from Boyd’s most popular book: Seeking Daily the Heart of God, a 365 day devotional.
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