|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Stay strong”
Our Bible verse for today: “Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “The joy of the Lord will be your strength.”
I once had a co-worker by the name of Bob. Bob had a sports accident as a teenager which broke his neck and rendered him a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. With the exception of limited use of both hands, he was paralyzed from the neck down. He spent his days in a motorized wheelchair and needed assistance with almost all daily tasks.
However, Bob was one of the most determined, irrepressible, and joyful people I knew. When I knew him he was in his 40s, and had been in that wheelchair for almost twenty-five years. But he never allowed that to stop him from living a full life. He learned how to drive his own specially equipped van; he worked as a Marriage and Family Counselor in a counseling center; he was a committed Christian who sang in the choir and sometimes taught adult Bible studies; and despite his limitations and restrictions, Bob glowed with optimism and joy. He often told me what a blessed man he was and how much he enjoyed living.
His secret? Bob stayed close to the Lord, and as a result, he had the joy of the Lord – and that made him strong. Rather than lamenting what he couldn’t do and what he didn’t have, Bob was grateful for the things he could do and for all that he did have. That attitude, and that continuous focus on the Lord, made Bob joyful and strong.
In Nehemiah chapter eight we’re reading about a time when some of the dispersed Jews had been allowed to return to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the city and the temple. Seventy years earlier they had all been taken into captivity and the city had been destroyed. Now, as they viewed the ruins and the huge task in front of them, they could have been depressed and they could have been lamenting all that they had lost. Instead, Ezra the priest read to them from the book of the law of Moses, and then he told them to be grateful for the fact that they were back in Jerusalem. He said they were to celebrate and be joyful, because being joyful in the Lord would provide them with the strength they needed to deal with the challenges in front of them.
What was true for those ancient Israelites and for my old friend Bob is true for us as well. Regardless of what you are facing, give thanks to the Lord, stay focused on Him, find your joy in Him, and that will make you strong.
The joy of the Lord will be your strength!
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