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Let the Joy of the Lord Be Your Strength!!

Lorna Nichols - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My family and friends will tell you that for the most part I am a positive, upbeat, can-do-this-with-God’s-help kind of person.  For me, the glass is never half-empty. It is half-full and at just the right time I know God is going to fill it back up to overflow. But with so much bad economic news and people all around me drifting into despair, I am finding it more and more difficult to maintain my usual level of optimism.  How about you? After all, when I ask a friend how they’re doing, I expect to hear, “Great!” or “Fine!”  I don’t expect to hear things like, “I could be doing better; I’m still looking for a job,” or “Not so good; I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be able to stay in our house.”

 With such discouraging news all around, it’s becoming more and more of a challenge maintaining my glass half-full perspective. I find myself asking, “How much longer, Lord? When will it be over? And oh, by the way, Lord, what am I supposed to do while I’m waiting on You to turn things around? The other day, as I was reading the story of Nehemiah in my Bible, I found the answer to my questions. Nehemiah 8:10 reads, “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”  Do you want God to fill your glass up to overflow? Let the joy of the Lord be your strength!  How? I’m glad you asked. Just Offer Yourself to God! 

Nehemiah was a Jew living in Persia and serving as the king’s cupbearer. One day Nehemiah heard some very discouraging news about how terrible things were going for his people back home in Jerusalem. The city’s wall was still lying in ruin and the economic picture in Jerusalem was all gloom and doom. With such bad news, Jews living in Jerusalem were feeling powerless, helpless, and hopeless.  Sound familiar? What did Nehemiah do after hearing such bad news? Nehemiah offered Himself to God.  He fasted, prayed, and then got permission from the king to go to his homeland. Nehemiah went to Jerusalem, organized the people, and led them in an effort to rebuild the wall. It wasn’t easy. Nehemiah and his people experienced numerous attacks and sabotage from local groups opposed to the rebuilding effort.  In spite of this, they rebuilt the wall in just 52 days. Under Nehemiah’s leadership, they accomplished in 52 days what they hadn’t been able to do in the 90+ years since their return to Jerusalem. How?  The joy of the Lord gave Nehemiah strength!  You too can find strength to succeed in tough times.  Just Offer Yourself!! Instead of asking, “How much longer” or “When will it be over,” ask, “Lord, What do you want to do through me?”  Remember, God speaks to us through Scripture. If you want to read and more fully understand God’s Word, visit our Website at http://bigpictureofthebible.com/.   Lorna Daniels Nichols

 

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