August 17, 2017
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Give your entire situation to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
“Sometimes I compare the troubles we have to undergo in the course of (our lives) to a great bundle of sticks, far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundles, and gives us first one stick, which we are able to carry tomorrow, and so on. This we might easily manage, if we would only take the burden appointed for each day; but we choose to increase our trouble by carrying yesterday’s stick over again today, and adding tomorrow’s burden to our load before we are required to bear it.”
Hour by Hour
“One single day is not so much to look upon.
There is some way of passing hours of such a limit.
We can face a single day;
But place too many days before sad eyes –
Too many days for smothered sighs, -
And we lose heart, just at the start…
…God broke the years to hours and days,
That hour by hour and day by day
Just going on a little way,
We might be able all along
To keep strong should all the weights of life
Be laid across our shoulders, and the future rife
With woe and struggle, meet us face to face
at just one place,
We could not go:
Our feet would stop; and so
God lays a little on us every day,
And never, I believe, on all the way
Will burdens bear so deep.
Or pathways lie so steep,
But we can go, if by God’s power
We only bear the burden of the hour.”
Today’s Study Text:
“For the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
“He who gives you the day will also give you the things necessary for the day.”
Gregory of Nyssa
“Strength for Each Day” Part 4
“Invincible” – incapable of being conquered, over-run, or subjugated.
How do I define the word “joy”?
Do I feel my life is not “joyful”?
Is there something or someone in my life who gives me joy?
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
New International Version
“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
It should have been a day filled with great joy. Nehemiah had returned to his homeland to rebuild the wall around the city of Jerusalem.
Well, despite people saying, “It couldn’t be done,” although people in the surrounding region attacked the workers; and even with the mocking of a man named Sanballat, who ridiculed the workers on the wall, calling them “feeble Jews” and scoffing at their attempt to “revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which were burned;” the wall was rebuilt. Nehemiah set up the doors. And as one last task, Nehemiah made a register of all the people. The job was completed!
Then Nehemiah along with Ezra, the scribe, took the book of the law of Moses. He called all the people together and, in a blessed celebration, read the words of God to the people. Nehemiah 8: 8 states:
“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”
What excitement! The task of protecting the city was completed. The captive Israelites long exiled in Babylon had come home. Wouldn’t you be happy if you were among the crowd? Home at last! And Nehemiah, ready to have some joy in his own life, told the people – be happy! But they weren’t happy. They wept.
Why do you suppose this was their response? How do you think you would have reacted had you been in the crowd that day?
You see, the people cried because they looked at their history – their past, and they matched it against the words of Moses that contained the glorious plan God originally had for their lives. It didn’t take long for them to realize they had “messed up” big time!
It was never in God’s plan for them to be carried away into captivity to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. It was never in God’s plan for their beloved Temple to be burned and destroyed. And it was never in God’s plan for the walls of their city to lie in rubble leaving them vulnerable to the attacks of outsiders. God had a better plan for them. As the people listened, they wept because they began to reflect on what could have been.
I know there are events in my own life, just like the people of Israel, where I feel like weeping over “what could have been.” Do you feel the same way today about something in your past? Did the wall of protection around you become broken down by neglect? Was the Temple of your life ruined by outside invaders? And do you sometimes say to yourself, “If only I had taken a different road…if only I had made a better choice…would I be in all this trouble now?”
If you feel this way today, take heart! I invite you to listen to Nehemiah’s words to the people for they contain a message for you and me:
“Then Nehemiah said, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared (They were to share, too!) This day is holy unto our Lord: don’t be sad! For the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
What a wonderful encouragement for us! And what sage advice from God’s prophet, Nehemiah. When we look at the past – we become discouraged. We feel hopeless. We are sorrowful. We get depressed. We weep!
“Don’t cry over spilled milk,” is Nehemiah’s message. Instead, look to God who is the joy of your strength.
And I want to add, maybe our problem is that we think God’s joy will be like a day at Disneyland when His joy is really a lifetime filled with His presence.
An invincible individual will have courage like Deborah because they know God is their source. An invincible person will have the courage to change like Ruth because they follow the call of God. An invincible person will be filled with Heavenly joy because God is their strength. I pray the joy of the Lord will be your strength today.
“May God our healer continue the journey of hope begun in you, allowing you to know seasons of joy and peace, relationships of warmth and faithfulness. Amen.”
Kathleen Fischer and
“Let me hear joy and gladness…restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me…repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.”
Psalm 51 8,12,18
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