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Friday, September 8, 2017

Today is the Day to Live Life to the Fullest

In review of Nehemiah 8:10b it says, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength”.

Bottom Line:
Don’t be sad or sorrowful, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

What this means to me:
Today is day of our Lord, I have no reason to be dejected or sad, for the joy of the Lord will be my strength.

Today’s passage comes from Nehemiah chapter 8. When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he found more than just broken walls; he found broken lives. In response Nehemiah gathers the people together to hear Ezra read God's law. The people then repent and promise to change their lives by obeying God's words. No matter where we live, backsliding is an ever-present danger. I must constantly check my behavior against God's standards in His Word so that I do not slide into sinful ways of living.

In this chapter, after the people repent, Nehemiah tells them to then "Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. For he tells them that this is a sacred day before the Lord. They shouldn't feel dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.

The people wept when they heard God's laws and realized how far they were from obeying them. However Ezra told them they should be filled with joy because the day was sacred. It was a day and time to celebrate and to give gifts to those in need.

Celebration is not to be a self-centered action. Ezra connected celebration with giving. This gave those in need an opportunity to celebrate as well. Often when we celebrate and give to others (even when we don't feel like it), we are strengthened spiritually and filled with joy. Enter into to celebrations that honor God, and allow him to fill me with his joy.

I'm also reminded this morning that after a careful reading of Scripture I need to consider the following questions: What should I do with this knowledge? How should my life change? For I must do something about what I've learned if it is to have a real significance for my life.

Interestingly enough, Ezra, not Nehemiah, was the official religious leader. It is significant that Nehemiah was a layman, not a member of the religious establishment or a prophet. He was motivated by his relationship with God, and he devoted his life to doing God's will in a secular world. People like Nehemiah are crucial to God's word in all aspects of life. No matter what my work or role is in life, as a layman I can view my role as God's special calling to serve him. God can accomplish his purposes through me, beginning right where I am.

So, am I waiting for some magical even to take place before I can be happy?  If so, I should stop waiting and start enjoying happiness right here and now.

The best-kept secret about happiness is that I must have it inside before I can give it to anybody else. And pasting a fake smile on my face is not happiness. Joy comes from God the Father. Tap into the Source and let Him open the floodgates of my life. There’s no need to live in a state of anxiety, fearing what might happen next. I think most of the problems we worry about never happen.

We tend to worry and worry and then worry some more. Stop it! Today is a reminder that the joy of the Lord is my strength!  Enjoy the journey! Don’t keep rushing around in search of happiness, convincing myself that when I cross some imaginary finish line, that there I will find happiness. Today is the day to live life to the fullest. Today is the day to start dancing in the rain.