Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength...Nehemiah 8:10

I just wanted to offer a quick thought of encouragement. I know there are many being hurt by what's going on in the world around us and we are not immune. I have never lived in a time where so many people are anxious about the future. Every day I meet people who have just been laid off or know someone who has. There is a general sense of insecurity and fear that is pervasive everywhere I go in my job. No one feels safe from what's happening.

The other day my position got temporarily down graded (or I'm hoping it's temporary). We're already struggling (but still doing OK comparatively) and I try to explain to Tayler that millions of people are hurting and we are in the same boat with them. That same day I went to Walmart to pick up a few items and on my way home I realized that I had left a bag of things there that was worth about $25. Normally I would just turn around and go to Walmart and fix the situation but the Walmart I went to that day is a good 30 minutes away and I stopped on my way home from work. I had a meltdown.

But, later that night, after calling Walmart and being put on hold, being hung-up on and then told to just come in and they would replace the items I decided to just go to the closer Walmart and rebuy them. On my way home I began thinking about an old Joyce Meyer message. My wife and I were attending one of her conferences several years ago and she explained that Satan doesn't want our "stuff". We tend to think Satan wants to take it and so we defend it and get upset when we lose it. She says that this verse makes it clear what Satan is after- our joy. Because if he can take our joy then he will take our strength. And when we are not standing in the Lord's strength we are relying on our own and Satan will devour us.

I don't want to continue to expand too much but will say that this thought has helped me many times over the years to gain a proper perspective on my circumstances. Satan wants my joy- not my happiness in circumstances but the joy I have in the Lord for Who He is and Who's I am.

I find myself worrying about the future and am looking forward to our church's next series on Fear. I have often thought that my nickname could be "Much Afraid" and find great comfort in knowing that I am not alone in this thinking.

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."

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