Dear Lord, help me remember what a difference it makes when I make time with You a priority in my morning. Awaken me in body and spirit each day with a desire to meet with You and to hear You speak words of affirmation, assurance, and wisdom over my heart as I prepare to go into my day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“If any of your lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
Once again our family has experienced the heartache of loss. I stood holding my mother-in-law as she watched her 88 year old husband being wheeled out of her living room by paramedics. Neither of us realizing it would be the last time she would see him alive. Joe’s three daughters were all out of state. So Monty went to the hospital to see what the doctors would say. Bobbie and I stayed back for her to get dressed and join Joe at the hospital.
~To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
A routine morning changed in an instant. Joe would succumb to respiratory challenges and other underlying health conditions. In a moment, hearts were broken and for my mother-in-law the weight felt more than she could bear. As we left the hospital my heart was heavy. Not only for the Caldwell family and my mother-in-law but for those who were there fighting and those who might enter needing care. Before exiting I paused and breathed deep a prayer over every life that would come in emergent. Peace be still Father.
There is so much brokenness, heartbreak, sadness and pain in this world. I simply encourage you to pause throughout your day- consider those the Lord brings to heart and mind: the lonely, the empty womb of one who longs to be a mama, a mama who has lost her child too soon and cannot bear the thought of life without their child, the homeless, a weary stranger, cancer’s rampage, those who have lost loved ones to Covid, are battling the virus now or the body diseased and ravaged with pain, accidents or unexpected injury.
The list could go on snd your life has likely been impacted by your very own heart-breaking life moment.
I felt so energized by the Lord as I walked out of the ER. Knowing that we can full well carry and lift another’s care as the Lord sees fit. To everything there is a season. Joy and living life full, heartache and pain. Today our prayers can rise together as we fulfill Galatians 6:2 to “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
So I ask you to pray with me. I ask that you reach out to someone to share your hearts need of you need prayer today. But I ask more than anything that we consider praying for those within and beyond our reach that the Lord will lighten the load that we can carry for them.
In this world we will have trouble. Life. Death. Loss. Pain. Suffering. Victory. Defeat.
But this I know. We are not alone. Joe Caldwell moved from life to eternal life. His joy has been made complete by His creator. For those who know this hope in Jesus, we can carry the difficult loads for those we know and love or God allows along our way. Pay attention to those who may be walking the broken road.
A Prayer Those With A Heavy Heart
Thank you for reminding us in your Word that we do not face the storms alone, but you are always with us. Whispering calm. Speaking peace. Bringing rest to our souls.
This world feels like a hard place some days; it’s hurting and broken. We pray for those who are facing deep losses right now, for the times that grief has covered us all. Please comfort us through the painful seasons, surrounding those we love with your huge peace and the reassuring presence of your Holy Spirit.
We confess our need for you. We ask you to forgive us for trying to figure everything out on our own, for not trusting that you are more than able and powerful to work on our behalf. Forgive us for picking back up what we already determined to lay down at your feet. Give us the ability to trust you more, give us hearts that find rest in your presence. Give us the wisdom to seek peace and pursue it, remembering that it’s only to be found in You.
Thank you for the promise that your yoke is easy, and your burden is light. Thank you that you care for us so incredibly and that the peace of your loving presence guards and protects our hearts and minds in you. Thank you that we never have to walk in fear or live constantly in these overwhelmed cycles of worry and stress.
Help us to keep our eyes on you, and to see when another soul around us needs to be encouraged. Help us to be faithful to carry one another’s burdens, remembering that we’re all in this life together, and there’s such great power in unity and love.
Thank you that you are the soul refresher, the One who brings us rest, lifts our burdens, and gives peace. Thank you that you renew our strength and encourage our weary hearts. Thank you that you know our needs before we even ask you, that you know our thoughts, and all that troubles us today.
We ask you to please bring us into seasons of refreshing from your Spirit, that you would draw us closer to your presence as we seek to follow you. Help us to remember what’s most important in this world, and what’s not. Teach us to hold on to what matters, and to better know how to let go of what doesn’t.
Thank you for the gift of Jesus and the freedom He brings. For no matter what we go through in this life, or what we’re up against today, we never have to be shaken. You hold us secure, and we’re kept safe with you.
We love you Lord. We need you today, to once again lift from our hearts this heaviness and constant burden, as only you are able. And help us to find rest and hope in you again.
We know that prophets throughout the ages have heard God’s voice and proclaimed his messages with confidence. And we believe our God still speaks to us today. But how do we hear God’s voice? Our lives are noisy, and our heads are filled with so many voices vying for attention and influence. So how do we receive clear guidance from God for our everyday lives?
To intentionally hear how God is speaking to us, my family and I practice an expression of prayer called “listening prayer.” This has been an important part of my prayer life for many years.
How listening prayer helps us hear God
Most of us picture prayer sort of like a monologue: We talk to God, sharing our heartfelt thanks and offering up our petitions and requests. But prayer is really more like a dialogue, where we speak with God and the Lord speaks to us.
Listening prayer centers around a clear request for God’s guidance. In making our request, we give God’s guidance authority over the other voices we hear throughout our daily lives. Then we hit the pause button. We wait on God in a time of silence, giving the Lord opportunity to speak to us. We focus our time of prayer on intentional, purposeful listening and let God do the talking.
This is really important because as followers of Jesus, we all desire to do the right thing and make the wisest choices. Yet we are constantly being bombarded with the noise of the world all around us. There are lots of voices telling us very different messages, and too often we find ourselves challenged and confused about what we should do in a given situation or what is really the best way ahead. These are times when we can seek God’s guidance through listening prayer.
What the Bible says about listening to God in prayer
God is the source of all wisdom
The Book of James invites us to make a request to God for the wisdom we need. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5, NIV). God wants us to ask for his wisdom and will generously give it to us.
In Psalm 100, the psalmist reminds us that the Lord himself is our shepherd and that we are his people, the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). In the New Testament, Jesus identifies himself as the good shepherd who is willing to lay down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).
God’s sheep recognize God’s voice
According to Jesus, we are his sheep, the flock of his pasture. John 10 expands on this wonderful theme. As Jesus’s sheep, we should be able to listen to his voice and follow him because we clearly recognize his voice.
Jesus is able to lead us precisely because we hear his voice and follow after him. “The gatekeeper opens the gate for [Jesus], and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3–4, emphasis mine).
In the next verse, Jesus makes the point that we should not follow any other voice. “But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice” (John 10:5). Later Jesus alludes to the gentiles who will also hear his voice and follow him. “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16, emphasis mine).
Our Lord Jesus is very happy to lead us as his disciples and those who follow him should be able to hear his voice and receive the guidance we need. It is part of our birthright when we are born again by the Holy Spirit and become followers of Jesus. But what about those other voices? How can we be sure we are hearing only from our Lord?
Tuning out the other voices around us
Voices or impressions on our spirit will come from one of four sources: (1) your own mind; (2) the mind of others (e.g., the world); (3) the mind of Satan (e.g., demons); and (4) the mind of God.
God has given us authority in Christ to silence the other sources and clear the way to hear God’s voice and be confident that it is God speaking.
Just before ascending into heaven, the Risen Lord Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18–19). Earlier, when Jesus commissioned his disciples, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, sending them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1–2).
After this Jesus sent out 72 others to do the same (Luke 10:1). They returned with joy and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:17–20). We know that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. And Jesus gives us his authority to silence the enemy.
Submitting our own thoughts to God
But what about our voices? How can we be sure we are not hearing our own thoughts? In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul suggests that we can also take authority over our own thoughts to make them obedient to Christ.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3–5, emphasis mine).
How to practice listening prayer
I have personally found that the best way to do listening prayer is with a small group of people, as opposed to trying it alone. This is especially so if we are new to it. Later, as we gain confidence in the process and become more sensitive to hearing God’s voice, we can also do listening prayer on our own.
Here’s an outline you can follow as you join together with your prayer partners in a listening prayer.
1. Come to God with your request for guidance
Share with God your specific request for guidance in prayer. And by the power of Christ, give God’s voice authority over the voices of others and our own voices.
Listening prayer template
“Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ, your son, and according to James 1:5. I am seeking wisdom for _____________(your request).
In the name of Jesus, according to Matthew 28:18 and Luke 10:19–20, I take authority over Satan and his fallen angels and command that they be rendered deaf, mute, and blind to my prayers, and removed from my presence.
I submit my own voice to the shed blood of Jesus and command that my own thoughts be taken captive to the obedience of Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 10:5.
I ask, Father, that only your Holy Spirit will speak to me now as I wait on you for wisdom, insight, and direction. And whatever you show me or direct me to do, I pray that I will quickly obey.
In Jesus’s mighty name, amen.”
2. Wait in silence for God to speak for 10–12 minutes
Listen to what God is saying to you. What themes emerge? What becomes clear about God’s plan for you as you listen?
3. Jot down any Scripture, songs, impressions, or pictures God gives you
I have done listening prayer with my children, and it’s wonderful to see how the Lord chooses to speak. One may receive a verse from Scripture, another a song. Sometimes a member of our family gets one word, or a particular phrase. Another sees a picture. Often the Lord gives us one piece of the message, and it only seems to make sense after everyone has had the chance to share what they received.
4. Share how God spoke to you with a prayer partner and follow God’s will
Father, I need to hear from You. Today, I make the commitment to start having a daily quiet time. I will listen for Your voice above all of the other voices in my life. Lord, teach me how to center my life on You and help me obey what I hear You say. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Mary Southerland
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”Philippians 4:6
There are two primary reasons why we pray. The first is obedience to the Lord and the second is more pragmatic prayer works. God answers prayer, but while answered prayer is one of the great motivations to pray, unanswered prayer can discourage one’s prayer life.
Distractions in prayer are things that prevent one from focusing on prayer, and this can bring about unanswered prayers.
There are two types of distractions:
External, e.g. toddlers, cell phones, environmental noise, etc…..
Internal e.g. need for food (hunger) or sleep, preoccupation, “thought-life”, the enemy’s suggestions, enticements, lack of self-control, etc.
We can overcome these distractions by committing to a routine of prayers for weeks or months, quieting ourselves to hear God, both internally and externally, finding a peaceful and quiet place to pray, prioritising prayer (do not let a day go by without spending time with God), taking care of all external forces that can distract us, before going into prayers, working on our “thought-life”, applying self-control, and committing ourselves to the Lord before embarking on prayers.
Once you realise you are distracted in prayers, turn your heart and mind back to your prayer, with the help of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26). Do not examine the distraction to the extent that it would begin to weigh you down.
1. Father, give me the power to pray prevailing prayer.
2. Every form of distraction to my prayer life, give way, in Jesus’ name.
3. Lord, help me to focus more on You, so I will always receive whatever You have for me in the place of prayer, in Jesus’ name.
As I start this day, help me remember that I belong to you, and my desire is to act accordingly. Keep my feet from stumbling and my mind from wandering into distractions that could steal precious time and energy from the most important things you have designed for me. I’m proud to be your child, Lord. And I’m so grateful that you died for me—rising again on your own new morning—so that every day could be filled with the wonder of your love, the freedom of your Spirit, and the joy of knowing you. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Morning Sixteen: A Prayer to Love the Life You Have
28 Days of Morning Prayer Focus
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
A couple thousand years after Joseph ruled and was then left to rot in prison, Paul lived and wrote the same things about life.
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
What is the secret of joy and contentment in the face of whatever life brings? It’s centering and anchoring our joy and contentment in Christ, rather than in life.
John Piper says~
“When we have little and have lost much, Christ comes and reveals himself as more valuable than what we have lost. And when we have much and are overflowing in abundance, Christ comes and he shows that he is far superior to everything we have.”
God, help me love the life I live right now. Show me the good things I often overlook and help me be content with what I have. Forgive me when I compare myself to others, forgive me for longing for things outside of you and your kingdom. Thank you for loving me right where I am, right as I am. Help me keep my eyes on you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Note: Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this read. I borrowed a few words from this post to encourage you heart today.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
From my heart this morning:
How can we make sure there is more room for God to speak, direct, and move in our lives? That is the question God has prompted throughout our world in this season.
The answer God has been putting in my heart is to begin walking even more purposefully in the grace of God. My problem with that is, grace feels like a weak word and I have been resisting. Yet consider the cross of Jesus Christ.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
What Is The Spiritual Meaning Of Grace?
What is grace spiritually? When I think of grace I think of the character of God. That’s probably why grace and mercy are tied together in my mind. God shows both so often and both feel so out of my reach at times.
Mercy – Not getting what I deserve.
In God’s mercy, He forgave my sins.
Grace – Getting what I could never deserve.
Through God’s grace, He saved me, adopted me, and made me a co-heir with Jesus Christ.
Accepting and not striving are very active processes – at least in my life. Walking in the grace of God is not a passive thing. Living by grace requires action. In fact, looking at the action required tells me that a weak person could never live by grace.
Woman of Grace- You are so loved. Who are you and how do you live out the work of grace in YOUR life?
A woman of grace then must be a very strong person. Walking in the grace of God is something any of us can do if we take a few steps.
1. Understand God’s divine grace.
2. Allow God to change what He wants.
3. Accept grace daily.
4. Allow grace to mature through practice.
5. Release the need to control.
6. Spend more time with God in prayer and Bible study and prayer.
7. Live openly in the community with the body of Christ.
Lord, thank you for your abundant, abounding grace. Thank you that we don’t have to earn a drop of the mighty river of grace that flows freely for us today. Thank you for the unexpected, unmerited favor you’ve showered on my life. Help me put myself in the path of your love and grace. Help me not neglect the disciplines I need to meet with you regularly and to drink from the water of life. Thank you for your rich love. Amen.
How many of you exchanged gifts with your family members @ Christmas?
Giving someone a gift they enjoy is one way to show love. In order for others to know what your interests are, you might have come up with a list of items for gifts that you wanted to receive.
If you made a Christmas list for your family, I want you to take a minute to think about what you had on your list that you would love to get.
For some of you, this might come really easily. For others, you might not remember what you asked for. Maybe it was a certain toy or a special doll, a pair of headphones, or maybe even a pony!
Now that you’ve had a chance to recreate your list, I’m wondering if you got everything that you asked for?
All that I wanted for Christmas was an Instant Pot, a new robe and my family to be together at my house. I got everything wanted and am still enjoying my gifts.
If you did, are you happy and content with what you got?
I pray you are still enjoying your gifts and not wanting anything new. If you have already started another list of things that you want, things that you think will make you even MORE happy- we have a wonderful lesson to remind us about being content and thankful.
Isn’t it interesting how quickly our hearts look for the next big thing? Why do you think this is?
Wanting new and better things in life isn’t bad. However we need to be careful not to be consumed by those things. God always deserves to be first in our lives.
I have two bags here that will hopefully help us understand this more.
This bag is going to represent our hearts without God at the center. Wonder what might be the message of this bag?
Without God at the center, our hearts can be filled with greed, envy, jealousy, pride, and selfishness. Only God can remove these from our heart. He is the One who knows what makes our hearts happy and content because He is the One who made us.
Let me ask you another question. If you didn’t get everything you asked for this past Christmas, do you think that means you are loved any less?
Of course not! Our love for each other can never be measured by things of this world. True love comes from God and He showed His great love for us by giving us the greatest gift, His Son – Jesus!
When Jesus left His throne in heaven to come to earth, He wasn’t treated like royalty. He didn’t get a comfy warm place in the inn or a chair with pillows and a snack like all of you. He was laid in a manger with the animals, a humble spot, kind of like those of you sitting on the floor.
Instead of being served, Jesus came to serve. Jesus demonstrated love that was not of this world. He was always thinking about His Father and kept Him at the center of everything He did. Even though Jesus was mocked and mistreated, His heart remained humble. We know this because of how He spoke to others.
The Bible says in Luke 6:45 that our mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Think about the people you have been in contact with this week. Have your words been encouraging and forgiving or have you been impatient and frustrated with others?
Grab a piece of paper, look deep in your heart and write down ways that you may have failed this week. Then simply ask God to forgive you, maybe you need to make right some things and commit your way back to the Lord.
Remind: God loves you and freely forgives.
Jesus was the only One who was without sin and yet He switched places with us! The penalty for our sin is separation from God. Jesus paid that penalty for us. With His death on the cross and our belief in Him, we can be close to the Father.
Through His life on earth, Jesus shows us what His Father’s love looks like. I’m going to need some more volunteers to read what’s inside this heart, with God at the center.
Jesus showed us divine love that is perfect.
What did we do to deserve switching places with Jesus? What did we do to deserve that kind of love?
Romans 5:8 says,
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The type of love that is in this heart always falls short of God’s perfect divine love (point to one with the cross)! The King shed His own blood for us. Nothing compares to that kind of love!
We can only show that kind of love to others when Jesus is the King of our hearts. This is one of the battles that you will fight every day in your Christian walk. The battle to keep Jesus at the center of your heart. Other people and things will want to take His place but He is the only One worthy of your heart.
When Jesus is at the center, our hearts will know joy. Our hearts will know peace and contentment. Even though our hearts will never be fully satisfied until we are in heaven, we have been given the Holy Spirit to help us produce fruit that comes from the Father.
The Bible says that one day Jesus will return to earth. Listen carefully to what He says to those who believe in Him in the book of Revelation.
My friends, we are to guard our hearts against the enemy and anyone else who wants to take God’s place. As a follower of Christ, we must remind ourselves of the commands He gives us in Matthew 22:37-39.
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Love is our mission today.
“We love because Christ first loved us.” John 4:19
As you head into this week, be encouraged! You are loved by the King! There is no greater love!
Check out this amazing Valentines Science Experiment about how sharing love grows!!!
Email me how your experiment goes!! firstname.lastname@example.org
The more we grow in ‘walking in the Spirit’ the more the Holy Spirit will reveal Truth to us in many areas.
• Truth about God
• Truth about ourselves
• Truth about the Word of God
• Truth about His Glory, His love, etc.
• Truth about the unity of His Spirit, etc.
Indeed, we need the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth and of Power, to come in power. By “power” we mean the ability to do, to act, to walk in, to live in.
Consider the following summary points about how the power of the Holy spirit can be manifested and work in and through our lives:
1. Power over the works of satan (1 John 3:8, Luke 10:17-20, 2 Cor. 10:3-6)
2. Powerover sin (Romans 6)
3. Power to be overcomers (1 John 5:1-4)
4. Power to live the life God is calling us to live (Matthew 4:18-20)
5. Power to do the works of God (John 14:120
6. Power to love (1 Cor. 13)
7. Power to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22)
8. Power to walk in freedom (Gal. 5:1-2 Romans 8:1-2)
9. Power to witness (Acts 1:8)
10. Power to pray (Romans 8:26)
11. Power to be children of God (Romans 8:14-16)
These are but a few outworking of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
As individuals, as families, as local churches and as part of the bride of Christ, we need to constantly be growing in our ability to walk in step with the Holy Spirit. This will in turn cause us to grow into believers who naturally live power-filled, supernatural lives that bring the love and light of God to a dying world. May we become desperate with the desire for more of God. May we long deeply for the Holy Spirit to lead us every day and in every way to be lights in a dying world.
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16:13
“The moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:26-28
Lord, I pray you would move the Spirit more boldly in my life. I know that any sin can grieve and diminish the voice of the Spirit, and I pray against the temptation to sin. Help me crave your presence more than I crave sin. Help me grow in the fruit of the Spirit and so walk closer with Yourself. I pray for guidance from your Spirit- let your will and promises always be a meditation of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Morning Thirteen: A Daily Prayer that leads us to rejoicing.
28 Days Of Morning Prayer Focus
“Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Thank you for loving us and caring for our needs as You do. For You know the plan ahead for us and know how to guide our steps to be in line with that plan. It’s not always easy to rejoice and remain hopeful in You when problems and circumstances arise, but we have to think back on the times we have been in similar positions and remember how You blessed us more than we thought possible. From big to little, we can count the blessings that You gave us before and discover they are more numerous than we ever thought possible. That is because You know our needs before we ask them, You know our heartaches before we have them, and You know what will grow us the most to be all we can be in Your eyes. So, let us rejoice and be glad as we give You our prayers, knowing when we least expect it, You will bring them into fruition. We give all of this to You in Jesus’s name. Amen.
As followers of Christ, we should rejoice always, in good times and bad. Easier said than done, right? Fortunately, in Paul the Apostle we have a steadfast model for finding joy in times of great struggle through trust in Jesus.
In his mission to spread the Christian faith, Paul endured persecution, imprisonment, threats to his life and ultimately death. Yet, his writings are full of joy and rejoicing because of Christ’s promise of salvation.
So, the next time you are seeking joy in the face of challenge, try turning to Paul for a bit of inspiration:
May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. – Philippians 4:4-9
Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life! But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God’s friends. – Romans 5:10-11
Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. – Colossians 1:11-14
“The joy of the Lord is my strength” is a phrase we often hear, but what does it mean, really? Let’s take a deeper look at the context of Nehemiah 8:10 and discover what this phrase means for us as Christians today.
Ever feel like your strength is running out? I have. Some days, it’s all too easy to evaluate my current level of strength and measure it against the days ahead. I even have moments when I struggle with doubt at times, and wonder how I am going to make it through that day, let alone all the days in the future.
Today, let’s look at the Bible Verse “The joy of the lord is my strength”.
Where does the phrase “the joy of the Lord is my strength” come from? This bible verse is found in Nehemiah 8, where Ezra the scribe reads the words of God’s law to the people. They stand in reverence for hours as God’s word is read, and as they understand it, begin weeping.
For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:9-10)
When we feel sorrow – whether it be realization of sin or because of difficult circumstances – we often wonder where our strength is going to come from. But it is vital to remember: the joy of the Lord is my strength.
But what is ‘the joy of the Lord’?
We cannot conjure up this type of joy within ourselves, by our own power. It has to come from one source only – the Lord.
Thank goodness it’s not our human joy – it’s the joy of the Lord. Put another way, it’s the joy God has, or possesses.
Can you even begin to imagine the amount of joy God has?
What’s even more amazing is that God’s joy centers around us. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before Him” (a relationship with us). And Zephaniah 3:17 says that God rejoices over us with singing!
Have you ever thought about the fact that being in a relationship with you makes God happy? Knowing that God feels this way about you should spark the flame of joy within you, too!
As Christians, we have access to God’s boundless joy, a joy that does not come from our circumstances or within ourselves. It does not depend on how strong or spiritual we are.
This joy comes from God alone, and the relationship we have with Him.
This realization also enabled the apostle Paul. Here’s a sermon clip from my husband about how God’s strength enabled him:
How to Let God Be Your Strength (Like Paul)
You may be asking, “But how can I access God’s joy in my life?”
We have an example from Nehemiah 8. As Nehemiah read the words of the Law, the people wept and mourned because they were not obeying the law. But Ezra comforts them, telling them not to weep because the joy of the Lord is their strength.
Their joy was realized because, even though a knowledge of the truth caused sorrow (repentance), it also gave them direction. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Changing their lives and following God’s ways gave them a deeper joy than they could have attained on their own.
It’s the same for us – when we study and know the truth within the pages of the Bible, we have the joy of the Lord!
Father, thank you for intervening in my life and allowing me to have a personal relationship with you. Thank you for your love for me today and forever. Thank you for the blessings you’ve given me and my family. Help us use those blessings to bless others. May I live a life of true joy as I see you at work around me today! In Jesus’ name. Amen.