Separated Together #7
Welcome to part seven of our “Separated Together” devotional adventure. I hope you're enjoying the sunshine of this afternoon.
Today, I want to talk to us all about Strength, but not the physical kind. Strength gives us our energy, vigor, capacity, and power to work, live, and love. And strength is the very thing that many people need right now as we continue in the COVID-19 pandemic.
But what is the source of your strength?
Scripture for today
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” - Nehemiah 8:10
These words come after the Israelites had returned from their Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah had undertaken the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem with God’s help and the remnant of people who had returned to their homeland.
When the city wall was finished, the Israelites gathered to hear Ezra, the priest, read from the Book of the Law of Moses. For most of these people, they had never heard God's Word; for others it had been many years. When the people heard the Word of God, they wept and cried because they realized that they had failed to keep it.
Despite Israel’s faithlessness, God was faithful. Despite our faithlessness, God will continue to be faithful.
If the joy of the Lord is our strength, how can we maintain this joy?
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. - Psalm 51:10-12
The first key to having the joy of the Lord is being in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Whether that is the initial saving faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior or the joy that comes from confession and turning from your sin, deep-seated gratitude and peace only comes from being right with God.
Have you ever been distraught over a broken relationship? Have you lost sleep or peace until you weren't able to make things right with that person? David felt this and desired God’s presence and Holy Spirit above all else. The Lord is enthroned on the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3) so one of the best ways to live with the presence of God is to worship him.
Prayer for today
Heavenly Father, I trust in the forgiveness of my sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet, sometimes I choose to do things that I know are not right in your sight. Father, please forgive me for ___________.
Help me to have the willingness and strength to do Your will. Lord, I need Your presence. I worship You and I ask You to inhabit my praises. Please give me Your joy and the strength that comes from knowing You personally.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.