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Strength and Joy

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
- Nehemiah 8:10

Your strength is the joy of the Lord –
   Not your own holiness,
   Not your planning or foresight,
   Not your hard work.
The joy of the Lord is your strength.

The joy of the Lord strengthens your heart;
   He fills your cup with courage.
The joy of the Lord strengthens your hands;
   No adversity can overcome you.
The joy of the Lord strengthens your feet;
   In his presence you can stand firm.

The joy of the Lord snaps like a banner over us;
   Our enemies see from a distance and flee.
The joy of the Lord hangs like a blanket on our shoulders,
   Comforting us, warming us, and removing our shame.
The joy of the Lord carries us forward into the world;
   Safe in his arms, we advance.

The children cheer when Christ appears,
Uproarious, ready, ringing clear,
The saints’ sole sword, the strongest chord:
“Our joy is the joy of the Lord.”

Take some time today to meditate on the strength-giving joy of the Lord. Try your hand at writing a psalm of celebration. This ancient practice forces us to deepen our meditation on the chosen theme and gives space for the Spirit to work in the creative corner of our souls.

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