Is the joy of the Lord your strength

Is the Joy of the Lord Your Strength?

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Where is the Joy of the Lord?

I feel like I’ve failed my husband because….

I feel like I’ve failed my children because…

I feel like I’ve failed my friends because….

Oh, God, I grieve over my past sins, stumblings, and failures, the way I have disappointed You and hurt others in the process.

They say as you get older, the more you look back in time. I believe this is true. And as the years go by, while there are many opportunities to do good, there have been many times of not, where I have given into the flesh and been rude, controlling, angry, passive when I should have taken action, controlling when I should have kept still, etc, etc, etc….

Mulling over Things I Cannot Fix

How often do I, in looking back, mull and fret over things I cannot fix, then give into fearful thoughts and reason “because I broke it (or reason I did), I must fix it.” So, I press on, and in my zeal, it seems, I do more damage than good.

The lesson for today:

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Just reading this in context and wondering if it could have a different meaning than the one usually touted: “to just ‘be happy’ in the Lord.” To conjure up happiness even when we are sad.

Reading from the Law of God

The situation in context that led to Ezra saying these words:

The Jews had just returned from captivity in Babylon to the land of Israel. They arrived to see their beloved homeland city in ruins and faithfully set to work rebuilding it. When it is completed, Ezra gathers the people together; men, women, and children, and reads from the law of God.

When he finished, and they were given clear understanding what it meant, they began to weep. Why? For the first time, they realized God’s loving standard; His rules for blessing, and how far short they had come in their obedience and maybe even all of the consequences that had fallen upon them because of it. So they wept.

For the first time, they realized God's loving standard. - Anita Fedoriw Click To Tweet

A Fresh Start

But Ezra replies, “This day is holy into the Lord your God.” So don’t cry. Holy. Completely clean. An opportunity to make a “fresh start.” Today. Then he makes the much-quoted statement: “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Therefore, Ezra could really be telling them, “Don’t grieve today about past failures. For today God has wiped the slate clean. You have a new day to do better. For God is finding delight in you, not because you have been perfect, but in the direction you are going – doing better.” Walk forward in the direction of good – this brings joy to God.

Thus, the comfort for them was not in conjuring up emotions of “happy, happy, happy” but truly knowing that their Creator was happy with them.

Applying it to me:

    1. Yes, look back into the past, not for the purpose of regret and discouragement, but for the
      purpose of learning and getting better at life.
    2. The “Accuser of the brethren” is my only foe and will taunt me until the day I die, reminding me of all my failures, BUT only if I let him.
    3. The truth is, when God planned for my purpose, part of it being a wife, mother,  and friend, He
      knew He was entrusting this job to a mere human – one who would not “get it all right.”
    1. He offers me a free gift every day as I repent and turn from yesterday’s stumblings:
      Mercy, a new clean slate for a new day, and promising to take the mistakes of the past
      and work it all out for good – IF we relinquish it and let Him.
    2. In the future, in the sanctifying process of life, I am not going to get life 100% right. BUT…
    3. As I repent and seek to do better, my God will delight, not in my perfection, but in the direction I am going.
Yes, look back into the past, not for the purpose of regret and discouragement, but for the purpose of learning and getting better at life. - Anita Fedoriw Click To Tweet
    1. I will find my joy and be strengthened for the battles ahead knowing that MY GOD delights in me.
      The joy of the Lord IS my strength.

I am hoping this encourages someone today.

Anita Fedoriw
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Anita Youngs Fedoriw, wife of Steve and mother to eight children, resides in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Growing up in the COG7 with her nine siblings, she was mentored by many church brethren across the country.