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“…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

We are told to, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James. 1:2-4). 

Joy is an easy word to throw around, but it isn’t always easy to have in the midst of trials. I have found by turning the word Joy into an acronym J.O.Y., it has helped me to find joy in every situation.  Let me explain how it works. 

J.  Put Jesus first in every situation we face. Seek Him in prayer and ask Him His will for our lives and the situation we are facing. Then we MUST trust Him, and believe He is in control, and do what we know to be right.  As we do this and keep our mind fixed upon Him, we will be given a perfect peace (Isa. 26:3).

O.  After putting Jesus first, now choose to put others next in priority.  Instead of looking at how something affects you, and what it may cost, choose instead to look at the needs of others as if they were your own needs.  Again, seek God in prayer (1 Thess. 5:17), asking Him how He would have you assist them. It may be we simply need to stop and pray for them, or we may have to roll up our sleeves and physically help them.  It may be the Lord is calling us to invest our valuable resources into them, or simply being the ministry of presence in their life when they need a good friend.  Regardless of what it entails, it is others-centered, rather than self-centered. 

Y.  After putting Jesus first in every situation, and then putting the needs of others next, it is time to look to the needs of you.  That’s right, we should put ourselves after God, and others.  I have found when I am going through a tough situation, I can find another person who is also encountering a difficult time. When I take my eyes off of my problem and myself I am free to place them back upon God.  He gives me the words to speak truth into the life of that person who is in need, as well as the resources to help them. I find my own problems seem to diminish when the Lord is using me in the lives of others. 

I want to encourage you to try this out. God has told us to count it all joy, and we have been told the joy of the Lord is our strength. If we are doing everything as if we are doing it for God first and foremost (Col. 3:17, 23; 1 Cor. 10:31), then we will find we have His joy, and His sustaining strength.  

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these truths today. 

STUDY QUESTION: According to Nehemiah 8:10, what did Ezra command the people of God not to do?  Where were they to find their strength from? 

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you finding your strength in the joy of the Lord, or are you finding yourself burdened down, and overwhelmed?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Seek to take everything to the Lord first, and ask Him to show you His will for whatever you are facing—both good and bad.  Your joy starts here, and your strength will follow. 

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, show me Your will as I read Your word.  Guide me by Your Spirit in all things.  Help me to remember I am not my own, but I have been bought and paid for by the blood of Your Son.  Help me to remember to be focused upon You, and to be Christ-centered, and place the needs of others before my own.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


May the Lord bless your day, Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000