Joy

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength

Nehemiah 8:10

Focus

To give thanks to God for the many positive experiences in our life. To reflect on the joys that fill our life and be encouraged by remembering them when we go through difficult times.

Bible Reading – Nehemiah 8:9-12 (NIV)

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

10 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.”

11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.

Reflect & Pray

Often, our lives are filled with cares, tress and busy demands of everyday life. We can forget to take time to appreciate the many joys life brings. If you could fill a jar with all of your happiest memories keeping them safe to look back on in difficult times, what would it contain? What are some of your most treasured memories? What has brought you joy in the past? God wants us to know joy and peace and to be filled with his Holy Spirit, so we are able to rejoice in our blessings, whatever circumstances we face.

Take an empty jar and some slips of paper. Spend some time thinking of the joys in your life, the moments that have made you smile or brought you closer to God. As you write down these memories or events that have meant something to you place each one in the jar. You can reflect on answered prayer, unexpected blessings and significant times of great joy and blessing in your life. As you place each each slip of prayer into the jar you could pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessing of joy each memory brings. You might want to put a label on your jar entitled ‘Joy Jar’ or ‘Jar full of Joy!’  Why not continue to add more slips at other times. You can open the jar and select a slip of paper to read as a reminder of all the good times God has given you. Give thanks to God for the joy he fills you with and ask Him to help you know fresh joy if you are going through a season of difficulty and need strength and peace he can provide.