Let us start this week with a good prayer in the light of recent events:

Dear Lord, 

Thank you so much for giving us every day in this beautiful world You created. We know that ourselves, our loved ones, and our leaders are in the palm of Your hands; that fact alone brings us immense joy. You created and love all things and we are happy to give You our fears, troubles, and anxieties. Thank You so much for our health and helping us heal when we are sick. Thank You for being with those who are sick and the doctors who are watching over them. Give us the strength to trust that events and circumstances in the days to come are plans to spread Your power, light, and glory upon the Earth. Thank You for the love and blessings You provide for us each day. As we live each day, we pray that all of us will remember to be considerate of others to the best of our ability. Praise be your Holy name, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Think about Jesus’ life on Earth and imagine how many times He must have smiled. Why do you think He smiled the amount He did throughout His life? Now, think of the assembly Nehemiah is reading to in Nehemiah 8. As the people heard the Law from Ezra they were weeping. Afterward the Law was read there was smiling, rejoicing, and big celebrations. Why do you think that is? It is because they understood the words from our Father in heaven being declared to them. True joy does not come from good news, good health, or anything physical that can come from this world. True joy comes from understanding God’s word and His love for us! 


You see, the Lord isn’t just a part of what gives us joy, He *is* our joy--or at least He should be. No matter what else is going on we need to be able to trust and love Him so much that we can still smile and have love to give. But in order to have that kind of joy, our hearts need to be filled with His word and His understanding, not the world and its fear.


We also need to remember that the joy of the Lord also goes both ways. Just as our hearts need to be filled with love for Him, we can be confident that His heart is full of love for us. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that the Lord rejoices over us with gladness and song. We need to believe in our love for Him just as much as we need to believe in His love for us. Because of God’s love for us, we were created by Him and saved by Christ’s sacrifice. How will you choose to respond to His love?


Inspired by: Psalm 16, Zephaniah 3:17, Luke 15:7, Philippians 4:12-13, Isaiah 53:10, Isaiah 61:10-62:5, Nehemiah 8:9-12