Day 3 - Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

The Joy Factor

Many people today are struggling through life. COVID has them depressed. Jobs are overwhelming. Family is overbearing. Isolation is suffocating. I could keep going, but you get the point. We Christians, too, are running out of power to navigate life effectively.

If this is you, Nehemiah has some guidance for you. “ And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”  (Nehemiah 8:10).

Nehemiah could have said, “Money is your strength” or “Job security is your strength.” But he doesn’t. Nehemiah says, “the Joy of the Lord is your strength.” The joy of the Lord is the key factor to success in life. The joy of the Lord is your strength and power.

This holiday season with Thanksgiving just days away and Christmas close on its heels, you may feel like your tank is on empty. Nehemiah reminds us our strength and power isn’t found in anything this world offers. Our strength and power are found in God alone.

The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy by saying, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Timothy’s tank was being depleted. Evangelism is tough. Walking with God is easily ridiculed by the world around us. Timothy felt the burden, but Paul said, “Don’t grow weary. God is your power source. You’re overflowing with love and self-discipline. You got this.”

That’s God’s message for you today. If you are feeling alone, discouraged, or out of power, remember God has offered you joy that cannot be stolen or refuted. Today, look at the faithfulness of God in your life. Remember, God’s grace is sufficient and overflowing. He is the source of our joy and strength.

Receive: Read 2 Timothy 1:3-18. What are the assumed pressures on Timothy? In light of those pressures, why is Timothy reminded of his mother’s and grandmother's faith? Of the type of spirit God gives? Of the content of the gospel?

Reflect: What are the pressures that shake your faith? How can you respond to those with the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline?

Respond: God, thank you for placing me where I am at. Help me to respond to the pressures and opportunities with joy, love, power, and self-discipline. Amen.

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