Day 38 Maundy Thursday, Apr. 2nd

Nehemiah 8:9-10

9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our LORD; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”



Have you ever been woefully surprised by what you did not know? Have you ever been made aware of something after the fact, and been left feeling sorrowful over your response to or handling of a matter because you didn’t know from the start what you later came to discover? If so, you can identify with the people of Jerusalem. After standing and listening to the word of God shared by Ezra and explained to them by the Levites, the people were grieved.  They realized how far they had fallen into sin and away from God's plan for their lives and community.  Understanding their pain, but, even more importantly, understanding that it was the Lord's Day, the leaders counseled the people not to grieve.  Instead, they were to go forward eating, drinking, and providing for the needy, strengthened by the joy of the Lord.   On the other side of a great achievement feelings of sadness or depression can arise. Some- times these feelings are born out of a sense that there is little else to be accomplished. Other times sadness grows out of the realization or belief that where a person is or what they have finally attained could have, should have and would have been accomplished long ago if they had only been faithful in following the Lord. As Jerusalem's leaders counseled the people then, I share with you now, don't cry over spilt milk! Don't let your shortcomings from the past hinder the sure thing God has for your future. You have allowed the Lord to build you up through your Lenten journey.  So, allow God to complete the good work he has begun in you. Go forward enjoying the Lord's blessings and being a blessing to others. Take courage in the Lord and be joyous, for the joy of the Lord is truly our strength.  
  1. In the face of success, what regrets tend to pop up and attempt to steal your joy?
  2. How, if at all, do you avoid this emotional sabotage?
  3. What have you found in the word of God that encourages and brings you joy?
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Lord God, your word is a gift. It is a guide for my very soul. In it I find strength and encouragement.  Even in the darkest times, your word speaks life to my heart.

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