What brings you joy?
The voice of a loved one on the phone, a purple ribbon at the Fair, the success of a grandchild, a plate of chocolate chip cookies, an ice cream cone from Ev's, the evening's sunset across a glistening lake, the words of a well-crafted book, a win by your favorite team, a kind word from a stranger, the passing of a butterfly?
The song of a bird, storm clouds building in the distance, a quiet walk - hand-in-hand with the one you love, a drop in gas prices, a coupon for something you need, the sight of a young pony frolicking in a pasture, fresh popped popcorn, a paycheck, the fragrance of a rose bush in bloom, a doe and fawn playing in a grassy opening along the road?
An eagle gliding across the brilliant blue sky, a moist glass of ice tea, a perfect pitch, a home run, a cold can of diet Pepsi, a dollar bill in your pocket, a marching band passing by, fireworks overhead, the sound of water trickling over rocks in a creek, the fragrance of fresh baked bread, an unexpected visit, a cheesy pizza shared with a friend, a heart-warming story on the news, an ear of sweet corn dripping with butter, an answered prayer, the constant love of our Heavenly Father?
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength," (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV).
"The joy of the Lord is your strength," said Nehemiah. Nehemiah offered this encouragement to the people of Jerusalem who were weeping as they listened to Ezra read God's Law. They were sinners and had not obeyed the Law. They were broken and sad, feeling hopeless until Nehemiah reminded them how great is the joy of the Lord.
"They (The redeemed) will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away," (Isaiah 35:10 NIV).
If you are feeling down or depressed today, look for a sign of God's great joy around you. His presence will enfold you and lift you up on wings like eagles. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength today.