Author Mark Twain famously stated, "It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand." Ain't that the truth? When we read that which calls for uncomfortable, and even painful change in our lives, it's troubling.

"For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, ... "Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

The Israelites, restored in their land after an lengthy dispersion, heard God's law read, and realized their sin guilt. Cut to the heart, they wept and lamented. But, that was a good thing. God's word brings pain only that it might heal (Hebrews 4.12)

Strength is not found in sorrow over sin and disobedience, but in the joy that Yahweh God alone supplies. Overcoming optimism, based on His great promises, is our basis for joy. As imperfect sinners, we inevitably fail and fall, but His grace through Christ is restorative. He picks us up when we fall, sets us on a straight path, and invigorates us with His Spirit as we march on to His coming kingdom. What joy!

May the joy that He alone provides be your strength today, and always.

©Steve Taylor, 2017 --Used by permission

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