Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

Five years ago I didn't know anything about politics.  I voted Republican because I am vehemently opposed to abortion.  "The Prophet", a novel by Frank Peretti, woke me up to this issue.  Something happened during the 2008 Republican primaries that caused me to pay attention to politics as I had never done before.  I think it was the combination of buying my first house, our 3 children all getting older, and pastoring a small church that finally forced me into the murky waters.  

Five years ago I couldn't stand watching the news.  I wouldn't read an editorial if you paid me to do it.  I might force myself to listen to Rush Limbaugh occasionally on the radio; but I would get bored quick.  

Five years ago I lived in the most powerful nation on earth.  I had confidence in the president; although I must admit, I wasn't paying all that close attention.  I felt relatively safe for my family.  Financial peace was within the horizon.  

Five years ago there were rumors of a collapse of America's financial and industrial strength, but I refused to live in fear of a day that may or may not come.  I wasn't heavily invested in the stock market and had a secure income, thus my lack of concern.

Today I'm very much into politics and observant.  I watch Fox news. I read editorials every day.  I still don't listen to Rush, because I don't think his show is that interesting.  I prefer the other conservative radio talk shows.  I read my Christian Law Association letters faithfully.  I subscribe to several other Christian legal alerts.  I pay attention to how my congressmen vote and let them know my opinions. 

Today I'm worried about our country's future.  I'm not worried about my future, but I'm worried about my kids.  They deserve the freedom and opportunity I took for granted.  I want them to aspire to be great and have a shot at succeeding.  

Today I am more informed, but with that information comes unwelcome baggage.  Fear, anxiety, righteous anger, disgust, and the occasional fit have replaced my apathy, ignorance, tranquility, and peaceful bliss.  That is an exaggeration, but it really isn't that far from the truth.

Today I need the Joy of the Lord.  Today it is a necessity; whereas, five years ago it was a perk of my faith in Christ.  My bonus has become my bread and butter.  

Tomorrow is for my children and for yours.  I will teach them Nehemiah 8:10.  I will tell them the stories of the Bible.  Stories of God saving the day, rescuing His people, and extending mercy to those who cry out for it.  

I don't know if my children will grow up in the same kind of country that I grew up in, but I do know the Joy of the Lord will be their strength.  All other sources of strength are fleeting, false, and feeble.  

Don't look to Rush, Obama, or Ralph Nader (if you prefer) to bring you Joy.  Look to the Savior of all mankind, the only true source of Joy - indescribable Joy, real Joy, Strong Joy.

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

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