God’s Joy is My Strength
A devotional by Dr. Jessica B. Turner
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 (NLT)
Have you ever been guilty of using a scripture without pausing to truly think about what it means? I know I have. You hear other believers sharing their favorite verses and before you know it you have your own collection of favorites to pull from!
As a believer who is still new to studying the Bible, I am grateful for those who share scriptures that have gotten them through tough times.
However, I have been guilty of storing God’s Word in my heart without giving it much thought. I wasn’t stopping to explore the context of the verses or how it applied to my life. While there is nothing wrong with holding onto scriptures that empower you without going deeper, I want to encourage you to go a step further and ask God to reveal why that scripture speaks to you. That’s exactly what I did, and it completely opened my eyes to what I was missing!
For months, Nehemiah 8:10 had become an anthem of mine. I would find myself walking around my house audibly saying, “The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength!” But one day, I asked myself, “What does that even mean?”
God immediately impressed the following words on my heart: “When you do as I have called you to do, your obedience brings Me joy. It is knowing that you are a source of joy to Me that you find strength to keep going.”
Here are some examples of how I now apply this revelation to my every day life: When I drag myself out of bed one more time in the middle of the night to comfort my baby boy, I bring joy to my Heavenly Father. When I wash the dishes and fold the laundry – for the millionth time – with a grateful heart, I bring joy to my Heavenly Father. When I take a minute out of my busy day to encourage a friend, I bring joy to my Heavenly Father. When I choose to make reading the Bible as a family a priority, I bring joy to my Heavenly Father.
Everything that I once saw as an inconvenience is my very source of strength, if I recognize it. It brings joy to the Lord and it is that very joy that drives me to take one more step.
I don’t know what you are facing or what you are needing strength for today. What I do know is that when you approach your situation with a heavenly perspective, it changes everything!
Faced with a disheartening diagnosis? Your decision to trust in God will be your source of strength.
Stretched financially? Your decision to continue to tithe while making cuts elsewhere will be your source of strength.
Tempted to turn back to sin when things get hard? Your decision to run to God instead will be your source of strength.
I pray this realization encourages you as much as it did for me! Now I look for ways to bring joy to the Lord, knowing it’s the very thing that will keep me going.
Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me so much that You gave Your one and only Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice so that You could have a relationship with me. Help me to delight in doing what pleases You knowing it brings You great joy! Let that joy overflow into my life so I may continue to walk in Your will without growing weary. I love You and I trust You. In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen.
Song of Reflection: “Joy of the Lord (feat. Katie Torwalt, Dante Bowe & Naomi Raine)” by Maverick City Music | TRIBL. Listen to it here.
Dr. Jessica B. Turner is a wife, mom, and LSU graduate with a degree in veterinary medicine.
After practicing small animal medicine for six years, she traded in her stethoscope to become an online wellness coach, motivational speaker, and writer with a passion for mental health advocacy. This major life change was sparked after Jessica struggled with postpartum depression soon after she birthed her twin girls.
Along with Jessica’s career change came the discovery of who Jesus Christ really is and how He was the missing piece for her to be able to move forward in past trauma that she had suppressed for decades. Jesus walked alongside Jessica as she underwent a transformation like none other.
God transformed Jessica’s life from a broken mom who struggled with depression, anxiety, disordered eating, and PTSD from witnessing an attempted suicide, to using her experiences to make her a powerful vessel for Him. To this day, God enables Jessica to touch the lives of others through her often unfiltered, yet inviting form of storytelling.
Throughout this process of refinement, Jessica has shared her life story with the world through her social media platforms, in-person events, blog posts, and podcasts. She values the gift of transparency and has discovered that what so many people need to know is that they are not alone. Jessica has walked in their shoes, and she wants the world to know that Jesus is walking with them as well.
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