Joyful, what exactly does that mean? Should I be happy or does it mean I had a good day? Joy is defined as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. Sounds good to me, but I was always taught that joy was a step up from happiness, a place of existence or a state of continual being.

In Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah tells the Israelites that the joy of the Lord is their strength. The question is why? Unfortunately, this was during a time when the city was ruined. The walls had been torn down and destruction lie everywhere much like the ravishing of the virus.

So why is he announcing in the midsts of massive destruction the joy of the Lord is their strength? Nehemiah had a revelation, a fire and passion to see the city rebuilt and had gained permission from the king to do so. Although destruction lie everywhere the sign of rebuilding signified the destruction had come to an end.

This reminds me of the many years I lived in Louisiana. During those years I watched hurricanes and floods destroy homes and land while the families were left emotionally traumatized. For some the thought of rebuilding was not a thought. They immediately put their hand to the plow and began the process while others stayed frozen, paralyzed either by fear of a repeat, or financial lack.

In this case, Nehemiah was making an announcement, a declaration. As their leader he was making it known that not only would they rebuild but the joy of the Lord would be with them. They would rebuild in joy. Although they had enemies to ward off during the rebuilding, the city was indeed rebuilt and gladness and joy returned to the people.

Today I encourage you, no matter how traumatic this last year has been, we are entering a season of “The Joy of the Lord. That doesn’t mean there won’t be hiccups. It means as you rebuild you will do so from a place of joy. Joy will be the ruling force in your life.

In Louisiana, once the homes were rebuilt and the land brought to a new state of being, their definitely was a sense of joy in the land. And the most promising thing was everything was made new. Homes, cars, restaurants all received a much needed and glamorous makeover. So, lay the trauma down, pick up your tool kit and let’s rebuild the ruins!!!

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