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The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength – July 19, 2023 

Wednesday, July 19th

Devotional written by Pastor Jason McMaster, Executive Pastor

 

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH

 

 

 

To read today:  Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 28:7

 

 

This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehemiah 8:10

 

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It was a privilege to join Pastor Brian Field, Calvary’s Missions Pastor, on a trip to the Dominican Republic where we witnessed the wonderful work being done at Project Mañana in Santiago. Calvary sent a team of high school students who loved on the kids in the community, distributed water purification systems, and worked diligently to clear a small piece of land for a future home. Although hot and humid, the Dominican has beautiful scenery. Mountains covered in lush greenery and valleys filled with large mango and avocado trees are sprinkled between homes. Despite the beautiful view, most homes are made of plywood coated with a thin layer of stucco and have tin roofs, measuring no more than 30 feet wide by 20 feet long. They have no air conditioning or running water. “Bedrooms” are created by hanging pieces of cloth on a metal rod. While these were the living conditions for most of the people we encountered, they genuinely greeted us with kindness and joy.

Each night, the Calvary team would debrief their experiences from the day. During our visit, Brian Berman, Project Mañana’s director, wanted our high school team to understand the difference between happiness and joy. Having grown up in Simi Valley, Brian believes happiness is temporary and that American culture pushes “happiness” on us. He reiterated this idea by giving examples of a McDonald’s Happy Meal, restaurants’ happy hours, and Disneyland being the “Happiest Place on Earth.” While these examples illustrate temporary happiness, he shared that “joy” is a fruit of the spirit that is lasting and comes directly from the Lord.  

The world wants us to be “happy” and tries to sell us circumstantial temporary happiness. We are bombarded by advertisements urging us to consume more and more, persuading us that we never have enough. This never lasts, and we find ourselves unsatisfied. 

In contrast, the Lord wants us to find joy in Him and lean on that joy as our strength. He provides everlasting joy and offers His strength through all circumstances. 

Final Thought: I found Brian’s examples of happiness interesting. It’s okay to be happy, but constantly seeking it from one moment to the next should not be our focus.  Do you experience the joy of the Lord in your relationship with Him?

 

 

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