Bring Joy To The World!

by Sheri Schofield

It’s wintertime in Wyoming. Snow covers the ground and the trees are bare. The neighborhood squirrels have been busily hunting for food, scurrying anxiously from fences, to trees, to rooftops, and to deserted gardens. 

But today, I saw a young squirrel hopping like a bunny … happy, carefree and obviously enjoying himself. His enthusiasm distracted me from my serious thoughts and made me smile.

Joy is contagious.

Ezra and Nehemiah had led a group of 42,360 Israelite captives from the land of Persia back to Jerusalem. By command of Artaxerxes (meaning son of Xerxes) king of Persia, these two leaders were sent to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, along with workers and their families.

Nehemiah 2:6 mentions that the queen was sitting next to Artaxerxes when he gave this command. Some commentators believe this king and queen were Ahasuerus and Esther, which may be why the queen was mentioned. I tend to think this is true, for Esther played a large role in helping the Jewish people during the Persian Empire.

By order of the king, the city was to be rebuilt. The recently returned Jews came together for a celebration and asked Ezra, who was a priest, to read the law to them. From early morning until noon, he did so. He also explained what it meant. Maybe for the first time, they understood God’s law.

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the law.

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!” (See Nehemiah 8:9-10 NLT)

The joy of the Lord equals strength.

When the joy of the Lord penetrates our souls, we find strength to face and win any battle life throws our way. As our nation faces unprecedented turmoil, it would be easy to fear the future.  But we do not need to be afraid, for we have Jesus! We know the future: Jesus wins. He sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts. His presence in our lives results in love, joy, and peace (see Galatians 5:22, 23).

When the joy of the Lord fills our hearts, it will show on our faces and in our attitudes toward others. We become beacons of light and hope in this dark world. When we see people struggling, our joy can prompt us to reach out in love and lift them up. Let the joy of the Lord radiate from us today. Let’s be the light of Jesus to our world.

The joy of the Lord is our strength. Pass it on.

I pray that God, the source of hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 NLT

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Sheri Schofield, award-winning author and Bible teacher, has added a new way to share faith in Jesus: Her latest book, Before You Find Me, is a contemporary romantic suspense featuring a strong Christian who faces a crisis that tests her courage. Tara, a freshman at West Texas A&M whose parents are dead, learns that her younger sister witnessed a murder. To protect her siblings, she must spirit them out of Texas before the murderer learns there was a witness to his act. Tara has one day in which to act. Can she do it? She remembers a family ranch in Montana…and Ben, the boy next-door, who captured her heart once. Will he still be there? Will he help her protect her family now? This book entertains while it presents godly responses to danger and struggles. Sometimes fiction can draw people closer to God when they will not be drawn by nonfiction. Before You Find Me is available at

Join the conversation: Have you found that the joy of the Lord gives you strength? Please share!

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