“This day is holy to our Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy from the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10, CEB).
When Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, took over a vast territory from the Babylonians, he allowed the Jewish exiles from the Babylonian captivity to begin returning to their ancestral land of Judah and to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
When the emigres encountered resistance from the occupants of the land to rebuild the Temple, Ezra, the scribe and priest, taught them God’s Law. At first they felt convicted because they had not obeyed the Law. But knowing God’s law helped them know God’s will and gave them the capacity to receive His strengthening to accomplish it. And, consequently it turned their sadness to joy because it gave them hope for a better tomorrow.
We live in a world that is bombarded by negative forces. This world loves a catastrophe; it obsesses over tragedy; it revels in the personal and moral failures of its occupants.
To help people try to counter these negative forces that confront them, Norman Vincent Peale published a book in 1952, The Power of Positive Thinking. The book became an international bestseller with millions of copies sold since it was first published.
The Power of Positive Thinking was a how-to guide for coping with failure as well as achieving success in the workplace and in personal relationships. The book encouraged its readers to acknowledge and involve God in whatever happens in one’s life, be it positive or negative.
Ezra takes the power of positive thinking to a higher level, the power of positive strengthening! With positive strengthening the power of the Lord not only produces an optimistic outlook, it generates positive behavior that turns palpable defeat into spiritual victory.
The positive strengthening of the Lord not only turns your pessimism to optimism, it empowers you with the spiritual strength and discernment to accomplish God’s will no matter what negative forces confront you.
You find what you look for in life. And, if you seek after God and his will in all the circumstances of your life, then you will find His will and He will give you the capability and perseverance to accomplish it. “Those who look for good find favor, but those who seek evil–it will come to them” (Proverbs 11:27, CEB).
So, don’t let this world draw you into it’s negative outlook. When you encounter the negative, look for the hand of God in your circumstances and you will find Him, His will and especially His joy!
The strengthening of the Lord is the power of the positive. It’s the joy of the Lord! And, it will empower you to overcome the negative.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13, NLT)