Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10  

Today is Sunday, a day that is holy unto our Lord. Be glad to go to the house of the LORD. The joy of the Lord is your strength!

We are living in stress-filled and perilous times, but this is not the first time America has suffered. Every people group has suffered; everyone has suffered.  Suffering can be quite refining, but I don’t appreciate that benefit until long past the experience. If you are like me, and I suspect you are, you prefer days of smooth sailing, although those can be a little suspicious too. Keeping with Biblical truths, we can remain optimistic: God wants to make good from everything in our lives. Waiting can be difficult, but we can improve the waiting time by believing and meditating on His Words. They are, after-all, higher than ours!

God is the ultimate encourager, the most honest friend we can have. He is closer than a brother. His Word tells us:

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.John 17:17  Thank you, Lord, for the truths that have changed my life.

It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. Psalms 18:32  Thank you, LORD, for strengthening me to go in the way that you have set for me, for giving me desire to walk the perfect path, and for drawing me back when I stray.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37     I am a conqueror Lord; imagine that! No! I am more than a conqueror; is that the love part?  Because you love me, I can love others. Great plan!

The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.Psalms 126:3  You have done great things for me and I am glad, every time I pause to consider …

The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.Psalms 9:9    You ARE my refuge when I am troubled and when I am not. These days are hard Father and when I am afraid, I will trust in you. By your grace, I will trust in you.

O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.  Psalms 31:23   You have kept me throughout all my trials; how could I not love you? Help me to be faithful every day, to remember You are Worthy. 

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. Psalms 34:19    Father, sometimes I think I want delivered on my terms only; please help me think truth because your ways are perfect. My history shows loudly that my ways are not. Only you can work what is right in these difficult and sometimes dark days. Thank you for bringing us to a place that we have no choice but to trust you.

The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Psalms 145:18    Calling LORD!  It is me down here.

But the salvation of the righteousis of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.  Psalms 37:39   I have my salvation and You are my strength; help me to live like I believe it.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.Psalms 51:12    You know, this is my song when I have sinned, but also my prayer. Father, what a lovely thought that you would uphold me with your free spirit. Hallelujah! What a Saviour you are to me.

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;  Isaiah 32:17-18 Thank you LORD; you have done this for us. Your Word is true. Let me never forget that You keep promises. 

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalms 27:14  This must be important, Father, for you told us to wait twice, like my mother and father used to remind me. How kind a Father you are. I will trust and be brave, by your promises.

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalms 118:24   It is! Everyday is! Help me to carry this joy and hope as I leave for church this morning!

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.  Psalms 122:1   Please keep Sunday mornings and the privilege and freedom to go to church precious to me. Help me to be sensitive to needs and fears of my church family this weekend.

My dear Ladies, Let us commit to praying that our churches can be safely filled once again. Losing the companionship of church family hurts those of us that attend as well as those that have not been attending. The losses are different, but still are empty places in all our hearts. The church is strongest when we meet together regularly. While we pray for our country and we pray for ourselves, don’t forget to pray for our churches, whose freedoms are demonstrably under attack recently and in new ways.

Greater is He! Let me close with verses I read in Isaiah this morning: 

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.  Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.  Isaiah 3:10, 11.