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March 7 – Preparing with joy

Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10b

Scripture reading: Nehemiah 8:1-12

There are many devout Christians who are burdened with grief for their sins. Like the people gathered in Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, who heard the law of the Lord and wept, these Christians know the burden that sin placed on them. It was a burden so heavy that only the perfect sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross could lift it from their souls. Sadly, there are those who reflect more upon the burden of their sin than upon the liberating sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. This is a dreadful error, because it causes them to endure endless grief and guilt. They are continually downcast and spiritually uneasy. This is needless and contrary to God’s desire.

Just as the repentant Jews, who wept when Ezra read the law, were told not to grieve, the Lord tells us that, when we repent and look to Jesus and His atoning sacrifice offered upon the cross, we also should not grieve. Grief and guilt result in spiritual weakness, which is easily exploited by the power of the evil one.

The Lord calls us to believe that He is merciful in accepting the atoning sacrifice of His Son for the salvation of His people. What a joyful message! If you believe, then your sins are forgiven and you should find joy in that Gospel message. The joy that God gives to His pardoned people is a source of spiritual strength. May you know that blessed joy of the Lord and so be strengthened for each step of your life’s journey.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that the Lord will protect you against the schemes of the devil as he tries to fill you with grief and guilt. Seek the assurance of the Holy Spirit that, looking to Jesus in faith, you are truly forgiven and be filled with joy in that assurance.

Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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