January 17, 2021

Our Superpower

Despite all the miracles and battles and supernatural stuff, I don't reckon the Bible's really all that concerned with superpowers. Or maybe it is, but they're so simple
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10
I once took one of those online quizzes—this one was intended to tell me what my superpower was. It turns out, mine was mind-reading. Despite all the miracles and battles and supernatural stuff, I don't reckon the Bible's really all that concerned with superpowers. Or maybe it is, but they're so simple and commonplace that we don't even notice they're there.
Take Nehemiah 8:10, for example. The people suddenly realize how far astray they've gone from the will of God, and so they weep. But Ezra tells them not to be sad, because they have a superpower. And that superpower is the joy of the Lord.
When you think of it that way, then, there are many superpowers in the Bible. One of my favorites is forgiveness—a very definite superpower granted to us by Jesus himself. I don't just mean being forgiven by God, but literally forgiving other people, which is described in John as a kind of superpower.
But joy is probably just as important as forgiveness, for both can change lives for the better. Author Sonja Lyubomirsky said that optimism "is not about providing a recipe for self-deception. The world can be a horrible, cruel place, and at the same time it can be wonderful and abundant. These are both truths. There is not a halfway point; there is only choosing which truth to put in your personal foreground.” By choosing joy, research has shown that, though the events in our lives don't magically change, our attitude toward life does. This is also true of our relationship with God. If I go through life believing I'm a victim of God's wrath, then I will have a cringing, fearful relationship with God. But if I believe that the joy of the Lord is my strength, then no matter what comes my way, I can stand up to it knowing that God is on my side. 

…but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
 2 Corinthians 6:4, 10
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Joyful, joyful, we adore you, 
God of glory, Lord of love; 
hearts unfold like flowers before you, 
opening to the sun above. 
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; 
drive the dark of doubt away; 
Giver of immortal gladness, 
fill us with the light of day!
 Henry Van Dyke (1907)
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

Refrain:

    Do not be grieved, do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

    Do not be grieved, do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your power. 


Jesus, the risen Lord, is in your midst.

Jesus, the risen Lord, is among you. [Refrain]


Jesus, the risen Lord, leads you in his ways.

Jesus, the risen Lord, always goes ahead of you. [Refrain]


Jesus, the risen Lord, sends his angels.

Jesus, the risen Lord, fights and conquers in you. [Refrain]
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