Read Nehemiah 8:10 Growing up, I loved December. Not only is Christmas in December, but my birthday is as well. That meant, December was when I got all kinds of presents. As a kid, I always thought the phrase, “it’s better to give than to receive” was bogus. When December rolled around, I didn’t care whether or not my mom got that candle my step-dad bought for my mom and threw mine and my sister’s name on it. I just cared whether or not I was getting that new playstation game. As an adult, though, I don’t care as much about what I get. I still care some, but I get more joy out of seeing how happy my parents or grandparents get in receiving a gift because of how meaningful it is to them. Nehemiah was addressing the people after they had become discouraged about how far they had left to go. Nehemiah told them to stop worrying for a moment about what was in front of them and celebrate where they had came from. He told them to go and enjoy “choice food and sweet drinks.” But, he didn’t let them stop there. He told them to send some of what they had to those who didn’t have anything to celebrate with. If someone didn’t have food or something to drink, Nehemiah told the people to send food and drink to them. The day was holy, or set apart, for God. It wasn’t a day of grieving, it was a day of celebrating God who had given them strength. Part of celebrating that was by making sure everyone around them was taken care of as well. There is great power in celebrating the small victories we achieve in becoming who God has created us to be. However, there is even more power in including others along the way and even celebrating their victories. True encouragement comes through encouraging others. When we get our mind off ourselves and are able to focus on someone else, that’s when God really throws a party. We don’t have to wait for someone to celebrate us, we can celebrate someone else because of what God has already done in our life. We often think joy is all about receiving, but, the way to have a joyful life, is by sending joy to other people. Life isn’t about what you can grasp, it’s about what you can give. REFLECT: What are some things that God has brought you through in your life that could be used in the lives of other people? What skills or experience can you use to give to others instead of get something for yourself? PRAY: Talk to God about your past experiencing, both the joyous ones and the painful ones. Talk with Him during your prayer time about how those things might be used to give to others. // TWO-A-DAYS // GO A LITTLE FARTHER WITH YOUR DAILY DEVOTIONS // Go through these questions with your spouse, kids, or friend, or you can even journal about the answers to these questions:

  1. What was the best part of your day?
  1. What was the toughest part of your day?
  2. Where did you mess up today?
  3. Where did you see God today?
READ THROUGH THE NEW TESTAMENT: Today’s Reading: 1 Timothy 4]]>