“The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength”

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”— Nehemiah 8:10 NLT
Nehemiah 8:9-12 NLT

After the work on the walls of Jerusalem had been completed and the gates were hung in place, Ezra gathered all the people together and took a census.  Then he sent them all home.  They reassembled in Jerusalem and asked Ezra to read to them all of the Book of the Laws of Moses.  As Ezra and the scribes read the laws, the people wept remembering their disobedience.  They realized how much God had forgiven them and how he had brought them safely back to Jerusalem.  They had seen how God had provided everything they needed to rebuild the walls.  Though the enemy came close shouting insults and discouragement, God had protected them while they finished the work.  Ezra and the priests explained to the people that this was not a day for weeping but a day for rejoicing and celebration. There are times in our lives, when some things need to be rebuilt.  When some unexpected event has shaken our faith, we need time to rest and heal.  Perhaps a close friend has broken our trust or one of our spiritual leaders has fallen from grace. The enemy will come close whispering discouraging words in our hear.  God will protect us through the storm and when the skies are clear, it will be a time for rejoicing and celebration for us just as it was for the Israelis in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Psalm 30:1-5 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-25-2019

“Joy and Peace In Abundance”

7  And though you started with little,  you will end with much.. Job 8:7 NLT

Job 8:1-7 NLT

Bldad also wrongly assumes that Job has committed some transgression and God is disciplining Job for  that sin.  But Bildad is correct in the statement that he makes.  “But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home”.  And his statement in verse 7 above turns out to be a prophecy for Job.  Job definitely ends up with twice as much as he had in the beginning.  If we faithfully persevere in the times of testing, we will be blessed here on earth.  The greatest of these blessings is not material possessions or anything that money can buy.  It is the peace and the joy that comes from knowing that we are pleasing our heavenly Father. From my own personal experience, I can testify that there is a peace that each of us can access that is different from what the world knows as peace. It is a peace that will guard our hearts and our minds.  It is a peace that keeps from thinking those thoughts that satan would use to destroy us. It is a peace that assures us that we are not alone now and we will never be alone.  Although the peace you have now may be little, focus on Jesus and you will have abundant peace and joy that is truly unspeakable.

Phil. 4:4-8 NLT

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-19-2019

From Mourning to Joy and Dancing

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11  You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.  You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,  12  that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!– Psalm 30:11, 12 NLT
 

God is so good to us all the time.  He is always working for us, turning evil into good and our times of mourning into times of joy and praise.  It is His heart’s desire for us to live lives full of joy.  Not happiness and pleasures, which are fleshly and temporary, but abiding joy deep down in our hearts.  Joy that no one can take from us.


John 16:16-24

Joy, that is not pretended or unrealistic, but joy that is the fulfillment of the promise that Jesus made to His disciples and to us.  It isn’t because we deserve it or have earned it in some way.  It is simply because He loves us and wants us to love Him.  He gives us His peace and joy so that we can be free to praise Him in every situation.  So, that we can sing praises to Him and not be silent.  It is true that there are roaring lions out there and one.in particular, that is trying to destroy our joy and us physically.  It is hard to ignore a roaring lion, but as Spurgeon points out, Samson’s roaring lion yielded honey.  God can produce joy and sweetness from the worst of situations.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 12-02-2018

Spreading the Word Produces Joy

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You became imitators of us and of the Lord. In spite of a great deal of suffering, you welcomed the word with the joy that the Holy Spirit produces.
​- 1 Thess. 1:6 ISV​

God has chosen each of us and has a plan for each of us.  We are sanctified, set apart, for a particular purpose.  Our faith produces works that are a part of that process. We show our love for Christ by laboring and helping others. We are able to endure because of the hope we have in us, the hope that we have because God has poured His love into us. When the Gospel is preached, it goes forth with power to accomplish whatever purpose God has intended for it.  The power is the Holy Spirit which can cut us to the bone and convict us of our need for redemption.  This is the message Paul and his companions preached among the Thessalonians and in all the other places they traveled.  They were successful, not because of their powers of persuasion, but because they were completely obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is the same message that each of us should be preaching every day with our lifestyle and as St Francis of Assisi encouraged us to do: “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”  We should follow the example of Paul and live lifestyles that are worthy of imitation, just as we have become imitators of Christ.  Then those who are suffering will receive the message with great joy.  Their joy will be observed by others who will want to know the source of such great joy.  The kind of joy that endures in the midst of suffering and persecution, the kind of joy that is caught, not taught.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 07-09-2018

“The Joy of the Lord”

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15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.Romans 12:15 NIV

It appears that most of us do a decent job of mourning with others in times of the loss of life of a loved one.  We support them with cards, meals and our presence at the home or other places.  We even do a fair job of supporting those who lose their homes or jobs.  But, how do we score in rejoicing with others?  Are we as diligent in being available to celebrate the joyous times in their life? We get good scores on weddings and if it is close family, we do okay on birthdays. But, if you are like me, (and I hope that you aren’t), I can’t tell you a single date of a wedding anniversary of anyone in my family or any of my friends. In today’s society, maybe the divorce rate would be lower if we made a big deal of wedding anniversaries. When was the last time we sent a card or email congratulating someone on their new job or new home?
Or the most important time of all, when have we sent a note, card or email welcoming someone to the family of God?  Maybe we could make a huge deal out of celebrating our second birthday by giving gifts to others. If we don’t remember the date, we could just pick one and celebrate that date every year. I definitely need to work on rejoicing with others, maybe we all need to give it some thought. If we rejoiced more, perhaps. others would want what we have.–The joy of the Lord.
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”–Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 03-22-2018

Does the Success of Others Bring Us Joy?

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29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success

​. – John 3:29 NLT​

Over and over in Chapter 3, we are reminded of John’s faithfulness and steadfastness in following the plan that God had laid out for Him. In today’s society, with all of it’s “me first” attitudes, we need this constant reminder. We, like John, need to know our place in God’s plan and be faithful in carrying out that plan. God’s plan is for us to teach and preach the “foolishness” of the gospel. God has gifted each of us with a special gift that He wants us to use in spreading His Word. What is our gift and how are we using it to further the Kingdom of God here on earth? There is not one job in God’s Kingdom that is not important. Every part of the body has to function well for the Church to work as God planned it. Do we do our job with gratitude that God has chosen us to help Him? Are we filled with joy when those that have more visible jobs are successful? Do we honestly and fervently pray for those in authority over us? Are we “filled with joy” when those around us are promoted to a position over us? In our hearts and minds, we must see ourselves as less important and Jesus as Lord or as Paul puts it, we must mortify the flesh and follow after the Spirit.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 08-14-2017

In His Service

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 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, — Mark 10:43 NIV
 

Jesus left His honor and glory in heaven and became a man. Not just any man, but the perfect man, a man without sin. He spent His time here serving others and humbled Himself, even to the point of allowing Himself to be crucified on a cross. A sinless man dying for the sins of a corrupt human race. Yet, He did it without complaint. If our Creator and Redeemer humbled Himself to that degree, how should we respond to that act of love? We are to follow His example and humble ourselves. We should consider it an honor to be ridiculed for righteousness sake. Because of His obedience, God exalted Jesus to the highest position and put everything under His feet. If we humble ourselves and stay obedient in serving others, God will exalt us in due time.

1 Peter 4:7-10 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 01-15-2017