“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

“The Lord God Is My Strength”

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17 Even though the fig tree does not blossom, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even if the olive harvest fails,
    and the fields produce nothing edible;
even if the flock is snatched from the sheepfold,
    and there is no herd in the stalls—
18 as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will find my joy in the God who delivers me.
19 The Lord God is my strength—  he will make my feet like those of a deer,
        equipping me to tread on my mountain heights.  
– Habakkuk 3:17-19​
 

Happiness and pleasure are worldly things and are dependent on our external circumstances.  They are fleeting and temporary.  But joy, true joy, comes from the Holy Spirit that abides in us.  It is dependent on our internal attitudes.  It is eternal and no one, not even satan can steal our joy.  If we lose it, it is because we give it away.  It is our strength that gets us through every day.  There are times when we may not be happy and our circumstances may not be pleasant, but how we respond to those times determines where we are on our journey with Jesus.  When these times come, do we blame God and sulk like spoiled children or do we respond like Habakkuk and rejoice in the Lord”?  When we don’t feel like praying, that is the time we need to pray the fervent, effectual prayers.  When we don’t feel like shouting with joy, that is the time when we need to clap our hands and shout with a voice of triumph.  Our joy is not based on feelings or circumstances but upon the sure knowledge that “God is our salvation and He has become our strength”.   All day, every day, all our life long.

Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1

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

Post 10-12-2018

“I Can Do Nothing”

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10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor.12:10 NLT
 
In the verses from 2 Cor.11:5 to 12:7a, Paul has been making the case that only a fool would boast about the things that they accomplish in their own strength. He is is making two points. One is that as long as we think we can, God won’t and the other is that we are foolish to think that we can do any of God’s work in our own strength.  Jesus made that fact very clear.

 

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5

We are not put here on earth to brag and boast about ourselves and our accomplishments. Our purpose here on earth is to bring praise to God in our words and actions.

 
 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.​ — 1 Peter 2:9​

It is in our weakest moments that God shows up to deliver us, it is when we come to the end of our rope and ask God for wisdom, that He shows us the open door through which He will take us to safety. Therefore, let us, like Paul, delight in our weaknesses and in whatever situation we find ourselves, trust God. As long as we think we can, God will allow us to struggle on our own.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its  way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-23-2018

I Am Nothing Without Jesus

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a sp​​ectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! —1 Cor. 4:​8​-10 NIV
​Paul ​continues to admonish the Christians at Corinth about their attitude. They are boastful of their salvation as if they had done something to earn it. They have made assumptions and “gone beyond what is written”, even though they have no way of having knowledge that Paul, Apollo, and Peter would not have access to. They mistakenly think that because they are saved, they are already rich and powerful here on earth. Paul contrasts their attitude to the way he, Apollo and Peter think and act. They are mistreated, abused, imprisoned and “made spectacles” for the world and the angels to look upon. They have become fools for Christ’s sake, but the Corinthians are “puffed up”, thinking they are wise. They have given up their honor for the sake of the glory of God. Paul, Apollo, and Peter have become weak so that Jesus might show His strength through their weakness.
They have come to understand what John the Baptist meant when he said:
30 He must become greater; I must become less.”–John 3:30 NIV
​And we​ need to have that same attitude. We can do nothing of heavenly value without Christ but we can do all things through Christ.
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.–Phil. 4:13 NIV

Post 05-11-2015