The Joy of the Lord is your STRENGTH!
by Pam Clark
Israel had failed God, again. But the love of God still wooed. God raised up a Godly man named Nehemiah along with other prophets who gathered together in unity to proclaim the Word of the Lord to the nation. The called out and anointed ministry was fully in position to the give forth the word with understanding.
In Nehemiah 8:8 it says: "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." Upon hearing the words, the people wept with conviction. The Truth of God -- How it witnessed to their inner man. They felt a response and began to weep. They knew they had missed it and the love of God was tangibly there.
But Nehemiah, God's man, said, "Don't do this! Don't cry! This day is holy! This day is special! This is a day of strength and not of weakness. God has revealed Himself to you! Go celebrate! Take His nature, be kind, and give as He just has, to those who for whom nothing has been prepared. The sacrifice has been provided. This knowledge you now have of knowing God, this understanding, is your joy, it is your strength!" (my paraphrasing)
The joy of the Lord is our strength. When the right understanding came, the people were blessed. Even though we get attacked again and again, the joy of the Lord is our strength. Even though we have miserably failed God ourselves, He will take pity and revive us, for knowing Him is our joy and our strength.
There is a lot of junk in the polluted stream of the world in which we live. We can carve out a few nice places and then we are back in the battle again. Our enemy is not always predictable, but his evil nature stays the same. How we long and cry out and yearn for God. And this is a good thing, because our crying out brings Him on the scene. "And when the people cried out, the Lord turned to them..." you will read in the Scriptures.
It's not how loud we wail as much as it is our heart's condition. There are two agendas going on. There is the individual agenda and the corporate agenda. Can't have one without the other, though many try. Forsake one, and you will lose the reward you could have from it. You will watch others be blessed and not be blessed yourself. "But I'm a Christian!" many will cry out, but they didn't pay the price for the prize.
"I thought it was free," some might argue. It is free but the offer is for your life. For a man to run the race and qualify for the prize, he must obey the rules of the race, said Apostle Paul.
The problem many have is the wrong philosophy. Some say it is all joy - "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die and who knows what that is?" But we do know. Others say, "Be sad, be mournful, there is much to weep and lament about," and there is, but why live if there is no joy?
Others say that sin doesn't matter, the price was paid so don't worry about it, you are forgiven. But they miss it here in that the price is not paid unless you believe there was a problem and you agree with the Solution and your life acts it out! THEN the price is paid.
We are in a labor right now. All creation is groaning under it. But in work, there is accomplishment and there is reward. We have been long living under the reward of other's labors. What is our response to this? Is it to weep and wail and cry and lament? No. (Did I shock somebody?)
No, God is Love. He wants us blessed. But we are a growing world society and we are prophets like Jonah who like our own blessing but don't care for anyone else! We have to change or the worm will eat our own covering.
More and more people are being born everyday and millions in people groups do not know Jesus Christ and they could. If Christians would use their resources and pray and come together in unity, God will pour out His Spirit in such a manner that past revivals would look like little stuff. This is what will please Him.
These are end times. The latter glory is greater than the former. He has saved the best for last. Don't you want to be a part of it? Don't you want to enter into Heaven and hear Him say, "Well, done My good and faithful servant. Enter into My joy." ???
It comes through work and effort, not just goofing off. It comes from obeying His will and carrying our load. The First Commandment still holds.
But oh the joy, oh the Family Reunion we will have. Talk about a party, talk about a celebration, talk about an awesome worship service!
But we must be balanced here, as we will be there. We need the joy to get our tasks done here. We need to know what and why we are working and praying. Not only do we want to qualify, but we want to enter in. When looking at all of the great needs of the people, it will be:
31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
39 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
43 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'
44 "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'
45 "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
46 "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."