Glorying In Infirmities

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭

Is anything impossible for God? No of course not. By His very nature what He says simply is, for creation lies in the power of His words. However, sometimes He chooses to do things, or not to do things that baffle our human minds. In our limited understanding we may question God, the devil might get in our ear and even cause us to doubt the goodness of God, but if we will but trust in His infinite wisdom and unfailing love, and seeking Him for understanding, wait patiently until all be revealed, we will always see a greater purpose in our pain then the pain itself. Not unlike the pain of delivering a child, once the reason for that pain comes forth it becomes not only worth it all.

Often times those greatest in the faith endure the most afflictions. This seems counter intuitive to us, but I’m sure the process of pruning seems counter intuitive to the tree. How can cutting away its beautiful lively luscious branches until it looks mangled and near death be helping the tree? Yet it is a time proven fact that no amount of water, fertilizer, or babying can compare to the amount of fruit that comes forth in its season then from the act of pruning.

Likewise, sometimes we must be pruned also. We need certain things to be cut away in order for us to become fruitful to our fullest potential. However, sometimes God will also allow things to come upon us not for our good but for the good of others. This is a trial of faith that is reserved for God’s most loyal and trusted soldiers. For example, Job went through his great trials for you and me. So that you and I might draw faith from His unwavering resolve in the midst of utter brokenness. That once knowing his plight we might (as Paul said) follow after his example as he followed after God, and in the face of unimaginable sorrow and suffering, be able to say as he did “yet though you slay me, still will I serve you! 

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:11‬ ‭

Remember that according to zither book of Revelations, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, because the testimony validates the power of the blood and the testimony only comes by way of a test. For it is the testing of that faith that creates a testimony of faith!

Then there is this, sometimes there are those that God trust so deeply and desires to use so greatly that for the sake of humility He must allow an infirmity. Moses might have been thought a god if it had not been for the frailties of a speech impediment. He surely was no god, the man could hardly speak, yet God chose him to be His mouthpiece, speaking through him that which would be re-uttered for thousands of generations. 

In this reality we see the great power of God manifested through the meekest of vessels insuring that God alone gets the glory and is worshiped for His words and actions, not the man that relayed them. This is what Paul was praising God for in our opening passage. He was thanking God for his infirmities knowing that it was only because of his weakness that God would choose to use him at all. He recognized that because of the great revelation and power that God brought forth through him that God had to also with that allow for an infirmity to show forth his mortality that he not become worshiped himself. All saw the power of God healing the sick through Paul, yet he could not heal himself proving the power was God’s and not his own, and that he was but a mortal man walking out the will of an immortal God. All the more it proved the power of God when others saw his resolve and faithfulness to continually labor to walk out his faith even in the face of pain, rejection, opposition, heartache, and infirmity, all for the love of God and the sake of others, and rejoiced at the opportunity to do so that God might be more greatly glorified. Let us be thus minded, and endeavor to do the same.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” – Philippians‬ ‭2:5‬ ‭

“For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:6-10‬ ‭

Advertisements

Game Changer

hqdefaultWant to know how to change your day, and the devil’s too? How to turn the tide on the endless wearying battle with the lies and discouragements that the devil is constantly speaking in your ear? How to get off of the defense and onto the offence in this fight of faith? Then listen up, these are the 2 main rules that you need to put into practice to see everything change so that you can not only more easily hold your ground against the devil but start advancing and taking new territory in the fight.

1.) When God speaks, stop talking and start listening!

2.)But when the devil speaks, stop listening and start talking!

That is to say, don’t struggle in an inward battle with the thoughts, discouragements, and temptations he is speaking into your ear. “Speak” to that mountain of lies and cast it into the sea of forgetfulness! That’s right, stop listening and start speaking! Out Loud!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” – Proverbs 18:21

So here’s you’re battle plan. Today, make it a point to praise God out loud. Thank Him for all that He has done and brought you through, and all that He WILL do and bring you though! Tell Him how wonderful and faithful He is, how you love Him, and why. Do it all out loud because your are not so much doing it for God to hear, for He knows your heart, but your doing it more so for the devil to hear! Stop letting the things you hear the devil say give you a bad day. Instead start letting the things the devil hears you say give him a bad day! If you are truly a child of God then you have the mind of Christ and the devil cannot get in there so say it out loud and smile that this day you stopped letting him beat you down with his words and lies and you swung back, because this day you stopped listening and started speaking.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” – James 4:7

Remember that the devil is a created being and unlike God he is not omnipotent, therefore he has limited resources and HATES to waste them. So stop leaving him guessing at whether or not his attacks are working and show him that they are not! You do this by speaking to the mountain, OUT LOUD! As soon as he starts whispering doubt, speak faith! When he whispers, discouragement, sing praise! When he shouts lies, whisper truth. When he murmurs complaints, shout thanks to God! Show him that his limited resources are being wasted on you and he will take them elsewhere. That’s when you start praying for those that he took the fight too when it left you! In this, you have graduated from defense to offence and become a contender for the faith!

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints'” – Jude 1:3

In God’s Economy

Surprisingly, you’ll find the Biblical principles of Godly gain, spiritual gifting/blessing, grace, exaltation, promotion, all things we would hold to be “worth attaining to” are found and available through methods the natural mind wouldn’t expect.

Now to accurately preface this devotion, I’m not speaking of the modern ideals of “Christianity” that seek specifically for monetary, personal gain motivated in pure selfishness… I’m referring to the truest sense of Biblical promotion: When GOD raises us up!

In short, we are going to see the 3 main unconventional principles for “Godly gain”

1.) If You Want to Save, You Have to Lose:

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” -Luke 9:23-25

2.) Humbled to be Exalted

“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” -Luke 14:11 -Matthew 23:12

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” -James 4:6

3.) To Be First, You Must Be Last.

“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” -Matthew 20:16

Wether or not these principles make sense to us regarding this logic, the Bible is absolutely clear: “His ways are HIGHER than our ways… His thoughts are HIGHER than our thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-13) Also, “The wisdom of the world is foolishness unto God.” (1 Corinthians 3:19) So whether we think this makes sense, or not, we know that we can trust God and His Word! He is so much smarter than we can or ever will be.

As Christians, we always start in the low seat. (Luke 14:10) We, like Christ, have been called to be servants. Matthew 20:27-28.

So really you can summarize this by saying, “Those who chase a crown, will never find it. Those who are not chasing it, the crown chases them.” True Biblical promotion will be motivated in humility and selflessness. God desires to reward His humble and obedient!

Today let’s choose not to pursue our own personal desires, but rather let us be so consumed with Jesus that nothing else matters. It’s to them whom God pours out upon!

Prayer:

“Lord help me to be humble and keep my eyes completely on You. I thank You for your continued love and patience and teaching me Your ways.”

None Good But God

“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” – Matthew‬ ‭19:16-17‬ ‭

In this passage Jesus makes it very clear that only God is good, yet we read in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that only the righteous will make it to heaven. How can this be? The answer is very simple. To be righteous and to be good, though commonly thought to be so, are not the same thing. To be good implies that you are inherently and naturally good in and of yourself. That of your own goodness you will make good decisions, of your good knowledge you will judge rightly, of your good nature you will always do what is good for others, of your good understanding you will choose good outcomes. This just isn’t so. The reason Jesus said that not even He was good, but God only is the same reason He also said that He did nothing unless His Father in Heaven told Him too and said nothing unless He heard God speak it to Him first. In this was God’s goodness enacted through Him unto righteousness, and Christ being our example, the same applies to us.

You see, truly only God is good. God’s perfect knowledge, understanding, plan, justice, wisdom, love, and selflessness is the essence of all that is good. Only that which comes from God is (or can be) good, not anything that comes from us. For example our talents or selfish, prideful, and desirous of vain glory, but God’s gifts are good because the talent is from us but the gift is from God. In this do we understand the error of Cain’s sacrifice. Cain offered the fruit of his own hand and thinking that it was good, desired God to agree with him. He was not worshiping God, he was worshiping self (his own good work) and asking God to participate. Abel on the other hand, like Christ did not do what he thought was good but simply did what He who is good told Him to do. Though he surely did not want to, he did not rely on what he thought was good but what God said was right, therefor was he counted righteous in the eyes of God.

You see while being good implies that you yourself hold the capacity in and of yourself to understand and do that which is perfect and good, being righteous simply means to be in right standing with God. In other words, to do what God says is right. This is why Jesus told the rich young ruler in our opening text that though none are good, if he will but obey the commandments he will have eternal life. If you will do what God says then, though you yourself are no good, you will still do what is right because you are not following the leading of your corrupt flesh but His good and Holy Spirit. In this simple truth do we come to terms with the reality that though none in and of themselves are good, all who choose to obey God can be righteous. Simply stop trusting in yourself, your knowledge, your skills, strengths, and abilities, and start putting your faith in God and in every word that He says unto obedience. For man shall not live by bread alone, but by every single word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge God’s good and perfect wisdom, will, justice, and love, and let Him direct your path. In this will you be in right standing with God and counted among the righteous on the day of judgement.

Seek, pray, read, and obey. No you are not good, that’s why you must trust and obey the instructions of the only one who is. This is what Jesus was telling the rich young ruler who was use to trusting in himself. Jesus made it clear that He did only what God said to do because He was flesh and flesh is not good, therefore he chose to obey the Holy Spirit of God, because only God is good. So choose to do the same. Choose today to stop trusting yourself, your emotions, your skills, your talent, your strength, or what you think you know, for your heart is deceitfully wicked above all, insted choose to trust God and be led of His Spirit, for He is good. In this is your flesh crucified that Christ’s Spirit might live through you, allowing you to become the righteousness of God enacting the will of the Father in this present world. 

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” – James‬ ‭1:14-18‬ ‭

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Romans‬ ‭8:11-14‬ ‭

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” – Matthew‬ ‭7:11‬ ‭

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: …” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭

My Trust Is In The Lord, So That I Rest In Troubled Seas

boat_church_ministry_storm_pastor1“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.” – Psalms‬ ‭28:7-8‬ ‭

It’s a peaceful place to truly trust in the Lord. To know that when you are weakest, His strength is poured out on you all the more. When accusations, lies, slanders, plots, attacks, and manipulations rise up against you, you need not worry, for the Lord Himself defends His own in impossible ways. There is a sweet assurance that for those who walk in righteousness, no weapon formed against them will prosper, that for those who are called all things will work together for the good, and that those who carry God’s anointing also carry His favor. Though they be the most fought, they are also the most defended. As long as they stay the course and put their trust in God, He will be their shield and buckler until their purpose has been fulfilled in that they can say (as Paul did), “to live is (beneficial to the cause of) Christ, and to die is gain (to me)”. In all things, I am content, for I trust in the Lord. Ever will I sing His praise, for the joy of the Lord is my strength. I will not fear what man can do to me. The Lord is my defender and God always has a plan. Therefore will I sing, “though all of hell assail me, praise be to my King, for He alone is sovereign, He knows what He is doing.”

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.” – Psalms‬ ‭28:7-8‬ ‭

“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.” – 1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:21-23‬ ‭

Understanding The Blood Of Jesus

“It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” – Hebrews‬ ‭9:23‬ ‭

When God gave Moses the instructions on how to build the tabernacle, He was laying out a “pattern” or model of heaven. The alter being the alters of heaven (Revelations 6:9), the lavern being the crystal sea (Revelation 4:6), and the Holy of Holies being the place where God’s throne resides (Revelations 7:15). In the tabernacle this model of the thrown was called “The Mercy Seat“. On the day of atonement the high priest would take the blood of the sacrifice into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle it on the mercy seat. This would cleanse the temple and cover sin for a season but could never remove it because the real problem was a spiritual one and the crime of sin was committed against God who resides in heaven. 

“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” – Hebrews‬ ‭10:4‬ ‭

So for hundreds of years this act was preformed on a model of heaven because the real mercy seat was in heaven and since no sin can enter heaven and no man since the fall of man was without sin, then no man could enter into heaven and approach the thrown of God to make a true atonement to God for the sin committed against God. Here inters Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, a man who was tempted of all sin but yet never once sinned, for scripture says that He knew no sin. Jesus not only, gave His life to become our sacrifice, but being the first man to die without sin was able to enter heaven as our high priest bringing the blood of His perfect sacrifice to the real mercy seat, the very thrown of God. In this alone is our sin against God atoned for and forgiven. Therefore, there is no other way by which men can be cleansed, forgiven, purified, sanctified, and saved then by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb, the eternal High Priest, the Mediator, and the Savior of the World.

“It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” – Hebrews‬ ‭9:23-28‬

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – Acts‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭

Praying For Both The Persecuted And The Persecutors

img_5346I posted the word titled “The Damnation Of Hatred” Friday knowing in my Spirit that something very bad was going to happen this weekend. I could feel it, and it didn’t take much time in prayer before the Lord revealed that the Devil’s plan through what he was going to do, was to plant and spread the seeds hate and bitterness in the heart of believers. Now as the details of the Christian hating atheist lead church massacre in Texas over the weekend begin to surface, I am seeing exactly that.  News threads, article comments, and social media are abuzz with bitterness and all out malice over this horrific act.

Now understand that I am in no way siding with the atheist on this, I am however, siding with Christ who said that we have to pray for those who persecute us.  Believer, remember that the atheist is already damned (John 3:18), but if you let his hate transfer to you and take root in your heart then the devil will have succeeded in damning you both (Matthew 6:15). This is why Jesus says to be angry, but sin not (Ephesians 4:26) which means not to speak that anger out in words or act upon it with evil actions nor to let it stay in your heart but rather to release it through prayer. You do that by praying for the life changing salvation of those who have fallen into the enemies snare and are being used by the devil to the damnation of their eternal soul. Darkness cannot be overcome with more darkness, when you allow your heart and thoughts to be darkened by the darkness manifesting through others, then you only aid in spreading the darkness and the kingdom of hell on earth. Yet when you choose to let the light of the selfless love of Christ shine through you in the darkest of places then and only then is the darkness stopped in it’s tracks and the Kingdom of God is spread on earth as it is in heaven. This is why Jesus commanded us to, love, bless, and pray for our enemies no matter what they have done. By doing so you not only spare your own soul, but may in-turn aid in the saving of others by inciting faith, without which it is impossible to please the Lord (Hebrews 11:6). So with that being said. I will leave you today with the words of Jesus Christ, and a repost of Friday’s word and warning as it was laid on me by the Holy Spirit of God.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:11-14‬

“But I (Jesus) say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:….” – Matthew 5:44-45

“For as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” – Romans 8:14

Click Here for Original Post : The Damnation of Hatred 

The Damnation of Hatred 

November 3, 2017 / Marandia Wright / Edit

Hatred sends people to hell. Jesus said that if you hold any hatred or bitterness toward anyone in your heart for any reason then you cannot be saved, you are not His child, and you will not come into His Kingdom with it. Let go of all hatred so you can pick up your cross and follow Christ. You can’t carry both. To pick up one, you have to lay the other one down. Choose to lay down the one that will damn you to an eternity in hell and insight others to join you there. This is serious. It’s a matter of your soul! God is love and love cannot come into a heart that is already full of hate. You cannot serve two masters. God will not share His glory with an other, nor will He reside in a hate filled heart. Choose Ye this day whom you will serve, Self or Selfless Love.

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:20-21‬ ‭

“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” – Mark‬ ‭11:26‬

The Damnation of Hatred 

Hatred sends people to hell. Jesus said that if you hold any hatred or bitterness toward anyone in your heart for any reason then you cannot be saved, you are not His child, and you will not come into His Kingdom with it. Let go of all hatred so you can pick up your cross and follow Christ. You can’t carry both. To pick up one, you have to lay the other one down. Choose to lay down the one that will damn you to an eternity in hell and insight others to join you there. This is serious. It’s a matter of your soul! God is love and love cannot come into a heart that is already full of hate. You cannot serve two masters. God will not share His glory with an other, nor will He reside in a hate filled heart. Choose Ye this day whom you will serve, Self or Selfless Love.

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:20-21‬ ‭

“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” – Mark‬ ‭11:26‬ 

The Joy Of The Lord

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” – 3 John‬ ‭1:4‬

As a parent who is walking in the truth there truly is no greater joy then to know that your children or walking in the truth also. Likewise, as a minister (which are little more then spiritual parents) l can attest that nothing brings you more joy then to see your disciples walking on their own firmly planted in the truth. How much more then does it bring joy to our Heavenly Father when His children also walk in the truth? And since the joy of the Lord is our strength, then our faith in His truth brings not only Him joy, but us power! For when we come to read the truth of God’s word and walk it out in faith, we align ourselves with God. When we try to make things work our way, we are telling God to align Himself with us. He will not, but I assure you that another spirit will. This grieves God greatly. In this we can see the simple truth of both what grieves God and what brings Him joy. Trusting in what you think and expecting God to align with it grieves Him, while trusting in what He says (which is the truth) and aligning yourself with Him in faith brings Him joy which causes Him to joyfully send you the gift of His Holy Spirit and all the strength of it, which at its root is grace, God’s favor, power, and divine leading influence filling your heart, changing your life, and making all things new. 

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation‬ ‭21:5‬ ‭

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭36:26-27‬ ‭

“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – Ephesians‬ ‭4:21-32‬ ‭

“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah‬ ‭8:8-10‬ ‭

A Picture Of True Revival 

“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah‬ ‭8:10‬ ‭

For something to be revived it must first die. Many times pride, sin, and rebellion grew to live in the hearts of the people of Israel so that they would not obey the Lord their God. So God would turn them over to their enemies for a season of humbling as they began to see what it is really like to be separated from the love and grace of the God they were willingly choosing to ignore. In this their stubborn selfishness was put to death that the tender humbled heart of a servant and Child of God might be raised up in its place to fulfill the first and greatest commandment. To love and serve the Lord their God with all their hearts, all their minds, and all their strength.Many Old Testament books record the tragic moment of exile and wrath but the book of Nehemiah records one of the greatest accounts of their humble return in which we see a true picture of revival. The people had a long time been in captivity in Babylon. Many generations had been born in captivity to the enemy with not reading, living, or understanding the laws of God. Here enter Ezra and Nehemiah who led the people back to Israel to rebuild the Temple and the walls.

At this point everything is in ruins and decay, most of the people don’t even know what the word of God really says nor how badly they have been in violation of it. So Nehemiah does what all true revival is birthed from. He builds an old fashioned wooden pulpit, they take out the Holy Scripture, and preach the simple unaltered uncompromised truth of God’s word. They preached and when the people began to understand the scripture they realized that they had not been obeying the word of God which led to bitter broken hearted grief and weeping. In that moment did they finally know the heart of God over their sin and they repented! 

Once repentance had broken out then came joy unto the leaders in realizing this sure truth. That as much as God’s heart breaks over sin, equally as much does the Lord joy over repentance and the joy of the Lord is our strength because His favor, protection, prevision, grace, and mercy returns into a repented and revived people. So you see the joy of the Lord is not God’s joy in us, but rather it is God’s joy over us. It is quite literally “the Joy of the Lord” our God at seeing His children repent and return to Him which in turn becomes our strength as He begins to fight for us once more turning back our captivity and bondage. In this is His joy transferred back to us. 

In the selfishness of sin we find pleasure in that which grieves God and hurts others. In the humility and grief of repentance is God’s joy returned and then transferred back to us and to others through His favor which brings life, peace, love, power, and joy to all. As long as the repentance last, the reviving last, and as long as the reviving last, God’s joy last, and as long as God’s joy last, His favor and strength toward us last. For the joy of the Lord is our strength, but it all starts with the preaching of the truth of God’s Holy Word. Because this favor, power, strength, and joy is (in all its forms), the grace of God which comes only by faith, and faith comes by hearing. For how can we believe what He said unto submission, repentance, obedience, and resurrection of new life unless we have first heard His words and commandments that we might come to realize that we have broken them and need to cry out in repentance. Only those who come to realize that they need saving will ever cry out for a savior. The word shows us our need, therefor does faith come by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, and revival comes by faith, for men are revived only when their faith is revived and faith is revived only when self dies, and self only dies when it is pierced by the sword of the Word. 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” – Psalms‬ ‭19:7-14‬ ‭

“And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchijah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.” – Nehemiah‬ ‭8:4-12‬ ‭