ESV - 10 Then he said to them, "Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
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The joy of the Lord is powerful in any circumstance. Joy is not happiness, it is a deep seated emotion anchored in a surety that no matter what situation you are in, the Rock of Ages is right there beside and within you. Happiness is a transitory emotion, based on your current experiences which may or may not last. Joy is a deep seated source of feeling and knowledge based on the certainty that in the most awful circumstances, Christ is still able to give you hope, make you smile and enjoy the finer points of creation. Joy cannot be replicated, it cannot be taken from you, and it will return time and time again. The source of joy is actually the love of Christ. Christlike strength will enable you to climb mountains, face death or even a demonic horde. When you know Christ, you know joy.
This verse describes the Holy Spirit. He is our strength (Eph 6:10). Regeneration is key, that is, being born again by the Holy Ghost. This process, creates in us a new heart, which has new affections. This is key, this is the fundamental truth of the power of the gospel to birth anew a child of God. Jesus Christ did not come, live, die, rise, and ascend so that we might give intellectual assent to 4 or 5 points and live on as we always did in the past. This 'fundamentalism' which has pervaded our faith is poison and results in many, very many, unconverted people to claim the name of Crist and be classified as Christian. But they have never experienced regeneration, they are not, new creatures and they blaspheme the name of God wherever the go. When the Holy Ghost changes a heart, we desire the will of God (Ps 40:8). More than that, because our heart has been changed, and we now value the things of God, this is what takes control of our heart. These new desires become the driving force for our lives. Just as an NBA player may live and breathe basketball because they 'love' the game, so too, a true child of God will live and breathe the things of God because they 'love' God. He becomes 'most satisfying', above all worldly and earthly and humanly pleasures. He is our great reward (Gen 15:1). This is the major difference and it is well summed up by a statement I heard from Paul Washer: 'Avoiding the wicked things you love and doing all the good things you hate is not Christianity. That is a lost man and religion. A Christian is a person who's heart has been changed, they have new affections'. In this way, it is our 'joy' in these things that drive us. As the NBA player 'joys' in playing and learning, even amidst struggle and strife, we also, press through struggle and strife to perform the will of God because we 'enjoy' doing so. This is our strength, the 'joy'. We pursue, because we love Him and His will and His people. We 'joy' in sharing burdens and seeking the lost. It is our 'joy' in these sufferings and servings and giving of our body and lives and soul for God and for His Kingdom that enables us to 'overcome the world', for 'greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world'. In this way, our 'joy' is the out working of the Holy Ghost in our lives, working in us, both to will and to do His good pleasure. And He is our strength. Christ be with you
The book of Nehemiah is considered the second part of the book of Ezra in the Old Testament. It is in the time frame of the return from the Babylonian captivity to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Cyrus of Persia had defeated the Babylonian empire and was allowing the Israelites to return to their homeland. The people were going to be released in stages. They wanted to rebuild the temple. Zerubbabel led the first group about 538 b.c. Ezra led the next group about 458 b.c. The last group was headed by Nehiamiah about 444 b.c. The work proceeded and finally they built a wall for protection of the city. There was something missing! The people needed their spirits rebuilt! Ezra and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:1-8) decided to read and instruct the people of the law. Notice in verse 2, the day that this took place. The wall had been completed a few days before. (Nehemiah 6:15) It is now the first day of the seventh month. (Our September) This day was a special day! It was appointed through Moses as a celebration day. (See Leviticus 23:23-25 and Numbers 29:1-6) This is The Feast of Trumpets. This is a day of memory and celebration of The Lord! A day to worship, to praise God and to ask Him to remember His covenant people. These people had been away in a foreign land...they were returning after many years. Ezra and Nehemiah read the scriptures to them...They realized how far away they were from The Lord...physically and spiritually. The people understood. They remembered all God had done for them.. Nehemiah 8:9, The people wept. Nehemiah 8:10, Ezra and Nehemiah told the people, we are home! God has been and will be our strength. He was and is our protection! Celebrate, be joyful, worship! GOD will not let you down! Exodus 15:2, "The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God I will exalt Him."
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