A Call To The Remnant

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The Joy of the Lord is my strength

Posted by appolus on January 29, 2010

God Himself is an encounter. A heart that has not been enraptured by love, is a heart that has not had an encounter with the Living God. Revival is encounter!
 
THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH
 
 
Mat 25:21  His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.
 
We see here that the Lord invites faithful servants into “The joy of the Lord.” What is the Joy of the Lord? Well the word for joy here is the Greek word khar-ah meaning fullness.  And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. God Himself is an encounter. A heart that has not been enraptured by love, is a heart that has not had an encounter with the Living God. Revival is encounter!
 
To enter into the Joy of the Lord, to walk in eternal life, is to walk in the knowledge of God. To know God is to fellowship with Him. It is a coming together, and intimate friendship, a love greater than that of a man for his wife or wife for her husband. It is nothing short of an encounter with the living God. When a man or a woman encounters the living God, when the Holy Spirit comes and brings revelation and illumination, then that one has an epiphany. The experience is multi-faceted. There are also times and seasons for how we are in our walk.
 
Let us read Neh chp 8 1-9.
 
Neh 8:1  And all the people gathered themselves as one man into the street before the water gate. And they spoke to Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which Jehovah had commanded to Israel.
Neh 8:2  And Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
Neh 8:3  And he read in it before the street in front of the Water Gate from the morning until noon, in front of the men and the women, and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people listened to the Book of the Law.
Neh 8:4  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 Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
Neh 8:5  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.
Neh 8:6  And Ezra blessed Jehovah, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, amen, lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped Jehovah with their faces to the ground.
Neh 8:9  And Nehemiah, the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all the people, This day is holy to Jehovah your God. Do not mourn or weep. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law
 
In Neh chp 8 we see that a solemn assembly has been called. The wall had been completed, the exiles had returned and now they would seek the face of God. Now, in the revival movement of today we recognize well the first nine verses of Nehamiah. The solemn assembly, the reading of Gods word and sermons, the falling on our faces with our faces in the dirt so to speak. In Nehamiah the people wept upon hearing the word of God, they wept upon being convicted of their sins, they wept when they realized how far they had wandered from a Holy God, they wept when they realized just how compromised they had become after years of living in Babylon. In our revival meetings one often witnesses such weeping, such repentance, such dismay at how far we seemed to have wandered from God. The reason is the same today as it was in Nehamiah’s time, the Spirit of conviction falls upon the people and their eyes are opened to their condition and the condition of the church. When we hear Gods law spoken, when we read of it, we can recognize that the law works death to those who violate it even in one part. It strikes terror into the heart. It is true that everyone who finds himself under the law finds himself under a curse, for cursed is the man who violates even one part of it. And so they wept, and so we weep today at our current condition. Yet , praise the Lord we are not under the curse of the Law. It is a good sign to see a tender heart, a broken and a contrite heart, yet even in the day of Nehamiah’s reading of the Word, we find that it was a feast day.
 
The seasons of God are good and their is a time for weeping and mourning. Yet, if that is all that we have, if we live forever in a perpetual winter of weeping and mourning, whether that is in our personal walk or in our ministries, then nothing will ever grow. We will not grow and neither will our ministries, they will not grow in the knowledge of God. Yes, there is conviction in the presence of God. There is a time to rent our clothes and throw dust on our heads, yet if this one season becomes the whole then we render ourselves weak in ineffectual. Our real strength comes in the Joy of the Lord. If we cannot put on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness then we will not stand in the evil day. We will be overcome by trial and tribulation and persecution. When the Israelites were captured and taken away from Jerusalem, their captors sat them down by the river of Babylon and taunted them. They said to them, lets hear your songs of Zion, your songs of victory now. And the Israelites, once famous for their songs of praise to God, hung their harps on the willow trees, unable to sing, overcome in spirit in their defeat. The enemy had not only robbed them of their earthly freedom, they had robbed them of their joy, they no longer had a song in the night. The willow tree represents sadness, weeping. Can you imagine how powerful it would have been if the Israelites, trusted in a mighty God to eventually redeem them. This would have been an exercise in faith, just as Abraham exercises when he stated to Isaac that God would provide the sacrifice, that he knew in his heart that even if Isaac were killed that God could raise him up again. This would have been the faith exercised by Job when he cried out that even if God killed him, yet would he trust him.
 
Can i ask you , have you hung your harps on the willow tree ? Has the state of the church, the state of the world got you in such a state that you cannot rejoice and trust in God. Has your mourning went on too long?Have you allowed the enemy to whisper into your ears “what can the righteous do when the foundations are destroyed?’ When our mourning and weeping go beyond that which has been called for, we will find ourselves in trouble. If our ministry becomes angry and cynical, even when there is good cause, and all we have left is anger and cynicism and no joy, then ultimately we will have nothing. But Frank, you do not know my personal circumstances, you have not seen what I have seen, you do not fully realize just how wicked the world is and what is happening in the church and to its people. 
 
Act 16:23  And after laying on them many stripes, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailor to keep them safely;
Act 16:24  who, having received such a command, thrust them into the inner prison and made their feet fast in the stocks.
Act 16:25  And toward midnight Paul and Silas prayed and praised God in a hymn. And the prisoners listened to them.
Act 16:26  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken.
 
And immediately all the doors were opened and all the bonds were loosened. In the very bowels of the dungeon , Paul and Silas prayed to and praised God. You see, they did not hang their harps upon the willow tree and all the prisoners observed this. And suddenly God moved and He moved mightily and when He did then all the prison doors were opened and all those in bondage were loosed. You see the children of God sitting by the rivers of Babylon in defeat and unable to raise their voices in praise were a type. They of course were led into captivity and exile and Paul and Silas and their jailor were gloriously freed and bondage’s were broken. Do you see the power of Joy in the Lord in action? Can you see the effect of putting on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness? We can see this down through the corridors of time. We see the same Joy of the Lord in every Martyr who sung Psalms of praise in the very depths of their captivity and destruction of their earthly tents. I never get tired of this very Spirit displayed by a saint in a dungeon called Algerius………………
 

In a dark hole I have found pleasure; in a place of bitterness and death, rest and hope of salvation; in the abyss or depths of hell, joy; where others weep, I have laughed; where others fear, I have found strength; who will believe this? In a state of misery I have had very great delight; in a lonely corner I have had most glorious company, and in the severest bond, great rest. All these things, my fellow brethren in Jesus Christ, the gracious hand of God has given me. Behold, He that at first was far from me, is now with me, and Him whom I knew but a little, I now see clearly; to whom I once looked from afar, Him I now behold as present; He for whom I longed, now offers me His hand; He comforts me; He fills me with joy; He drives from me bitterness, and renews within me strength and sweetness; He makes me well; He sustains me; He helps me up; He strengthens me. Oh, how good is the Lord, who does not suffer His servants to be tempted above that they are able I Oh, how easy, pleasant and sweet is His yoke I Is there any like God the Most High, who sustains and refreshes those that are tempted? He heals them that are bruised and wounded, and restores them altogether. Isa. 41; 43:20. None is like Him. Learn, most beloved brethren, how sweet the Lord is, how faithful and merciful; who visits His servants in trial (Isa. 43:2); who humbles Himself and condescends to be with us in our huts and humble abodes. He gives us a cheerful mind and peaceful heart.

Neh 8:10  Then he said to them, Go eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our LORD. And do not be sorry, for the joy of Jehovah is your strength.

Oh that those of us who know the Joy of the Lord, even in the depths of our circumstances, would share this with those who know only weeping and mourning. That we would take the food of God and the living waters of Jehovah and share them with those who have nothing prepared. That we would encourage others and proclaim the goodness of the Lord.

Psa 27:13  I would have fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living.
Psa 27:14  Hope in Jehovah; be of good courage, and He shall make your heart strong; yea, hope in Jehovah.

Oh Lord help us to feed those who faint through weariness and tears, and rise up and proclaim victory in Jesus , our savior forever. We have called our solemn fasts and gatherings, now it is time to rise up and put on the garments of praise and replace our spirit of heaviness with a spirit that magnifies our King. With a spirit that says I have seen the King of glory. With a spirit that can say “mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. With a spirit that praises you oh Lord in the very depths of a dungeon or the very heights of the mountaintops where you were transfigured. Oh lord give us a spirit that marches on, that runs the race, that gets up when it falls down that can sing with the saints glory, glory, glory hallelujah. That can run and not grow weary .

 Oh Lord give us a spirit that  can say “and we loved not our lives unto death.” Let us recognize oh Lord that there is victory. That there is a victorious life to be led. Give us eyes that are lifted heavenward unto you, the author and the finisher of our faith. Let us indeed walk in Joy, the fullness of the Lord and then we will be strong. Let there indeed be tears at how far we fall short, but also let there be Joy in knowing you Lord, and knowing that your shed blood has brought us victory. Yes, let us look to Calvary and cry out in repentance, but let us also rejoice in the victory over sin and death and hell. Let us indeed walk in the fullness of your council. Let us boldly testify that we know you, not in the region of our heads but in the depths of our hearts. Let us, by our example reach out to those who have never known you but who seek to know you. Let us reach out to those who have left their first love and now desire, in these last days,to return to you in the fullness of relationship. Let the hungry see us eating at the table you prepared for us in the presence of our enemies, let those who seek to follow your ways see that you have anointed our heads with the oil of gladness, let those who thirst for you see us drink from the wells of eternal living water. Let our joy be a testimony to a world without joy. Let our peace be a testimony to a world that is drowning in anxiety. Let the world see a people, that despite their circumstances, drink from a cup that overflows…….amen.

8 Responses to “The Joy of the Lord is my strength”

  1. cindyinsd said

    Frank, whenever I read your posts you encourage me. We here in America don’t have a lot to complain about (most of us), but our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world face daily trials and persecutions. I read about one brother in Vietnam today who was forced to recant his faith on pain of being beaten to death in front of his wife and six children, leaving them destitute. Now he must “prove” his “change of heart” by making sacrifices to the ancestors. What will he do? What would you or I do? It might be all very well for a single person, but what a difficult position this dear brother is in. Ideally, we would know that God will care for our loved ones. Still, very hard for him, and for many, many others. May God strengthen them, and us, when we come to our hour of trial.

    Love, Cindy

    • appolus said

      Hey Cindy, I have no doubt that every one of Christ’s priests of the royal priesthood would stand strong in the power of the Holy Spirit. There are hundreds of thousands of testimonies, down through the decades and millenia of brothers and sisters, whole families dying for the cause of Christ. The same Holy Spirit that burned in their hearts burns in ours too. As an example, in the first three centuries, whole familes were killed in the arena. They would take their place in the center of the arena, kneel down and begin to pray as the lions approached to devour them. The crowds would boo as they had come to see a spectacle, they had not come to see people die willingly and with dignity………Frank

  2. Nora said

    Thank you for this great article on joy! God bless you.

    • appolus said

      Thanks for dropping by Nora, may the Lord bless you this day………….. brother Frank

      • Nora said

        Thank you, Frank. I would have written a whole lot more but I was rushing off to work this morning. I just wanted to reiterate how blessed I was to have read this article. A little over 3 months ago my ex-fiance called me in the middle of the night and broke up with me. It was just 2 weeks before we were supposed to get married. It came from out of NOWHERE and totally unexpectedly so needless to say, I was devastated. Of course, I immediately turned to the Lord, who has been so good to me and shown me exactly why it happened, which was good to know, but still I have had a spirit of heaviness ever since it happened. I knew that’s not how God wanted me to live so I have really been seeking Him on how to rid myself of these intense feelings from the enemy of my soul. The Lord has spoken so many glorious things to me about my future so finally I felt the Holy Spirit telling me, “Nora, you MUST walk by faith and not be sight – your present circumstances have NOTHING to do with who you are in Christ and His future for you.” I found your article on joy this morning and what a blessing!!! Thank you, thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to put this good word out there and I will certainly share it with others who need the joy of the Lord so desperately. God bless you and may you know ALL the days of your life how deep and wide and strong the love of the Lord is for you and His joy! Hallelujah! Blessings, Nora

        • appolus said

          Hi Nora, it is awesome to see you have victory over this very painful experience. You seemed to have learned many deep lessons by this trial of your faith. Please check out other posts sister. I have tried to keep this site ” rich.’ God bless you as you move into a future where the Holy Spirit has already went before you………………….brother Frank

          • appolus said

            just hit ” home,” on the top left corner sister and it will take you to the main page………………bro Frank

          • Nora said

            Thank you Frank. I will check them out. Thank you for taking the time to post all these rich and meaningful messages. You probably have no idea how many lives you have touched but we will personally thank you in Heaven. 🙂

            God bless you always and in all ways,
            Nora

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