The Joy of the Lord – The Winner’s Strength

There is a joy that does not depend on health, achievement, wealth, success, acceptance … that does not depend on whether you are dying in hospital and in debt or living with billions … on whether in marital bliss or alone or whether enjoying visible victories or seeing only conflicts and defeats. This joy does not depend on whether you have a great top level executive job/or political office or begging alone on the street … there is a rejoicing that is not based on what you have or do not have … This is the same joy that sustained the saints when thrown to lions, tied and burning on the stake or left to rot in dungeons.

This joy does not depend on whether you have seen what God has done or yet to see it. There is a joy that knows no rival, a peace that knows no comparison …it is based on relationship with Christ and Christ alone. Only true believers will find this joy …this peace and this joy passes all understanding – so do not ask me to explain it. Only the Holy Spirit can produce it – no one else.

This joy is eternal – reaching beyond time into eternity. When you have it, you will cherish it beyond any other thrills. Other thrills and highs will be perceived as passing fancies and unappealing weight – counted as manure(dung) in comparison. You cannot explain why you see what others embrace and are desperate to have as only liabilities (loss) when compared to what you now have. When you have it, you will purify yourself as grace enables you so as not to ever risk losing it. The one who has it gives all credit and glory to Christ … is humble because there is no basis for any boosting except in Christ Jesus alone. God chastens and gives more grace for repentance and closer fellowship to this humble rejoicing soul.

The joy produces a reason for boosting in Christ, a longing to worship and glorify Him in Spirit (heart) and according to revelation and the word of God …not anyhow. This joy places no confidence in the deeds of the flesh i.e. the always corrupt acts and self-efforts (good or bad) of the unredeemed man. This joy hates not just the evil humanity disdains but is more repelled by the wickedness of human nature itself knowing the best of humanity is rottenness to the core albeit yet to manifest. This joy is not known by the humanist who embraces and seeks what he rightly or wrongly understands to be the good aspects of unsaved nature.

Many will try to fake it but this joy cannot be faked. For as you read this post – you will know if you have it or not. This joy is the strength of the believer. The WINNER.

Nehemiah 8:10 “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.”

Glory be to God


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Obama’s Victory

The US elections are history … and Barack Obama has won. It will not surprise most to see that the sun still rises and heavens have not fallen.  The relief from a stormy fiery battle for power is assuaging … and the networks are on a brief break to find another big story.  Both winner and losers soon find they have challenges.  It is not always so obvious when we get what we want that we have found what we initially sought. Victories are full of its deceptions and one of its myths is that it is always sweet. What we learn from victory or defeat tends to reinforce what we should already have known.  The clear difference in the platforms provides enough guidance for stakeholders to make needed adjustments.  All can be winners by learning.

David came back from a heavy loss at Ziklag to recover all from Amalek only to be embroiled in a different internal battle … how to share the spoils.  The protagonists this time do not contend on open media but these poisonous fighters  insist that their investments in time, love and support for David must now yield the promised dividend.  David disagrees.

1Sa 30:22  Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart. 23  Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24  For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. 25  And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.  26  And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;

I have often seen – even amongst brethren, a  wicked “winner takes all” posture that Is quick to freeze out many. The Bible identifies love as the ultimate test of who a Christian really is – and it is love for the less congenial that proves this virtue to onlookers.  Simply put – how we win will determine if we are sons of Belial or sons of God.   We may not be as comfortable with kissing our Judas … but if Judas had not hung himself we can learn from the truth that Christ would most likely have sought him out … like He did for another traitor –  Peter.

1Jn_4:20  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?

President Obama is not King David and we cannot ordain that politicians should throw their hands generously to the dangerous opposition or the less ardent supporter to share in the spoils – but this can be the decent thing.  Christians know that their enemies are not physical but wicked spiritual arrangements arrayed to frustrate the purpose of God.  That is why the Bible is also clear that we should pray for all our leaders  (tools in the real battle) and  especially those able to impact events at a global scale – even if and especially when we did not admire or vote for them. This is commanded and is wise.  Still, from the perspective of God, little has changed.  He still reigns and His plans have not been dented – not even slightly.

Note also that not all that went with David are men of Belial.  This suggests that there are not as many wicked parties, groups or associations … as there are wicked men.   Ponder these truths as we felicitate and pray with winners all over the world.  The real losers are the wicked men and women of Belial. All assemblies tend to have them.

In the story of Joseph is another model of Christian forgiveness, love and generosity, even when Jacob his father dies and the opportunity to get even emerges. The author has written a new devotional “Songs of Joseph”   published by Authorhouse to be released soon.

Come to Christ and be a winner – always.

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