Last week I shared about the cut out of a wooden foot I found while climbing to my prayer spot on Elsie’s Peak. I love the words of truth inscribed on the this piece of wood:
“Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.”
These words are such an encouragement as the Oceans Board and staff walk forward in faith with the vision of being apart of a Christian High school here at the Oceans Retreat Centre. Many details accompany this decision and the reminder that He IS a living God brought strength and hope.
And yet there is more…..I find it both amazing and crazy that this “footprint” is still nestled by a rock on the mountain and written on the other side of the foot are these words from Nehemiah 8:10:
“The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.”
Sometimes when we ask God to speak to us we never know how that may be so I was excited to read Nehemiah 8:10 and the surrounding verses. In fact I ended up reading the entire book of Nehemiah. The Spirit blessed me as Nehemiah’s words highlighted the vital importance of joy in our walk of faith.
Perhaps you recall how God calls Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and to inspire a broken people to rebuild a broken wall. Through prayer and hard work despite extreme opposition the wall is miraculously rebuilt in 52 days.
But what is even more amazing than that is the rebuilding of the people’s hearts as a true revival breaks out as seen in Chapters 8. The miracle of the rebuilding of the physical wall opened their hearts to the spiritual power of God. An entire day was spent listening to the Word read out loud, there was a time of confession of sins, and worshiping God. The Holy Spirit came down in power as seen by many tears which led to true repentance.
In the midst of the weeping, Nehemiah called the people to cease from their wailing and shouted it was now time to celebrate, since “the joy of the LORD is their strength!” As I reread those words I sensed the LORD reminding me “it’s time to find joy in My strength alone.”
For me personally, it has been a season where the LORD has been revealing more of His glory, more of my weakness and sin, and challenging me to adhere to His call to follow boldly in faith. It has been a season of weeping, but yet the Holy Spirit is reminding me that He is a good Father and now is a time for JOY! Joy is one of the greatest gift from the fruit of the spirit.
Perhaps you have heard JOY described as:
Jesus and You with nothing in the middle!
Often when I’m not experiencing JOY it is because there is something in the middle of my relationship with Jesus and me. Often “that something” is the idol of self and shows up in fear, doubt, people pleasing, pride that wants to control, and a host of other sins that take my eyes off trusting in Jesus alone to be my strength.
As Nehemiah and the people of Israel stepped out in faith to rebuild the wall they saw the mighty hand of God at work and it humbled them. It brought their focus back on the LORD. They repented. Their hope was renewed. The result was JOY!
The Oceans Team wants to thank so many of you for your prayers, encouragement and support as we seek to keep our focus on the true JOY GIVER!
We have witnessed God’s mighty hand at work as we humbling move forward with the plans for a Christian High School. We patiently wait and know without a doubt it is definitely not by “our might or power” but only by His strength. We desire to remove any of the junk clinging in-between us and Jesus-as we focus on the other side of the footprint and know the JOY of the Lord is our strength.
We pray whatever impossibilities you may be facing you will encounter Jesus, the ONE who is more than enough to meet all your needs for His glory!
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalm 126:5-6.