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Thursday, March 23, 2017

YET...There is Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Don’t worry! It’s not too late.  Have yourself a serving any time of the day or night.

            Do you ever find yourself worrying? I think we all would have to answer yes to that question. But…it is a choice, you know.  The prophet Habakkuk is a wonderful example of how we can choose not to worry.  Let’s read verses 17-19 of the 3rd chapter of Habakkuk:

“Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
YET… I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.”

            Did you hear the turning point?  The pivotal decision that changed Habakkuk’s perspective?  YET…..Though all the bad things were going on around him….YET he proclaimed: “I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” How could he do this?  He says because: “The Sovereign LORD is my strength.”

           We all have challenges….some days are harder than others…YET we can choose a relationship with the LORD and receive strength and joy in Him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Open Your Gift of Joy

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Whether we are celebrating or mourning, God’s joy is something we can count on.

When Paul was in prison, he wrote the letter to Philippians that we often refer to as the “Joy Book”.  He was facing trial for blasphemy because of his public teaching about Jesus…. and was awaiting almost certain execution… but his recurring admonition was to “rejoice”!  Was he happy to be in prison?  No!  Was he excited and joyful about possibly being put to death?  Of course not!   He was not expressing joy about his circumstances but he WAS declaring joy in his relationship with the Lord of those circumstances. That’s why he could rejoice and keep on rejoicing and tell his readers to “rejoice always”. This is an ongoing command and a call to obedience.

Now, keep in mind that as determined as we may be to “rejoice always”….it’s humanly impossible.  The wonderful truth, however, is that we don’t have to face the challenges of life alone.  Jesus says in John 15:… “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that you joy may be complete.”

            That verse has become one of my very favorites…first of all because it is a personal message from JESUS…to each of us.  And secondly, He reminds us that JOY is a gift….a treasured, valuable gift from HIM. 

            Have you opened your gift of joy from Jesus?  It’s wrapped beautifully in ribbons of love.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Promises of Joy and Peace

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Drink it in faith that genuine joy can be yours.

            You remember that time when you got your feelings hurt because of careless words that seemed to be a dagger aimed right at your heart!? What about the time you overheard a person criticizing a family member; did it make you angry?  We can’t control someone else’s words!  What we can do is pray that God will give us wisdom to know how to react to these types of hurtful situations.

            What about when GOD hurts our feelings?  Will you admit to that?  Are you ever disappointed that He has not answered a certain prayer…one that you’ve prayed for a very long time?  Or when He allows bad things to happen, even though you are trying to live a Christian life?  How do we handle those kinds of situations?

            People often quote the verse in Proverbs 3:5:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;”

            That’s an easy verse to memorize; but it is extremely difficult to do when we want to know the “whys” and how to plan for the future.  We DON’T understand everything…and never will we understand some things. YET....we can trust in His love and know that we are His.  He has made many promises to His children.  Let’s focus on those promises and find God’s “joy-gifts” hidden among the questions.

           Trust, even when you don’t understand. Be GOD-CONFIDENT and find the promises of joy and peace.