Focus: Joy, as the reward of the faithful
Psalm 5:11-12 (NKJV) But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O LORD ; You cover him with favor as with a shield.
In spite of July 4th being a special day for Americans, we are living in times when there seem to be trials on all sides. So much intense weather and events. At the time of this writing, many people have been affected by fires or floods and might not feel like celebrating freedom today. They are feeling the loss of their earthly possessions and shelter–or worse, their loved ones. Their lives will never be the same. Many of us would do well to consider their needs and remember them in prayer. It’s very devastating to have your home destroyed and have no idea how or when you will be able to replace it. Or have to face the reality that a beloved friend or family member is gone from this world.
Try to imagine what they must be feeling.
Extreme trials will cause a person to examine their beliefs. When some people go through losses, they turn their back on their faith. They can’t imagine how a loving God would allow something heartbreaking to happen to them. They don’t understand why God didn’t stop a tragedy from occurring and their pain sometimes blinds them to the One who stands by…waiting for them to turn to Him.
Now, you can listen and/or read!
On the other hand, grief, sorrow and loss will sometimes drive a person who was distant from God to their knees—as they realize He is their only hope for survival.
On a day when we celebrate our independence and freedom—we must also realize those things can be fleeting. Many civilizations have come and gone in history. Nations who had the blessing of God—lost it because of sin and rebellion.
We are seeing Bible prophecy being fulfilled everyday. In Matthew 24:4-8, Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives speaking to His disciples privately. They had asked Jesus when He would return and what the signs of His returning would be.
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
We have to know we are living in those days from what scripture says. Yet, notice Jesus said, “See that you are not troubled.”
In all suffering there is the promise of ‘joy’ to the faithful ones. The best way to stay faithful is to stay in the Word.
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV) You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 47:1 (NKJV) Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
Romans 15:13 (NKJV) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV) Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s suffering, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 1:6-9 (NKJV) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
Declaration: I will find new strength as I stay in the Word of God and remember the joy of eternity with Christ when I may be tempted to fear.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.