Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March 29, 2017 ... Holding On To Joy

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 88 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Chris McClarney singing… Beauty For Ashes … poignantly singing of God’s promise to bring beauty from the ashes of devastation in our lives.

Highlight Verse[s]: James 1:12 [NKJV] … 
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 
… God’s promise of reward for those who endure trials/temptations.
Highlight Passage [context]: James 1:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK …
... God, thru James, exhorts Christians to hold onto our joy in spite of our trials.

Reference Passage #1 : … Habakkuk 3:17-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God shows the disgruntled Prophet how to hold onto his joy in the midst of devastation.

Reference Passage #2 : … John 16:33 [NKJV] … 
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
… Jesus is our ticket to joy in the midst of tribulations.

Reference Passage #3 : … Romans 8:28 [NKJV] … 
28 And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 
… Yes, ALL things!!

Reference Passage #3 : … 1st John 4:4 [NKJV] … 
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them [i.e., evil spirits of this world], because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 
… Our God is WAY BIGGER than our circumstances.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Peterson, used a nature reference to teach on holding onto joy in the midst of trials. The ODB author wrote: Last winter while visiting a natural history museum in Colorado, I learned some remarkable facts about the aspen tree. An entire grove of slender, white-trunked aspens can grow from a single seed and share the same root system. These root systems can exist for thousands of years whether or not they produce trees. They sleep underground, waiting for fire, flood, or avalanche to clear a space for them in the shady forest. After a natural disaster has cleared the land, aspen roots can sense the sun at last. The roots send up saplings, which become trees. 

Perhaps you’ve seen this botanical wonder after a forrest fire (again, see photo); and it’s nature’s picture of how God can - and will - restore lives after the fiery devastation of some set of dire circumstances which Christians are called on to endure.

Yes, becoming a Christian doesn’t shield us from trials. In fact, Jesus promised His disciples that they (we) would endure trials/troubles; but He also declared that HE had overcome the tribulations of this world (see John 16:33). The question is … do we believe Him, along with God thru Paul, who wrote that ALL THINGS work together for the good of any/all Christians [yeah, Rom. 8:28]?

That’s a hard pill of truth to swallow sometimes, isn’t it? And the Prophet Habakkuk in his OT journal, wrote of questioning God in the midst of the fires of his life. And God set him aside and showed him that he need not lose his joy in the trials of this life (see Habakkuk 3:17-18).

And if we do hold onto our joy in the forrest fires of life, God promises to bless us, … possibly in this life, … but certainly in the next (see highlight passages above).

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Things are tough; but You are tougher … as I read and believe from 1st John 4:4. … Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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