Thursday, May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017 … Choose Joy Anyway!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 131 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of Sara Groves singing her song … Joy Is In Our Hearts … poignantly singing of the hope and joy we have in our relationship with Christ, Who is our joy and strength.

Highlight Verse[s]: Philippians 1:23-24 … [NLT] … 
23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. 
… Paul decides that living for Christ was better than dying in Him.
Highlight Passage [context]: Philippians 1:21-26 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul realized that living for others was his calling, even tho dying for Christ seemed wonderful. 

Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Habakkuk 3:17-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet sings of what he learned from God - that we can hold onto joy no matter what comes our way.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … James 1:2 [NLT] … 
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy 
… Jesus’ brother realizes and teaches that we can find joy in the midst of any trial.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1st Peter 4:12-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Peter, in his painful trials late in life, wrote of why suffering for Christ should bring us closer to Him and therefore bring Joy.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, wrote of the inspiration of a woman who held on to her joy despite severe handicap. The ODB author wrote: An elderly woman named Violet sat on her bed in a Jamaican infirmary and smiled as some teenagers stopped to visit with her. The hot, sticky, midday air came into her little group home unabated, but she didn’t complain. Instead, she began wracking her mind for a song to sing. Then a huge smile appeared and she sang, “I am running, skipping, jumping, praising the Lord!” As she sang, she swung her arms back and forth as if she were running. Tears came to those around her, for Violet had no legs. She was singing because, she said, “Jesus loves me—and in heaven I will have legs to run with.” Violet’s joy and hopeful anticipation of heaven give new vibrancy to Paul’s words in Philippians 1 when he referred to life-and-death issues [see highlight passage above]. 

And when I think of someone holding on to joy in the midst of trials, I think of my favorite OT prophet, Habakkuk, who, in his Bible journal went from despair to delight and wrote of holding on to his joy in the midst of all trials in Habakkuk 3:17-18. And Jesus’ brother James, after Jesus was raised from the dead, wrote [see James 1:2] that, IN CHRIST, we, who have our hope in our forever relationship with the Savior, can choose joy in the midst of suffering just as Violet did in the OBD story recounted above. The Apostle Peter also wrote about our trials bringing us even closer to Christ as we suffer for His glory (see 1Peter 4:12-13).

We have to remember that JOY IS A CHOICE, not a feeling. … It’s tough though, isn’t it, … expressing joy when life hurts? Of course it is; and I believe it is only possible when we can focus on our hope in Christ rather than dwelling on the painful here-and-now. So, if any reader here is in the midst of some painful trial, take joy from what Jesus underwent so that we could be with Him in heaven FOREVER.

And one day, no matter what is going on now, we will be with Him.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … dear Lord, … My joy comes from my hope in You! … 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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