Category Archives: Joy

The Bridge to Your Brightest Tomorrow

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Bridge to the brightest tomorrow

 


“The deepest pains may linger through the night,
    but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.”
Psalm 30:5b (VOICE)
 

When you’re in the clutches of an agonizingly painful situation, it’s easy to focus on your suffering and lose sight of the bright ray of hope emerging on your horizon.  If your world is falling apart the difficulties you are experiencing can be overwhelming. Every thought is filtered through a sieve of pain, pressure and misery. Jeremiah was going through a tough time, too, and here he gives a vivid description of how he was feeling ~ including the One thing that pulled him through:

“Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable.
That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed.
Then I remember something that fills me with hope.
 The Lord’s kindness never fails!
If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.
The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.
Deep in my heart I say, “The Lord is all I need; I can depend on Him!”

Lamentations 3: 19-24 (CEB)

It’s understandable that you might be depressed if you continually think about your troubles. But if you turn your attention to the God of Hope and reach down deep into the depths of your heart to say, “The Lord is all I need; I can depend on Him!” ~ your pain will be displaced with seeds of heavenly hope, which will grow into His divine joy, the kind which greets your soul with a smile. Remind yourself that God can use everything in your life for something good…even the darkest nights and the deepest pains.

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18(MSG)

Hope Sets us Free

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Hope sets us free to experience joy

May the God of Hope fill you with all
JOY and PEACE
as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope…
Romans 15:13 (NIV)
 

With God, nothing is impossible!  So if you place your trust in the God of All Possibilities…if you wholeheartedly believe in the God of Miracles…if you have faith in the God of Hope…you will be filled with joy and peace.  Your feeling of hopelessness will change to hope-FULL-ness, so much so that you will be filled to the brim and bubbling over with hope. The despair, distress and discouragement that once consumed you will be replaced with confident expectation.

So if your life circumstances seem irreversible, incurable, or insurmountable, simply place your trust in the God of Hope and experience His joy and peace.

“For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Luke 1:37 (NKJV)
 
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
 
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

Inexpressible Joy

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Though you have not seen Him, you love Him;
and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him
and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
2 Peter 1:8 (NIV)
 

Imagine the feeling of inexpressible joy! There are many joyous moments in life that bring about such a feeling:  the birth of a precious baby, finding the love of your life, landing your dream job, …even good news from an oncology report.  Of course all of these wonderful events would naturally elicit the feeling of indescribable joy, but for the child of God, joy can be experienced even in the darkest moments of life.

Here’s the astonishing truth:  Joy is not the absence of sorrow, disappointments, struggles, or suffering.  Joy is God’s presence in all things.

Joy is an aspect of God’s nature and character, and so to draw near to God is to draw near to joy.  As a child of God, you can tap into inexpressible and glorious joy continually.  When waves of difficulty crash over your life, the burden is greatest if you feel a sense of isolation in the midst of your suffering.  Yet when God is there, all your difficulties are infused with His mysterious and glorious joy. Spend time in His presence and be filled you with His inexpressible joy, no matter what you are facing in life.

    • Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b (AMP)
    • The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b (NIV)
    • Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a (NKJV)
    • “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

Yet I Will Rejoice

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Cardinal in snow crop“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails and the fields produce not food,

 though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,

YET I WILL REJOICE IN GOD MY SAVIOR.  

 The sovereign Lord is my strength;

He makes my feet like the feet of the deer, He enables me to go on the heights.”  

Habakkuk 3:17 – 19 (NIV)

The verse above describes some very bleak circumstances:  starvation, desolation and loss.  Perhaps you are experiencing difficult times in your life:  Job loss? Financial struggles? Illness? Heartache? Or the loss of a loved one?  When everything around you is going wrong and the burdens you face seem to be more than you can bear ~ even when all is lost ~ God is still there!

What should our response be when we experience hardship or trials?  Some of us might begin to question why a just God would allow bad things to happen to His children.  Why does an all-powerful God ~ who can do anything ~ not prevent tragic events from impacting our lives? We might begin to doubt Him, and our faith might waiver during difficult times. Yet Habakkuk proclaims that even during devastating circumstances, he will still rejoice in his Savior and have faith in God’s ability to strengthen him.

At some point in time, we all experience difficulties in life.  Jesus Himself told us, “…In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33 NIV)  He knew that our lives would not always be easy.  But the conclusion of that verse gives up great hope, “…But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  So even though the world will bring us trouble, our Savior has overcome the world!   

If the circumstances of your life seem to be constantly churning with tumultuous changes, “take heart” and place your hope firmly in the unchanging Lord of your life. Rejoice in this truth:  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)  Trust in the eternal love, mercy, grace, and goodness of God, and realize that your “faith muscle” is being strengthened during times of adversity.  Don’t allow your attitude to be dictated by your circumstances, but rather find joy ~ and your strength to keep going ~ in Jesus Christ. Perhaps God has a better opportunity for you on the other side of this hardship, but you have to have faith in Him to see you through the dark valley.  So when your life appears to be crumbling to pieces all around you, rejoice in the fact that Christ is your firm and solid foundation.  “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.”  (Psalm 62:2 NIV)

Butterfly Wings

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Orange Butterfly dry brush copy

“Yet God has made everything beautiful in its own time.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NLT)

The wondrous transformation of a grubby caterpillar into a graceful butterfly is one of the most fascinating processes in nature.  The last important phase of the complete metamorphosis includes the newly formed butterfly’s struggle to emerge from its gauzy cocoon.  As the new creature works to free itself from the cocoon encasing, fluid is pumped into its delicate wings.  If someone from the outside tries to “help” the butterfly by ripping open the cocoon, the butterfly’s wings will never be fully developed, nor strong enough, for flight.  So the struggle to emerge from its protective covering is perhaps the most critical step in the butterfly’s preparation for its new life of flight.  Without the struggle, the butterfly will never be capable of flight.

Compare this process to your own life.  Are you struggling through some sort of difficulty right now?  At the moment it is impossible to envision any sort of “beauty” that could emerge from the ugliness of your circumstances.  Perhaps you long for an easy way out of your problems.  You wish that someone would come along and make everything “right” again.

But remind yourself that as you work though your challenges, you are becoming stronger.  Your “faith muscles” are being groomed and strengthened.  God will use this hardship to transform your development as a believer, and you will emerge from your trials with stronger faith than you ever would have experienced without the struggle.

Remember that you are not alone during this rough time.  God promises to be with you through every difficult circumstance.  Turn to Him and seek His guidance to help you solve your problems.  Ask Him to give you the strength to endure the trial.  Trust Him completely and know that you will come out on the other side of the challenge as a well-developed child of God, ready to face a new phase in life.

Most of all, remember that God makes everything beautiful in its own time.  Wait patiently to see the beauty that will emerge from your struggles.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.
Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. “
James 1:2-4 MSG

The Collector of Tears

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Rainbow at Niagra Falls Canada

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

Is anyone crying?  God is listening.

In fact He cherishes you so much that He catches each one of your tears with tender compassion and records them in His ledger.  Not one tiny tear goes unnoticed by God.  You are precious to Him, and He cares deeply about your pain.

“This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says:  I have heard your prayer and seen your tears;”

Isaiah 38:5b (NIV)

If you are overwhelmed with a heavy burden of sorrow, grief, regret or heartache, your loving Heavenly Father promises to be close to you.  He keeps a watchful eye on His children, and His ears hear your faintest cries.  He comforts those who are crushed in spirit.

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. “

Psalm 34:  17-18 NIV

If you are brokenhearted, you are not alone in your agony; the Lord is right there beside you.  He knows your most private anguish.  So when you feel like no one cares or understands, remember that God sees your weeping and hears your cries.  He keeps an account of your sorrows and collects each precious tear.  God even promises that those tears, like tiny seeds, will one day reap a harvest of joy!

“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5

 “The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;” Isaiah 25:8b

God of Hope

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May the God of Hope

Fill you with all

Joy and Peace

As you trust in Him,

So that you may overflow with Hope

By the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Cardinals Cold Toes

Do you need encouragement today?  The words of today’s verse offer Joy and Peace to those who place their trust in the living “God of Hope.”

Another passage refers to this living hope:

 [Praise to God for a Living Hope] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3
 

So no matter what sort of trial you may be facing in your life, if you are a child of God, you have a living hope inside of you through your faith in Jesus Christ.  With Christ, you have the power to “overflow with Hope.”

Today, instead of focusing on whatever problems you may see in your path, turn your thoughts to our God of Hope and ask Him to fill you with Joy and Peace to the point that you are bubbling over and overflowing with Hope.  Your problems will fade in comparison to the peace and joy you feel in God’s presence.

Peace, Joy and Overflowing Hope be to you!