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Looking For The Joy!

Looking For The Joy!

My reading this morning brought a huge surprise for me!  Let me explain:  My morning devotions begin with reading  the popular book, Jesus Calling  by Sarah Young,  followed by reading her suggested Bible passages.  One of today’s passages:

“… looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy  that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”   (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)

You know how it is…you can read the same scripture many times and every time you find something new that has a special meaning for you at that time!  Today the word “joy” really popped out to me!  How was it possible for Jesus to be able to experience “joy” when He was “looking” at the disgrace and pain of the cross that was right before Him??  (Not to mention what He must have gone through with every sin of all the world being on His mind!!)  I had to think about that!!!!

David Jeremiah in his commentary for this verse, offered this explanation: “Looking” means ‘to look away from something and to fix your gaze on the right thing’.  Christian men and women should look with spiritual eyes beyond their immediate trials, to Jesus the author and finisher of their faith!!!”  (The Jeremiah Study Bible page 1762)   Now, that really excited me!  That’s the answer for me, too!!

Lets back up a little! The previous chapter of the book of  Hebrews is Hebrews 11, which is famously called “The Hall of Faith”!  This chapter is easy to read and serves as a great list of many of the Old Testament Israelites that “looked forward in faith” to something unseen or unknown!!  Their faith was based on believing that God would do what He said He would do, even when it wasn’t seen.  In other words; it is not “seeing is believing”!!!  I hope you will read Hebrews 11.  If you aren’t familiar with the lives of the people, let me help you:

  • Abel:  Genesis 4: 1-8
  • Enoch:  Genesis 5: 21-24
  • Noah: Genesis 6 – 9
  • Lives of Abraham and Sarah: Genesis 12 -25
  • The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph): Genesis 22 – 50
  • Moses: Exodus
  • Rehab: (Rehab was not an Israelite, but showed faith in her actions)  Joshua 1: 1-21; 6: 16-25
  • Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah: Judges 4: 6-24;   7: 1-25;   11:1 – 12:7;   13:24 – 16:31.
  • David: 1 Samuel 16 -17 (Read 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 Kings 2:1-11)
  • Samuel: 1 Samuel 7: 9-14 (Read 1 Samuel 1 – 25)
  • and many others

I hope you are able to realize from this reading, that we can find joy no matter what situation we are in!  Our joy must be like Jesus’ joy:  knowing by faith what is before us in eternity! There are going to be trials and pain and sorrow; but a part of us, our faith,  will always be looking forward to what is before us:  spending eternity with the Great I Am!   The King of Kings!  The Lord of Lords!  Praise the Name of Jesus!!

 

 

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Joel 2: The Day of the LORD?

Joel 2: The Day of the LORD?

We have been looking at the Old Testament book of Joel.  As a review: A Bible that had been burned in the recent wild fires in SE Tennessee Mountains has drawn a lot of attention.  The badly charred pages were rolled back to disclose the book of Joel chapter 1:15-19.  What does it mean?  Could it have been a sign or a warning from God?  I am leaning that direction in the hope that someone will be curious enough to do soul-searching regarding their position with Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Joel chapter 2 begins with the demand to “Blow the trumpet in Zion”!  According to Numbers 10:7;  this was a signal of an enemy attack.  Joel had just described the locusts’ attach like an future invading, powerful army.  This terrified the people in and around Jerusalem similar to the description of the people’s reaction to the end time army John wrote about in Revelation 9:3-10.

 “The day of the LORD is coming,  for it is at hand.” (Joel 2:2 NKJV)  The environmental disturbances described by Joel are common in biblical descriptions where God wages war (Psalms 18:7, Nahum 1:5 and Matthew 24:29).  Joel  gave a call of repentance in verse 12: “Turn to Me with all your heart,” (Joel 2:12 NKJV)

Again Joel commands “Blow the trumpet in Zion” (Joel 2:15 NKJV).  But, this time it’s for an assembly of believers!  A chance for them to recommit their lives to the LORD.  For Him to forgive them and bless them if they would repent!  And this time, again, the LORD hears His people and Judah did receive His mercy and the LORD withheld His judgment.  (Joel 2:20)  The rest of the second chapter of the book of Joel is God refreshing the land with rain and restoring what the locusts had destroyed.

Is it possible that God allowed this burned Bible to be discovered and shared in order that we would receive this message and come together as God’s people and recommit our lives to Him, as LORD!  Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins!  He is ready to forgive and bless our families and nation!  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ”  (John 3:16 NKJV)

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Joel 1: Warning

Joel 1: Warning

I continue to be drawn back again and again to the partially burned Bible found at the tourist attraction, Dollywood, in Sevierville, Tennessee.  It was the blacken edges that appeared to be almost “rolled back” to reveal the Old Testament Book of Job that keep coming to my mind’s eye!  What could Joel have to say that would have any meaning to us over 2400 years later?  Well, it’s the mystery that is waiting to be discovered that draws me every time!

So, we start with the verses in Chapter 1 of Joel.  The first verse gives us very little information about Joel.  Then he goes on to get our attention!  “Hear this!”  “Listen up, everybody!” Deuteronomy 32:1 is similar words: “Pay attention, heavens, and I will speak;
listen, earth, to the words of my mouth.
 (HCSB)   That includes the men of the church and every person around that will listen!  This is so important that you are to even tell your children!

The invasion of the locusts taught a variable lesson to the children that they would need to learn and to pass on to all the future generations! They completely destroyed the land; “What the young locusts leave, the mature locusts will eat.  What the mature locusts leave,  adult locusts will eat.  What the adult locust leaves, the grasshopper will eat.”  (GODS WORD translation)  There will be nothing left.  It doesn’t happen all at once; it happens a little bit at a time until all of a sudden you realize that it is completely gone!?!

When you wake up and find that something you wanted is no longer available; then you will pay attention!  When the priests go to the temple and they have no grain, wine or oil; then they will pay attention!  Finally, when everyone realizes what has actually happened; then prepare yourselves for what will be ahead!  Gather everyone together at the house of the LORD and cry out for HIM!”  For the “Day of the LORD” is near!  It shall come as destruction!

“Call on Me in a day of trouble;  I will rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Psalms 50:15 HCSB)  When the people finally see and understand the results of their sins; they will cry out to the LORD for forgiveness and deliverance.!

 “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness!” (Laminations 3:22-23 HCSB)

I pray you will take notice and examine your heart, then become so aware of lost ones around you!  Let them know that, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life! John 3:16

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