Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
~ Habakkuk 3:17-18 ~

Somehow (you know me!) I began a series on the Fruits of the Spirit a couple of weeks ago using WFW. My first Fruits of the Spirit's post asked, "How does my garden grow?" I talked about the different fruits and how important they are as a gauge that we are living authentic Christian lives. The first fruit of the spirit listed is "Love". I posted that one here if you want to go back for a quick re-read.

This week's fruit is "Joy". I checked and found that the word joy or a form of the word joy came up 242 times in the NIV translation of the Bible.

This second fruit of the Spirit is exciting and should be like a spring bubbling over in us, flowing from the River of Life within us; however, too often, we find that joy also comes in the midst of adversity, not from our circumstances but from our heart.

The prophet Habakkuk described some pretty dire straits in the verse above, and then proclaimed that even in the midst of them he would yet joy in the Lord. The transliterated word for joy that's used in the verse above is "Lyg", which means, "to rejoice, exult, be glad (Qal); to rejoice; to tremble (from fear)".

Can you remain joyful in the midst of trials? Can you keep a heart of worship for God when the olive crop fails and there are no sheep in the pen? It's hard, but it can be done.

Job experienced this, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." ~ Job 1:21 Job had lost everyone and everything (but his wife) and still praised the name of the Lord.

How do we have joy in the midst of adversity? The same joy Habakkuk and Job had?

I have some thoughts on that!

1. Stay in the Word - Read your Bible daily. We have to water our hearts, making sure the roots get saturated, so it will be healthy and strong, storing up water for times of drought and famine (adversity).

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." ~ Psalm 1:2-3

2. Pray - God hears our prayers. Often in our prayers one of the things we do is praise God. Praise restores joy to our hearts and reminds us to keep a joyful attitude.

"He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea." ~ Psalm 102:17

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." ~ Romans 12:12

3. Practice - Make it a habit to practice joy. Find joy in the everyday things of life, and when adversity comes at you, you can have that joy almost as a second nature. Think about joy and how you can apply it in everyday life.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:8-9

Heavenly Father, help me tend my garden of the fruit of the Spirit purposefully for You. Help me to abide in You and to live a life that imitates Your precious love and joy. I know life on earth was not an easy life for You, and that even more than Habakkuk and Job, You faced the greatest adversity of all. You gave me a great example to live by, penned in Hebrews 12:2 reminds me: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Thank you, Jesus. Thank YOU!"

Please visit Amy Deanne, the host for Word Filled Wednesdays, for some incredible pictures and Scripture brought together. You are in for a blessing!



Denise said...

Wonderful post my friend.

Kristi said...

Great WFW!

Dawn said...

Another wonderful post and yet another one I really needed! So glad I found you my friend and I can't wait until I can finally meet you, have lunch and just be blessed knowing you! Hope you have a great and joyful day!

Twinkle Mom of Sunflower Faith said...

I ABSOLUTELY love this scripture and I keep it as close to heart as possible. It's a wonderful reminder that no matter how strain things may seem, keep faith in God for He is faithful.

LAURIE said...

Great insight on obtaining joy in our lives. Thanks for sharing from your heart today. -Blessings, Laurie

Susan said...

Oh Laurie,

What a great WORD today!!! I just went to a live simulcast with Beth Moore this past weekend. And she taught on the WORD, (of course!!)

I read your post yesterday too, sorry I did not comment. It was fantastic.

I loved the pictures and illustrations you used.

You are such a major BLESSING out here in the blog word.

Sending lots of hugs today♥

lori said...

THAT is awesome...Laurie really gave a fabulous illustration..even in DIRE straits there is JOY to be had...but ONLY when we look UP....

I love it..thank you for sharing this...what a blessing it's been!


ellen b said...

Wonderful! I have a dear friend who's favorite advice that she hands out is "choose Joy!"

Jen said...

Laurie Ann,

Great post. Thank you for visiting my post. I will work this week on each of your points. Just what I needed!

Cheryl said...

Laurie Ann,

That is awesome. It seems like anymore, with life, there is adversity and problems, sickness, etc. So, if I'm not joyful or try to find the good in situations, I would be in the pit all the time.

The new job...what can I say. A lot to learn just because the way it is set up. I think it will be great after I get all this down.

Thanks for your prayers. Hope you're doing well!


Joyfull said...

Beautiful post - very encouraging and a powerful reminder where our joy is found - in the Lord - in whatever circumstance. Thanks for sharing.

Tracy said...

Such truth in this! In my chronological Bible, I've been in Job for the last two mornings, so this strikes a particular chord in me. Also, Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife were on Good Morning America in the hopes of sharing hope amidst trials and grief. Awesome thoughts. Thanks.


Melanie said...

A great post, Laurie Ann! I think my "favorite" fruit of the spirit is joy. Joy regardless of circumstances is such a beatiful thing that I so want to be a part of my life.

Happy WFW!

Earthmommy said...

I so needed this post today! This has been a trying week around here and I find myself tired and sullen. Thanks so much for the reminder!

Michele W. said...

The joy of the Lord is my strength! Praise the Lord! Thank you so much for your much needed post. Blessings to you.

Michele W. said...

You asked what kind of photo editing software I have...
I believe it's Windows Photo Galary... Do you know of something better? I am really a novice at all this...
Thanks for asking...

God Chaser said...

thank you for sharing on Joy. I choose this word as my theme for the year- I hope to give joy to others and I hope to live it in such a manner that when adversity comes I still have joy. great post and picture to match

Amydeanne said...

Amen Laurie!! What a fantastic post!

Nancie said...

This is a very encouraging post, Laurie Ann! Love it. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

May God help me to cultivate joy in the Lord always irrespective of my circumstances. Thank God that He is our joy and strength daily. Great picture and very encouraging verses! Thanks for sharing. Take care and God bless!

Anonymous said...

Great verses and reminder to rejoice in the Lord whatever our circumstances.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey Laurie,
I am over JOYED by your post.
You always give me so much to think about and ponder... and everytime I come by the magnolias heart beats,
I am lifted. I also love your sheep pictures and ... well; I just love everything!

Earthmommy said...

Please visit Shore's End for an important announcement and prayer request!