17 Even though the fig tree does not blossom, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even if the olive harvest fails,
and the fields produce nothing edible;
even if the flock is snatched from the sheepfold,
and there is no herd in the stalls—
18 as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will find my joy in the God who delivers me.
19 The Lord God is my strength— he will make my feet like those of a deer,
equipping me to tread on my mountain heights. – Habakkuk 3:17-19
Happiness and pleasure are worldly things and are dependent on our external circumstances. They are fleeting and temporary. But joy, true joy, comes from the Holy Spirit that abides in us. It is dependent on our internal attitudes. It is eternal and no one, not even satan can steal our joy. If we lose it, it is because we give it away. It is our strength that gets us through every day. There are times when we may not be happy and our circumstances may not be pleasant, but how we respond to those times determines where we are on our journey with Jesus. When these times come, do we blame God and sulk like spoiled children or do we respond like Habakkuk and rejoice in the Lord”? When we don’t feel like praying, that is the time we need to pray the fervent, effectual prayers. When we don’t feel like shouting with joy, that is the time when we need to clap our hands and shout with a voice of triumph. Our joy is not based on feelings or circumstances but upon the sure knowledge that “God is our salvation and He has become our strength”. All day, every day, all our life long.
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. — Romans 2:15 NLT
It is said that on a dark night with no obstructions, the human eye can see the flickering flame of a candle up to a distance of thirty miles. How is this possible? Even the smallest of lights will dispel darkness. This is true of that quality that we refer to as “good”. Good dispels evil. As Edmund Burke put it: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Even those who have never read God’s law or those that say there is no God know this is true. All humans innately know the difference between good and evil. For most humans, it is natural to choose to do good whether they believe in God or not. That innate knowledge (we call it the conscience) that God has put in the heart of a human is what prevents total chaos from occurring on the earth. Even those who have never read the Bible or heard the Gospel know the difference between right and wrong. That knowledge becomes more real and more powerful when we receive the Holy Spirit. An atheist can only be an atheist because his/her beliefs are based on a wrong assumption. If the foundation is faulty, then the whole house will crumble. So, good men and women, let us build our house on a solid foundation of truth, light our candles and be a shining light in a world of darkness and evil. Only God knows how much darkness each of our lights will penetrate. Let us take the advice given by Tom Bodett and leave our lights on so a lost and dying world can find their way home.
12 The next day a great crowd who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast heard that Jesus was coming there. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Jesus, shouting, “Praise God! God bless the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a colt and sat on it. This was as the Scripture says, 15″Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem! Your king is coming, sitting on the colt of a donkey.” 16 The followers of Jesus did not understand this at first. But after Jesus was raised to glory, they remembered that this had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.—John 12:12-16 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
The crowd heard that Jesus was coming so they took palm branches and went out to greet Jesus. In those days, it was common for the people to lay branches out for a king or a great leader to walk on or ride on as he entered the town. A conquering king would normally enter riding on a horse trained for war. A king that was coming in peace would ride in on a colt to show his humbleness. Jesus was a King who came in peace and riding on a colt also fulfilled prophecy.
9 Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.—Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)
Jesus came first as a suffering servant and a peacemaker but His next entrance will be as a conquering King on a horse prepared for war.
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.12 His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns.–Revelation 19:11-12a (NLT)
Chorus to “The King is Coming” by Bill Gaither
The King is coming, the King is coming
I just heard the trumpet sounding and soon His face I’ll see
The King is coming, the King is coming
Praise God, He’s coming for me!
We should be able to sing this chorus with joy unspeakable and hearts full of anticipation!
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?–2 Cor. 2:14-16 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
When we realize the height, width and depth of God’s love for us, it should make us want to obey Him from a heart of love. Our compassion for sinners should be such that we want them to feel the joy of salvation just as we do. Our testimonies will be a sweet sound in God’s ear and a sweet smelling fragrance in His nostrils. It will be the same for those who accept Jesus as their Savior. But those who refuse to accept the free gift of salvation will find our lifestyles unattractive, perhaps even to the point of being obnoxious. So, how are we to treat these people? Just as Christ continued to love us until we came to Him, we should continue to show love to them. How can we do that? We certainly are not adequate to do it in our flesh, so we have to allow God to do it through us.
14 This is the reason I kneel in the presence of the Father 15 from whom all the family in heaven and on earth receives its name. 16 I’m asking God to give you a gift from the wealth of his glory. I pray that he would give you inner strength and power through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will live in you through faith. I also pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. 18 This way, with all of God’s people you will be able to understand how wide, long, high, and deep his love is. 19 You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God. 20 Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power he can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. 21 Glory belongs to God in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time and eternity! Amen.–Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
Yesterday, we read about witnessing by allowing God’s love to shine through our lifestyle. Sometimes we feel like we just don’t have the power and the strength to do that consistently. And in the flesh, we don’t. God will never guide where He will not provide. When God asks us to do something for the Kingdom, He gives us everything we need to accomplish the task. Remember, the battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s. He will gain the victory and the glory, He is just allowing us to participate because of His great love for us. Our part is the same as the singers that Jehoshaphat appointed to go before the people into battle. We are to praise Him as He fights the battle! “Give thanks to the Lord; His faithful love endures forever!”–2 Chronicles 20:21b (NLT)