Friends, welcome to another exciting week. My heart is so full of expectations, knowing that great things lie ahead of us this week. While resting in God’s presence this past weekend, I was led to share with you on what I title, “Joy in the Midst of Trials”. There is something remarkable about maintaining an attitude of joy in your life. First, the Bible declares that, “the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Second, the Bible also declares that, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Third, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is “Joy” (Gal. 5:22). And fourth, “In the presence of God, there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). In other words, joy surrounds God’s presence – not sorrow. Really, what is that problem that God cannot handle. He said to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord” (Genesis 18:14). So why stay depressed, frustrated and joyless, when you have a father that cares. To overcome the challenges of life, we need joy to sustain us through. The main purpose of the trials the devil throws at us is to attack our peace, and ultimately crash our faith in Christ Jesus. One area the devil likes to attack is our joy because he knows too well that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
The Bible says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2). Why? When joy is lacking in your life, depression sets in – and defeat is inevitable. As a matter of fact, you sign a long-term contract with sorrow and unending despair when you shut out joy in your life. No wonder David said, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). David knew the importance of maintaining a lifestyle of joy. One of the easiest ways to weaken and frustrate the devil is to maintain an attitude of joy despite the arrows he is throwing against you. “A merry heart does good, like medicine; but a broken spirit dries the bone”, says Proverbs 17:22. A merry heart is a joyful heart. The word of God says that it works like medicine. Let me share with you a short story. There was a very rich man who was diagnosed of a terminal disease – cancer. The doctor gave him approximately three months to live as the cancer was fast spreading without control. The man looked at the whole situation – then discharged himself from the hospital – and went back home. He then said to himself, why spend the last three months of my life on earth in depression, sorrow and anxiety. He ordered for himself the best comedy movies in town, ate whatever his soul desired, spend time with family chatting, merrying and laughing his problems away. After a month, he went back to the hospital for a routine checkup – and it was found that his health had greatly improved. In the following month, he had fully recovered.
You know what, he conquered the sickness through applying what Proverbs 17:22 said: “A merry heart does good, like medicine; but a broken spirit dries the bone”. What is a broken spirit? It is a spirit filled with sorrow, despair, and depression – lacking in joy, hope, and faith. How do you react to a negative report? To some people, a doctor’s negative report means death sentence – they die even before the sickness kills them. A man of God once said, “When you carry a long face while going through trials of life, it shows how long you will stay in that situation.” Joel 1:12 declares, “The vine has dried up, and the fig tree has withered; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree – All the trees of the field are withered; because joy has withered away from the sons of men.” Listen, when valuable things in your life begins to wither, swiftly check your joy level. The word of God says in Habakkuk 3:17-18, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” As you embark this week, maintain an attitude of Joy. Remember, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Have a fantastic week. With love, Elvis UKPAKA!