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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

March 14, 2014 - The Spiritual Fruit of Joy

By William E. Richardson

"But the fruit of the Spirit is ... joy ... " (Galatians 5:22, NKJV).

We live in a broken world. It completely surrounds us. And it touches our lives.

As long as we live in this world, we'll witness the deluge of crime reports in the news. We'll constantly be subjected to tales of lurid behaviors and shameless confessions. Others will admit their brokenness to us in telephone and face-to-face conversations. We walk among and constantly breath this world's brokenness, but it doesn't have to pull us down.

Christians in the first century lived in a broken environment. The New Testament missionaries Paul and Silas served God in the thick of it. They took the gospel to Greece. In the city of Philippi, preaching about Jesus led to their being beaten with rods and thrown into prison (Acts 16:22-24).

Although in pain, Paul and Silas lifted their thoughts above their circumstances. They sang praises to God. The Bible says an earthquake shook the place and rattled the doors open. They were soon free men again. A thriving church started in Philippi. While locked up in the depths of the earth, Paul and Silas' praises to God rose from the spiritual quality of joy.

Joy looks beyond circumstances. It defies the sorrow this broken world brings to our lives. It says that the spark Jesus places within His followers is stronger than any grief we experience.

A more recent example of joy amid brokenness took place in Kentucky in 1910. Evangelist Luther Bridgers conducted services one week in another part of the state. He left his wife and their three children at her parents' home. In the middle of the week, Luther received a phone call. The shocking news: a fire had destroyed his in-laws' home with his wife and children inside.

Luther Bridgers lived in immense sorrow. He didn't, however, let it defeat him. Amid his gut-wrenching circumstances, like Paul and Silas in prison, Bridgers praised God from an inner joy only Christians can know. He recorded his thoughts of those days. When set to music, they became the hymn "He Keeps Me Singing."

God's followers can survive living in a world of brokenness. Even when it touches us personally. That's when the spiritual fruit of joy rises up within us. That's when we learn the reality of Nehemiah 8:10: "The joy of the Lord is your strength."

May you bear abundant fruit of joy today.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at lights4god.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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