Joy Comes in the Morning

Harry Durgin, Kahakai Park, 21 June 2022, 5:47 am

Joy is Permanent, Eternal

For the child of God* Jesus Christ is our joy. Christ, our joy, is in us, and we in Him. Joy is eternal.

These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:11)

And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:52)

I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (John 16:22)

Joy is an Action

We are commanded to rejoice always.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

Joy is a Fruit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Joy Increases

As we grow in the Lord, our joy increases.

For example: Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. (John 16:24)

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog: How to Always Rejoice.

Joy is Coming

Joy is coming.

His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night but a shout of joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

No matter how dark the night, no matter how long it lasts, no matter how you are affected, for the child of God*, joy is coming.

To rejoice, Set Your Heart on Jesus Christ

Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

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*If you have repented and put your belief/trust in Jesus christ, you are a child of God.

The Stench of Pride

Pride is a universal human condition (except for Jesus, of course). I know I’m prideful. “Look at what I’ve done!” “Wasn’t I wise to decide that?” Alas!

Pride is really self-worship. It’s exalting in one’s perceived excellence, one’s own importance. Pride wants recognition, praise, glory for oneself. Pride dismisses God. “Look at me! Who needs God?”

God HATES Pride

I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:8)

GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5)

Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD. (Proverbs 16:5)

Don’t Be Proud

We are what we are because of God: He chose our birthdate, gender, race, ethnicity, parents, country, intelligence, talents, etc. etc. etc. etc. All things come from Him (Romans 11:36).

We, though, are responsible, and we have responsibilities. We are to work hard in the Lord. We are to walk in a manner worthy of Him.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

Stomp Pride When You Sense It

We must be alert to times we praise ourselves rather than God.

IMMEDIATELY, when you see it, sense it, smell it, confess your sin of pride.

With humility, acknowledge God’s rule in your life, and confess your dependence on Almighty God.

And repeat as often as necessary!

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Father, HELP! We want to please You. We reject pride, knowing that You created us, Your moral children, and that You are sovereign over all things. Please show us when we are prideful, for we want to confess our pride. Thank You that You will forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is Intentional

At one point in my career, we often talked about being intentional, being purposeful. We wanted better to align our activities with our goals.

Being intentional is a good plan for life. If we don’t know where we want to go, any road will get us there! When we have a goal, deliberately working towards that end improves the likelihood we will achieve our aim.

God’s Holy Plan WILL Be Accomplished

Almighty, Sovereign God has a holy plan. He works everything according to that plan, and His plan will be perfectly completed. He does everything intentionally, with purpose.

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying ‘My purpose will be established and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’ (Isaiah 46:10)

I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)

We have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will. (Ephesians 1:11)

God Intentionally Works His plan For Individuals

The Bible is clear that God has a purpose for this world and for all individuals, and is working to perfectly achieve His holy will.

He meant …

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Genesis 50:20)

He sent …

Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (Genesis 45:5)

So that …

“So that,” a statement of purpose , or subsequent results, is used nearly a thousand times in the Bible.

God acts in a certain way so that He accomplishes His purpose. (For example, Exodus 11:9)

Jesus acted in a certain way to get His desired results, including making His message clear. (For example, Luke 5:24)

People (believers and nonbelievers/rejectors) act in certain ways and get specific results. (But remember, God’s purpose cannot be thwarted.)

Trust Him

Since God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–is totally in control and is working His holy plan, we can trust Him. We are responsible, but He is sovereign.

His intention towards us, believers, is kind. (Ephesians 1:5, 1:9)

Whatever happens to us, believers, is for a loving purpose, and is worked by God for good. (Romans 8:28)

We know He has promised glory for those who believe. (Romans 8:30)

God is sovereign, has kind intention for believers, cannot be thwarted, and always accomplishes His plan.

There is every reason to trust Him.

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God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–You are worthy of all praise. You are holy, almighty, loving, just. Thank You for saving us and that You have thrilling plans for us who believe in You. Thank You for telling us that Your plans will be fulfilled. Help us to trust You and look forward to your loving work in our lives.

How Long, Yahweh?

Harry Durgin, Kilauea Crater, 2 March 2021

In these very troubled times, we should learn from Habakkuk.

Like Habakkuk, many of us are crying out to God about the wickedness in our world. There is violence, iniquity, wickedness, destruction, strife, contention, perverted justice … and more. (Habakkuk 1:3-4)

When Yahweh told Habakkuk what He was going to do, Habakkuk wasn’t happy either, because Yahweh told Habakkuk He would judge Israel through the Chaldeans, a people even more wicked than they.

To swallow that news, Habakkuk reminded himself of who Yahweh is, and we must do that as well.

Yahweh is: Everlasting, Holy, Sovereign, Pure, Judge. (Habakkuk 1:12-13) We can and should add more. He is Savior. (For example, Isaiah 43:11, Luke 2:11) He is sovereign over the nations (Psalm 47:8) Everything He does is right. (For example, Deuteronomy 32:4, Daniel 4:37, Psalm 111:7) And still more.

We must trust Yahweh. The righteous will live by faith. (Habakkuk 2:4) But woe to the wicked. (Habakkuk 2:9-19)

As Habakkuk contemplated the horrible times to come, he prayed:

Yahweh, in wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2)

And God is remembering mercy, and will continue to remember mercy, through these hard times, through His judgment. He is always who He is all the time. There are many accounts of people coming to saving faith in the midst of, and because of, hard times.

And, like Habakkuk, we must resolve right now to exult in Yahweh no matter what.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vies, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in Yahweh, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord Yahweh is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my highs places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–is always awesome and always worth of praise. Praise Him now, and determine to keep praising Him regardless.

It’s Dark Out!

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My dad and I went on a tour into a deep cave. At the deepest point, the guide had all the lights extinguished. And it was DARK! The dark pressed in and felt like a presence I could touch. The dark even extinguished noise. People whispered, and then fell silent. It was harder to keep my balance. People held on to each other. When the tour director struck a match, the small light changed everything. There was a collective sigh of relief. People started talking. That was many years ago and I can still feel the overwhelming realization of the oppression of darkness and light’s impact.

Darkness

I don’t need to talk about the darkness in our world right now. You see it too, I know.

Those who walk in darkness have rejected Jesus Christ. They didn’t comprehend the light (John 1:5) and they love darkness rather than light, for their deeds are evil (John 3:19). They don’t come to the light lest their deeds be exposed (John 3:20).

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)

As we get closer and closer to the end, evil will increase. (2 Timothy 3:13)

Light

God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

Jesus again spoke to them, saving, “I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)

Light: A Gift

We* all once walked in darkness (Ephesians 2:1-3), but when we believed in Jesus Christ, we were transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of Christ. (Colossians 1:13)

I have come as Light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)

Those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, have become light in the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8)

Light: A Responsibility

Now that we are light in the Lord, we are to walk as children of Light. (Ephesians 5:8)

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

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God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–thank You for your unfathomable gift of rescuing us from darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Thank You that we are now light in the Lord. Help us to live in Your Light, shining out into the darkness, that people may come to know You and that You may be glorified.

*”We” means those who believe/trust in Jesus Christ and have received Him as Lord and Savior.

The Unexpected

First Blooms on Wednesdaya
First Blooms on Wednesday/Snow cold on Friday!

I woke up feeling ill this morning. This was unexpected, especially since I felt so well yesterday. (I’m fine now.) I had been praying about what to post this week, so my unexpected, short-term ailment, was, I believe, an answer to prayer!

But life is like that: we may have an unexpected challenge, opportunity, tragedy, or joy coming, even this afternoon.

Some things we can plan for, just in case, like when to plant where we live. I came close to buying plants last week, even though, historically, we have a freeze late in May. Well.. the forecast today (Friday) and tonight is 6″ – 11″ of snow, and low temperatures in the 20s! And our first roses bloomed on Wednesday!

Spiritually, life is like that, and we must be prepared.

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Be ready for every good deed. (Titus 3:1)

You must also be ready: for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. (Matthew 24:44)

How to be ready for the unexpected

Know God’s word. He tells us about Himself. He tells us what is coming. He tells us what to watch out for. He tells us how to live. In order to know God’s word, we must regularly and prayerfully study His word. We must meditate on His word, firmly planting His word in our hearts, which most likely means memorizing verses for meditation.

Be in fellowship with God. If you have saving faith, you are saved from the penalty of sin. But we still sin and must confess our sins to Almighty God. We must live in the attitude of gratitude and worship. We must pray without ceasing.

Be alert. Be alert to temptations. Be alert to the roaring lion who seeks to devour us. Be alert to opportunities.

Be ready. Be ready to defend the hope that is within us. Be ready for the Master’s return.

Be diligent. Be holy in your conduct. Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.

God is on the side of those who believe in Him, who have placed their trust in Christ Jesus

If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)

Hallelujah!

Begin

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When is the new year for you?

The many, many years I was a student, autumn was the start of a new school year, and the mental start of beginning anew. Autumn was the start of my new year.

More recently, January 1 has been the symbolic date, and I usually think about goals for the coming year.

But a case can be made for Spring. Spring is sometimes called a time of new beginnings. Trees leafing out. Flowers. The lovely fresh scent.

Or how about Monday?

It doesn’t really matter, of course. The issues for us are to have clarity about our goals, the direction to get there, and begin.

The only way to finish is to start.

This is true for both secular and spiritual matters.

If you want to improve your health, for example, by increasing exercise or improving nutrition, the only way to do that is to begin. Exercise today. Change your diet, even a little, today.

If you want to read the entire Bible in one year (whenever the year starts!), begin today.

The only way to get there is to begin.

Begin! Get going! Today!

To The End

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If you believe in Jesus Christ, having received Him as Lord and Savior, He will love you to the end.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)

He loves us to the uttermost. He loves us to and into eternity. (Alternative translations of “the end.”)

No matter your circumstances, no matter what is going on in the world, no matter what is going on in your part of the world, Jesus Christ loves you.

And nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:38-39)

Don’t despair. Rejoice in God’s truth.

Death is Final

Harry Durgin Facebook

Three funerals in the past few days. I’m sad.

Death is separation from us who are still living. Death is final for the one passed on.

The Bible says we die once, and then the judgment.

It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

When someone I don’t know–famous or infamous–dies, I sometimes reflect that they are wherever they are for eternity.

Death is final. And judgment follows.

Jesus said that those who do not believe in Him will die in their sins. (John 8:24)

On the other hand:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” (John 11:25)

Believe in Jesus Christ and live!

Easter Eve

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They didn’t know it was Easter Eve

The time between Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection was dark.

Jesus told His disciples He would rise on the third day, but they did not comprehend it.

Jesus was tortured, mocked, and died a horribly painful death. The centurion, who had seen many deaths, knew Jesus was dead, and declared that to Pilate. Jesus’ body was released and put in a tomb. Jesus was dead dead dead.

Jesus Christ’s disciples gathered in the upper room, and locked the door. Were they next?

We can guess some of their conversation amidst their tears. We thought … We hoped …

They believed it was all over.

In the meantime, Jesus Christ is proclaiming victory to those in prison!

They didn’t know they were waiting for Christ’s resurrection, but they were.

They didn’t know it was Easter Eve.

We are blessed

We are blessed, because we know what we are waiting for.

In the countdown to Christmas, sometimes I will say: “Happy Christmas Eve Eve Eve.”

What we don’t know is how many “Eves” are left. Tomorrow, with one “Eve?” A week from now, with seven “Eves?” Or?

In any case, we know what is coming, even though we don’t know when.

We are blessed.