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,
I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19
I want to encourage you today if you are going through hardship and difficulties to take comfort and hope from these verses.
Habakkuk speaks of a time when there was on the face of it nothing to be joyful about. There was no fruit, no food, no oil and it was a time of barrenness and famine. It was the worst of times.
This was the truth of the situation. Sometimes we also need to acknowledge the truth about our situations rather than pretend everything is ok.
There are two very important words in these verses which will help us. THOUGH and YET.
We don’t deny our circumstances (that is the though) but (the yet) we acknowledge that true joy is not in our circumstances but our joy is found in God and His salvation. We praise Him because of who He is and His great mercy and grace towards us. We trust in His goodness to us.
We choose to rejoice and praise regardless of how we feel and regardless of our circumstances. That is the tough choice. It is difficult to choose to praise when you are in the middle of really tough times. To choose to say -Despite what is happening in my life, despite how I feel – “I will rejoice” I choose to rejoice and praise you God.
The promise in these verses is that when we look up from our circumstances to our Father in Heaven, He strengthens us and causes us to rise up. We rise up above our circumstances and we have the strength to overcome our circumstances. We discover that true joy is found only in God.
The joy that these verses speak of is a really exuberant joy. The type of joy that you can’t contain. It makes you dance for joy, it is full of zest and life.
Everything may be wrong in Habakkuk’s world but he is dancing with joy. What a picture. It’s a work of God to enable this to happen in us because it makes no sense. It flies in the face of common sense to be dancing with joy in these circumstances.
A few more encouraging verses about joy:
“Your presence is fullness of joy” Psalm 16:11
“Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5
“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them the oil of joy for mourning” Isaiah 61:3.
This is the divine exchange. God takes our sadness and grief and gives us His joy instead.
Jesus points the way to joy in John 15:11. “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full”. That is the joy that I want to have. Jesus’ joy in me because I am abiding in Him. To experience Christ’s own joy within us.
Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before Him. He looked ahead to the promise. “Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame; and has sat down at the right hand of God”. Hebrews 12:2
If Joy is in material things…we will be disappointed eventually.
If Joy is in results..we will be disappointed eventually.
If Joy is in experiences…we will be disappointed eventually.
If our Joy is found in Christ Jesus the rock of our salvation we will never be disappointed.
The Lord has been speaking to me about a Day of trouble which draws near. A trouble such that the world has not yet known. God’s Prophets have foretold of a day referred to as the Day of the Lord. The great and terrible Day of the Lord. The Prophets have pointed us towards this day. Jesus, God’s Son also spoke of this day.
I believe the Lord wants us to have a greater understanding and wisdom about the Day of the Lord and to pray about this day especially for those who do not believe or have any understanding of this day which will come. There are people who have never heard about this day. It’s to warn them as it will be a day of great trouble for those who do not know Jesus as Lord. I pray that those who don’t yet know God will be brought into His Kingdom and become His Children through faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World. That people will cry out to God for His mercy and to save them. May their hearts be softened and ready to receive the truth about Jesus.
“I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.” Joel 2:30-32
As believers, we can be comforted and strengthened as we have nothing to fear. Jesus has already delivered us from darkness and translated us into the Kingdom of God’s grace and truth. He is with us through everything. All honour and blessings now belongs to Jesus to give to us as He chooses. Jesus is faithful and true.
Jesus will rule the nations one day with a rod of iron and many at that time will not like it. The lovers of self who will not want to humble themselves and come under His rod of authority. Jesus will not tolerate wickedness, injustice, spiritual adultery, falseness, hypocrisy or anything which is unholy or impure. He will rule with justice but not all will want such justice because it will stop their wicked deeds.
The poor and oppressed will rejoice because their salvation has drawn near and is at hand. All those of a pure heart and clean hands will approach His throne in boldness and with nothing to fear. Their conscience is pure and they will rejoice over the Day of the Lord. It comes as a thief in the night when no-one expects it. I hear the Lord say -Oh foolish man, you see the stars in the sky and you cannot interpret the signs you see. I will open up your eyes and shine a light for true revelation.
Blessed be the name of the Lord Most High forever and ever. Amen. Glory, glory, glory for the King of Kings. A banner will be lifted up above all the nations of the earth. The Lion of Judah has roared. He is the roaring lion. Hear Him roar. Amen.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand — a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come.” Joel 2:1-2 –
“The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” Obadiah 1:15
“Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord ? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light— pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?” Amos 5:18-20 –
“The great day of the Lord is near — near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath— a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness — a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.” Zephaniah 1:14-16
“Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord —with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.” Zechariah 14:3-9
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, ” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” Malachi 4:1-6
Jesus said 24 “But in those days, following that distress, “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. 28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. 35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:24-37
“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter —asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 2 Peter 3:10
I believe the Lord is saying get ready for the “Suddenlies”. There will be a sudden shift and the Holy Spirit will come in power and you will experience God move in situations in your life where you have been waiting, perhaps even waiting years, for a breakthrough. It will suddenly come and it will be a clear move of God. You have been prepared in this time of waiting for the “suddenly” in God’s perfect timing.
The Lord reminded me of a similar word He gave me titled “”The Doldrums” which I have copied below and posted the link to the whole blog if you recognise that you are waiting for the “Suddenly.”
This is the part the Lord reminded me about:
“For anyone who may be experiencing a feeling that they are stuck in the doldrums at the moment – where they are seeing a lack of activity, movement or progress in their lives- a feeling of being stuck in the same place. Do not despair, there is hope for you and breakthrough awaits.
In some instances, God’s hand has kept you in that place until His perfect timing and He has worked in you and prepared you so that you are ready for the suddenlies – the wind of God’s Spirit will come suddenly and you will see great acceleration and growth.
There will be a sudden shift. Some people have been waiting for the wind -God’s wind and a fresh breath of the Spirit of God to propel them forward to where they need to be.
I pray that such people will be stirred up in hope and experience a fresh impetus to push forward in God and let Him breathe new life again into their vision.
Welcome to December everyone. I’m looking forward to reading the great stories and words shared on here by my fellow bloggers in December 😊
It’s going to be my Advent calendar each day dipping into WordPress to read the blogs from people all over the world.
Thank you to everyone that contributes. Your posts are meaningful and valuable.
The other week the Lord impressed on me how wonderful it is to use social media and other digital platforms to share testimonies, prophecies and truths about our experiences of Jesus, God and faith.
We have this great tool to be able to share the good news of Jesus.
I believe the Lord wants to stir up faith and release more people to share their stories of His love in this way. To use this gift that we have been given.
Who do you know that you could encourage to become a Christian blogger sharing their stories or sharing for them. Filling the communication channels with good news. Edifying truths.
People’s own testimonies are so incredible because they are personal and inspiring. They deserve to be heard.
Jesus is still doing incredible works and I really want to hear about them. To hear what He is doing for people and through people all over the world from the small acts of kindness to the miraculous. All are equally valuable.
People often think they have nothing valuable to say or that no-one wants to hear it but that is not true. We can all learn from each other. We have all gone through different life experiences in our journeys of faith which have taught us things and others can benefit from what we learned or have to share.
My friend told me that this year in the Jewish calendar is the year of the Voice. I think that is really significant.
Let’s be a voice for Jesus and share truth, love, grace and all the other amazing things that God inspires in us.
Perhaps it’s part of our nature but sometimes we don’t like asking others for things or asking other people for help. Even our close family or friends.
The same can be said of asking from God. But Jesus encourages us to ask our Heavenly Father for the things we need.
One of the reasons is that it keeps our eyes on God and places our trust and dependence in Him as our Father looking out for us. God reliance instead of self reliance.
God is ABBA our Father who loves us and cares for us and also Jehovah Jireh. God who provides.
Jesus says to us today: Ask and you will receive – Matthew 7:7
What do you need today? There will definitely be things. They could be material, emotional or spiritual.
Whatever it is be assured that the storehouses of heaven are not empty and God is well able to provide for us.
My friend Geoff reminded us in our prayer group of this verse in James which says:
“You have not because you ask not” James 4:2
But James also tells us in the next verse that we wont receive if we ask with the wrong motives.
God knows our hearts and what prompts us to ask for things – if our requests are selfishly motivated or we are asking for the wrong things then we will not receive them from God.
We are living in times when God wants to remind us and encourage us to ask Him and trust Him to provide for us.
COVID has shown all of us whether rich or poor how quickly our lives can be shaken and turned upside down. How the things we rely on everyday can quickly disappear. Even how quickly the shelves of the supermarkets can be emptied by panic buying.
This is the time to remind ourselves that we are not orphans. We have a Father in heaven.
Let us approach God with confidence because God is not unprepared. Jesus tells us that our Father in heaven already knows the things we need before we even ask him – Matthew 6:8
The first prayer which Jesus taught his followers to pray to the Father makes some specific requests of God:
To Feed us (provision) – Give us our daily bread;
To Forgive us (grace) – for the wrongs we do as we forgive others;
To Lead us (direction)- keep our steps from following after the wrong things;
To Deliver us from evil (protection) – from satan and his strategies against us. For he, the thief, comes just to rob, kill and destroy.
If we pray as Jesus showed us it covers all our basic needs of provision, forgiveness, direction and protection.
My friend, Heather, had a picture recently of heaven’s storehouses which were stocked full with all the things that Jesus died that we may have as our inheritance now to live life to the full in Him and do His works.
These are all the things that the enemy wants to make sure that we don’t have and enjoy. Satan wants to rob them from us. Satan will do what he can to stop us asking God for what we need and distort our understanding of God’s love and care for us. He will use distraction, discouragement, pride and unbelief in hindering and stopping us asking God for help.
God really cares about the little things. During the first lock down in April I was helping as a volunteer to get shopping for vulnerable people. I was sent a shopping list for a lady with cancer and it was a long list. I was like Lord where am I going to get these items especially toilet paper as there was none at all in the shops. I had been out shopping and the shelves were mostly bare.
Well I went shopping and I was amazed because each shop I went in I managed to get something from her list. In one shop I remember there was one can of what this lady needed just sitting there on a shelf. Just waiting for me to pick it up.
The last thing on the list was the toilet paper and to be honest I was not feeling that hopeful but then I saw two ladies walking along the street with big bags of toilet paper. I’m not normally pushy but I really wanted to find this toilet paper. I called over and asked them where they had managed to find it. They showed me a shop that had just taken a new delivery and stocked the shelves. I can’t tell you how glad I was to be able to deliver all that ladies items to her and how pleased she was to receive them.
Be encouraged today to ask of God in faith and expect to receive. Join with others too and encourage them to ask. Asking with others is powerful.
Jesus said that when two of us agree about something and ask God then it will be done for us by our Father in heaven.
I join my prayer with yours today and say;
Our Father in heaven:
May your holy name be honored;
may your Kingdom come;
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need.
Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.
Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.’