Last week was a difficult week for me.  As many of you know, I was dealing with two different challenges.  A septic system, which I was told needed new field lines, at the tune of $6 thousand dollars and two skunks who had made their abode under my home.

The septic issue was difficult only because of cost.  It makes me mad when the enemy tries to steal finances from me. However, the skunk issue was keeping me up at night, literally.  These things would go under my house, spray their smell and it came up through my heater vents.  The smell in my house was horrible.  One morning, I had to take my mom on an errand, when I picked her up, she got in my vehicle and said, “shooo, I smell a skunk.”  I said, “It’s me, Mom.”

Returning home after a couple hours to a closed in smell – it was sickening.  My partners and I had been praying all week about this – still, I wanted to get discouraged.  I wanted to melt down, but as I lighted yet another candle, I remembered a message I heard Jerry Savelle preach years ago. At that moment, his words rang in my ears, “If he can steal your joy, he can get your goods.”

I stood at my kitchen counter and said, “Satan, you will not get my joy, I will not allow you to steal my joy, I refuse.”

God has made a provision for us – a way of escape and part of that way is joy. 
It is our refuge, our protection, our stronghold – it is our strength.  Let us purpose
in our heart to hold fast to joy, no matter what the challenge.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. John 10:10

Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy – one of the things he is after is our joy.  If we can hold onto our joy, we can make it through challenging times and come out with victory. However, if we forfeit our joy, become bitter and angry – we hinder the hand of God from working in our life.

If you knew me, you would know I am super sensitive to smells – drives my family up the wall – I can smell odors no one else can smell.  Its just me, I can’t help it. So, a strong skunk smell can be torture to me.  And to be frank, at the beginning of the week, I was not joyful.  I was anything but joyful.  The smell was causing me to not be able to sleep – I had gone days without sleep. It’s hard to be joyful, when you are facing a challenge with no sleep.  However, in that moment, I knew I must decide to hold fast to joy. I knew it was a key for me in this situation.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

In the Strong’s Concordance, the word STRENGTH in this scripture is defined as; a place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold.

The joy of the Lord is our refuge.  Our stronghold, our protection.  Isn’t that awesome!!

It’s called the joy of the Lord because it is a fruit of the Spirit.  It’s what flows through us when we are spending time with God and His Word.  And we must choose to keep our joy when things get tough.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:16-18

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Rom 12:12

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11

And one of my favorite scriptures…

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, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Hab 3:17-18

Yes, the thief does come to steal, kill and destroy – but it doesn’t end there.  Jesus finished that verse with “BUT, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

God has made a provision for us – a way of escape and part of that way is joy.  It is our refuge, our protection, our stronghold – it is our strength.  Let us purpose in our heart to hold fast to joy, no matter what the challenge.

 

Appoint My Days

Through my Lord, Jesus, I continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise!  The fruit of my lips will openly bless and profess His name!  His praise will continually be in my mouth!

Hebrews 13:15, Psalm 34:1