I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart!

And it’s bubbling over today!  I woke up this morning to the doors and windows all thrown wide open and sunshine and breezes flowing in—for the first time this year!  The birds were singing, and as I poured my coffee, I picked out a cardinal’s voice, right outside my kitchen window.  It has been a long, hard winter around here, starting around the first of November and just dragging on and on, so I am more than ready for springtime!  The trees are still bare and drab, our lawn looks the worse for wear, there aren’t any flowers in sight yet (except the artificial ones our neighbors across the street poked into the ground in a row in front of their house), and the temperature is supposed to drop again to the forties, fifties and sixties the rest of this week but hallelujah—spring is here at last!  “For lo, the winter is past, the rain [in our case, snow] is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.”  (Song of Solomon 2:12, 13)

 I am sitting out on my sun porch as I write this, soaking it all in, and praising the Lord!  Spring always seems to bring a feeling of new hope and expectancy, doesn’t it—like, the worst is over and better times are ahead.  This year it coincides with the hopefulness and joy I’ve been feeling all week as I have seen the Lord answering prayers for various loved ones in my life who have been going through very difficult times.  There is a long road still ahead for some of them, but with that new hope comes strength and purpose and renewed faith in the Lord that He will work all things out in His time.

 We saw God work a true miracle this week in answer to one of our prayers!  Laurie and Fernando are supposed to come home this summer for a six month furlough and to raise more support.  We’ve been praying they would find good airfares, but with oil prices climbing and a family of eight, we knew it would be a very expensive trip home.  It was worse than we even imagined.  We checked with 3 airlines — American, Continental and Taca (a Chilean airline) the only ones we knew of that flew in and out of Ecuador to Chicago. We checked into flying to Miami and taking a different domestic carrier to Chicago and that wasn’t any cheaper. It was going to cost them over $6500 one way or $7500 round trip at the time we were checking—and the price is still climbing.

Laurie got a call from her doctor this week tipping her off that Delta had a good price one way to Chicago from Guayaquil of $386/ticket. We didn’t even know Delta flew to Ecuador (apparently it does on a limited basis.) Laurie didn’t have time to check it out so I got on their website and discovered that on the day they were thinking about coming back they could actually get one way tickets for $208 including all taxes and fees! They got their tickets the other day for all 8 of them for $1669 — a saving of almost $5000!!! That is truly a miracle of the Lord!

 There are other changes coming up in their ministry, as well, and we have been praying for wisdom for them and that the Lord would guide them in the direction He would have them take.  One by one we have seen this week the Lord supplying needs and opening doors for the next step in their ministry in Ecuador.  What a blessing when we see His hand at work confirming His call and saying, “See!  Just trust me to work out all these details and lead you step by step!”  

The joy of answered prayer…  His answers are not always yes.  They are not always what we in our humanness would hope for.  They are not always in the form of a miracle.  This week I have rejoiced in the answers to some of my most burdensome prayers.  I am waiting still to see answers to others.  However He chooses to work, though, we can trust that it is out of love and knowing what is best for our lives.  However He answers, we can rejoice in the fact that He cares about our burdens and takes a personal, real interest in each of us as individuals.  However He answers, we can rest assured that our prayers do not go unheard but that, unlike false gods and idols, our God has ears that hear and a mouth that speaks, hands that work and a heart that loves.  

We can have confidence that He will answer!  1 John 5:14-15 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  We can expect to be awed and amazed at His answers!  Jeremiah 33:3 tells us, Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”  We can expect to rejoice in His answers.  Jesus actually encourages us to bring our requests to Him so that we will have the joy of answered prayer!  He said in John 16:24, “…ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

So today I am rejoicing in the sunshine and in the glow of answered prayer!  Praise the Lord for both!  I am going to leave you with a list of just a few of the Scripture references that speak to the promises of God concerning answers to prayer.  As you read them, may they bring you joy, joy, joy, joy down in your heart!

Jeremiah 1:12…….. “I am ready to perform My Word.”

John 16:24……. “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Matthew  21:22………“…whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Jeremiah 33:3……… “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things…”

John 14:14…….. “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

John 16:23…….. “…whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”

James 5:16…….. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Job 22:27…… “You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you…”

1 John 5:14…….. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

1 John 5:15…….. “And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

John 14:13…….. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Isaiah 55:11……. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

John 15:7………. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

Matthew 18:19…….. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”

John 15:16…….. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

Jeremiah 29:12…….. “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”

Isaiah 65:24…….. “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are speaking I will hear.”

Psalm 91:15…….. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.”

Thank You, Lord!

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