The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 11

Welcome to Week 11 where we’ve been studying the second Fruit of the Spirit, JOY. This month we have explored how JOY comes through trials in our lives. Last week, we witnessed the JOY in heaven when just one sinner repents. This week we’ll study the church’s engagement and marriage to the Lamb of God. It’s a time of JOY as we, the bride, prepare to meet our Bridegroom.

The Parable of the Vestal Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” (Matthew 25:1) Click to read the rest of Matthew 25:1-13.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10 NKJV).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Jesus explained His Father’s kingdom by telling a parable about ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. Five foolish ones took no oil for their lamps, but five wise ones took oil in their vessels. As the bridegroom tarried, they all fell asleep. Then at midnight, a cry announced his coming. All the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps, but the foolish five had no oil. The wise ones didn’t have enough to share, so the foolish ones went to buy some. While they were gone, the bridegroom arrived, and those who were ready went into the wedding with him. When the foolish virgins returned, the door was shut and the bridegroom refused to let them in, saying that he never knew them.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Is there any day more JOYous than a wedding day, especially if you’re the bride? Our culture has glorified weddings in recent years with television shows about everything from buying the dress to ceremonies and receptions. Weddings are currently big business—and no expense is spared.

But wedding traditions haven’t always been like today’s. In order to understand this parable, we must first familiarize ourselves with the customs of those times.

Hundreds of years ago, the bridegroom would travel to the home of his bride. Although the bride never knew exactly what time he would arrive, she still had to be dressed and ready to go. Sometimes a bridegroom was late, and the bride waited anxiously for days. But after his arrival, he would JOYfully carry her off to his home. Then they would celebrate with a wedding ceremony and a marriage feast with friends and family, sometimes lasting for days.

Who are these virgins in the parable? They represent the sleeping church, who is engaged to Jesus and waiting for His return. We don’t know the day nor the hour of His coming. But when He arrives, those who are saved and full of the oil of the Holy Spirit will be taken to heaven as His bride. Those who aren’t saved will be left behind, knocking at a closed door.

The most JOYful realization is that this event may happen soon. With our shining lamps full of oil, our eyes look up because we know our bridegroom is coming. When Jesus arrives in the clouds with His angels, we who are alive on that day will be caught up to meet Him in the air, along with the resurrected Saints. He will take us to heaven to be His bride and to feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb. You can read about this JOYful event, the rapture of the church, here.

Just as today’s bride takes time to groom and adorn herself for that special day, so we must also make ourselves ready to meet our bridegroom. Jesus is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle. Let’s wash away our sins in His blood and anoint ourselves with the pure water of His Word. Let’s clothe ourselves in garments of praise and righteous acts as we wait for that shofar blast to sound from the clouds.

‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb’” (Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV).

For more study on the subject of the Bride of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, click HERE to listen to a sermon by Charles Spurgeon.

Nothing is more JOYous than a wedding celebration! Would you share some JOYful memories abou your special day?

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for inviting us to be Your bride at the marriage supper of the Lamb. May we fill our lamps with the oil of Your Holy Spirit and be ready to go home with You at Your appearing. We pray that You send worldwide revival now. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens


The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 10

Welcome to Week 10 where we’ve been studying the second Fruit of the Spirit, JOY. Last week we explored how JOY comes through trials in our lives. It’s a paradox for something so wonderful to come out of difficulty or suffering. Where does JOY originate? Deep in our salvation, placed there the moment we say YES to Jesus. This week we’ll see what happens in heaven when just one sinner repents.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Click HERE to read Luke 15: 1-24.

Memory Verse: Luke 15:10: “‘Likewise I say to you, there is JOY in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’”

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

When tax collectors and sinners gathered around Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes criticized Jesus for allowing such men to be near Him.
That sparked Jesus to relate three parables directed at these hypocritical Pharisees.


The first one deals with a shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine to seek for one that is lost. “‘And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing’” (v.5). But his JOY multiplies after returning home. He invites friends and neighbors to a party to celebrate with him over finding his one lost sheep.

The second parable tells about a woman who loses one of her ten silver coins. She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and searches diligently until she finds it. “‘And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’” (v.9)

The third relates the story of the prodigal son. After he squanders all his money, he finds himself working in a pigsty where even the pig’s food looks appealing to his empty stomach. After he comes to himself, he makes the long journey home to appeal to his father to make him as one of his slaves.
Much to his surprise, his father runs out to meet him and welcomes him with a joyful kiss. “‘But the father said to the servant, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to be merry’” (v. 22-24).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever lost something of great value? I have. The situation causes my heart to canter and my mind to swirl in panic. I retrace my steps and get on hands and knees, feeling behind furniture and shining a flashlight into dark corners. Finally, my lost treasure is discovered–usually in the last place I look. My relief turns to JOY, and my family and friends rejoice with me.

What do these parables have in common? Probably something that has happened to each of us–something precious is lost and later is found. And the finders’ joy overflows to a celebration.

But the meaning is far deeper.

“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me'” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV).

The lost sheep, coin, and prodigal son represent those who are lost in their sins but who find JOYful salvation at the cross of Christ. Jesus uses these parables to show the Pharisees and scribes how God feels about one lost sinner. Each person is so special that God personally seeks out each one. Then He calls His angels in heaven together to rejoice with Him over every person who repents.

As an altar minister at my church, I have prayed with several people over the years for salvation. Through our tears, I remind them that the angels are celebrating JOYfully in heaven as well as writing their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

There is no sweeter time of celebration on heaven or on earth than when a lost soul repents and meets Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.

“The king shall have JOY in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!” (Psalm 21:1 NKJV)

Can you share your story of JOY with us, either about your own salvation or the salvation of a friend or loved one?

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making the salvation experience one that is full of JOY. May we feast on the JOY of our salvation and also rejoice with those whose salvation we witness. We ask You to send forth Your Spirit to draw in the Lost and use us as Your witnesses during these last days. In Your Son’s Name we pray, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 9

Welcome to “Front Porch Bible Study Series. We are beginning our study of the second Fruit of the Spirit–JOY. This month we will discover the place where JOY lives deep in our spirits, waiting to be mined out, like precious diamonds. Let’s go mining today for this priceless gift from God!


The Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study Series Week 9: How to find joy in trials.

Click here to read today’s Scripture reading.

Memory Verse: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV).

Let’s begin with a word study. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of happiness is “A state of well-being and contentment; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.”
Happiness lives in our souls and is based on fickle feelings, emotions, and changing circumstances. This temporary fix is the best the world can offer.

JOY, on the other hand, doesn’t come from the world. God lovingly plants it in our spirits the moment we become His through salvation.
Just as our salvation is permanent, so is our JOY.

In today’s reading, the prophet Habakkuk cries out to God over witnessing the dreaded arrival of the Chaldeans, godless destroyers who have come to conquer and plunder Israel. He pleads with God over how long God will look on evil and not do anything to stop it (Habakkuk 1:2-4; 12-17 NKJV).

God’s response is that He is in control of evil and not to fret. In time, they (the Chaldeans) will pay the price. (1:11). The Lord declares to Habakkuk that
the day of retribution will certainly come, as it’s an appointed time for which to patiently wait. In the meantime, the righteous should live by their faith. (Habakkuk 2: 2-4 NKJV).

Have you ever had your life torn apart unexpectedly? I have. Whether it’s losing a marriage, a child or loved one, a job, career, or finances, we can go into a tailspin, paralleling Israel’s suffering.

We cry out for God’s justice, mercy, and His hand to reverse our situation. We plead with our God, who is too holy to look on evil, and ask Him how He can allow these things to happen.

What should our response to God be?
The answer is the secret to finding JOY during our trials .

Let’s meditate on Habakkuk’s ending prayer:

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines;

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food;

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls—

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength;

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills” (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV).

No matter our circumstances, JOY is planted deep in our spirits. Like Habakkuk, we can mine JOY out of our salvation and rejoice in the Lord–in spite of the trials we experience. God will make us sure-footed and guide us safely along narrow, mountainous paths. Isn’t God so good!

Can you rejoice in your trials?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Let us remember that our lives aren’t spiraling out of control when we face trials, but You are at the helm. May we trust You and not despair. Teach us to choose to rejoice in our trials and to draw joy from our wells of salvation. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.