Give me a word, Lord: REJOICE

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Philippians 31:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.

Sometimes I feel tired, y’all. I’m tired of the pandemic, the riots and violence, the hurricanes and tropical storms, and the political battles. I woke up this morning with this thought, “Today, I’m going to rejoice in the Lord.” Why? I’m going to rejoice because I’m tired of not rejoicing. I woke up this morning to dreary skies, a light sprinkling rain, and gloominess all around, but the temperatures are much cooler with 64 degrees with a gentle breeze blowing. It feels so nice outside. We’ve had a very long, hot summer, and I am super excited about fall. There is a reason to rejoice. I’m healthy and my family is healthy. There is another reason to rejoice. I’ve got a nice roof over my head, clothes on my body, a functional vehicle, and a great job. Wow, there are a few more good reasons to rejoice. Yet, there is still one greater reason. The Lord made this day. He created this day for you and for me. He created another day for each of us to get up, get dressed, and get out there and glorify Him. That’s a great reason to rejoice!

Paul wrote repeatedly in his letter to the Philippian church to rejoice in the Lord. He recognized that this attitude was one that brought peace to a believer, and also it is an attitude that is a true mark of the spirit filled life. In Philippians 2:14-16 he writes, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” As Christians, we can’t go around grumbling, complaining, arguing, and disputing with others. If we are spending all of our time bitter and angry, are we really the children of God? Do we look like children of God? As God’s kids, we can’t help but rejoice in Him and all that He has blessed us with. We have to shine as lights in the gray dreary world and reflect the Son of God.

I know that we have had a lot of things to frown about over the past year, but we still have the ever present Holy Spirit of the living God within us, and the thought of this should turn any frown upside down. The mark of a Christian shouldn’t be a solemn face with a look of distress and anguish. The mark of a Christian should be a great big smile on the face of a person who is so full of Christ that the light of Christ shines through in the facial expressions, the mood, and the behavior. If we look around, we may not see very many things that make us want to smile. If we look at the world, we may want to frown or even cry, but if we look within, the Holy Spirit within us will always turn that frown upside down.

When Paul wrote these words to the Philippians encouraging them to rejoice in the Lord, he wasn’t sitting in his comfortable home on a cushy sofa with his feet propped up. Rather he was locked up in a prison in the Roman Empire. We think we have had it bad this year? Paul knew what bad was, yet he chose to rejoice. He didn’t say rejoice over the bad stuff you are going through. He said to rejoice in the Lord. He didn’t tell us that tragedy would not occur. He didn’t tell us to rejoice over the tragedies. He told us to rejoice in the Lord. No matter what circumstances we are enduring, we must continue to rejoice in the Lord!

Do you feel like it’s hard to rejoice in the midst of the chaos? We are all human, and understandably it’s hard to wake up full of joy every day. How do we do it? How can we find joy in the seemingly endless unjoyful days. The psalmist tells us in Psalm 42:5-6. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you.” We have to remember where our hope lies. Hope does not lie in the things of this world. Our hope is in God. He has given us the gift of salvation, and although things appear grim and joy seems to be trying to escape us, all that we have to do is remember Him. Hang on to the joy that we can only find in Jesus. Hold onto hope in God. We have been given the greatest gift in the world: SALVATION. This crazy messed up world is not our permanent home. We are just passing through. We are promised a heavenly home with our God. We can handle all of the stressors of the day, the bad news, the fake news, the little aggravations and the big annoyances of each day because we have been saved by grace. Yes, we can rejoice in the Lord!

I’ll leave you with a song by Shelly and Ron Hamilton called Rejoice in the Lord, “God never moves without purpose or plan when trying His servant and molding a man. Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long, in darkness He giveth a song. O Rejoice in the Lord
He makes no mistake. He knoweth the end of each path that I take. For when I am tried
and purified, I shall come forth as gold. I could not see through the shadows ahead so I looked at the cross of my Savior instead. I bowed to the will of the Master that day, then peace came and tears fled away. Now I can see testing comes from above. God strengthens His children and purges in love. My Father knows…” You see, it may seem that we are going through the test of a life time, and that the testing is lasting forever. Nothing is happening by happen chance. The Lord is always in control, and though we may feel like we are in the fire right now, we can rest assured that we will come out purified. We can’t see what is ahead, but our Father already knows what the future holds, and we know Who holds the future.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

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