Rejoice, again I say rejoice!

Jumping Silhouettes [Explored #420 02-21-2012]
Philippians 4:4-9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I love this passage.  Rejoice!  What does that mean?  Filled with joy, delight- to be exhilarated, lively.

When was the last time you rejoiced?  We pray for answers from God- but do we rejoice when we hear from Him?  Do we rejoice with each other?  We should!

God has been laying this on my heart- b/c this season of life has lead to a lot of tears, a lot of growing pains, heavy conviction- recognizing some areas of my life that need to be surrendered to Christ.

But I have forgotten to have joy- to consciously make a choice to do so.  Rejoice!  Dance around- celebrate what the Lord has done.  Read your journal (if you have one) remember when God provided.

Do you keep a list of prayer requests?  Write down when God answers them and look back to see what He has done for you- we know that we are a forgetful people- we need to take time to remember.

Do you celebrate when a friend or loved one surrenders their life to Christ?  We are told that they rejoice in heaven- we should be rejoicing here.  Throw a party!

One of the things I have discovered about reading and studying God’s Word- and seeking Him in prayer- is that many times I will heed what He tells me or teaches me more readily than when a Christian brother or sister gives the same advice.

It would have been hard if I was pouring my heart out and crying- and a friend said, get over it and just rejoice!  (and we are supposed to weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn (Rom 12:15)).

But sometimes when we are at our lowest- when the worries and cares of the world threaten to break us- when we are weary…we need to rejoice- to remember who God is and what He has done.

It is an act of the will sometimes- not emotionally what we want to do- but a choice to praise and worship God even when we don’t want to.

It keeps my heart tender towards Him- I don’t know if your heart has ever hardened towards the Lord- but I have experienced that in my own life.  Doubts or hurts have made me question for a time- why?  Or do you really care God?  Do you see my suffering? ( I usually spend a lot of time in Psalms during those seasons.)

Later- these questions seem so selfish, even foolish to me.  When I look at all God has done for me- but God can handle our honesty- and we need to support and love each other through those seasons.

Before I close up today’s post, I want to go back to Philippians 4 again.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

One of the reasons I love gardening is that being in and around God’s creation reminds me of how much he loves me.  I see the uniqueness, the beauty of each flower- of towering trees reaching to the heavens, of birds singing and butterflies meandering through the yard- and I think of the verse about the lilies.
Lilies
Matthew 6:28-34 (NLT)

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

So I pray that today- whatever your circumstances- that you would rejoice in the Lord- in what He has done- and in the confidence that He will continue to be faithful.

Easter Lily

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