Monday, August 15, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

I've been pondering ALL morning over what to post today.  I don't plan ahead during the week for what scripture I'll post on Monday, because something I love is a FRESH word from God.  I believe He has something to speak to us daily.  How tragic that I can be so guilty of relying on yesterday's or even last week's word to be enough to sustain me when God has something EVERY DAY! 

When I felt like I finally had the verse for today, I got so excited I had to make another cup of tea. It has replaced my morning coke habit.  Praise God for victory in such a small, but big thing!

 It's Philippians 4:4-5 and it says this:

"Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near."

We sang a song yesterday at church with the lyrics of Rejoice in the Lord always....   I woke up this morning singing it.  I wish that being a part of the family of God meant that we would never have difficult circumstances, that tragedy would never strike in our lives or the lives of our families, that everyone would adore us, that we'd never have an enemy, that we'd certainly never be sick or face disease, that life would be full of good times.  The truth is that life is difficult, sometimes unbearably so.  Sometimes we are hated because of the very Christ that lives in us.  That's why in Philippians 3:1 Paul referred to the act of rejoicing in the Lord as a safeguard for us.  He knew we'd face incredible difficulties in this life.  He faced incredible difficulties of his own.  He understood the power of rejoicing in God even in the most adverse circumstances.  He knew that's where the victory lay.  Matthew Henry says it like this:

"God is able to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth. He had said it before (ch. 3:1): Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. Here he says it again, Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say Rejoice. Joy in God is a duty of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it."

I am often tempted to let my circumstances get the best of my joy, and I sometimes cave to that temptation.  Maybe those very things that are so unfair, so hurtful, and so difficult for us to manage, are the very things that God uses to call us to rejoice.  What if instead of seeing our difficulties as hindrances in our lives, we saw a call to joy?   A call to joy.  Are you ready to accept such a call?

Keep in mind the encouragement Paul gives at the end of verse 5: "The Lord is near."  There is a day coming when Christ will return, and He will right the wrongs, and the difficulties of this life will be over.  All will be at peace.  Loved ones will be reunited.  No more sickness, no more sorrow.  The Lord is near, and until then, there is joy to sustain us!

~Josh and Jill

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