Tag Archives: Rejoice

Rejoice in Free Will!

I have been saying Philippians 4:4-8 to myself the last while and have had a second wave of a long coming revelation.

We are given free will to choose.  Anything.  I am thinking of joy in particular today.  Like choosing what I eat gradually changes how I feel and look, choosing the thoughts and emotions I entertain gradually changes my thought patterns and how I view life itself. In fact, brain specialist Dr. Caroline Leaf teaches that what we choose with our will (mind) actually changes the brain itself, which in turn changes our DNA making our body either impermeable to disease, or susceptible to it.

Rejoice in the Lord always again I say, Rejoice!  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.  

Scripture doesn’t let us off the Rejoicing hook when things look grim or when we are having a terrible, no good, rotten, I’m going to move to Australia kind of day.  It simply says ALWAYS REJOICE.

In fact, when Israel faced huge obstacles that seemed insurmountable, they were called to worship and praise God before He acted on their behalf.  Nothing has changed in 2000 and some years.  We are still called to rejoice – especially when that is the last thing we feel like doing.

Yesterday, tired and not feeling great, I struggled to accomplish the simplest of tasks with a teething, gassy baby.  Small problems, I know, but I decided to put my will to work for me rather than just giving into the frustration and impatience that welled up.

I began praising Jesus for the things He has blessed me with and His goodness and faithfulness to us.  I declared my thankfulness and told myself I was choosing to rejoice, and slowly, the tide of frustration was overtaken by the sweet waves of thankfulness.

In Psalm 42:5, David instructs his soul to hope in God and praise Him for His help.

Psalm 35:9 says: “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation.”  

The will to choose is a gift God gave us as His children that brings fulfillment when we use our will to obey and glorify Him.  It is only then we are free to engage in the abundant life Jesus told us He died for.

With the empowering grace of Christ, nothing is unchangeable.  Depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, addiction and every other thing that robs us of the joy of the Lord bows before the will that chooses differently.  One. Day. At. A Time.

Like stepping back and critically assessing  a painting I am working on, I can asses and replace harmful emotions seeking to command my soul, and choose what brings life.  Its not something I can do on my own – as always, I need the Holy Spirit to show me what is good and choose what it true!

May you choose to rejoice today in whatever situation you find yourself.

 

Don’t Forget to Celebrate!

Waiting at the airport for my ride home, I encountered a lady who seemed to want my company.  Pulling on her cigarette, she began recounting all the things wrong with her life.  Where she lived, the weather, and her sister in law who stood stoically a few feet away.  As she went on, I realized everything she complained about could also be appreciated when seen from a different angle.

Sometimes I get travelling along in my choleric way and forget to pause, enjoy and celebrate.  Even in the hard places, we humans are created to celebrate together with our Creator!  I sometimes find myself with my head down, labouring at what I have been called to without looking up and rejoicing with the One who has called me.

Reading in Deuteronomy and Leviticus this morning,  the word celebrate appears on the pages over and over.  In fact, in the midst of  regulations, commands and guidelines for living, are festivals, feasts and celebrations to be enjoyed with Yahweh Himself.  The understanding that the provisions for the celebrations came from Jehovah Jirah (God who provides) is striking reminder in my own life.

The festival of shelters came after harvest and was 8 days of resting, celebrating, then resting again.  The Israelites were told to celebrate together before the Lord with great joy.  I love this – a community holiday. Celebration and rest happened as a body of people!  Celebration created a completely different culture and atmosphere than the nations around them

When I imagine heaven, I think not just of the perfect world that affects this imperfect one, I think of constant celebration!  Luke 15:10 says all of heaven rejoices when even one sinner repents!  With all the people giving their lives to Jesus around the world, I figure there must be constant celebration in heaven.

I begin to wonder if Jesus is always ready to celebrate the victories, the gifts, and the goodness that constantly come from the Father. I wonder if He is disappointed when I don’t take time to pause.  To celebrate.  To remember.

My friend’s family celebrates Passover together as a family.  The imagery is beautiful, and the pause to remember is a poignant reminder to me of the eternal celebration that will begin when Jesus comes back for the second time as King of Kings and we come together to celebrate at the banquet.

What if our celebrations here are a mirror into the eternal celebration of being together with God one day?  What if celebrations keep our eyes fixed on the hope we have today for tomorrow, and are a reminder of the faithfulness of God in the past? What if celebrations are meant to bring people together with a common sense of gratitude and togetherness with each other and with God?

How do you celebrate God’s provision and work in your life?  How can you incorporate celebration in the things your family and community do together?

If celebration stirs up hope, and gratitude, then I want it to become an integral part of my life!