Tag Archives: Thankfulness

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.

 

Thanksgiving and Peace

This past weekend was a chance to celebrate an attitude mentioned throughout the entire Bible. I guess that must make it pretty important, whether North America realizes the deeper significance or not!

It took a bit of time with Jesus for me to pull deeper meaning from the holiday this time than just a long weekend to be thankful for much needed rest, sunshine, and all the blessings we have.

And a verse in Colossians helped too.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs, from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to the Father. 

Having been sick for so long, my most common answer when asked how I am doing is: “I am thankful.”  But oftentimes, the deep sense of peace and gratitude that God is my good Father who will never let me go, and is always faithful to fulfill every promise is missing from my answer.

I wonder if peace and thankfulness go together.  Sometimes I long for more independence rather than being thankful for the ways that God provides.  Sometimes I get frustrated at my lack of ability to do simple things that “normal” people take for granted, rather than being at peace with what God has given me to do.

I am so thankful for my Beloved and  the wonderful friends God has blessed me with who are willing to help when I need it, but often feel guilty for needing help. As usual, God in His patience, helps Truth sink in.  When I am deeply grateful from the heart and allow His peace to fill my life and my soul, the frustration gives way to gratitude and a soul at rest.

When I am deeply grateful and my soul at peace, God gives me gifts that I in turn can give that lift up some one else.  It is hard to give treasure out of a place of frustration and self pity, but because of Christ, I am invited to live out of a place of peace and gratitude, and I see much to praise Jesus for when this is my foundation.

If Paul, who faced innumerable hardships, could write three times in one paragraph to be thankful and at peace in everything we do and say, I, who have blessings and comforts much of the world envy, can also live out of gratitude and peace!  I am thankful for a holiday to remind me what I should already know!

What are you thankful for today?  Is there an area in your life that you want to receive more of God’s peace?  What ways can you show Jesus your gratitude?

Take Back Your Joy!

I am beginning to wonder about the missing fruit of the Spirit called JOY.  Why does it seem for many believers, joy is largely absent from our lives?

We should be overflowing with joy, and a holy contentedness that is the birthright of all children of the King.  I myself find the absence of joy to be disconcerting and I am unwilling to settle for less that what God wants to give me in the joy department.

The Psalms tell us taking refuge in God brings joy, and praising and giving thanksgiving to God produces joy.  This means actually coming into His presence with intentionality.

Isaiah 35:10 says: Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

When times get tough and joy is fleeting, we tend to shrink back from extravagant displays of worship and thanksgiving to our Saviour – at least I do. But it is in these hard, dry seasons when praising and bringing thanksgiving into the refuge of God is most important.

Somehow, when praise and singing are brought to God, Joy becomes a crown, and sorrow and sighing have no ground to put down roots.

Isaiah 12:13 says: With JOY you will draw water from the wells of salvation! 

What a promise!  When everything else goes wrong, we can step back, and worship because of the unshakeable salvation we have already received along with the promise of God to graciously give us, along with Jesus, all things. (Romans 8:32)

Praising is like dancing on the grave of an enemy who steals joy like a kleptomaniac.  Worship is like entering the banquet anyway when you feel you have no business at a celebration.  It is a rebel act in a negative culture that takes back the rights of royalty we so easily relinquish.

The well of salvation is there, full of water and rightfully ours.  The Devil and his cohorts, like a band of desert robbers seek to keep us from drawing water from the well.  Our own propensity to complain and whine stands like a wall around the well, but when we press in, we find the water is as sweet and refreshing as ever, and joy is a byproduct.

So if you are feeling depressed, hard pressed, morose, or persecuted, bring the offering of praise into the house of God.  Pretend there is no one watching.  Lift your hands up.  Lift your head up.  Lift your heart up, and with abandon, praise the One who saves us!  Dance on disappointments knowing God can take them and remake them into triumphs beyond recognition.

And then drink with joy, life giving water from the Well of Salvation.

What things have you allowed to steal your joy today?  If you’re ready to reclaim it, put your praise on!  (Dancing is always a great addition)!