The Power In Rejoicing

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! … Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:4, 6).

Paul isn’t playing around here—when he says to rejoice, it’s not a suggestion or a good idea. He says REJOICE with the force of a commandment!

Even the Greek word for rejoice isn’t a mild “yea!” It carries with is the idea of big joy! It’s the kind of rejoicing that is…

  • exceedingly great!
  • overflowing!
  • bubbling up!
  • never ending!
  • continuously gushing!

Why would Paul make this kind of rejoicing a command? Because God is serious about pointing us to the only path that will guard our hearts and minds. When we are rejoicing, praying, and thanksgiving, then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Do you realize how much of our worrying is pointless? My friend Scott pointed out the following research:

  • 40% of the things we worry about will never even happen
  • 30% of the things we worry about happened in the past and cannot be changed
  • 12% of our worries are regarding health issues we don’t even have
  • 10% of our worries are about our friends and loved ones which are based on rumors

That means … only 8% of the things we worry about have any basis in reality!

Think about that—9 out of 10 things that consume our minds with worry aren’t even worth our time!

That’s why Paul commands rejoicing as a means to freedom and peace.

  • What should we worry about? Nothing! 
  • What should we pray about? Everything!
  • What should rejoice about? All things!  

This is the one and only path to transcendent peace! 

This is part two in our series The Antidote For Anxiety. Be sure to check out the video below, and also check out the first part of this series—Honk! Honk! Honk!

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The Joy Of Understanding

Then Ezra read from the Book of the Law in the open square… (Nehemiah 8).

I love the simplicity of this! No sermon; just a straightforward reading of God’s Word. And look at how everyone responded…

  • “The ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law”
  • There was a respect for the Word of God and the God of the Word—“When he opened it all the people stood up…[then] they bowed their heads and worship the Lord with their faces to the ground”
  • The religious leaders “helped the people to understand the Law”
  • “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them understand the reading”

The result—“And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions [to those in need] and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

A mark of a godly leader is one who helps people make sense of God’s Word.

And when the people understand the Word, they are more likely to joyfully put it into practice.

This is Part 10 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Poetry Saturday—Happy In Him

…But when I am happy in Him,
December’s as pleasant as May.

His Name yields the richest perfume,
And sweeter than music His voice;
His presence disburses my gloom,
And makes all within me rejoice;
I should, were He always thus nigh,
Have nothing to wish or to fear;
No mortal so happy as I,
My summer would last all the year.

Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resign’d,
No changes of season err place
Would make any change in my mind:
While blest with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there. —John Newton

Poetry Saturday—The Loom Of Time

FullSizeRender 3Man’s life is laid in the loom of time
To a pattern he does not see,
While the Weaver’s work and the shuttles fly
Till the dawn of eternity.

Some shuttles are filled with silver threads
And some with threads of gold,
While often but the darker hues
Are all that they may hold.

But the Weaver watches with skillful eye
Each shuttle fly to and fro,
And sees the pattern so deftly wrought
As the loom moves sure and slow.

God surely planned the pattern:
Each thread, the dark and fair,
Is chosen by His master skill
And placed in the web with care.

He only knows its beauty,
And guides the shuttles which hold
The threads so unattractive,
As well as the threads of gold.

Not till each loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God reveal the pattern
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads were as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
For the pattern which He planned. —Anonymous

The Delight In God’s Word

Psalm 119Psalm 119 is a loving poem to God because His Word to us is so amazing! All 176 verses of this psalm say something special about God’s laws, statutes, decrees, precepts, or commands.

Like this psalmist, we too can discover 176 praiseworthy things in God’s Word. Things like…

  1. Blessing by walking according to His law
  2. Blessing by keeping His statues
  3. Blamelessness when walking in His ways
  4. Full obedience when obeying His precepts
  5. Steadfastness because we obey His decrees
  6. No shame in following His commands
  7. Uprightness in learning His laws
  8. His continual presence when obeying His decrees
  9. Purity in living by His word
  10. Direction when following His commands
  11. A sinless life by hiding His word in our hearts
  12. More reasons to praise Him when He teaches us His decrees
  13. Joy in recounting His laws
  14. Rejoicing in following His statutes
  15. Joy in meditating on His precepts
  16. Delight in attending to His word
  17. Life and goodness in obeying His word
  18. Wonderful things in His law
  19. God’s companionship in His commands
  20. Our soul’s longings fulfilled in His laws
  21. No curses by keeping His commands
  22. No scorn in keeping His statutes
  23. Immune to slander in meditating on His decrees
  24. A delightful counselor in His statues
  25. A preserved life in His word
  26. God’s answers in His decrees
  27. Understanding wonderful things in His precepts
  28. Strength in His word
  29. Grace in His law
  30. Truth in His laws
  31. No shame in His statutes
  32. Freedom in His commands
  33. God’s counsel in His decrees
  34. Deeper understanding in His law
  35. Direction and delight in His commands
  36. A strengthened heart through His statutes
  37. Eternal life in His word
  38. Fulfillment in His promises
  39. No dread nor disgrace in His laws
  40. Preserved life in His precepts
  41. Salvation in His promises
  42. Answers for enemies in His word
  43. Hope in His laws
  44. Eternal security in His law
  45. Freedom in His precepts
  46. Influence in His statutes
  47. Delight in His commands
  48. Love in His commands
  49. Hope in His word
  50. Comfort in suffering in His promises
  51. Steadfastness in His law
  52. Comfort in His laws
  53. Proper emotions toward the wicked in His law
  54. Songs in His decrees
  55. Nighttime comfort in His law
  56. Healthy practices in His precepts
  57. Complete help in His word
  58. Finding God in His promise
  59. Course corrections in His statutes
  60. Motivation in His commands
  61. Rescue in His laws
  62. Midnight thanks in His laws
  63. Friendship-strengthener in His precepts
  64. Seeing His love everywhere through His decrees
  65. Blessing in His word
  66. Knowledge and good judgment in His commands
  67. Healing in His word
  68. Goodness in His decrees
  69. Immunity to slander in His precepts
  70. Enlivened emotions in His law
  71. Help for affliction in His decrees
  72. Riches in His law
  73. Understanding in His commands
  74. Encouragement for others in His word
  75. Godly paradigms in His laws
  76. The comfort of His unfailing love in His promise
  77. Delightful compassion in His law
  78. Justice in His precepts
  79. Influential friendships in His statutes
  80. Blamelessness in His decrees
  81. Hope in His word
  82. Comfort in His promise
  83. Preservation in His decrees
  84. Perseverance in His law
  85. Victory in His law
  86. Trust in His commands
  87. Staying power in His precepts
  88. Life and love in His statutes
  89. Firm foundation in His word
  90. Generational faithfulness in His word
  91. Enduring glory revealed in His laws
  92. Delight in affliction in His law
  93. Preserved life in His precepts
  94. Salvation in His precepts
  95. Peace in His statutes
  96. Perfection in His commands
  97. Love in His laws
  98. Wisdom in His commands
  99. More insight than your peers in His statutes
  100. More understanding in His precepts
  101. Avoiding evil through His word
  102. Personally taught by God in His laws
  103. Sweetness in His words
  104. Understanding in His precepts
  105. Light in His word
  106. Direction in His laws
  107. Preservation in His word
  108. Praise in His laws
  109. Safety in His laws
  110. Avoiding snares in His precepts
  111. Joyful heritage in His statutes
  112. Developing an obedient heart through His decrees
  113. Strong love in His law
  114. Hopeful refuge in His word
  115. Repelling evildoers through His commands
  116. Sustaining power in His promise
  117. Deliverance in His decrees
  118. Acceptance in His decrees
  119. Purity in His statutes
  120. Awe and reverence in His laws
  121. God’s constant presence in His word
  122. Victory over oppressors in His law
  123. Salvation in His promises
  124. Loving treatment in His decrees
  125. Discernment in His statutes
  126. Justice in His law
  127. Riches in His commands
  128. Knowing right from wrong through His precepts
  129. Wonder in His statutes
  130. Illumination in His words
  131. Fulfillment in His commands
  132. Mercy in His word
  133. Victory over sin in His word
  134. Redemption in His precepts
  135. His favor in His decrees
  136. Passion in His law
  137. Righteousness in His laws
  138. Confidence in His statutes
  139. Zeal in His words
  140. Throughly-tested truths in His promises
  141. Enhanced memory in His precepts
  142. Everlasting truth in His law
  143. Peace in trouble in His commands
  144. Fuller understanding in His statutes
  145. Answers in His decrees
  146. Salvation in His statutes
  147. Hope in His word
  148. Peaceful meditation in His promises
  149. Preservation in His laws
  150. Peace around enemies in His law
  151. God’s presence in His commands
  152. Eternity in His statutes
  153. Deliverance in His laws
  154. Defense in His promise
  155. Finding God in His decrees
  156. Compassion in His laws
  157. Victory over persecutors in His statutes
  158. Satisfaction in His word
  159. Love in His precepts
  160. Eternal truths in His laws
  161. Learned reverence in His word
  162. Great riches in His promise
  163. Love in His law
  164. Reasons to praise in His laws
  165. Great peace and stability in His law
  166. Salvation in His commands
  167. Great love in His statutes
  168. Blessed paths in His precepts
  169. Understanding in His word
  170. Answers to prayer in His promise
  171. Praise in His decrees
  172. Songs in His word
  173. Ready help in His precepts
  174. Delight in His law
  175. Sustaining praise in His laws
  176. God seeking me out in His commands

Oh, how wonderful is God’s Word!!

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading from today…

“Are you allowing satan to magnify the memories of your spiritual failures? He will always keep them before you unless you take your stand and move up in faith. … Remember, the Bible does not teach that if a man falls down, he can never rise again. The fact that he falls is not the most important thing—but rather that he is forgiven and allows God to lift him up.” —A.W. Tozer

Christian leadership is not about being a lone ranger. Here are 12 benefits of team leadership.

Parents & grandparents, you should be aware of the sex education curriculum the US government has proposed.

George Whitfield was a very well-read, articulate preacher. Here are 13 powerful quotes from him.

“Away with tears and fears and troubles! United in wedlock with the eternal Godhead Itself, our nature ascends into the Heaven of Heavens. So it would be impious to call ourselves ‘miserable.’ On the contrary, Man is a creature whom the Angels—were they capable of envy—would envy. Let us lift up our hearts!” —C.S. Lewis

Pastor Saeed Abedini has been held in an Iranian prison for two years. This letter that he wrote to his daughter for her 8th birthday is both moving and convicting. I hope I could be as faith-filled as he is if I was in a similar situation.

Pastor, Stop Competing!

Whenever I’m with other pastors and they ask me, “How’s your church going?” I know the answer I give is not the answer they want. For most pastors “How’s your church going” is really code for “How many people are coming to your church services.” I have always had a sneaking suspicion that if I answered the “How’s it going” question with an attendance figure, that I have missed something.

This quote from A.W. Tozer convinced me that my suspicion was correct—

Tozer“Dear Lord, I refuse henceforth to compete with any of Thy servants. They have congregations larger than mine. So be it. I rejoice in their success. They have greater gifts. Very well. That is not in their power nor in mine. I am humbly grateful for their greater gifts and my smaller ones. I only pray that I may use to Thy glory such modest gifts as I possess. I will not compare myself with any, nor try to build up my self-esteem by noting where I may excel one or another in Thy holy work. I herewith make a blanket disavowal of all intrinsic worth. I am but an unprofitable servant. I gladly go to the foot of the class and own myself the least of Thy people. If I err in my self judgment and actually underestimate myself I do not want to know it. I purpose to pray for others and to rejoice in their prosperity as if it were my own. And indeed it is my own if it is Thine own, for what is Thine is mine, and while one plants and another waters it is Thou alone that giveth the increase.” —A.W. Tozer (emphasis added by me)

A gutsy prayer! O Lord, may I always be able to pray this prayer in absolute integrity.

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