Posts Tagged ‘Joy

15
Aug
18

Rejoice Always!

One of the themes of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians is joy and rejoicing. Joy is one of the hallmarks of a follower of Jesus. Paul told the Philippians this:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4 (NIV)

Paul repeats the exhortation to rejoice here in verse 4. How can we rejoice in a world that is so dark? How can we rejoice in a world that is filled with violence and hatred? Is there a reason to have joy when we are surrounded by shootings, assaults and racism? Yes! Notice that Paul does not say to be happy about the situation around you. He says to rejoice in the Lord. Jesus is the key that unlocks the secret of joy. No matter how things change around us, Jesus never changes and His love never fails. He’s still in charge of this whole thing. He still died on the cross for our sins and He’s still the resurrected King. Though there may be trials, troubles and tests in this life, there is joy for the Christian because Jesus still loves us and gives us strength to deal with difficult circumstances and situations. Don’t look to the world for happiness. Rejoice in the Lord always. Rejoice!
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25
Jul
18

Rejoice In The Lord

One of the themes of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is joy and rejoicing. Over and over again, Paul talks about having joy or rejoicing as followers of Jesus. At the beginning of chapter 3, Paul tells the Philippian believers to rejoice in the Lord. He wrote:

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. – Philippians 3:1 (NIV)

What does it mean to have joy? How does joy differ from happiness? I believe that happiness is based on our circumstances or situations while joy is based on our salvation. Happiness comes and goes while joy endures. Our circumstances will change from day to day, but our Savior never changes and He never fails. Why settle for happiness when we can choose to be joyful when we choose to remember what Jesus did for us on the cross? If we will focus on the cross and the empty tomb, we will discover that though happiness comes and goes, our joy in the Lord will remain. Choose joy today by choosing to remember Jesus and how, by the grace of God, you’ll be spending forever with Him.
31
Jan
18

Suffering For Jesus

Jesus said in John 15 that the world would hate His followers because it hated Him first. Peter’s audience was being persecuted and they were experiencing that hate firsthand. Peter said this should not have come as a surprise to them. He wrote:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. – 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)

If we suffer for our faith, our sufferings are a participation in the sufferings of Jesus. In Acts 5, Peter and his fellow apostles were flogged for preaching in the name of Jesus. It says that they left rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the Name of Jesus. Instead of getting angry over persecution, let us rejoice knowing that God sees it and He will have the final say. May we be counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
26
Jan
18

Hospitality

As followers of Jesus, we are all part of a great big family of believers. We’re a spiritual family of brothers and sisters. Peter says that we should be hospitable toward one another and help each other without complaining. He wrote:

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)

We do not live in very hospitable times. We like the privacy of our own homes. We like to be left alone. But the fact is that we need our brothers and sisters and they need us. Hospitality is about bring friendly toward others. It is more than just a hug or a handshake on a Sunday morning. It is about doing life together as brothers and sisters. Think about your own flesh and blood. If your brother or sister fell on hard times, many of you would help them however you could. The same thing goes for our spiritual family. We need to practice kindness and hospitality toward our spiritual brothers and sisters. When we do, we shouldn’t complain about it, but rather see it as an opportunity to share the love of God.
24
Nov
17

The Angels’ Longing

The Holy Spirit of God revealed the sufferings and glorification of Jesus the Messiah to the Old Testament prophets. They wrote about them, not for their own benefit, but for ours. Peter says:

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. – 1 Peter 1:12 (NIV)

Did you hear that? The angels of God longed to know what was going to happen on earth. Angels are not all-knowing creatures or beings. They anxiously awaited God’s plan to be revealed, just as humanity did. Oh what a plan it is! To forgive and save humanity from our sin and wickedness by His grace through Jesus Christ, our Savior. The angels of Heaven could not have conceived of this amazing plan. But God knew all along how He was going to rescue us from death. That’s what He did. He chose to save humanity by sending His Son. Now, we who receive salvation through Him rejoice because of God’s amazing grace and love.
21
Nov
17

Because Of Faith

Why do we believe in God’s existence in and in His love? Why do we worship Him? Why do we trust Jesus for salvation? There is a goal to our faith. The Apostle Peter wrote:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV)

Though we have never seen God, we have felt the effects of faith in Him. When we come to faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit of God fills us with joy. Joy comes from knowing and serving Jesus. Faith leads to joy and faith leads to Heaven. That’s the goal of our faith – eternal life. Let’s face it, life is hard. Faith is hard, too. We believe in a God we cannot see and in His Son, whom we have never met. Yet, when we gather with like-minded believers, the joy is real. When God’s Spirit does what He does, the joy is glorious. I’ve seen lives transformed and tears of joy streaming down faces of the most unlikely of people. It’s because of faith.
17
Nov
17

Rejoicing In Trials

Peter wrote his first letter to a persecuted church. He told them about the inheritance that awaited them in Heaven. He told them that no matter what trials and tests of their faith may have come, nothing could take their inheritance away. This inheritance was their reason for joy. Peter continued:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. – 1 Peter 1:6 (NIV)

The promises of God are our reason for joy. If we face trials of various kinds that test our faith, we can still have joy. Joy is different than happiness. No one is happy about trials and tests, but they can be a reason for joy. Happiness usually depends on circumstances. Joy depends on our Savior. Circumstances change, Jesus doesn’t. His love and our hope are eternal. Whatever trial or circumstance you’re going through, it can change for better or worse. Jesus won’t change on you, though. Your hope is secure.



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