Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV
Rejoicing is the theme of the book of Philippians, even though the circumstances with which it was written seems to hold no reason to rejoice.
The Apostle Paul is under house arrest in Rome waiting to go before Caesar. He is cut off from his friends and chained to a guard 24 hours a day. He is not comfortable and knows that he will probably be executed.
As Jesus’ followers, joy is not contingent on circumstances, it bursts through in spite of them.
Are you missing out on joy today because you are waiting for your circumstances to warrant it?
Don’t wait one second more, joy is a fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of your circumstances (Galatians 5:22).
Receive the gift, invite some friends over and throw a joy party!
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
2 Peter 1:2-3
All relationships have to be give and take in order to be healthy.
This includes your relationship with God.
Your “give” to God: to journey with Him and hold nothing back.
So what is your “take”?
Your “take” is to partake of God’s promises, dwell in His presence and walk in His power in every area of your life.
This taking is not a selfish act, it is a trusting one.
I want to encourage you today that no matter how dark the situation is, believe that God can do something in it anyway.
I want to challenge you to dare to trust Him in the desert – there is a promised land and you are on your way to it.
My prayer for you is that like Abraham you will decide to live today not based on what you can’t do but on what God can do through you.
God freely gives you His power to sustain you to walk, to love, to care and to be fully alive even when you may feel mostly dead inside.
“Abraham was first named ‘father’ and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.”
Romans 4:17-18 MSG
Long before Abraham saw the fruit of the promise, he believed God anyway. Though everything in his life seemed to indicate otherwise, he lived his life, every day, not looking at the impossibility of the promise but in the possibility of God.
I am sure that there were times that Abraham barely believed. I know that there were days that he was only holding on to a bare thread of hope…but he held on.
Hold on, my friend, you may only have a thread of hope, but in Christ, that thread is stronger than what you face and will hold against that which you fear.
Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God! Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, safe from the hands out to get me.” Psalm 31:14, 15 MSG
When you have run out of options, done all you can, and come up wanting.
When you realize you have no control.
No control over how others react.
No control over what others think.
No control over what others choose.
When you are tired of trying to figure it out – throw yourself on God.
He will not leave you without support:
“…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down(relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” Hebrews 13:5 AMP
When you are surviving hour by hour, I want to remind you that God is providing for you minute by minute.
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Nahum 1:7 NIV
Every time you step out in faith in Jesus, it is a risk.
Being faithful to Jesus may look like being a failure to the world.
He may ask you to leave what you know, sacrifice whatever is needed, and embrace a temporary difficulty for the hope of a future promise.
Know that even though the risk seems great, a life lived in faith in the Son of God means that every cross He asks you to bear leads to a resurrection to a new kind of life you have never lived before.
This is the prayer I am whispering over you today, “Jesus, take care of my friends as they step out in faith. Thank you that they are trusting you as they face risk. Reward them with courage and vision and do what only You can do – the impossible in them and through them. In Your Name, Amen”
So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy) but in the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:5 AMP
When your faith rests in the wisdom of man, it will falter because at it’s best, it is a human attempt to explain divine power.
When your faith rests in your own feelings, it will surge and wane like the waves of the sea.
When your faith rests on your past experience, it can morph into whatever you have experienced, good or bad.
When your faith rests in the Son of God it is like a solid rock upon which the waves of emotion break, the wisdom of men shatters and He becomes the foundation of truth that gives your experience perspective.
Don’t make your decisions based on how you feel, what others say, or what happened in the past.
Ask Jesus to lead you and He will. The One who died for you rose again and sits at the right hand of God will show you the way forward.
He is bigger than your fears, knows what to do with your worries, and is working behind the scenes to bless you.
May today be filled with the promise of the finished work of Jesus and bring you to a new level of faith that is not tossed by emotions but anchored in God’s unchanging love for you.