Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

It should be impossible for a follower of Jesus to begin a day in a bad mood. I know that we have those days but when we consider all that has been promised to us there should not be anything of this place that could touch our joy. If we allow ourselves to fall prey to a joy robbing trap it is most likely because we have been neglecting our time with Jesus. That has to be the reason because as we spend time with him we are reminded of who he is, what he has done and the promises he has given, and nothing can compare to that. Read this and realize how rich we are:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Praise be to God indeed. I do not know in what part of your day you are reading this but let the reality of Jesus wash over you right now. Through him we have experienced a new birth. The old is gone and the new has come. We are no longer what once we were, praise the Lord! It is by the resurrection of Jesus that we have been given a hope that we have never had before, that we will be invited into God's glory, into his rest, and this through no effort of our own. How can we even begin to imagine this new home when it has taken Jesus this long to prepare it for us? It is our inheritance and nothing can touch it. It does not wear out or get run down, there is no depreciation, no loss. Until that day comes, the day we hope for, we remain shielded by God's power. Come on, that at least must bring a smile to your face. Just like an umbrella protects us in the rain, God has shielded us from the worse parts of the many storms we have faced. Without him we would be destroyed. Now, what can compare to these things?

Peter tells us that this should be enough to keep us rejoicing despite any trials we may face in our day. In fact, even those trials are used by God for our good:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)

You see, nothing should touch our joy because we know that even the trials of our life are used by God for our good. The most precious thing you possess is your faith. Without faith you do not have Jesus Christ. Without faith you will not see God. Anything that does not come from faith is sin. Faith is the Kingdom's gold. Well the trials of our life is the testing  ground of our faith. Every student knows that their knowledge will be tested to make sure they are prepared to move on to more knowledge. Our faith must be tested to make sure it is genuine because when Jesus returns and we do not possess genuine faith we will not be taken with him. Be thankful that God operates in this way so that there are no surprises on that day.

The fact is that we have an inexplicable joy despite the circumstances of every day because we love Jesus and we appreciate everything he has done for us because of his love. When we love him we trust him and this trust means we have faith that he knows what he is doing more than we feel like we are suffering in our day. Love gives birth to trust and we are able to rejoice constantly because of Jesus:

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, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Now how can anyone beat that? Seriously, reflecting on this, how can you fall short of a rejoicing attitude? The only way you could allow depression, fear, anger, and hopelessness to touch you today is by losing sight of Jesus or perhaps from failing to understand what he has done for you. We have too much to celebrate today, to be thankful for, to party over, to waste it on negative feelings. Rise up my friends! Let us do some dancing in the stream of life today and let the whole world see what Jesus has done for us, and what he is willing to do for them.

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