Be joyful always, the apostle Paul write to the Thessalonians.
The Christian Living is a journey of JOY. That doesn’t mean there are no rugged paths along the way. Sometimes life can be very tough, but like King David says in Psalm 30:5, “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
The Apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote to the Philippians, what is known as the Epistle of Joy. More than ten times he refers to joy and rejoicing.
This is his claim for victory:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4).
There are more than 400 references to joy and happiness in the Bible. No wonder, because the joy of the LORD is our strength (Neh 8:10).
I chose for my theme in 2007 to rejoice in the Lord, asking for his joy to be my strength. I’m sure God inspired me to choose that theme, because he knew the path I had ahead of me. That was the year I was hit with cancer and also the year when my husband was called to his heavenly residence. I don’t have words adequate to describe the strength I got from the joy of the Lord!
“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov 17:22).
This is the order of priority we should have in life. Jesus first, then others, and thirdly ourselves. That priority will bring joy. Do you know the song: “So, forget about yourself and concentrate on Him and worship him, worship Christ the Lord”? The key to having JOY in all circumstances is to concentrate on Jesus! In the good times but also in the bad times!
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. (Hab 3:17-19, NLT)
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful” (Prov 15:13).
Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD;
I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
How great are your works, O LORD,
how profound your thoughts!
Ps 32:11; 95:1-2; 98:4-6; 92:4-5
God knows that not every day will be a ride on a sunny cloud. Sometimes the sun will be covered by dark clouds. Those are the days when we are most needful of the joy of the Lord. This past Sunday I wrote about some sad news that hit me like a bomb. I felt like my heart would break in pieces. Those are times to practice Romans 12:15, something I’ve been doing all week, praying for the victims in this sad story.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Rom 12:15).
May the joy of the Lord be your strength!