Monday, June 24, 2013

a study in Philippians 4: rejoice! (part 1)

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

Lately, the Lord has been bringing me back to the guidance of Paul's letters - specifically in Philippians 4. Because of this, I decided to share with you these important verses today, and in the days to come. This is a real joy for me, since I am totally in love with the message outlined in this letter. If you read through the whole chapter, you'll see Paul's initial reminder for Christians to stand firmly together in the Lord, after which he begins with this refreshing call to arms: REJOICE!

What a wonderful way to start this new week, right? Rejoicing... rejoicing in the Lord! Choosing today to be joyful because Jesus is our Victor! Choosing today to take in the full delight of our eternal salvation by the power of Christ's authority and the sacrifice of His blood! Choosing today to be glad because our happiness, our wholeness, our completeness is grounded in so much more than these brief earthly moments. Yes, for those of us who have accepted the Savior, we can rejoice! For even in the midst of our current trials and disappointments, we know that the bigger picture still exists on the horizon! The Master's plan is alive and in full flux! The greater good is in play - bringing every knee closer and every tongue nearer to bowing and confessing before the holiest of all. Hallelujah, yes! Jesus is Lord! Oh come and adore this King and rejoice and trust Him!

Sure, this earth will beat us up. The enemy will do all he can to snare and distract us away - hoping that we'll lose our faith and become ineffective and broken. But hear me today, ladies! Our faith is a gracious gift of God from which Satan cannot take!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

Those who believe in Jesus cannot be completely broken or beaten by Satan. Darkness holds no authority over God's house! His people have been made new by the washing of Christ's blood! As such, those who receive Jesus have been redeemed and are being restored and renewed as we face every new blessing and/or every hard trial that comes our way! So, if you believe the truth of salvation... rejoice! Why? Because Satan is not in the big picture! Because evil cannot win a war against God's glory! No matter how hard the enemy hits... no matter how low the enemy blows... stand firm... remain faithful... because Jesus has already won this war! And the best news of all... we belong to Jesus! Amen!

No one knew this truth better than Paul who had already been beaten and imprisoned in first century Rome, about thirty years after Christ’s ascension. While enduring emotional turmoil and grim physical conditions, Paul led by example and reminded other believers to be glad... to choose to do the right thing... to trust God to provide whatever we need... to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS! Even in total darkness. Even if flogged and stripped of all belongings. Even when bound in chains. Even while hygiene was lacking and disease was rampant. Even in the worst of our distress and the least of nourishment... rejoice... again, REJOICE! For Jesus has still won!

YES! I will stand in agreement with Paul and will choose today to offer up my first fruits to the King of kings.

And so my dear DW's, today (and every day forth) I too invite you to stand firmly together in faith. I too ask you to join me in knowing the Savior and acknowledging His unmatched glory! Just as Paul did to the church in Philippi, I implore you to begin today with your created purpose in mind. Let us each shout out in praise our devotion to the Almighty! For ladies, He is sooo good, and forgiving, and merciful, and gracious, and loving, and mighty, and wise, and wonderful, and righteous, and more more more more more! His holiness knows no bounds! He is complete perfection who has invited us to partake in all His goodness! His is an honor we could never be worthy of on our own. His is a gift we could never enjoy without His help... His hope... His endless, romantic, intimate, unchanging love!

Listen intently to Paul's assuring tone as He drives home this key step in our life's mission. Hear the apostle's profound delight that yes, no matter what, God's people can rejoice in the Lord always! Indeed, WE CAN REJOICE! Why? Because the King has come to save! Because our God is faithful and true! Because our Master is generous and wise! Because our Savior has extinguished the sting of death! Because today (no matter what we will face) we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus!

So, rejoice! Again, let me say it - REJOICE! Because Jesus is LORD! Because, "I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine!" (Song of Solomon 6:3)


This is the day that the LORD has made; let us REJOICE and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)



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