Tag Archives: rejoice

This Is the Day That the Lord Has Made! – Part 2

Gathering Manna Daily

Part 1 looked at how God provides for and leads Christians. Part 2 looks at the believer’s response to God’s faithful provision and guidance.

Rejoice In the Lord Daily

This is perhaps the one daily habit I need to develop most. There have been seasons when I have rejoiced in God’s presence and leading, but God wants every Christian to continually rejoice in him. Each day is a gift from God in which we have the privilege to enjoy, serve and worship him. If I wake up each day thankful and mindful that God has something for me to do, I will be better able to rejoice and be glad throughout the day.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. —Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

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

—Philippians 4:4

I find Paul’s exhortation in Philippians harder to obey when things don’t go as I would like. Those suffering during this pandemic might reasonably ask what they have to rejoice about. But Paul wasn’t exactly relaxing in a comfortable home when he spoke these words. From prison, unsure of his future, unsure whether he would live or die, he instructed the Philippians to turn away from anxiety and turn, in thanksgiving, toward God:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.—Philippians 4:5-8

One thing I know with certainty. Being close to God replaces anxiety with an unexplainable peace. To find this joy and peace during good times prepares me to find it when trials come.

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.—Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

Seek the Lord Daily

For me, a watershed moment, or, more accurately a watershed year was 2013. In January, my mother died. In April, my father died. In the middle of my grief, I found out we had to find a new place to live because the landlord of the house we were renting wanted to sell it in August. God was turning my world upside down. My wife and I set out to diligently seek God’s will. Our Bible study and prayer became more frequent and more focused. We journaled daily to record how God was answering prayer. Early on in this journey it became clear that God wanted me to take a major risk. We were amazed by the number of people God used to point me to the same conclusion: I trusted too much in my job for security. God wanted me to quit my job and write my book. It seemed nearly every sermon we heard (in church or on the radio), every devotional we read, and every quiet time we had proclaimed the same truths from the Bible.

Even with this flood of instruction, I managed over the summer to concoct two plans that would allow me to keep my job and try to write my book. But God would not budge. He wanted to break my trust in worldly security. His loving persistence won out. In September, I quit my job. We left Denver and moved to Texas where I started writing my book.

If I had not sought out God’s leading daily, I would have continued to look for my security in my job.

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.—Psalm 63:1

When we are in the desert, we seek water daily in order to live. David thirsts for God with his whole being. To him, God’s love is better than life itself.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.—Psalm 63:2-3

I wish I could say that I continually sought God’s leading daily from 2013 until now. I haven’t. That’s why this pandemic has been a wake-up call. It has rejuvenated my desire to commune with God daily, to dwell in the shelter of the Almighty.

Seek God’s Wisdom Daily

Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”—Proverbs 8:34-36

God’s wisdom is available in the Bible for our daily intake. Wisdom so gained brings blessing, favor and life from the Lord.

Surrender to God Daily

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.—Luke 9:23

This command deals a deathblow to any priorities that distance us from God. It should kill our procrastination and rationalization. It is a sobering reminder of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

Taking up our cross daily only seems onerous when we value this life more than the next. It doesn’t preclude rejoicing in the Lord’s presence each day. It doesn’t preclude enjoying his many good gifts. But it does prioritize our desire.

Today’s Obedience

What has God placed on your heart today? What has God done in your past to demonstrate his faithfulness? Think on these things. I pray we all find contentment in our circumstances and trust God to supply all of our needs as he leads us each day.

Rejoicing, Not Boasting, Is the Key to Loving Your Neighbor As Yourself


(Introductory note – This post is an adaptation of the “theological reflection” section of a paper I wrote years ago for a seminary class.  Since it represents my personal interaction with Scripture, it is written almost entirely in first person form.)

Saving faith changes the way I think and act. It has to. I am not the same person I was before I was born again. Romans 5-7 clearly delineates for me the difference in my spiritual condition before and after salvation. As an unbeliever, I was an enemy of God, under condemnation of death, a slave to sin, and powerless to escape from this predicament. As a believer, because of the work of Jesus Christ, I am reconciled to God, stand in a state of grace, have been justified, have eternal life, and am now a slave to righteousness. Though I will never be free from sin in this mortal body, God is working in my life, empowering me by the Holy Spirit to act as one dead to sin.

There is a oneness to humanity that I haven’t always understood or fully appreciated.  This is partly because American Christianity focuses on individuality. While it is true that each individual is accountable for his or her response to “what think ye of Christ?”, realizing my connectedness to Adam and the whole of humanity can change how I perceive my fellow humans. My attitude toward certain unbelievers sometimes reveals a disdain that is undeserved, at least when it comes from me. Despite knowing that my salvation is from God and is not by my own efforts, I sometimes, in uncaring fashion, expect an unbeliever who has never been liberated by a new birth in Christ to somehow, on his own, think like I do.

Unbelievers are not in a state from which I escaped, they are in a state from which God has rescued me. Similarly, oneness in Christ is often viewed among Christians only as our “personal relationship with Christ” without giving due consideration to our unity as a body of believers saved by grace, being changed by God.

How can identifying with both lost and saved humanity produce joy in the midst of the suffering I encounter at the hands of others? How can I love God and my neighbor?

It’s not wrong to long for a world without sin – it will come in the eschaton (2 Corinthians 5:1-5), but when I expect the present world to be a certain way rather than how it actually is, I am questioning God’s timing and his ways. He will make things right. He is the only one who can make things as they “ought to be.”  The unbeliever’s need for God is the same as my need for him even though he hasn’t acknowledged it. Other Christians’ struggles, though not identical, are basically the same as my own. I must accept the plight of humanity of which I am a part, and I must look to God as my hope and theirs.

Joy comes in the midst of suffering for doing good precisely because God is testing me and purifying me and by these means is accomplishing what I so long for – to be rid of my sin and to be able to rejoice at the revelation of Christ’s glory (see 1 Peter 4:12-19; Philippians 1:6). Trials are a sort of “stamp of approval” by God who is declaring through them – you are mine, I am preparing you for my kingdom (Hebrews 12:6,7,10).

The fact that “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see” should bring joy to my heart, not disdain for the unbeliever. I have a different standing before God and a different destiny than the unbeliever, not a different origin. Empathizing with the lost reminds me from where God has redeemed me and motivates me to reach out to them with the gospel. Identifying with his elect reminds me of where he is leading me and what he is accomplishing in me. I have no reason to boast or complain and every reason to rejoice.

My wishing for a better world won’t change it, my wanting professing Christians to behave at a higher standard than non-Christians won’t change the fact that they often don’t, and my desire to be free from being “the wretched man that I am” won’t cause it to happen.  Only God is able to open my eyes to the truth and change me and my view of life – and, thanks be to God, he is.