Thursday, February 16, 2012

Note to Self: Rejoice!

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5

Several times within the past 72 hours I have sat across from, or among people whose joy had been obscured by some difficult & exceedingly painful situation.  How tempting & easy it would be to rush in, a fool like Job's friends, and smatter platitudes like fairy dust.  They're equal in value. 

Last night, while attending our weekly Home Fellowship, the subject of joy surfaced again ... this time in the context of sharing the Good News, the Gospel.  Apart from obedience, it's the motivation for so doing.  I've been musing since, for it is exceedingly clear to me that joy is an engine that hauls a great deal.  For the believer, it is the source of our strength - - the headwaters of hope & courage, and of resolve.

It's not optional, this joy thing.   It comes among the various & lavish gifts woven into our spirits by God's own Spirit.  And no matter where we turn among the jots & tittles there is a summons, a reminder, a command to grip it firmly.  Unlike fairy dust, it has great value.

Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12).

“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

“Already he who reaps is receiving wages, and is gathering fruit for life eternal; that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” (John 4:36).

“Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy(John 16:20).

“Therefore you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you” (John 16:22).

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).

And again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people” (Romans 15:10).

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it (1 Corinthians 12:26).

... does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6).

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11).

For it is written, “Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; for more are the children of the desolate than of the one who has a husband” (Galatians 4:27).

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice (Philippians 1:18).

But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.  And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me (Philippians 2:17-18).

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you (Philippians 3:1).

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philip. 4:4).

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. (Col. 1:24).

For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account (1 Thessalonians 3:9).

Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials (1 Peter 1:6).

... and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8).

... but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation (1 Peter 4:13).

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).

Much has been written on the subject of joy, and from every angle possible.  It's a condition easily confused with happiness, which then gets all muddied up with one's faith or faithfulness (or lack thereof), or even doubts about one's salvation.  Job's friends can tell us all about THAT, but it is comforting to know it is anything BUT. 

Long ago I made my peace with this business of trouble (aka suffering).  I don't much like it, nor do I seek it out.  But it's a servant if I'll but employ it when it shows up on my doorstep.  As such, it has no authority to borrow, manipulate or steal my gift of joy (no matter how dusty it might appear at any given moment). 

It's true:  trouble seems heaviest & darkest at night ... how well I know.  But with dawn's early light,  joy does arrive ... of which I know even better! (Psalm 30:5)

Simply put, only the joy of the Lord
supplies us with true strength.
We can talk all we want to about our
ten- or twenty-year walk with Christ.
We can show off our robe of righteousness.
But if we're not allowing the Holy Spirit
to maintain the joy of the Lord
in our hearts - if we aren't continually
hungering for his word -
then we're losing our fire.
And we won't be ready for what
comes upon the world in these last days. 

Oh, blessed day, when every man
shall say, "I want to know wherein
I am wrong; I desire to know what
I am to do; I am anxious to follow
the Lord fully."
Well, then, if your joy in God
leads you to practical obedience,
you may rest assured it has made
you strong in the very best manner. 

"We do not always feel joyful, but we are to count it all joy. The word "reckon" is one of the key words of Scripture. It is the same word used about our death to self (Romans 6: 11). We do not feel dead. We are painfully conscious of something that would gladly return to life. But we are to treat ourselves as dead and neither fear nor obey the old nature.

So we are to reckon the thing that comes as a blessing. We are determined to rejoice, to say, my heart is fixed, 0 God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise (Psalm 57:7). This rejoicing by faith will soon become a habit and will bring continually the spirit of gladness and the spontaneous overflow of praise."

Then, although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17). 
A.B. Simpson

Pulpit Series, Maintaining the Joy of the Lord
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, The Joy of the Lord, the Strength of His People


Rebecca said...

Strikes me as I read the verses that you quoted that OUR part is to "rejoice". "Joy" then is the fruit of the Spirit Himself as we obey the "Rejoice" part!

Manufacturing joy on our own is next to impossible. Rejoicing isn't - or else God wouldn't have asked it of us...

The Wilkerson quote is really a good one... Thanks for this post, Kathleen. I always need the reminder.

RCUBEs said...

I can't tell you how timely it is to be reading your awesome, "joyful" post at this very minute. Feeling low from many trials and even what some close friends are going through, my spirit was just downcast that I found myself in the book of Jobs this morning, peering through this man's sufferings yet despite had remained obedient and whose belief in one true God never waned despite the adversities he faced.

Again, the Scriptures you shared I slowly digested and of course, rejuvenated my spirit! His Word always strengthens, comforts, protects and I can go on and on...That I know, I have this immeasurable "joy" that the enemy can't take away no matter what trial I'm facing...Like Paul, I will still choose to "rejoice"...because of what Jesus had done for us.

Thank you for your God-given wisdom this morn Sassy. God bless.

Maryann said...

Love this, needed this, I can rejoice because of what he has done for me...circumstances cannot change that!!

skoots1mom said...

amen & amen

Karen Lange said...

That scripture in Psalm 42:5 is one of my favorites. I appreciate the reminder today - needed it. Hugs to you! :)

Nancy said...

What an awesome post on joy and rejoiceing...Often we do have to make a choice to not be robbed of our joy because it just doesn't come naturally.....I am finding it much easier if my moment by moment focus is on God and not my circumstances.

I love all the Scriptures you quoted. Keeping them close by is very helpful when going through a tough time...I can't do joy on my own; I must have God's help.....

Heart2Heart said...


Great post! I find that the easiest way to weather through any storm is to find the joy and continue to lift up praise and thanksgiving.

For it's in those moments that the good is the most difficult to find.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Peggy said...

Wise words about joy! When I seem to find joy is when I look for it in the simple, everyday pleasures of life and not when I'm busily seeking it.

Glenda said...

I like the idea that joy is the engine in our lives! It's true that the "joy of the Lord" can propel us through difficult circumstances.

Sonja said...

This is my second trip over here today, to fill and then refill my cup with words of rejoicing! What a timely post this one is for me.

That's another thing about these blogs... there are always others 'on the same page'.

Rejoice... I even love the sound of that word when I say it! :)

Saleslady371 said...

I like your wise thoughts about suffering in your second to last paragraph. So many good scriptures here; no excuse for me not to choose joy!

Denise said...

Thank you so very much for this wonderful post my friend.

Debbie said...

What a powerful David Wilkerson quote! I do think we are going to see more and more suffering in this world as the enemy knows his time is coming. But I choose joy. I often have to remind myself that this isn't my true home. I choose to rest in God's sovereign rule and know that He alone knows what's best. One day I look forward to no more sorrow, no more tears ...

But in the meantime, I pray!

Love you friend,

Debbie said...

Good morning! This is a wonderful post....I loved it and I needed it. I read it last night and had to come back this morning. Joy in our Lord is just something that has to be experienced in order to truly appreciate...I have found a choice of rejoicing IS the only way to get through those trials life throws us. Loved the quotes! Have a good week-end! HUGS

myletterstoemily said...

you and handel have an affinity for
"rejoicing greatly!"

Deborah Ann said...

Rejoicing is a choice, isn't it? No matter how things look around us, we can choose to rejoice, and remember what God has done for us. His name will be exalted in all the earth!

Nezzy said...

What a beautifully written unplitin' post sweetie.

Yes, rejoice in the Lord always. The old devil is out to steal our joy, we need to hang on to it tightly.

God bless ya and have a marvelous weekend!!! :o)

Just a little something from Judy said...

When one has a heavy heart and God so lovingly nudges one to hurry on over and visit the "sassy granny's blog", one finds the needed meat to feast on. Thank you for sharing the joy that is so needed right now, for me and many others. God has used you once again and for that I have thanked Him. I also thanked Him for you tonight, and the true joy you shared in your heartfelt, articulate fashion.

Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

While we find it pretty easy to love that "rejoice" part of life, I think many of us find the "always" part of that admonition a little more challenging.

Only His faithfulness allows us to rejoice ALWAYS !
Thank you for the reminder.

Terri Tiffany said...

I learned how valuable having joy is in your life. I take it seriously now. Thank you for a great post!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

My life is not always the way I want it to be, but I'm safe in His hands.

Susan Rush said...

Love it when you encouraged us not to "smatter platitudes like fairy dust". I'm going to use this quote at support groups when others minimize a loss. What an inspirational post to seek and choose joy.