Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT)
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Do you believe? Do you believe that the Word of God is true and timely? I laugh when people call godly principles old-fashioned or Old Testament. If it worked for them then it will work for me if I believe it, I will receive it. The Word of God is a practical application commentary of “how to” live in the Goodness of God every single day of our sometimes overwhelming and overburdened life. When I first got saved, it was all about a miraculous change that would somehow scoop me out of my ordinary hard life and sweep me away like a magical fairytale. You know the whole “prince-and-castle” gig. What little girl doesn’t dream of leaving her problems behind to live an “easy” life of luxury? Why do you think Disney comes out with new “princess” every couple of years? Of all those princesses, which one has not had to overcome adversity in her pursuit of happiness? See there is no such thing as a “perfect” life. The reality is that life is hard but it essential. It is on this journey that we discover faith that becomes the substance of every hope and dream that we have. Our ability to hang on to these things keeps us going somewhere. The tighter our grip the more fierce the enemy’s attack as he tries to rip it from our grasp. How do we do it when life is less than a “fairytale”? How do I rejoice in “ordinary” life waiting on my “Extraordinary” God to come through just as He promised? I am encouraged not to worry…but I do. I am reminded that He is all that I need…but I still want. I want the Peace that God has promised in every moment of every day. I find all these things when I choose to rejoice in the Lord rather than dwelling on life’s problems. Lord, teach me to rejoice in You ALWAYS today!
Psalm 33:20-22 (NLT)
We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.
Our ability to rejoice is based solely on what we believe. When I decided to give my heart and life to Jesus Christ, I had to broaden my perspective from the seen to the unseen as well. Nobody likes to fly blind so it required getting to know what I believe using the remaining senses. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God because I cannot see Him. I must get to know the Lord to decide if I believe Him or not. I am not going to trust a random stranger who approaches me on the street. Why believe in an unknown god? That would just be dumb. So we put our hope in the God who we come to know through His Word. We talk to Him and develop a relationship with His Spirit who lives in us acknowledging our heart’s roommate for life. It is in Christ who we rejoice. Outside of Jesus, I cannot be good or do anything truly worthwhile. Anything that does not prosper in my life is subject to death so if my relationship is not growing in God than it is dying daily. This morning I woke up tired. Every feel that way? Go to bed early. Sleep all night. Wake up feeling like you didn’t get a wink. I was picking up some chicken at the store last night because I was just too tired to cook when I passed a lady in workout clothes energetically buzzing through the store. I respect that. She looked like a woman on the go, positive and in charge. I like that too. But in her buggy were three bottles of wine and insomnia sleep aids. I wonder how many Christians out there are just getting by. On the outside everything indicates that they have it all together, living faithful and godly lives without a care in the world but really on the inside they are a broken mess. I can relate can you? I do not mean to seem to have it all together because I don’t. But if I can just learn to rejoice more and worry less – I think I may be onto something. Be encouraged today! I believe that more people are struggling than let on. You are not a failure in your walk with Christ, but in your undoing – you are finally getting somewhere.
Psalm 33 gives us insight and perspective as to just how big and reliable our God really is. It allows for our smallness and insignificance. It offers solutions to our weakness. It will most definitely plug the holes in our heart that allow our joy to leak out. You can trust the Lord. I can trust the Lord. This will only happen if we believe a few things…
1) God’s Word is true. (Psalm 33:4) Somehow, we must believe that God’s Word is always true. From the Old Testament to the New Testament it is relative to our everyday. It is a guide for living that leads to His Goodness and Glory. It offers us the opportunity to have peace of heart and mind in every situation but is completely useless if we do not believe that it is true. If you believe in the Word of God wholeheartedly, you will do what it says. “I rejoice in your Word like one who discovers a great treasure.” (Psalm 119:162)
2) God is ALWAYS good. (Psalm 33:5) The most life changing verse in the Bible for me is Romans 8:28. To think that God takes every detail of my life and changes it for my good is overwhelming considering I know me better than anyone else. I am amazed at what the Lord has already done with the most minor details in my life. The only way that you will ever discover the Goodness of God is to try Him out. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.” (Psalm 34:8-9) You will never know that God is good unless you allow His Goodness to come into your life. You must accept God’s Love and Goodness. We must identify that every good thing in our life is from God and thank Him for it. Not so He can see it, but so that we will finally see that He is good to us always whether we acknowledge Him or not.
3) God is Sovereign. (Psalm 33:6-9) This is probably one of the most important concepts to believe but the most uncomfortable. I have five children. The youngest one essentially had four other people besides mom and dad telling her what to do and not do. Many, many times she would say, “You are not the boss of me.” Let’s face it – nobody likes to be bossed around. We want to do things our way and when we want to do them. But if we can only embrace the enormity of the God who we serve and that all His Power is directed in love at us – wow! The Sovereignty of God makes Him the most powerful force in the entire universe. There is no one above Him or who can take His Authority from Him. This works in our favor because what God says goes! “For you, O Lord, are supreme over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” (Psalm 97:9)
4) His Plan prevails. (Psalm 33:10:11) What does that mean for us? Well, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13) Everything is going according to God’s Plan for our life. We just have to find our way to the Lord to have it. God’s Best is not reliant on us or how good we are. It is as constant as He is. We just have to find it. Pray. Listen. Seek the Lord wholeheartedly. We will only do this if we believe.
5) God wants to bless us. We must believe that God is always out for our good. He does want to bless you and prosper you. It has been His Plan and Inheritance for us all along. (Psalm 33:12) In Deuteronomy 28:1-8, the Lord set forth the blessing that He has for those who choose to call Him God and live to love Him. This did not change. It remains the same forever. God wants to bless you. Do you want to be blessed? This concept of a Good God who loves us and wants to bless us is elusive in the absence of belief. Therefore, we will have nothing to rejoice over in hope if we do not believe that He is ready, willing and able to prosper our life.
6) God knows us and still loves us. (Psalm 33:13-15) Silence…more silence. Deep breath. We all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. Sin is sin. Your sin is no worse than mine and mine no worse than anyone else. To believe that God does not love me, is mad at me or withholding His Goodness from me cheapens Christ sacrifice on the Cross. Say this with me, “His Grace is sufficient for me.” You need to repeat this phrase over every doubt that the enemy whispers in your ear as to why breakthrough and change have not happened yet. God made you. He gave us life. He loves us. End of story… beginning of life. (Psalm 139:1-6)
7) God will never leave, abandon, or forsake me no matter how many other people do. (Psalm 33:18-19) The Lord has promised that He will never fail us or abandon us. (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5) He is always with us. His Spirit is alive in us along with every ounce of His Grace and Power. His Goodness and Unfailing Love pursue us through life. He goes before us, walks beside us, and keeps us safe from behind. God gave His All to have you. You are precious to the Lord. Why would He abandon such an asset or leave you behind? God is with us when things don’t make sense, in the darkest valley and on the highest hill. This is why we can rejoice in every season and circumstance of life because we are never alone.
Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
To believe all these things about God establishes our faith making our hope more confident than ever that we will see the Lord’s Goodness in this lifetime. Life is no fairytale, but we can live happily ever after. In fact, we can have inexpressible joy within our present conditions. It requires changing our focus from what we are going through to what the Lord is doing in our midst. Changing perspective is an act of faith because we stop relying on what we see firming a strong attachment and commitment to what we know about Jesus and our Father God. Some days we will be brave and courageous charging into our day ready to change the atmosphere with praise and adoration. There will be other days when we must get up a little earlier to scrounge some up. God loves us and His Intentions remain the same for us no matter what. This is the hope that I hold on to on days like today. God loves me. He is for me. He will never leave me. He will never fail me. His Word is true. His Promises are for me. I must only seek Him wholeheartedly to make a way for them to come into my life.
I Peter 1:7-9 (NLT)
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
Today, I don’t need a castle or a prince. I have a great house God gave me and a precious husband who loves me. I just need Jesus. Though the trials of late seem overwhelming and the heat is driving me out of the kitchen, I hold fast to this today – God’s Word is true. God is always good. He is Sovereign so greater is He who lives in me than he who is in the world. His Plan for my life prevails through every situation that I may face or endure. My Father wants to bless and prosper my life. He knows me and STILL loves me. The Lord is always right here with me. I believe this so that I can make it through another trying day. I can live through heartbreaking moments. I can rejoice because His Goodness will find me as I live happily ever after.
Psalm 118:24-25 (NLT)
This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success.