Psalm 118:24 (NKJV) This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord has made, I know it. His Word already confirmed that all of my days were recorded before I was ever born, so today filled with its rushing and routine is no surprise for God. He not only made it, but filled it with all the mercy and grace that I need to get through it. These are busy times around our household. Cleaning, purging and preparing to sell our house and move, not to mention our normal routine. Our church is in the final stages of purchasing a new building which will facilitate more packing and relocating. The dreaded time change is coming. Yes, I know it will allow for more day light but it will also require some effort on my part as I spring ahead and lose an hour. I stand firm on my belief that I just wish they would pick one and keep it. Who are we fooling anyway? I set my car clock ahead several minutes to facilitate being on time. But what happens? Once I figure out the difference, I do the math in my head anyway. On top of all that my sweet husband has been away on business. I miss him. I want him to come home. He is my best friend. My soul mate. My partner in crime AND the one who takes our oldest to school when it is still dark outside AMEN and HALLELUJAH.
I thrive on order. I like routine. I keep a tight schedule. Everything has a time and place which makes me comfortable and feel slightly in control of the chaos of life. However, when my eyes opened today, I didn’t feel the peace that I normally have each morning. Just before dawn in the silence of our home when my heart and mind immediately turn to Jesus and say, “Good Morning, Lord! What are we going to talk about today?” In the last six months, the Lord has definitely stirred His Hand in our life. Many awesome and wonderful things are coming. However, it is only human to become tired or overwhelmed sometimes because if we were perfect there would be no reason for the Cross. Mercy and grace would all dry up and Heaven would come down to earth. Until that time, we must make it our choice to rejoice.
We have a tiny dog who came to live with us a year ago. Each morning, I wander through the house to let her out of her crate to eat and well you know. She is so excited each morning as she runs all around in anticipation of what equates to just a couple tablespoons of dog food. As I walk to the kitchen, she will come up and lick my foot as she goes. Right after breakfast, she will run to find a sleeping buddy to bury herself under the covers with curling up for the rest of the morning. She is satisfied. She is content. Her needs are met and she is happy about it. When she sees me, she cannot contain her joy. She will sit down next to me and writhe on the carpet in sheer elation. I can live like that with overwhelming joy and full of contentment. It is my choice. It is not reliant on my circumstances but rather on the fact that I have a God who loves me and is constantly thinking good things about me with true intentions of blessing my life with more than I can even think to ask for.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
To live my life on the principle of praise has nothing to do with optimism or pessimism. Both are human feelings and emotions apart from God’s Truth about our life. God designed our life with a future and hope, both give us the confidence that in seeking Him there is complete and total fulfilment. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) It only requires our whole heart. However, when our heart and mind are not in agreement, division causes this process to stall in our life. Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS is not a suggestion but the principle of praise. To rejoice acknowledges God as our presiding power in each day. This is the day that God made. (Period) This puts God’s Name on today and places our expectation in Him for everything in it. When we rejoice in the Lord, it is evidence of trust. (Psalm 5:11-12; Psalm 33:21) To magnify the Lord minimizes the potential of problems. (Psalm 70:4) It tells the world including the enemy that our faith and hope are in the Lord and we give Him the power and authority as we commit this day, today to Jesus.
Let your gentleness be known to all men. We cannot reach out to others until we are confident in ourselves. A lifeguard in training is told to never let the victim grab hold of them in a rescue or the lifesaver may become a victim as well. The drowning person will pull them under in their panic to save themselves. We cannot share the Gospel effectively if we do not believe it ourselves. Our actions and attitudes must line up and be evident to the waiting, watching world. (Proverbs 16:33)
Be anxious for nothing. This must be the hardest part of rejoicing for most people including myself. I have the innate and profound ability to get myself worked up with unrealistic, misplaced and overwhelming expectations. It is true that one mellows with age. I also believe that spiritual development, growth and maturity will result in behavioral modification. We must make it a reality in our life. There are few things in the Lord that we have the power to control, but our attitude and actions are two things that we must learn to take command of and commit all to the Lord. God put His Name on today. Now it is my turn to write His Name on my day with praise and thanksgiving. He has provided all that I need. (Philippians 4:19) He is doing more than I can think to ask. (Ephesians 3:20-21) He has given me everything that I need to live a godly life. (2 Peter 1:2-4) I have every reason to rejoice if I put my faith and trust in the Lord. I will do it.
How do I make the choice to rejoice? It begins by prayer. Communion with the Lord each day before heading into this world to do life. To agree and be in one accord with your Creator, Father and Friend. We must humbly submit our life to the Lord each day. This is called supplication. It is the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Not my will, but Your Will today Lord!” We should thank the Lord for things He has done, is doing and those He has promised to do – right now. Today. Without waiting for anything to become a reality, just on His Word alone be thankful. Thanksgiving will remind us of God’s Promises – past, present and future. It reminds us of His Love and Faithfulness. It tells our mind to stand down because King Jesus is here. The result of this routine played out daily is holy inhabitation as the Lord moves closer in our life and joy begins to well up in us just knowing He is with us. The Holy Spirit comes to stand guard over our heart and mind. We will have peace that accompanies us through life that supersedes what we see and surpasses all human understanding. I was made for praise. I will rejoice. I will sing and not be silent of the Glory of My God today.
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
God’s Thoughts are not like our thoughts and His Ways are definitely not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) We have been given the Mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16) but we must maintain an atmosphere that is conducive to His Presence. The Lord has empowered us with two things to fortify our heart and mind. He has given us His Word and His Spirit. His Word cuts through our thoughts to discern the godly from ungodly things in our heart and mind. (Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 119:162) We must use it daily to maintain integrity. He has given us His Spirit who takes the Word and turns it into all wisdom for us making it applicable to our life while leading and guiding us into God’s Presence each day. (John 14:26-27) We must use both of these attributes and gifts to establish a life of praise and worship of the Lord so we can rejoice in all things.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NKJV)
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
What we think about is important? It is more important than what we say even in that our thoughts can literally build fortresses in our mind and harden our heart. The battle of life is for our heart and mind to remain set on Jesus by faith and confident hope as we live to trust Him more. What we think is pivotal in the process. It can actually hinder the principle of praise in our life. It can render us silent and steal our voice. We walk in the flesh but the war for us is in the heart and mind. It is a soulful matter. We must pull down every stronghold that is hindering our praise, cast down every argument against the Loving Faithfulness of God evidenced in His Word and demonstrated by His Spirit, and choose each day to exalt and magnify Jesus higher than any problem, obstacle or battle we are facing. God is good. He loves me. He is with me. I will rejoice.
What to think about is outlined in Philippians 4:8 quite clearly but as a reminder, here you go! We must focus on the Truth which is the Word of God. We should consider obedience in all things and motivate our hands and feet to follow by thinking this way. Continually sift through every notion or idea to keep our heart and mind untainted by sin. Seek to be pure. To uphold every concept of love in I Corinthians 13, and make it our mindset. Remind ourselves of God’s take on things and the good report in Jeremiah 29:11. Strive for moral excellence beginning with our mind. Filter the subject matter showered on our brain, washing it in the Word, running it through the Blood of Jesus to establish a virtuous mind. Every day, I must remind myself. Before my feet hit the floor, I should begin to praise my God. Rejoice is a choice. What will be your decision today? Whatever it is will impact the rest of your day. I will praise the Lord. I will magnify His Name. I will exalt King Jesus and give Him all power and authority over my life. Again, I say, I will rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, Rejoice!
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.