Psalm 26:7--That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Repetitive Rejoicing

Philippians 4:4--Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is very emphatic in his command that Christians always rejoice. In fact, he repeats it twice in one sentence, as seen above. Since the Bible is God's holy, infallible Word, anything said in it even once is important, and anything said more than once should definitely be heeded. How important, then, is a command repeated twice in one sentence? I think you know the answer.

Any time repetition is used, it emphasizes something. Here, Paul stresses the importance of always rejoicing, no matter what we're going through or what's going on around us. Why?

As our Heavenly Father, God wants us to live joyful lives. It is important to Him that we are happy and satisfied--though not with the wrong things. Let me pause here a moment and say that it is absolutely amazing that the God of the universe would care about our happiness, that He would put our joy as a priority on His list. He loves us so much that He humbles Himself to look down from His throne on high and work in our lives just to make us joyful. So, rejoicing not only allows us to live happier lives, it makes God happy too. Who would've thought?

It is also important because of others. When people see you bearing a trial with joy, they will wonder how and why you do so, and they will want the joy that you have. The lost will be drawn to God because they will be curious as to how you could go through such a hard time and be happy. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Your joy in darkness will be a light that draws others to Christ like moths to a flame. This also affects Christians. When a brother or sister in Christ sees you enduring a trial with joy, it will encourage them to do the same. They may not be as mature a believer as you, and by this, you can help them grow spiritually. So don't be selfish with your joy; show it and share it with others so they can come to Christ and grow in Him too. It's actually very hard to be joyful when you keep it to yourself. The best joy is shared joy.

Now we've covered why always rejoicing is important--to please God, to draw the lost to Him, to help others grow in Him, and simply to live a fulfilled life--so let's look at how. In this same sentence, Paul also gives us the answer to how we can always rejoice, no matter how bad our life may seem.

The answer lies in the object of the preposition. In this verse, the preposition is "in" and its object is "the Lord". We have to keep our focus on God and rejoice in Him--not ourselves, not our accomplishments, not our circumstances, or our situations, or our possessions. Let the Lord be the object of your joy, just as He is the object of the preposition in this verse. Our joy must come from God. This is a simple, age-old truth. Isaiah spoke it hundreds of years before: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3). And even before that, David wrote it in the seventh verse of Psalm 57: "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise." As long as our focus is on God, we can rejoice!

This means that our joy does not come from our circumstances or the things that happen around us. We can find happiness from those things, but true joy and satisfaction can only come from God. We should be focused on heavenly things and not the things of this earth. Even when Jesus healed the man sick of palsy in the ninth chapter of Matthew, He said, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." The focus of the man's cheer was to be on the fact that his sins were forgiven, not that his body had been healed.

I pray that we would all be like the lyrics to the wonderful song "God has Been So Good to Me": "If all I had He took away, then I still would have to say, 'God has been so good to me.'" A good example of this is Job. After Job had literally lost almost everything but his life, he "arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped" (Job 1:21). Don't let your circumstances defeat you. God is always good, He always loves you, and He is always with you. Let your rejoicing be like Paul's command: repetitive. Let us all have a heart that is always joyful in the Lord and not our circumstances, so that if we, like Job, lose everything, we can still rejoice.

However, if you are lost, you have no reason to rejoice. You can't rejoice in the Lord because you don't have the Lord, and this means you're headed to a place called Hell. I say this not to offend you or accuse you, but because I care for you. I want you to go to Heaven and miss Hell. I want you to live a joyful life full of God's love and blessings. I want you to be saved. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, please, click the Salvation tab above for more information.

Monday, June 18, 2012



There is none like unto my God.
For who can fashion clothes
out of honor and majesty?
Who can weave a garment
out of light?
Who can stretch the heavens
like a curtain
for his habitation?

None but my God.

All the earth
sings praise to You,
does wait for You,
and if only,
we would learn to
wait for You,
sing praise to You,
like the creatures low
who wait for food.

Praise the Lord, O earth created!
Let all your existence
shine forth His glory and majesty!
Praise Him as the flower
in the night:
Though draped in darkness
be your petals, let them
reach for star-strewn sky,
and seek the day’s new dawning.

O bless the Lord,
O bless the Lord,
O bless the Lord, my soul!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Praise Him

Praise Him

Praise Him, the righteous King.
O let His praises ring.
Praise Him Who sets us free.
Praise Him eternally.

Praise Him on Heaven’s throne.
Sing praise to Him alone.
Praise Him Who conquered death.
Praise Him with every breath.

Praise Him, the crucified.
Praise Him; for us He died.
Praise Him Who rose again.
Praise Him Who saves from sin.

Praise Him with Heaven’s host.
Praise Him from coast to coast.
Praise Him with nature’s song.
Praise Him with praises strong.

Praise Him with humbled heart.
Praise Him Who's set apart.
Praise Him with all your soul.
Praise Him Who makes us whole.

Praise Him in darkest night.
Praise Him when days are bright.
Praise Him, eternal Light.
Praise Him with all your might.

To Him your praises sing.
O let His praises ring.
Praise Him, O praise Him.
Praise Him, O praise Him!

Monday, June 4, 2012

As Dear Children

Ephesians 5:1--Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children:

Similes are used to clarify a point or to create an image that helps an audience understand something. The above verse contains a very simple simile that gives insight into how we should follow God. When most people read this, they probably automatically link it to the Gospels, when Jesus said the kingdom of Heaven is made up of children and taught that we should be humble. They also probably make the note that, since we are to follow God as children, this means He is our Father. Then they move on. While both of these points are true and essential to following God and having a strong relationship with Him, there is much more that can be gleaned from this comparison. Just sit and meditate for a while on exactly how children follow others, whether it be their father or someone else. Here's what I came up with:

1) Children follow out of love. Children will follow who or what they love. If they are attracted to it or if it catches their attention, they will seek after it. The base reason a child follows anything is because it has in some way interested them and they have given some form of love to it. The number one thing in our relationship with Christ is love. Out of love will flow everything else we need in our relationship with him: humility, joy, obedience, faithfulness, peace, a longing for Him, and so on. As Jesus said in John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." It is when we have a heart full of love for God that we can live a life full of God. That is why Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, exhorts us in Ephesians 3:17 to be "rooted and grounded in love." He goes on to say that this is how we come close to knowing "the love of Christ, which passeth all knowledge" and become "filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:19). Everything stems from love.

2) Children follow closely and with focus. If a child is set on following something, he or she is not going to let it out of sight. The object is going to be zeroed in on and will be kept at a close distance at all times. This way, the child never loses focus of what he or she is trying to follow. This is how we should be. Remember Peter walking on the water toward Jesus? He was fine as long as he looked at Jesus, but as soon as he took his eyes off God, down he went. That's exactly how we are: as soon as we take our focus off Christ, down we go. Let us all be as the Psalmist says in Psalm 57:7, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise." Stay close to and focused on God. He wants to have the most intimate relationship with you possible.

3) Children follow with trust. Though children are usually by nature trusting, they are also good discerners of character. That is why a child will never follow someone he or she doesn't trust. When a child does follow someone, he or she has faith that who they follow will never lead them wrong. We can obviously trust God. He is faithful, perfect, just, righteous, and holy. He holds all of creation in His hand and is Sovereign over all. There is none like Him, and none that we can trust more. When we trust God with complete abandon, we will be free of care and worry, and our lives will be blessed beyond belief. Simply have faith in the Lord of Heaven and let Him take control of your life. All you have to do is keep in step and follow where He leads. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

4) Children follow with joy. When a child is truly caught up in something, his or her joy is something to behold. We should be the same way with God. We should be so excited about God that our lives are filled with joy that overflows onto everyone around us. Unfortunately, there are not many Christians like this today. We complain when we should be content (Philippians 2:14; 4:11; Hebrews 13:5). But Christians should be the happiest people on earth! We should realize the amazing gift we've been given and be joyful in it! "Rejoice in the Lord alway" (Philippians 4:4). Always remember that your joy and contentment should not rely on your situation or circumstances; it should be based on the fact that God has forgiven you of your sins and is always with you. As Jesus told the sick of palsy after healing him, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee" (Matthew 9:2). Jesus told the healed man to draw his joy from the forgiveness of his sins, not in the restoration of his physical body--though that miracle is certainly something to shout about too! Get excited about following God. It is an honor, privilege, and miracle that the Holiest of holies, the highest Authority, the Lord of lords, the King of kings, the Prince of peace, the Alpha and Omega, the omniscient and omnipotent Creator would allow us to be like Him! How amazing!

5) Children follow without shame. Coupled with the immense joy a child has when following something is a lack of shame. Children get so caught up in whatever game they are playing or whatever they are following that they do not care what others think. Honestly, they probably didn't care to begin with. We should be the same way. Don't worry about what others think. Your relationship with and obedience to God is far, far more important that the opinion of any other person, whether it be a parent, friend, spouse, president, celebrity, boss, or whoever. Fear of others' opinions is probably the biggest roadblock to serving God in every Christian's life; I know it is in mine. Always seek to please God rather than man (Matthew 10:28; Acts 5:29). This relates to several of the previous points: Trust God, knowing that His purpose is more important and that He will provide the grace and wisdom needed for every situation, and let your love for and joy from Him abound so that you are content with God's presence and what He thinks of you, not what others think.

6) Children follow by imitation. Imitation is the way children follow someone. It is a natural part of who they are, and this is the main point of the simile in this verse. We are not to simply lag behind God as He leads. We are to actively live out Christ in every second of our lives, imitating Him in all we do. We are to be holy, as He is (Leviticus 20:7; 1 Peter 1:15, 16). A huge part of this is living without fear of what others think. When we live like Jesus, the world is going to think we're very strange. Often they will tell us so, and most of the time it won't be in a nice way. But we must, as mentioned earlier, put our worries about this behind us and realize that God is more important. As a preacher once said, "You might be the only Bible some people ever read." Show Jesus in every aspect of your life so others will see Him and be drawn to Him. Seek to "do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

7) Children encourage others to follow. Lastly, when a child follows someone or something, he or she usually wants others to join in. Children are not selfish in their fun; they realize that the more there are, the more fun there is. It is also easy for them to convince other children to follow because of their joyful enthusiasm--actually, this enthusiasm makes it so others want to join without even being asked! As Christians, it is our God-given duty to convince others to follow God, first and foremost in salvation. If we lived our lives following God as dear children, it would be much easier for us to bring the lost to salvation and to encourage fellow believers to live their lives for Christ too.We would be like the children who simply draw others into a game because others see them having so much fun. We should be so excited about God that we can't help but tell others about Him and how great He is. We need to realize that the Gospel is the greatest news ever brought to mankind, and we need to tell every person we can about it--it's too important not to. I encourage you: "Let your light so shine before men, that may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

So there it is. That's what the Holy Spirit has given me about following Him as a dear child. That's also the power and magnificence of God's precious Word: all that came from one little simile. I hope you will take these points to heart and seek to forever be a childlike follower of God. However, if you have no relationship with God, you cannot follow Him. It simply can't be done. In order to follow God and live an amazingly blessed life like the one partially described above, you have to be saved. Please check out the Salvation tab above for more information.