From the Pastor's Desk - June 2014

From the Pastor’s Desk – In Philippians 4:4 the Apostle Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” HCSB Paul was telling us to be joyful no matter what our circumstances...and our motivation is in the next verse – the Lord is near. The Lord has been dealing with this topic for some time. Though there are many more reasons to be joyful, I would like to share three.

1. Joy is a choice.  We must choose to be joyful. Joy is not based upon our circumstances but upon our relationship with the Lord. We are joyful because we are God’s children, because we are saved from sin, because the Lord is always with us, because He pours His blessings out upon us each and every day, because He has chosen to use us for His glory, because...because... because. I could continue, but you get the idea. We choose to be joyful.

2. Joy is commanded. If we are not joyful, we are sinning. Here is what God’s Word has to say about rejoicing:
Psalms 33:1 - Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful. HCSB
Philippians 3:1 - Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. HCSB

3. Joy is trusting God. We are joyful because we trust in the Lord. Our circumstances may be terrible, we may be facing many terrible things in life, but despite those things we are joyful because we trust that God is in control.

When we served in Brazil I worked with some missionary colleagues a maximum security prison in NE Brazil. Weekly we led worship services and Bible studies in the prison. Always, on the front row sat three Nigerians and a man from Poland. They had all been imprisoned for drug trafficking.  But there in that prison, in deplorable conditions these four men found the Lord and were gloriously saved and their lives transformed. During one worship service a couple of these men gave their testimonies.  All rejoiced that they had been put into prison there in Brazil because if they had not been there they knew that they may never have met the Lord. Their joy was apparent for all to see.

It is interesting that Paul was in prison when he wrote to the church at Philippi, telling them to rejoice...three times he told them to rejoice. Rejoice!  Pastor Keith

HSBC = Holman Christian Standard Bible

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