Rejoice, Again Rejoice!

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Psalm 118:24; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There are days when I can rejoice in my Lord and in my grace-bought heart, but feel I’m stuck in a dark pall with my mind. The nagging of besetting sins clouds my outlook and dampens my cheerfulness, and their weight drains energy even as it whispers tsk tsk you can never rise above this. In the struggle, my heavy soul cries, “Wretched man! How long, o Lord? Who will deliver me from this body of death?” But then I remember, rejoice always! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ my Lord! (Psalm 6:3; Romans 7:15,18-25)

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Think of Paul, who wrote these letters from prison, having learned contentment in all circumstances. He sang, he encouraged, he looked for opportunities to share good news even in the worst of times. It is our heavenly calling to shrug off the clothes of complaint and depression and don the garments of praise! Wherever I go, whatever I am doing, life is full of the presence and beauty of God in which to rejoice. (Isaiah 61:3; Acts 16:22-34; Philippians 4:11)

Do we delight when we awaken each new day that the sun has risen again, that air fills our lungs? Do we take time to enjoy the colors and sounds of creation, savor every bite in our meals, the nuances of love and expression in conversations, the working and meandering of the human mind, the quickening of the heart upon seeing a loved one after a long absence, or hearing one smile over the phone? Are we rejoicing that we have water to drink and let run through our fingers, that laughter is the sweetest of shared music? Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. (James 1:17)

Where am I stuck in a rut, going through the motions of work and duties and even relationships with no thought for the joy they afford, no contribution of joy to situations and individuals? What is my countenance displaying? How am I bringing joy to others by word and deed or through prayer? Do I address others in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with my heart? Even if I do not actually sing in conversation, is the music of praise a theme in my speech? When alone, am I deliberately rejoicing in God, and again, rejoicing more?  Practice will become habit, and habit a way of life. In Him we can daily rejoice for giving meaning to our hours, we can moment by moment give praise for His bountiful kindness, mercies, victories. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)

Father of lights and delights, You are worthy of my rejoicing. May your joy, the fruit of your spirit, be contagious through me and always point to you, the source. (Galatians 5:22)

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