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.
and now dear brothers and sisters one final thing:
fix your thoughts on what is true and honourable and right and pure and lovely and admirable.
think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me everything you heard from me and saw me doing.
then the God of peace will be with you.
before I get into attempting to explain or go into detail or further thoughts on this word of the Lord I would like to share that the second last verse in this passage was one we tried and failed to learn as kids.
dad promised us if we learned it in a week he would give us a cash reward.
this bribery to motivate us into filling our heads and hearts with scripture didn’t work back then but it has since become somewhat of a life verse for me so associating the word of God with financial gain might have been the greedy boost I needed to connect it with meaning and significance in my life for better or for worse.
now to return to our regular programming schedule
it seems like a hard task to always be full of joy until we consider that joy is not dependent on circumstances.
joy is not the same as happiness.
happiness is dependent upon everything going my way whereas joy has less selfish or self focussed motives behind it. if we are able to keep in mind that we have hope beyond the grave as an ever present reality then we have a reason to keep on living and motivation to put a smile on our faces no matter how much this world may weary us.
we are not called to boast in scripture but we are pushed by its author to make a show of being considerate towards others.
this doesn’t mean we should just be considerate when other pairs of eyes are watching us besides the pair owned by the one we are being considerate towards.
we should be considerate both of the consequences of our actions how they affect us as well as those around us as well as being considerate in the sense that we are sensitive towards others feelings while remembering our holy duty to speak the truth in love.
we are reminded that nobody knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return.
it’s a phenomenal mystery that He even hid this knowledge from Himself.
we know this world is coming to an end. it’s only a matter of time as to when it does
for Christians this is a reason for rejoicing not something to be scared about because we know every day bringing us closer to our deaths- the law of entropy heralds the return of our soon coming king whose eyes blaze triumphant with victory over sin and death and we are to be partakers of His glorious inheritance dwelling in a perfect world when He creates a new heaven and a new earth
some people may think that if they don’t worry they don’t care about somebody but that is not true.
we are urged not to let our fretting just drive us barmy and circle round inside our heads but to do something useful with it and take our needs and concerns to Jesus cos ultimately He is the only one who can fix it whatever your problem is.
notice it doesn’t say tell God what you want but He has those unimportant luxury items covered too.
there is no rhyme or reason as to why He chooses to bless us.
some would say this is contingent upon obedience to His will then explain for me please why the wicked prosper in some circumstances and the righteous live in the poor house
the only promises connected to obedience are found in the guarantee of long life if we do everything our parents tell us to do that is pleasing in His sight and the bankable certainty of eternal life if we walk all our days in the will of Christ and adopt a little piece of His mind as our own.
we must be careful to always have an attitude of gratitude.
we mustn’t be like the 9 blind men who got healed and didn’t run back to tell Jesus thank you very much for enhancing my life and improving my vision from useless to 20/20 super useful.
we must be like the one who did.
it’s too easy for us to just talk to God when everything is going wrong in our lives and then forget to thank HIm for the many ways in which He helps us perhaps unbeknownst to us or merely unacknowledged or blasphemously and callously dismissed as cowinkydinks.
for those of us that heartily knowledge God exists it shouldn’t be a problem taking a second to big HIm up give Him props or clicks and throw your hands up in praise of the ancient of days.
if you can think of nothing else to be grateful for you’re blessed to be breathing.
if you have food and shelter and a roof over your head that’s a reason to be grateful.
if you have access to the internet that’s more than some people in developing countries have.
( side note we are all developing in our own way towards maturity in Christ)
if you live in a country where you don’t have to worship God in secret where you cant even worship in your own house for frear of getting beaten up by the cops if you can freely talk about Jesus without being thrown in jail disowned by your family or given the sack from your job or even having your house burned to ashes then you should count yourself among the blessed ones.
it is not fortune that favours the brave.
it is Jesus.
fortune comes from fortuna a false idol.
Jesus favours the coward as well as the courageous.
He used the trembling kneed doubtful Gideon just as mightily as the brave gung ho Joshua.
he used the racist Miriam to praise HIm in song even though He could foresee the possibility of her hating on her brother for hooking up with an Ethiopian.
when our life is beset with troubles it’s hard for us to comprehend God’s peace and even when everything is going right in our lives the peace we think we have is nothing compared to His peace that passes all understanding or His eternal state of peace of being totally free of war and conflict when we get to heaven and when He revamps this universe.
if you have His peace guarding your hart and mind you won’t feel the need to always retaliate or seek revenge.
you will be calm and leave it up to HIm to deal with your troubles and fight your battles for you.
He has promised in His word vengeance is mine I shall repay.
we do not and are urged by scripture not to drag our brothers and sisters through ugly court battles over petty insignificant matters.
this is not to say that there is anything wrong with the justice system cos it has its place in our society or else we would just embrace the chaos and have no concept of our own safety we would run amuck and it would be every man for himself or every lady for herself until the ones not fast enough on their feet starve to death while the greedy get fatter and fatter until they all kill each other off cos lust is always begging for more.
let’s just be a little less hasty when it comes to taking our siblings and friends to court.
let’s try and work things out between ourselves and take it to the Lord in prayer and keep HIm at the centre of our universe where He belongs then we probably wouldn’t find a need to grind our minds through the mincer of easily avoidable squabbles in the first place.
I have to confess I struggle to fix my thoughts on what is true honourable right peaceful loving and admirable.
I cannot even say that usually I am ok and just think lovely uplifting thoughts .
the truth is I am just skilled at hiding my true feelings and preventing explosions by being conscious of what other people think and living in fear of being thrown in the clink for acting like the missing link when someone rubs me up the wrong way.
I constantly need Jesus’s help to refocus my thoughts on what is excellent and worthy of praise.
now often in the world we get it twisted.
the problem is we are often sitting on the fence in our thinking patterns so the things we admire and the things we consider worth celebrating may be the opposite of what God considers worth leaping and hollering and clapping our hands about.
for an amoral example ( non moral related) consider how we go ape over sports achievements or somebody gaining a million dollars in their bank account when they win the lottery.
God doesn’t care about any of that.
He cares about whether you have enough to meet your basic needs, whether you injure yourself on the football field or basketball or tennis court , whether you sprain your knee when you are running, whether you are dealing with your rage instead of having it all bottled up gurgling inside you til the day you finally pop and go shoot someone or yourself.
God cares most of all about whether you are walking in His will whether you are living a life that is holy and acceptable unto Him whether you are actively sharing your faith with others.
the true definition of success is knowing you are going to heaven when you die.
and the greatest joy a man or woman can have is knowing their family will be up there with them besides the joy of knowing we are living in Christ’s heart as He is living in ours ❤
if we do not hear from God or see HIm doing something we should not do likewise.
no great symphonic orchestra musician became grand cello master of all the land overnight.
it takes time patience blood sweat and tears.
so it is with our Christian walk.
there is pain in the journey but joy to be found along the way and the greatest gain in the prize of eternal life.
how wonderful to think that Jehovah Shalom the only true definition of peace is with us and inside us.
how profound and transcendent.
in our busy world let us always remember to turn to Him and find freedom from all our woes cares and concerns.
we may lose our house in a fire or flood but we have a home in heaven.
we may be stuck in a hospital bed but He can transport our thoughts and give us wheels and wings to speed us over the mountains and far away from our troublesome circumstances.
we may be in debt up to our eyeballs but as long as we are a member of HIs tribe we can guarantee our commander in chief will take care of HIs squaws and young bloods ❤