Thursday, June 7, 2012

To Rejoice Is a Choice, Reprise

I'm shamelessly using notes from Dr. Adrian Rodgers' sermon .I chose to give this as a devotional for the Home League on June 4.  When my notes below were reviewed it was suggested that our particular ladies would enjoy a story. That turned out to be an excellent idea and here is the one I told.

Once upon a time there was a woman named Matti, which means strong woman.  You may have heard of her.
There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good she was very good and when she was bad she was HORRID.

She often remembered the times she was horrid and stayed on her bed and thought about her horridness.  When she was 7 she saw a picture window of Jesus inviting the children to come to  him and decided to go to Jesus.  She became very happy when she thought of Him.  She grew up, but did not marry and have children as she had dreamed she would.

Other women did marry and have children but had other things that made them unhappy, though they had times when they were very happy when they thought about Jesus.  Some had unhappy marriages, sick children, disappointing jobs, but when they thought of Jesus they were very happy.

Matti had a few times when she cried mightily unto the Lord in prayer and her prayer was answered.  She said,   "God hit me over the head with a sledge hammer." and for awhile, she was happy.  Then she would remember her horridness.  She knew this was agaist the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Finally, one day, she found out that Paul had written in the Book of Phillipians that to Rejoice is a Choice.  It is possible to be always happy and Paul tells how.

To Rejoice is a Choice.  It's a radical idea, but Paul tells how in Phillipians 4.  (vv4,5)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice, Let your reasonableness be known to everyone, The Lord is at hand;

Matti finally GOT IT.  Jesus has promised "I will be with you always and never leave you." She didn't have to wait for God's hammer!  He is always here!  with her!

Find joy in Jesus, not in circumstances.  That is, it is not what is happening around us that makes us happy, but that Jesus is with us!

(v6) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

DON"T WORRY  Matti had heard that worry is an insult to God. It is the opposite of faith.  He gives us everything we need.  Instead of worrying Matti THANKED God and prayed and EVERYTHING, even the very little things.  She liked to say,"Attitude of Gratitude."  Thankful people are happy people.

(v7)And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard (keep) your  hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matti got the peace that passes understanding.  Now she relaxes in the peace of God.  It's not the absence of problems, but the presence of God's power that gives us peace.

Keep thoughts and intents pure.

Paul wrote  Finally brothers (and sisters) whatever is true, whatever is honorable...just...pure...lovely...commendable,if there be any excellence, if there is anything worthy of  praise, think about these things.

Matti started turning her eyes away from magazines at the grocery store and thanking God for His perfect tomato instead.

In Phillipians 4 Paul told us to be happy and how to do it in 5 steps.

1.  Rejoice in the presence of God.

2.  Don't worry.  Pray about everything instead.

3.  Don't take things for granted, take things with gratitude.  Be thankful.

4  Relax in the peace of God.

5  Think about beautiful good things.

After this,  I gave everyone else in the room an opportunity to speak and my superior explained very well that while we can't always be happy because of bad circumstances, we can always rejoice.

The next day, at the laundromat, I ran into one of the home league ladies who said, in effect, wasn't it too bad that my superior was unhappy.  I tried explaining it again...I think that to work in this setting I need some training in Special Ed. The home league lady finally asked "What does "rejoice" mean, anyway?"

Maybe we're all still figuring out 'rejoice", but Matti does it a lot these days.  Please God you too.


KippysSoMature said...

Praising and REJOICING! regardless of circumstances, regardless of events,
Rejoice! Praise! He LIVES!! so very much to be thankful for!!!
why do Christians have "oceans to criticize and not a drop to compliment" ? THAT is backwards -
OCEANS of blessings so we have OCEANS to be thankful for :D

(you did good with this blog post - I am printing it out so I have it here on hand to share :D)

P and P said...

I'm so very glad you find it useful to share! P