Always Rejoicing in Him
How do we, despite what may be going on in our lives and our communities, adopt an attitude of rejoicing in Him, regardless of circumstance?
Simply put, these past few years haven’t been great for everyone. The pandemic raging across the globe has caused loss of life, loss of livelihoods, and the devastation of economies. The Ukraine-Russia war is causing rising prices worldwide. Countries are going through their own political turmoil. And on top of all of that, we each have personal situations that aren’t always easy.
In South Africa, the pandemic caused unemployment rates to rise rapidly (Trading Economics, 2022). In a country already battling with crime and poverty, more unemployment is something we really don’t need. The evidence of it is everywhere. In the suburb of Cape Town where I live, homelessness increased at an alarming rate with people setting up tents and other temporary structures on the sides of the road, in parks and in storm water pipes.
I’ve realized how easy it is to harden your heart towards them, it becomes so normal to see and dismiss, and starts infringing on your safety as crime increases as the economy declines. Thankfully, I’m a part of a church and team (CBN) that has a huge heart for people. From social justice teams at church that support organizations in the area—and organize regular outreaches in the community—to humanitarian efforts aimed at restoring dignity.
The amazing thing about being surrounded by a community with a heart for the impoverished and lost is that you get to interact with people you wouldn’t have on your own accord. Through these interactions, it’s humbling to hear their hearts of gratitude towards God. Each sandwich they receive, each blanket that gets them through the cold winter, and every kind word spoken to them… they thank God for it despite their obviously forlorn situation.
It often makes me ask myself, how do I respond to God? Do I find myself moaning and complaining more than rejoicing in thanksgiving? Am I lost in anxiety over finances despite all that I have? Do I reject those who are different from me even though God tells me to love them?
My husband and I take our dog on daily walks after work. I love this time together because our energetic dog needs exercise and we need sanity, and my husband and I get to catch up on our days and connect without distractions. More and more we found ourselves complaining about things we should actually be grateful for. We made the conscientious decision to stop ourselves and each other from complaining, and chat about things from a place of gratitude and hope. This way of talking to each other has fed into how we view what we have and the way in which we pray. We’re a lot more grateful to God for His provision, grace and goodness and we find it easier to rejoice in Him, worship at church, and view strangers with softened hearts.
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (2 Corinthians 6:10 NIV)
As we consider the condition of our hearts and look at those around us, let’s ask God to work in is and through us, that we may adopt an attitude and lifestyle of rejoicing regardless of circumstances. Then we will be encouraged and will encourage those around us.
Am I sought out?
‘Thou shalt be called, Sought out.’ Isaiah 62:12
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 4:17–25
You that have ability, and have talents, devote yourselves to God’s cause. Give yourselves up to his ministry. I would to God there were more of those who are successful in professions, men who either in medicine or law would attain eminence, who would consecrate their talents to the ministry; they need not fear that in giving themselves to God he will not take care of them, and as to honour, if it be found anywhere, it is the sure heritage of the faithful ambassador of Christ. If you have been sought out, my brother, I do not blush to recommend you to give up the most lucrative employment to seek out others. If you have the power to stir others’ hearts, if God has given you the tongue of the eloquent, devote it to the plucking of brands from the burning; become a herald of the cross, and let the whole world, as far as possible, hear from you the tidings of salvation. The preaching of the gospel is not the only means; it is a way of seeking out most commonly used, but there are other methods. We are not to preach merely to those who come to listen. We must carry the gospel to where men do not desire it. We should consider it our business to be generously impertinent; thrusting the gospel into men’s way, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear. Let us hunt for souls by visitation. There are thousands in London who never will be converted by the preaching of the gospel, for they never attend places of worship. We may shudder when we say it; it is believed there are thousands in London who do not even know the name of Christ, living in what we call a Christian land, and yet they have not heard the name of Jesus.
For meditation: What lasting good would have been done by the New Testament writers Matthew, Luke, Paul and Peter if they had ignored God’s definite call to the ministry and remained a tax-collector, doctor, tentmaker and fisherman respectively? Even without a call to a specific office, every believer is called into the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12) as an unofficial ‘deacon’ with gifts to minister to others (1 Peter 4:10). How are you advancing Christ’s kingdom?
Streams in the Desert – August 23
- 202223 Aug
He went out, not knowing whither he went (Hebrews 11:8).
It is faith without sight. When we can see, it is not faith, but reasoning. In crossing the Atlantic we observed this very principle of faith. We saw no path upon the sea, nor sign of the shore. And yet day by day we were marking our path upon the chart as exactly as if there had followed us a great chalk line upon the sea. And when we came within twenty miles of land, we knew where we were as exactly as if we had seen it all three thousand miles ahead.
How had we measured and marked our course? Day by day our captain had taken his instruments and, looking up to the sky, had fixed his course by the sun. He was sailing by the heavenly, not the earthly lights.
So faith looks up and sails on, by God’s great Sun, not seeing one shore line or earthly lighthouse or path upon the way. Often its steps seem to lead into utter uncertainty, and even darkness and disaster; but He opens the way, and often makes such midnight hours the very gates of day.
Let us go forth this day, not knowing, but trusting.
–Days of Heaven upon Earth
“Too many of us want to see our way through before starting new enterprises. If we could and did, from whence would come the development of our Christian graces? Faith, hope and love cannot be plucked from trees, like ripe apples. After the words ‘In the beginning’ comes the word ‘God’! The first step turns the key into God’s power-house, and it is not only true that God helps those who help themselves, but He also helps those who cannot help themselves. You can depend upon Him every time.”
“Waiting on God brings us to our journey’s end quicker than our feet.”
The opportunity is often lost by deliberation.
Being United With Christ
Evan Heerema, Author, Daily Devotions
SCRIPTURE READING — PHILIPPIANS 2:1-4
Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
In our reading for today, Paul urges all who believe in Christ to live together in unity, showing a like-mindedness that points to Jesus and the love he has for everyone. Christ came so that all people could have life “to the full” (John 10:10), as God has always intended.
Paul lists some of the benefits that we, like the Philippians, have received from God as his children in Christ: encouragement, comfort, tenderness, compassion, humility, and value. Being united with Christ is to live as Jesus did.
Jesus showed love and compassion to everyone. He loved people with God’s unconditional love. He served people selflessly, humbling himself and lifting others up. No one was unimportant or too small or low-down to receive his attention.
We are called to live as servants of Jesus, free of selfish ambition and vain conceit. We are called to value others above ourselves, and when we serve others in their need, we are serving Christ himself (see Matthew 25:31-40).
In union with Jesus, you and I have a responsibility to live in such as way that all who come into contact with us will sense that Jesus is leading us. His love and character should flow from of us.
Indeed, we have an awesome responsibility!