Here I am. 66. Married to a good wife with three grown children and six grandchildren; and a 16 yr old son at home. I’m still working at a ‘real’ job, ‘cause my baby needs shoes. Really because God wants me to keep on working so I get to talk to people about Him. Continue reading
In Psalm 5:11-12, David says to God, “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You. Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them. Let those who love Your Name be joyful in You. For You O Lord will bless the righteous with favor. You will surround him as with a shield.” (and who are the righteous? It’s those who have Jesus’ righteousness, because they trust in Him.)
So why should we rejoice? One reason is because we have put our trust in the Lord, and we know He is taking care of us. He IS defending us. We have this great reason to be joyful. Another reason we have to rejoice, and be thankful, and praise and worship God is because we know He is blessing us; because we are righteous, because we have the righteousness of those who trust God, like Abraham. (see Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed (trusted) God and it was counted to him for righteousness.”)
How do you like that line, “You will bless the righteous with favor. You will surround him as with a shield.” Makes me think of an invisible shield; a bullet proof, electron shield, so the galactic invaders can’t touch you. Even better, this shield comes with God’s favor. (You know favor? That’s God’s Grace, His Unmerited Favor.) When you have God’s favor, it means that God likes you and almost everyone else likes you too, because God moves them to like you. Yes, I know you may think I’m kidding. You may say that doesn’t happen, certainly not in this day and age. Au contraire! I have personally experienced it and witnessed it in the lives of others. Favor. It’s like being golden. For no apparent reason, good things just happen. Why? Because God enjoys granting favor to people, especially to those who trust Him. It’s like ole David says in the end of the 23rd Psalm, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” That’s what favor feels like.
So rejoice! Be happy! Be thankful! Enjoy the favor!
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Let’s see, that sounds almost exactly like Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to them that love the Lord, to them that are the ‘called’ according to His purpose.” If we are sitting in the middle of God’s purpose, and He is working everything out for good to US; we really can give thanks in all things, no matter what they may look like to the untrained eye, to the natural, non-Spirit-filled person on the street. And it sounds like giving thanks in all things puts us in the middle of God’s will in Jesus. That’s just another reason to ‘rejoice evermore’. It’s a festival of love and praise and worship and thanksgiving all rolled into one.
Of course everyone knows that everything is NOT always sweetness and light all the time. And since it’s not, we’re going to have spells of sorrow, sacrifice, pain, maybe even an occasional doubt. But if I read this passage correctly, we’re supposed to rejoice and pray and give thanks in all things all the time; and I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get that done, in and of myself. I just can’t be happy all the time, or good all the time, or obedient all the time.
So the only way I can get through to the ‘Festival of Praise’ is if and when I surrender my whole self to God, and let Him take care of me and my problems, so I can focus on the solution of Jesus, the same Jesus who is my Lord and Savior, and who is my Brother; the One who is with me by His Spirit. That’s what brings me back to God every time, to rejoicing, and praying and giving thanks in all things.
In the Message, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “ Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” In the KJV, I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
You know what? Like someone said, if you’re happy and thankful and blessed because you trust in Jesus, send a message to your face. ‘Course, if you’re frowning all the time, it’s probably (almost certainly) because your face knows the truth about what is in your heart. Like Jesus says in Luke 6:45, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Same goes for your face. “Out of the abundance of the heart [your eyes and your face] speak.” Being happy because you have an ongoing, growing relationship with God through Jesus; and the Holy Spirit is residing in you heart; that’s just not something you can force or fake.
And if you claim to have that relationship, but you’re still unhappy, it’ll show on your face. Most likely it’s because you still haven’t really surrendered your whole self to God, to let Him run your life. You’re still trying to take care of everything for yourself, to stay in control. And as long as you’re doing that, God will to let you.
But when you finally give up and let Him have your whole life and your whole self; then you’ll get that sense of relief that only God can give. You’ll know what rest is all about. You feel that sense of security, inside and out, that only Jesus can give. THEN, you’ll be rejoicing all the time and giving thanks for everything that happens to you, good, bad or indifferent. And your face will be glowing, your eyes will be sparkling, with God. You just won’t be able to hold it in. Like Peter said in Acts 4:18-20, “We just can’t help but tell what we’ve seen and heard.” You’ll be saying, “I just can’t help but grin because I’m so glad to get to be here; right in the middle of the hollow of God’s hand!” Hallelu Jah!