Devotionals

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4


“I want you to notice that this rejoicing is commanded. It is not a matter that is left to your option; it is not set before you as a desirable thing which you can do without, but it is a positive precept of the Holy Spirit to all who are in the Lord: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” We ought to obey this precept because joy in the Lord makes us like God. He is the happy God; ineffable bliss is the atmosphere in which He lives, and He would have His people to be happy.

You are commanded to rejoice because this is for your profit. Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labor. Holy joy will beautify you and give you an influence over the lives of others. It is upon this point I would most of all insist: we are commanded to rejoice in the Lord. If you cannot speak the gospel, live the gospel by your cheerfulness. For what is the gospel? Glad tidings of great joy, and you who believe it must show by its effect upon you that it is glad tidings of great joy to you. I do believe that a man of God—under trial, difficulty and affliction, bearing up, and patiently submitting with holy acquiescence, and still rejoicing in God—is a real preacher of the gospel, preaching with an eloquence that is mightier than words can ever be, and that will find its secret and silent way into the hearts of those who might have resisted other arguments. Do, then, listen to the text, for it is commanded from God: “Rejoice in the Lord always!”

When are we to be glad? “Rejoice in the Lord always,” that is, when you cannot rejoice in anything or anyone but God. When the fig tree does not blossom, when there is not fruit on the vine and no herd in the stall, when all withers, decays and perishes, when the worm at the root has made the gourd to die, then rejoice in the Lord. At the stake itself have martyrs fulfilled this word; they clapped their hands amid the fire that was consuming them. Therefore, rejoice in the Lord when you cannot rejoice in any other.

But also take care that you rejoice in the Lord when you have other things to rejoice in. When He loads your table with good things and your cup is overflowing with blessings, rejoice in Him more than in them. Forget not that the Lord your Shepherd is better that the green pastures and the still waters, and rejoice not in the pastures or in the waters in comparison with your joy in the Shepherd who gives you all. Let us never make gods out of our goods; let us never allow what God gives us supplant the Giver. Shall the wife love the jewels that her husband gave her better than she loves him who gave them to her? That is an evil love, or no love at all. So, let us love God first, and rejoice in the Lord always when the day is brightest, and multiplied are the other joys that He permits us to have.” (from Charles Spurgeon on Philippians 4:4)

Maranatha!

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4


Paul played a one-stringed theme in his life following the Damascus Road. His answer to all of life’s problems is the Lord. Notice in this chapter of his letter to the church where this verse lies. It’s ink flows beneath the revelation of tensions between two women in the church. In an atmosphere of rejoicing in the Lord all discord dies. Troubling thoughts are overcome by thoughts of the Lord and His love, His goodness, His wisdom, His power and His care. The Lord does not make any mistakes…in fact He is so powerful that He even uses our mistakes for our own good!

Life can be tough…even grim. Sometimes we are called to bear burdens that can crush us. Separations of death, struggle of illness, regrets and remorse are woven into our days. Paul’s solution is always the same… think about the Lord, not in that which overwhelms us. The Psalms are very honest in the fact that we do walk through dark valleys, even shadows of death. But the Psalmist is equally truthful in his declaration that the Lord is with us (Psalm 23:4)!

The Lord can restore great seasons of life that we have tragically wasted “years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25). He can bind-up and heal the pain of the “brokenhearted” (Isa. 61:1). Wonderfully He can take what was intended for evil and turn it into good (Gen. 50:20). “He is able to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:21). The Lord has the power. We may have to limp like Jacob to the end of our days on earth. We may be broken because of our past, but the end of the story for the believer is not on this earth. In the soon place of Heaven the wise and loving Lord will give us back what we foolishly squandered off or robbed ourselves of.

Simply stated—God is always good! He is too wise to make any mistakes, too loving to be unkind, too powerful to be thwarted, and too involved in all that concerns us to be aloof. How can we think of the Lord and not rejoice? Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!

Maranatha!

Philippians 3:19-20

These men are headed for utter destruction—their god is their own appetite,
their pride is what they should be ashamed of, and this world is the limit of their horizon.
But we are citizens of Heaven… Philippians 3:19-20 (Phillips version)


From my brother Jon on this passage— “What’s the key to life?” he said. “Women!” So he gathered one thousand concubines—the most beautiful women in the region—only to discover they weren’t the answer.

“Partying—that’s the key,” he decided. So he imported baboons and peacocks from Africa to entertain his guests, while he kept the wine flowing freely. But after partying for years, he found it empty.

“Power—that’s what will satisfy a man,” he surmised. So he expanded the boundaries of his empire farther than those of any other nation of antiquity. But even then he felt unsatisfied.

He studied philosophy and science—and garnered so much gold that silver was rendered worthless in his kingdom. And yet he declared it all empty.
At last he said, “Power, prosperity, fame, partying, women, wine and education are not the answer. The only key to life is to fear God” (see Ecclesiastes 12:13). But by then, Solomon’s most productive years were lost, wasted because his god was his belly; his glorying was in his own name; he minded earthly things.
Beware of those who try to get you focused on this life, worried about this life, caught up in this life. They’re enemies of the Cross, for the Cross says, “Forget about yourself. Look toward eternity. Live for heaven.”

From John Phillips on these verses:

“Right now we are pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land. This world is not our final home. We are here as Heaven’s ambassadors. Every night we pitch our tent a day’s march nearer home. We are never to forget even for a moment where our citizenship lies. The thought of that fair land and its all-glorious King will influence our dress and our deportment. It will help determine what we say, where we go, how we behave, what pleasures we permit, how we invest our talent, what we do with our money, how we treat other people, and the amount of time we spend in worship, service, Bible study, and prayer.”

Maranatha!