“When you think about a problem over and over in your mind, that’s called worry. When you think about God’s Word over and over in your mind, that’s meditation.” - Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
Phillipians 4:4-9 “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
With all the confusion, fear and chaos being spread throughout our world at this time, it may seem almost impossible to rejoice in much of anything. But this scripture cuts right to the chase: REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS. Not just when things are good or convenient or simple. Always. It reminds me of my marriage vows, “in good times and bad, sickness and health…” Always. Marriage vows are not a suggestion of convenience and neither is this scripture. I made a vow to God the day I was baptized and I understand this scripture as a command not a suggestion. What a lovely command it is though, don't you think? REJOICE!
The word rejoice means to “feel or show great joy or delight.” How can we rejoice today when we may find ourselves isolated, scared or even sick? How can we rejoice when our entire way of life seems to be off its axis and everything is out of whack? Here are some suggestions:
Practice thanksgiving. Find the blessings in your day TODAY. Consider this: if you woke up tomorrow with ONLY what you thanked God for today, how different would your prayers look? Giving thanks is a way of rejoicing. Pray and the Lord will rejoice with you.
Listen to music. Turn the TV off, put your phone down and listen to some music. If you already have your playlist going, see if you can find enjoyment in a different genre of music today. And then take it step further and sing! Maybe pull everyone in the house together for some impromptu karaoke. Bring out your musical instruments and play. If you aren't very good yet, take a tutorial. Let music move your soul and rejoice in that.
Get moving. I started today as many of my days begin... with a run. If running is not for you, just get out there and get moving, in whatever capacity you can be out (keeping the advised social distancing in mind of course). Go for a walk, jog, run - skip if you’d like (most everyone is inside so they won’t see you!) just get some fresh air and move a little. Otherwise, get online and take one of the numerous dance, yoga or workout classes that are popping up for free everywhere. Grab your kids or your significant other and learn a synchronized dance. It’s fun! Rejoice in the fact that your body can! OR, try the SkyView app if it's a clear night this evening. You just point your phone up to the sky and it gives you the star constellations, satellites and more above you. It even works during the day but the night is more fun in my opinion.
Find the beauty. Even if you can only get outside on your deck, patio or front yard. Step outside and find something beautiful to gaze upon and thank the Lord for. There are many zoos, aquariums, etc live streaming now, so if you cannot get out- look up one of those to tune into. I Googled it and a bunch of them popped up, so give it a try!
Turn a blank page into art. Sketch, color, paint, chalk art… anything just see what you can do. If you don’t think you have artistic ability, pull up a tutorial online and just try. You may be surprised at what you CAN do! I took my mom to a painting class a few years ago and she believed she had no artistic ability, yet to this day her finished piece hangs in her home. We had SO much fun and she was so proud of what she was able to accomplish by just showing up and trying. Rejoice in the possibilities of a creative bone!
Kitchen fun. Get out of a dinner rut. Try a new app in which you type in the ingredients you have available and it gives you a list of recipes to try. No trip to the grocery store required. There are many to choose from. Or pull out a cookbook and find a new recipe to try. Or better yet, try to come up with a new recipe all of your own! Either way, find joy in your kitchen. Have your kids help if you’d like. In fact, maybe this is a good time to teach them how to cook! I made sure all three of my boys knew the basics and now that they are grown and on their own, two of them are actually incredible cooks. The other one at least knows how to survive, LOL.
Meditation. I love the saying from Rick Warren that I placed at the beginning of today's blog. We often think of meditation with preconceived notions. How about if you took a moment to write out your worries and replace them with the truth found in the Word. If you don't know where to find certain scriptures, Google it! "Scriptures about fear... scriptures about trust, etc." Then read the Lords truth aloud and REJOICE! Perhaps you can find a scripture that tugs at your heart and write it out and place in on your fridge or bathroom mirror so you can repeat it multiple times a day in order to remember it. The Bible declares that we are blessed for reading the word out loud. (Rev 1:3) Shout out praises to the Lord directly from His word and you WILL feel a shift in your spirit. You will find yourself...REJOICING!
These are just a few ideas. The point is, make it a goal to rejoice in your life in some way, shape or form today. Don’t allow yourself to get trapped in a rut. Find a way to “feel joy” as we have been commanded to do. And as you do, thank the Lord for your freedom to do so. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness. Rejoice in your ability, your available resources, as well as family and friends that you are blessed to have in your life, even if only via phone or Facetime.
Father God, please bless everyone reading this blog today. May they stay encouraged and find a way to rejoice in you and your provision. You are so good, Abba. Reveal your glory in our day today. Make your presence felt. Wrap each of us in a blanket of protection and comfort. Bless us with good health, patience and endurance. We are confident in your love, wisdom and ability. Your will be done Father, now and forever. In Jesus name...AMEN!
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