Tag Archives: rejoice

Rejoice and Reflect Outline

12-24-2016 Christmas Eve Sermon

 

  • Expectation leads to preparation (for what is to come)

 

  • Expectation leads to intense focus (on what is to come)

 

  • Expectation leads to positioning (for what is to come)

 

 

For the last 4 weeks, we have been celebrating the coming of Jesus

We had great expectation for this weekend to celebrate the birth of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ

 

Back then, the people waited for the promised Messiah, but they did not have the whole story – they did not know His true purpose.

 

We know the story. The whole story…. Jesus Christ was born to die.

 

1 John 4:9 – “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” [NLT]

 

During Advent, many of you have prepared to celebrate the birth.

 

During Advent, many of you have been more focused on Jesus.

 

Tonight, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we look at the positioning we take when we are in the presence of Jesus… the positioning of REJOICING and REFLECTION.

 

When people encounter Jesus, they REJOICE and REFLECT

 

The three wise men bowed down and worshipped him (Matthew 2:11).

 

When the shepherds encountered Jesus, they glorified & praised God for all they heard & seen (Luke 2:20)

As we celebrate Jesus, we REJOICE

 

When we think of rejoicing, we think of singing

For 4 weeks, we spoke about 4 different songs, THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST

Mary’s Song of Anticipatory Faith

Zechariah’s Song of Fulfillment

The Angels’ Song of Peace

Simeon’s Song sung while embracing Jesus

 

Today, we sing a New SongHe puts a new song in our hearts and on our lips

 

Psalm 149:1 Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song.”

 

 

As we celebrate Jesus, we also REFLECT

 

Mary treasured things. She kept all these things in her heart. She thought about them often (Luke 2:19).

 

What do you treasure in your heart about Jesus?

Remember how He moved in your life over the years.

Where are you and Jesus at right now?  Consider your relationship.

Are you prepared for Jesus to move?Have you made room for Him in your life? Are you expecting Him to move?

 

Are you focused on Jesus, the Perfector of our faith?Are you living for Jesus? Are you seeking Him with all you have?

 

Are you giving your all where God has positioned you, trusting that He is doing something right now through you?

 

Every day we can celebrate Jesus. Every day we should celebrate Jesus.

Fall at His feet. Rejoice. Reflect. The King is Here!

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Whatever Happens

The Bible tells us to rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). This is very difficult, because we often find ourselves in circumstances that are not so delightful. Nonetheless, no matter what is going on in our lives, our heavenly Father is always deserving of honor, glory, and praise. This does not change with circumstances. Whatever happens – rejoice in the Lord!

Today, remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord. Take time to praise Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He has promised. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).

“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” – Philippians 3:1 [NLT]

Do Not Rejoice

There are people who do not always treat you nice. For some of those people, they would be defined as enemies. An enemy is not only those who are openly hostile to you, but also anyone who are opposed to you. If you are living for Jesus, you are bound to have some people who are opposed to you because they are opposed to Him and His ways.

The Bible tells us that we are not to rejoice when enemies fall. We are not to be happy when enemies stumble. God wants the very best for people. Even when the people He created turn their backs on Him, there is still the desire for their very best. That never changes. He does not want anyone to go to hell. There is still the opportunity for these people to repent and come to Him.

Today, seek to show compassion to all. When you see enemies stumble, pray for them. Ask that their hearts be softened. Ask how you can be used to witness to them. Desire the very best for them.

“Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble.” – Proverbs 24:17 [NLT]

Taking Joy

If our joy rests on our circumstances, we do not have true joy. If your joy rests on things going the way we want, you do not have true joy. If joy rests on what you have and who you are with, this is not true joy. Circumstances change. Things don’t always go the way you want. We will not always have the same constant people in our lives. The things we have are temporary—they break, they are lost, their value is temporal.

In Habakkuk 3, we read about things not going well. The fig trees, vines, and fields aren’t producing. The livestock is not productive either. This is a big problem. No food. No money. Circumstances aren’t good at all. Even so, we read, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

How can there be joy? How can he take joy? The reason for joy is for knowing God—for trusting Him. When we rest in Him, when we know Him – truly know Him (requires a relationship)—then we can take joy in Him too. No matter what is going on today, take joy in Him. As John 16:22 says, the joy we have in Him, in our salvation, no one can take away.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18 [ESV]

Practice These Things

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:8; Paul tells us in this verse where we are to focus or to dwell. The Greek word for dwell is “logizomai” which means to count, to decide, to think, to reason, to take into account. In today’s passage, Paul tells us what to practice, and he also reveals the results if practiced – “the God of peace will be with you.” Yes, God will be with you. But this verse says the “God of peace,” reminding us all that our God is a God of peace. He is the only way we can truly have peace, and He offers a peace beyond comprehension.

So what do we practice? Let us read this passage again. The first part of the passage says to REJOICE IN THE LORD. That’s the first thing to practice. Rejoicing. Rejoicing in the Lord. Some translations say “always be full of joy in the Lord” (NLT). The Message says, “Celebrate God all day, every day.” One way I practice this daily is through worship. Our life is to be a continual worship of our Lord and Savior. In everything we do—worship God. Praise Him. Celebrate Him!

The next part of the passage says to be anxious for nothing. Instead we are to PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. Prayer and Bible reading are the top ways our God communicates with us. We are to pray about everything, not just some things. Yes, that means we cannot pray about something too small. We should place everything in His hands. Just like our life should be continuous worship, our life should also be about continuous prayer. From when we wake up in the morning till our eyes close for the night, we can be in continuous communication with God. Brother Lawrence spoke to God while doing the dishes. I speak to Him as I sit at my desk at work. Prayer should not only be done once a day by your bed or in a church pew. Every day. Continuous. A life of prayer. Sometimes your mouth may not move, but your heart speaks—Oh the joy of recognizing you are in God’s presence every second of every day.

The verse continues, “with THANKSGIVING.” Did you know that it is impossible to thank God enough? As we thank God each day and live our lives with an attitude of gratitude, we humbly walk with Christ. We appreciate with what God has blessed us. We even love people more.

So what’s left? What we have learned and received and heard and seen—God’s Truth—what is true and honorable and right and lovely, we are to embrace. Yes, EMBRACE GOD’S TRUTH! As you practice these things, as you live a life of worship and thanks and prayer, as you embrace God’s Truth, you truly do have God with you—and He is the God of peace. It is a peace beyond understanding. And it’s yours when you do life with God. It is not an instantaneous thing, but it is something you live when you walk in Christ and practice these things!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” -Philippians 4:4-9 [NASB]

 

Rightly Related Rejoicing

God has given us great power to tread over the enemy. He has given us spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit. God opens doors that allow us opportunities to serve His people. Nonetheless, Jesus says we should not celebrate this power we have, nor rejoice over the success.

In Luke 10, Jesus notes that successful service should not be a reason for rejoicing, but instead, He said we should rejoice that are names are written in heaven. It is wonderful that we have the power to tread over the enemy. It is fantastic that we have been given spiritual gifts. But none of this means anything compared to our eternal life.

Today rejoice that your name is written in heaven. Rejoice that Jesus has made the way for you to enter through His gates. Rejoice that you are saved by the grace of God. Rejoice that you can spend eternity with the One Who is love. Rejoice that He is the Way.

“But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” – Luke 10:20 [NLT]

Good Morning

baptism2Today was an awesome day! It was a good morning! We started worship with “Hold Us Together,” singing the words, “This is the first day of the rest of your life.” I looked onward and considered that today’s the first day of something special for three young girls, one who was confirming her baptism, and two who were scheduled to be baptized. Yes, my eyes began to tear up. One of the three girls was my daughter—the other two were two precious sisters who I have watched grow through the years—former students, considered family in my eyes. Oh what a wonderful morning!

As the three girls were before us I continued to pray for each one of them and I thanked God for His great plan for each of their lives. After the ceremony had finished, I made my way to the bathroom. I heard the words, “Good morning.” I looked around. No one was in the bathroom. No one was in the lounge. No one was anywhere near me. And I said, “Yes God, it is a good morning.”

Every day someone accepts the Lord as their Savior, it is a good morning. Every time someone becomes a brother or sister in Christ, it is a good morning. Heaven rejoices. We rejoice. God wants all of us to come home. Each one of us. Read 2 Peter 3:9. Today, it was a good morning. Three people very near and dear to my heart had the most important day of their lives. Join me in praying for each of these girls. Pray also that those who have yet to have their “good morning” will open their eyes and ears to what God has for them—the beautiful free gift—and give themselves as a living sacrifice. Thank you Jesus!! Oh what a beautiful day!

I wrote three verses in each of the books for the girls. Here’s one I wrote for my daughter:

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” – Zephaniah 3:17 [NLT]

My Life Sucks

There is something that I hear and read too often – My life sucks. Sometimes it really can be frustrating to hear these words, especially from the mouths of Christians. Usually it is not something that is said once, but it is a way of life for some people. Perhaps the person believes he or she is the only one who has problems, trials, and hardships. Perhaps the person is not happy because he or she is not getting what’s desired. Either way, it is like nails on a chalkboard to hear those words.

Since sin entered the equation many, many years ago, everyone has hardships and struggles and pain. It is not how God intended the world, but we made a choice. Jesus has defeated death and through Him we overcome; however, trials and suffering still occur here on earth. I could list many of my personal struggles, and people who know me well can see them just by watching me walk, but it is not about that at all. When people see me and know of my struggles, they don’t hear that my life sucks—they hear that Jesus is taking care of me, helping me through each and every day. They see my testimony without me opening my mouth.

Does your life suck? Are things not going the way you intended? Do you have limited funds? Do you hate your job? Do you have relationship problems? Are you struggling through life? I am sure you have a lot on your plate. We all do. But remember, each day is a blessing—each day is a gift from God. You can walk through life complaining about each day, being ungrateful for the gift or you can ask God to use you, to strengthen you, to be a part of your life and things will be very different. I might have pain this morning as I write this, but I have a joy and peace that only Jesus can give. My life does not suck. No matter how bad it gets, no matter what challenges and hardships come my way, each day is another opportunity, another gift. Each morning I thank Him for giving me another chance. What will you do with your opportunity today?

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11 [NIV]

“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24 [NLT]

Whatever Happens Rejoice

When things are going well, it is very easy for us to rejoice. Everyone loves when things are going well. When we have free time to spend with family and friends, we are happy. When we have enough money to pay all of the bills, we are joyous. When we are healthy and feel energetic, we wear a smile. When we love our jobs, we love going to them. When we can get off for a dream vacation, we are ecstatic.

But then there’s the “other side” of things—when things don’t go well. We face trials. We face struggles. We face situations that are difficult and bring us pain, torment, tears, sadness. We don’t feel like rejoicing. We aren’t very happy. Paul says, “Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.” Whatever happens.

There are moments in my life where I found it very difficult and nearly impossible to rejoice. My eyes were tired from crying. My head hurt from lack of sleep. My knees hurt. But I am reminded of God’s goodness, of His promises, of His blessings. Whether it’s a good day or a better day or a day we would like to forget, we rejoice. We rejoice knowing that He gives us everything. We rejoice knowing that this is not our final destination, but a small portion of something so much bigger. We rejoice for He is our Lord, our Savior, our God. We rejoice. Whatever happens. No matter what. We rejoice.

“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” – Philippians 3:1 [NLT]

 

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Yet I Will Rejoice

When things are going great in life, we can always find reason to cheer. Yay! My daughter just had a baby. Yay! I just got a promotion. Yay! I won a contest. But what do you do when things aren’t going so well in life?

We are to be joyful in all situations—at all times in life. We are to rejoice always, when things are going well and when we don’t really feel like rejoicing. Do you feel like rejoicing when your mother is sick in the hospital? Do you feel like rejoicing when your house just burned to the ground? Do you feel like rejoicing when you lose your job?

We don’t always feel like rejoicing but it’s because of our attitude. We look to what we lost rather than to what we have gained. We always have a reason to rejoice. We always have a reason to be joyful. These moments are temporal. God has given us so much—eternal life, eternal blessings, and even right now as I am going through some very dark moments in my own life, I can look around and easily see that I am blessed. Yet I will rejoice. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Lord! Praise God for He is ALWAYS good!

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” – Habakkuk 3:17-18 [NLT]

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