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October 18, 2017, 8:29 AM

Rejoice In The Lord

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: …A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… He has made everything beautiful in its time... I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and to good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God” (Eccles. 3:1, 4, 11-13).

Did you catch that? Laughing, dancing, being happy and finding satisfaction are gifts from God. A lot of Christians are busy and stressed and enduring hardship without understanding the joy that comes from God, but there aren’t any great Christians like that. The Bible is full of reasons to rejoice.

Do we need to be serious about following Jesus? Of course! Does that involve great sacrifices and constant discipline? Absolutely! But amid a fallen world filled with pain and disappointment, we can rest in the absolute certainty that Jesus is coming back. We can drink deeply from his grace and his extravagant promises. And we can enjoy the gifts of God both now and forever.

Solomon wrote about enjoying God’s gifts in Eccles. 5:19-20, “When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” Does that describe you? Are you occupied with gladness of heart? Are you filled with contentment from simply being alive, knowing God loves you, and seeing the opportunities he’s placed before you? Or do you find yourself looking back with regret and looking forward with anxiety – busy and stressed, focused and driven, chasing after the happiness that never comes?

Notice that these questions aren’t about being productive, making an impact, or being “spiritual.” Those pursuits are certainly important, but they aren’t evidence of contentment and joy. They can easily turn into “chasing after the wind” (Eccles. 1:17). The real issue is whether you are deeply enjoying the life God has given you. If I asked your spouse, your best friend, your parents, or one of your children if you were a happy person – someone who really enjoys life – how would they answer?

Chip Ingram notes that great Christians are focused and disciplined, making great sacrifices and taking great risks. They get a lot done, but they’re also fun to be around. They know how to kick back and have a great time. They understand that joy is the serious business of heaven.

Let us join in prayer: Father, teach me to rejoice. Teach me that it does me no good to be so busy planning to earn bread for next week that I cannot enjoy what I am eating now. Do not let tomorrow rob me of the pleasure of today. Teach me to laugh, dance, be happy, and find satisfaction. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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