Rejoice Always (25 July 2020)

Morning Encounter:

Read: 

Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad. Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you.

(Philippians 4.4-9)

Reflect: 

The Apostle Paul knew plenty about hardship (beatings, imprisonment, riots, shipwrecks) yet he calls us to be people who rejoice and celebrate ‘always’. How? By not worrying and by not being anxious. How? By bringing all our circumstances to God in prayer. Jesus also gives similar advice in Matthew 6.25. Paul doesn’t stop with prayer and trust in God, but goes on to encourage us to set our mind on good things. This is the way to joy – a pervasive sense of well-being.

Respond: 

Are you worried and anxious today? Can you release these things to God in prayer and then ask him to help you set your mind on him and give you peace?

Midday Meditation:

‘The decision to set the mind on the higher things of life is an act of the will. That is why celebration is a discipline….It is the result of a consciously chosen way of thinking and living. When we choose this way, the healing and redemption in Christ will break into the inner recesses of our lives and relationships, and the inevitable result will be joy.’ 

(Richard Foster Celebration of Discipline)

Evening Reflection:

Jesus, I desire to come into harmony with you more fully and more often. I desire a fellowship that is constant and sustaining. Please nurture this desire of mine, which seems so small and tentative right now. May I someday become like the trees, which are 'planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper'. Amen

(Richard Foster)

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