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Sing Praise

A couple of weeks ago we held a luncheon at the church for our ladies with the theme of Coffee or Tea with Me. We focused on praising God throughout our entire day from sun up to sun down and everything in between. We had just the best time and really enjoyed spending time with one another! We played a rousing game of pin the cup on the saucer, Bible journaled a page that focused on praising God for who He is and who we are in Him, ate not-so-ladylike portions of delicious ladylike food, drank endless amounts of coffee and tea, and laughed until we about fell over…I was excited to share a devotion from Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” We sang a song from Psalm 113:3… “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the name of the Lord is to be praised…” Every time I think of this song, I also think of my mom. I cannot tell you how many times I would wake up in the morning as a little girl, climb out of bed and look for my mom. I knew exactly where she would be and as I tip-toed down the hallway, trying to be as quiet as possible, holding my breath, I’d peek around the corner and sure enough find her, more often than not, curled up in a corner of the couch with her Bible open and a cup of coffee in her hands – the sun would be shining in through the windows and she glowed in that sunlight - I thought certainly God had given me an angel for a mom. Sometimes I would interrupt that quiet time, others I’d sneak back down the hallway and wait for her to come “wake” me up with, you guessed it, a song – “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory! Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!” She was like an energizer bunny. I learned as a small child that those quiet moments with God are what gives us the strength to run our race with a smile on our face. Psalm 119:147-148 & 175, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise…Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.”

Today is my mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday mama. You are loved beyond measure. Psalm 46:5, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.”

Read: Galatians 5:22-25 & Psalm 63:1-4

Consider: My family loves music. Seth loves music and he plays music all the time especially when he is studying. I cannot tell you how often I start talking to him and it takes a solid two minutes before I realize that he hasn’t heard a word I said because he has an earpod in and didn’t know I was in the room! I used to walk into a room or hop in the car and he would be jamming with Mac. Mac’s favorite song as a toddler was “God is On the Move.” He would repeat “God is on the move, on the move,” over and over and over again. When Gwen came along, I wasn’t surprised that she loves music too. She incorporated music in everything. Literally, everything. If she wanted me to pick her up, she would walk up to me, put her hands up, and sing, “Carry me, carry me, carry me now.” I kid you not. My kids respond to questions I ask them with song lyrics regularly. Half of the time I’m like what? Because Mac has said an Andy Mineo lyric like “coming in hot” – which I think means get out the way? I’ll ask him a question about basketball and he will respond with, “No chains” – which means not held back, nothing is stopping him or we will be working on homework and I’ll be like there’s nothing here and he will say “Everybody’s got a blank page a story they’re writing” which is part of a lyric from the song Start Over. They all think they are funny… they have no idea I’m looking at them and singing, “Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness…” as I reach for another cup of coffee or tea. I mentioned all of this to say that I am truly surrounded by a bunch of rejoicers. But what happens when I’m surrounded by rejoicers and don’t feel like rejoicing? – O crud, I’m out of coffee and tea! What if I can’t hear the music, or worse, the music I hear is sad? How do I make a proper cup of coffee/tea then? Am I allowed to sit out on the rejoicing? When do I know to reheat and when to toss those grinds/tea bags. Let’s find out!

First, Let’s look at what rejoicing is. Rejoicing means great joy. We know the difference between joy and happiness, right? Happiness is an emotion based on circumstances whereas joy is an attitude of the heart and spirit that exists regardless of circumstances. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Joy is a result of following our Savior. C.S. Lewis said that “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” Throughout the Bible we see just how serious a matter joy is. Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t exactly look at suffering and dying a gruesome death on a cross, a death that I didn’t deserve, with joy. Jesus was able to walk the earth with joy because He knew what love is, and He understood what love is. Jesus delighted in doing the will of His Father and because He loves us with a pure and true kind of love and desires for us to experience real love and joy, He sacrificed His life for ours. Joy is not reserved for heaven it is a gift that should be opened and used every day. Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” So how do we make a proper cup of coffee? We start with the right ingredients. Choose joy.

So we know what rejoicing is, now it’s time to look at when we should rejoice. Psalm 113:3, “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.” Rejoicing in the Lord all day every day does not mean that we have to be happy all the time. Phew. However, it does mean that we have to be glad with what the Lord is doing in our lives. Uh-Oh. If God doesn’t answer prayer the way you want Him to, you are to rejoice and be glad in Him. If God tells you to wait, you praise Him in the waiting. Our circumstances and the way we feel should never stop us from doing what God tells us to do, and that includes rejoicing! How do we count it all joy like Paul encourages us to do when it feels like our rejoicer is broken? We trust that God uses the good, the bad, and the ugly to make us more like Him. James 1:3-4 says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing.” It can be hard to rejoice when the only song we hear is full of grief and sorrow. Especially when that song tells us that we are alone in our pain. Emily Dickinson wrote a poem on grief:

I measure every Grief I meet

With narrow, probing, Eyes-

I wonder if it weighs like Mine –

Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –

Or did it just begin –

I could not tell the Date of Mine –

It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –

And if They have to try –

And whether – could They choose between –

It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long

At length, renew their smile –

An imitation of a Light

That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled –

Some Thousands – on the Harm –

That hurt them early – such a lapse

Could give them any Balm –

Or would they go on aching still

Through centuries of Nerve –

Enlightened to a larger Pain –

In contrast with the Love –

The Grieved – are many – I am told –

There is the various Cause –

Death – is but one – and comes but once –

And only nails the eyes –

There’s Grief of Want – and Grief of Cold –

A sort they call “Despair” –

There’s Banishment from native Eyes –

In sight of Native Air –

And though I may not guess the kind –

Correctly – yet to me

A piercing Comfort it affords

In passing Calvary –

To note the fashions – of the Cross –

And how they’re mostly worn –

Still fascinated to presume

That Some – are like my own

What if the song of sorrow, helps us to understand the love that led Christ to die for us? Don’t get trapped in the song of sorrow and miss the message and lesson God has for you to learn from it – which is joy is coming. Joy is here. Psalm 30:5b, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” We can rejoice in the Lord, even in our sorrow, because we know that God has a purpose and plan, we are not alone, not forsaken, and loved beyond measure by an infinite God who is full of infinite peace, comfort, and grace for each moment of every single day. How do we make the proper cup of coffee or tea? We use the right ingredients, we understand that there is a purpose for the fire (it causes the water to boil and therefore produces coffee/tea when the ingredients are mixed with it) and then we fill our cup! “Tip me over and pour me out!”

So we know what rejoicing is, we know how often we should be rejoicing, now it’s time to look at HOW do we rejoice. How do we rejoice? First, we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and ensure we have the proper focus. When you look for the good you see more good, when you look for the bad guess what? You see more bad.

There are many different ways that we can rejoice in the Lord! First, we can choose to live a life in surrender to Him. When we live our lives in the will of God, even when we face those difficulties of life, it is easier to hold on to the hope that we have in Him. Secondly, we can choose to be content with God’s plan for our lives. It is easy to be content with God when we feel like we are on the same page with God, however, when God has other plans for us it can be very difficult to choose to be content! Choose to be content anyway. We can also rejoice in the Lord for Who He is, what He has done, and for what He will do. Make sure to toss out your used tea bags and make room for fresh ones! Meaning, guard your thoughts and heart. We want God to fill us? We must make room for Him – empty us of ourselves, and purposefully fill our hearts and minds with His Word! Reading the Word of God, reflecting on the Word of God, and applying the Word of God to our daily lives is a beautiful way to learn to rejoice in the Lord always. Lastly, pray. Our Creator desires to hear from us. Having a bad day? Tell Him. Feeling stuck, impatient, hopeless, discontent, anxious? Tell Him. Make sure to tell Him about the good too! I think sometimes we forget to thank God for all that He has given us and blessed us with – when you begin to count your blessings, it can be quite surprising to see just how quickly that list begins to grow and grow! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Why do we rejoice in the Lord? We rejoice because God tells us to! (It’s every mom’s favorite response to when a child says “but why?” answer? Because I said so). Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” We rejoice because of Who God is. He is our Waymaker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness… and also… our Friend. Psalm 13:5-6, “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”

It can be easy to get caught up in the everyday grind of life and forget to see the good – see our God in every day. When we wake up rejoicing, go throughout our day rejoicing, and end our day with rejoicing – it is much more difficult to forget to look at each day with eyes fixed on eternity. Keep in mind Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”


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