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Phillipians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always.

As Christians, we are supposed to be filled with joy and with that joy should come rejoicing. Don’t confuse happiness with joy. There are times when we too feel depressed, unhappy, frightened or alone. We have powerful gifts from God that can restore that joy as long as we take the opportunity to focus on them, specifically the Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ, the fruits of the Spirit, and His Word. No matter how difficult things get in this world we have the promise of our eternal home awaiting us with our loving Father. He is there to strengthen us through the battles of life, He is our refuge in any storm, and He will renew us. Rick Warren has defined joy as “the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”  How blessed we are and so I must rejoice!

I had a few rejoicings this past week that some in the world would probably think to be insignificant or silly, but as I continue to grow in my faith I try to praise or thank God for all the blessings He sends my way. This week I thanked him as our lawnmower in the mountains started on the second try and I was able to cut the grass/weeds around our North Carolina cabin home! For me, it was a great accomplishment and I didn’t have to get the mower repaired or hire someone to do it for me. Praise God truly! Then yesterday our pet, Rudy, chose to eat the cantaloupe rind from half a melon which I had put in what, I thought, a safe spot for raccoons or opossum. Now he’s a little piggy and a food addict, but at twenty-five pounds he’d eaten way too much fruit/rind. I prayed for his tummy and feared a messy situation, but the Lord blessed him with no upsets at all. Thank You, dear God. Of course, I learned that I can no longer share “treats” with our wild furry friends.

We rejoiced in our trip to the mountains, our first this year, and thank the Lord daily for our home here and in Conway. Both are a refuge from the busy world in which we live. Each evening we’ve been here, we’ve taken the time in the evening to sit outside in the cool, read scripture aloud, discuss God’s message to us, and observe His creation. Hummingbirds fly overhead and come to the feeder above us. We are interrupted periodically with the tussling and play of Rudy and Freckles, gifts from God to entertain us and shower us with love. Can life get any better?

Rejoice in all things? How? Well, the Lord has begun opening my eyes to that also. When a believer passes, we are comforted by the fact that that person is now in heaven. I look back at the funeral for my first husband. He was known for his love of people and having a good time. When our minister mentioned some of the anecdotes I’d shared as we planned the funeral, laughter (mine included) was heard in the sanctuary. It was a fitting way to say goodbye to him and something I never would have thought possible if I hadn’t lived through it. I heard a lady criticize me afterwards because she saw me smiling and didn’t think that was proper. I was rejoicing because he was free from the pain of cancer, at home with His Father and reunited with the son he’d lost at the age of eight. Yes, pure joy.

Looking back over the years, I thank God for the car accident I had at age nineteen which led to my losing weight and becoming a healthier adult, the mononucleosis I contracted at twenty-one which prevented me from entering a teaching program for which I was ill prepared, and losing my first husband, which enabled the Lord to bring Jim and I together for a blessed life. At the time, each seemed a trial I would have wanted to avoid, but God got me through each one.

Rejoice in all things, because God loves us, wants the best for us as His beloved children, is in control, and is able to work all things for the good of His children if we believe.  To paraphrase Psalm 118:24, every day is a day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.