The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice…
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Paul is writing from prison
… and Roman prisons were not a walk in the park.
They were not made to be a form of punishment; they were harsh holding cells. They were dark, unsanitary, shackled-laden hell holes – often literal underground holes dug out of solid rock where prisoners, their guards, and their provisions were lowered through an opening the size of a manhole.
Yet, with every chained cell of his being, Paul has “learned to be content” and he writes to give meaning, to give hope – to give us the fire-refined nuggets of what he’s learned
… and what is this tried and true, foolproof, safeguarded advice?
Rejoice… Let me repeat that: Rejoice! I’m not talking that bubbling king of happy, I’m talking the joy that comes wrapped deep in the peace of God – the peace that guards your hearts (not the soldiers) the peace that protects your minds (not the status you might hold to). I’m talking the joy that comes in learning to be content in the One who gives strength in all things and is made strong in weakness. I’m talking the joy that comes in the freedom of leaving yesterday behind and pressing on toward the prize of knowing Jesus
… everything else is meaningless, worthless dung
so rejoice – count it ALL joy –
… let joy take over again.
I’m so glad the Holy Spirit didn’t stop Paul’s words there. I’m so glad he continued and continues everyday to show us how to joy again:
* Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.
* Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Do not be anxious about anything,but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
* … whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Father, you are the God of all peace, of all Truth… Let these truths today go into the dark, dungeony parts of my soul and bring peace, hope and the flame of joy in you – and you alone – again and again and again.
Today’s Word watered: Prov. 16; Ps. 16, 116; 1 Kings 15; Philippians 1- 4