When You’re Struggling to Rejoice

phil 4-4

Does that command in Philippians 4:4 make you wince?

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

I certainly have days when it’s hard to be full of joy. Hard to rejoice in anything.

And what is rejoicing anyway?

I looked up the word rejoice in my Greek dictionary and found that it comes from the word chairo.

It carries the idea of being glad about something. It is the picture of a person who is euphoric over something that has happened. Other words to describe chairo would be overjoyed, elated, ecstatic, exhilarated, thrilled, jubilant, or even rapturous. (from Sparkling Gems From the Greek, p. 682)

When I read that I asked myself–when was the last time I was purely ecstatic about God? When did I feel thrilled in God’s presence?

I think it’s been too long.

But perhaps it’s because I keep looking for joy in other things. I expect to find it in success. Or friendship.

I wait for joy to happen when everything goes according to my plan.

And because that isn’t very likely, joy remains elusive.

Perhaps I should be glad that I can’t always find joy in something other than Jesus. Because then in my desperation, I’m forced to look to the only reliable Source of joy–my Savior.

God doesn’t tell us to be euphoric over success, or achievement, or even cute shoes because none of those are lasting.

God asks to be elated in Him.

Question: What has brought you joy in the last week?

3 Ways Service Changes Us

service

I’ve been thinking about service lately. Service to my family. Service to my congregation. Service to my community. Usually we think of how service changes the people we serve. The meals I cook mean my family has something nutritious to eat. The music I play at church gives meaning to the service. The tutoring I [...]

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3 Ways to Thank Your Pastor: Clergy Appreciation Month

ordination picture001

October is Clergy Appreciation Month. Being married to a pastor, I know that they put in long hours. They spend a lot of time preparing sermons, planning services, and visiting the sick. They are committed to the Word of God and care deeply about the members of their congregation. So how can we show our [...]

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How to Practice the Art of Listening

For years my son picked up his grandmother, Shirley, from her senior apartment and brought her to church. Now Nathaniel is one of those strong, silent types and typically not too talkative before noon. One Sunday morning Shirley entered the church vestibule complaining that Nathaniel had not let her get a word in edgewise during [...]

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Entertaining Strangers

Romans 12-13

When I was in high school, a Christian group called Joy, Inc. came to sing at our church. Our family agreed to house a couple of group members for the night. And in the morning we drove them back to the church so they could be on their way to the next concert. One of [...]

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When You Need a Little Hope

I recently read a story about the power of hope. Scientists that were doing a study on how long Norwegian wharf rats could swim.  For the study, the scientists took some of these rats and placed each of them in a tub of water. They sprayed the tubs so the rats couldn’t roll over and [...]

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Bless the Hands That Serve

bless the hands

Bless the hands that serve. This past weekend I experienced my first professional manicure. Some of you may be shocked that it took me this long to get my nails done. But, you see, I have played piano since I was five years old. I heard over and over, “Keep your nails short! No clicking [...]

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The One Way to Truly Manage Stress

stress

A young woman rushes into Starbucks, brows knitted, fists clenched tight and orders Venti Mocha Latte, “Double espresso please.” A child chews on the eraser end of her pencil as bends over her social studies test. Fighting through rush-hour traffic a man tightly grips his steering wheel and screams at the driver who just cut [...]

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When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

overwhelmed

Fall schedules are in full swing. You are back in the car-pooling, homework helping, dash-out-the door mode. Maybe you never left it. These days most of us have our schedules so packed full that we feel overwhelmed, stressed, and burdened. That’s when Jesus’ words in Matthew almost make us laugh: Come to me, all who [...]

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The One Key to a Successful Day

This is my to-do list for today: Clean bathrooms Dust furniture Do grocery shopping Finish this blog post Some days my to-do list is longer. Some days it is shorter. But on all days I tend to think that I am only successful if I have been able to check off everything on that list. [...]

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