Some of you may be familiar with the practice of selecting a “life verse,” by which you intend to live, or which characterizes your life at a certain point in time.
I have adopted several over the years. Among them are:
Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
II Timothy 2: 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle toward all men, apt to teach, patient.
II Corinthians 4: 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.
Presently: my life verse is Nehemiah 8:10. Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to the Lord: neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
I have adopted this verse for a number of reasons, partly because of the dark times in which we are living, partly because my prayer list is so lengthy, partly because, like you, I am bearing the burdens of people I love.
But isn’t it time we cast off the dark shadows of the last few years and make ourselves aware that God is still at work in our world and in our own lives?
Isn’t it time we stopped being “sorry”?
I Peter 4: 12-13, 19
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
People who are very happy, especially those who are very happy in the Lord, are not apt either to give offence or to take offence. Their minds are so sweetly occupied with higher things, that they are not easily distracted by the little troubles which naturally arise among such imperfect creatures as we are. Joy in the Lord is the cure for all discord. Should it not be so? What is this joy but the concord of the soul, the accord of the heart, with the joy of heaven? Joy in the Lord, then, drives away the discords of earth. Joy in the Lord is one of the best preparations for the trials of this life. C.H.Spurgeon
When? Always and evermore.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice.
I Thess. 5:16. Rejoice evermore.
Where? In barren orchards, empty fields, vacant stalls, and high places.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
It is commanded, not suggested. [6,878 times in the Bible.]
It is appropriate.
Psalm 32:11-33:1 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Because God is still at work.
II Samuel 22: 31 & Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect.
I’ve dreamed many dreams that never came true.
I’ve seen them vanish at dawn
But I’ve realized enough of my dreams;
To make me want to dream on.
I’ve prayed many prayers and no answer came
Though I waited patient and long.
But God has answered enough of my prayers
To keep me praying on.
I’ve drained the cup of disappointment and pain
I’ve gone many a day without a song
But I’ve sipped enough nectar from the roses of life
To make me want to live on.
Because of His great salvation.
Psalm 9:13-14 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may show forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
Isaiah 61:10. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh herself with her ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
Because of the strength He supplies.
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth, and with my song will I praise him.
Because of His mercy.
Psalm 31: 7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble.
Because of His cleansing.
Psalm 51:7 Make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which thou has broken may rejoice.
Because of His help.
Psalm 63:7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
Because of His omnipotence.
Psalm 96: 10-11; 97:1 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall just the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice. The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice.
Because of His holiness.
Psalm 97: 12 Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.
Return to Phil. 4:4. We know we should rejoice, but how do we go about it?
Phil. 4:6. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Count your blessings.
This might mean a simple change of perspective. For example: this is a poem which was printed on a little plaque that used to hang by our kitchen sink when I was a child.
Thank God for dirty dishes. They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry, we’re eating very well.
With home and health and happiness, I shouldn’t want to fuss.
For by the stack of evidence God’s been good to us.
Phil. 4:8 Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, lovely, of good report.
Discipline your mind.
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.
II Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Phil. 4:11. Not that I speak in respect of want, but I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.
Learn to rejoice.
If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. ~Oswald Chambers