October 25, 2023
One week from today is going to be November 1st. How awesome is that? By my figuring, we’ll still be in Jude for the Advent season. Which is fine by me. I hope you will be comfortable with that, as well. It is going to be a terrific way to close out 2023.
Our focus this time of year is, as it always should be, thanksgiving and celebration. We thank God for the blessings He pours into our lives. And we celebrate the birth of our Savior. This is a glorious time of the year.
It makes sense to think that our joy might be tempered by what’s happening in our personal lives and by upheaval on the world stage. But how can we do that? We are devoted followers of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul writes that, because of our faith in Christ, we rejoice in the Lord always. Then, for emphasis, so we won’t misunderstand, he says, and again I say, rejoice.
At any given point in life, there are health struggles, accidents, financial challenges, relationship upheavals, personal crises, and the lot. Throw in national and international friction, and there’s a lot on all our plates. Yet knowing all this, Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in every-thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Is that realistic? Is that applicable to real world living? It better be, or else our faith is barking up the wrong tree.
No matter what passes in the world, rejoice always. And as Paul says next in Philippians 4:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is
commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything
worthy of praise, think about these things.
Is your life filled with those things? Are they firmly rooted in your heart and mind? I hope and pray they are true for you. As we consider what is happening in the world today, may Philippians resonate in our hearts.
I close with something I read in People magazine. While they neither lean conservative nor libertarian, I was encouraged to read this in their coverage of what is happening in the Middle East. Yasmine Mohammed’s late father loved Gaza and would often reminisce over his olive groves and the beaches. “All my dad ever talked about was rewinding the clock. He wanted to take Gaza back to how it was before the Hamas terrorists overtook the land,” says Mohammed, who runs the nonprofit Free Hearts Free Minds. “My dad always wished that the people of Gaza would fight back against Hamas. It was frustrating for him. It was, and still is, dangerous. Anything bad you’d say, they’d come after you. To see people calling Hamas freedom fighters – after everything they’ve done – is an insult to Palestinian people. My dad always prayed for peace in Gaza. He believed in a two-state solution.”
Whether reasonableness and rationality win the day or not, we will stand with Paul,
rejoicing in the Lord, always. And again I say, rejoice!
And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:
“CALVINISM IS NOTHING MORE THAN A NICKNAME FOR
Always with much Love and Affection…..Richard