January 31, 2012
Looking for God?
Praise the LORD! For he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving (Psalm 28:6-7, NLT).
“The Message” translates the words of Paul in Philippians 4:4 this way, “Celebrate God all day, every day. Revel in him!” I love it! Paul is calling us to party! That’s right! We are to celebrate God every minute of every day for as many days as we have. “Revel” literally means “to party, to raise the roof” or, as my Mama used to say, “paint the town red.” Every day we have a CHOICE to make when it comes to our perspective on life. That choice then determines our attitudes which then lead to the actions that determine success or failure and the quality with which we live and serve.
Paul is serious about joy, and his instructions are clear. We are to be joyful - ALWAYS!! I know that many times, life makes it impossible to be happy but happiness is not what Paul is talking about. Happiness is a cheap imitation of true joy, depending totally upon man-made circumstances, while joy is an inside job and depends totally upon God’s presence in the midst of those circumstances. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that “the joy you have in the LORD is your strength” (GWT). Remember that joy is not a feeling but rather a CHOSEN PERSPECTIVE that recognizes the fact that God is in control. I am not talking about the power of positive thinking. I am talking about a real, honest-to-goodness transformation of the perspective from which we live. I’m talking about the power of God, active and present in every circumstance. Don’t settle for Pharisaical religion or slot-filling, box-checking church activity. Settle for nothing less than the unexplainable but undeniable power of God’s presence at work in your life.