Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rejoicing Always

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite high-tech devices is the Bluetooth Mobile Phone Headset. That’s the device that people wear in their ear to be able to instantly answer their mobile phone and engage in a loud conversation when they’re in back of you in line at Starbucks. I should quickly say that I don’t use one myself – I’m not important enough to need to be immediately available to my people. Okay, truth is I  don’t even have “people.”

But the cool thing about  wireless headset technology is that it allows me to now be in public without frightening others. I’m now able to walk down the street without mothers clutching their small children to them in fear. I can now even go into stores without a clerk quietly slipping behind the counter and getting ready to push the red emergency button.

Because sometimes I engage in bizarre behavior. I’ll be in my backyard in the early morning hours singing praise songs. I’ll be walking down the street and praying quietly to myself or singing a worship song out loud. I’ll think of something and under my breath be praising or thanking the Lord. And when I’m in public, thanks to the popularity of those wireless headsets, people no longer think I’m mentally disturbed and talking to myself. They just assume I’m on my phone.

Last week I browsing in a thrift store and softly whistling “In Christ Alone.” A bit later, when I brought my stack of used books to the cash register, the lady asked if I was the one who was whistling. Feeling guilty, I apologized and she said, “No, was nice to hear someone happy.”

Seeing a cross around her neck, I knew she’d understand. So I replied, “That was a worship song and when I praise God, He always makes me happy.” We can find ourselves living in a constant state of brokenness from our past, commingled with too much dysfunction in our present. Where stress and anxiety clutter our mind and prevent us from finding any joy in our day. Where we might find ourselves struggling with discouragement or depression.

And then we read some-thing that at first seems almost laughably impossible for us to do. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Thess 5:16-18) And yes, sometimes that’s indeed very difficult to do, but with God all things are possible. And those Biblical instructions or commandments that raise the bar for our behavior are not just directed toward the spiritual saints who have it all together. They’re also directed toward people like you and me.

So, how do we “rejoice always” in the middle of difficult circumstances? Not though any mind-games, psychological techniques or religious formulas. We simply praise God for what He has done for us and worship Him for who He is. Praise and worship takes you out of yourself and into the Presence of God. When we are filled with the awe of God, we become less full of ourselves and our self-important problems are put into perspective.

Our praise rises up to the heavens like sweet incense and He reaches down and gently lifts us into His Presence. Praise and worship is not an event we participate in on Sunday morning, it’s a lifestyle. When worship is an attitude of our heart, then our lives are lived as an act of worship to Him. Praise comes to our lips, prayer flows out of our heart and in that moment, God meets us right where we already are. And we rejoice always!  Amen?

In Christ alone, I place my trust.
And find my glory,
In the power of the Cross.
In every victory,
Let it be said of me,
My source of strength,
My source of hope,
Is Christ alone!

The AMEN Corner is a weekly devotional for the family and friends of New Hope Family Church. It is intended for this devotional to be strengthening, encouraging or comforting and your comments too should be for the glory of God and reflect the intended purpose of these posts.

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