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 everything 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. 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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:4-9).
I have written on this passage before, and I do so now again, because I need reminding what good mental health looks like.
Rejoicing Reasonableness Not anxious about anything Thankful Prayerful Peaceful Controlled and sober thought life Mentored Practice godly living
Some years ago the landscapers we hired to do our yard work took small white rocks from our front yard and dumped them into the flower beds in our back yard. Which is what we wanted them to do, but they dumped them on my plants.
As I was digging the rocks out of my plants and away from their stems, I thought of the rocky places in our lives (like the year 2020). Those plants couldn’t rid themselves of the rocks without my help, so we need help to get through the rocky places in our lives.
Where do you look for help? I hope you look to the Rock Conqueror: The Lord Jesus Christ. David certainly did. He spent many years in the wilderness hiding from Saul who was trying to kill him. He knew rocks. But, he also knew the Rock who was his God. The Psalms of David are full of descriptions of God as David’s rock.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).
For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God (Psalm 18:31)?
The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation (Psalm 18:46).
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5).
To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit (Psalm 28:1).
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:3).
Paul also referred to Jesus as a rock.
For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).
The small white rocks in my yard could be moved or crushed, but the Rock that David relied upon and the Rock that the Israelites drank from can’t be moved or crushed. He is the rock crusher. He is the conqueror of the rocky patches in our lives.
Take the rocky places in your life to the Rock Crusher.
For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (1 Peter 1:8).
I heard stories and testimonies on the internet of people coming to Christ in the outdoor gathering, especially in the cities. Not only Sean Feucht’s “Let Us Worship”, but others also, and I hope and pray it’s real.
You see, I confess, I struggle with cynicism. I want to believe it is all a work of God, but there is a section of my brain that doesn’t believe anything anyone (anyone I don’t know) says. Everyone lies. We live in a lying culture. I have even heard Christians lie (sighs of grief).
So, I have struggled with this and this is where I have arrived.
First: God is supernatural. God is sovereign. God is good. God is mercy and grace. God brings good out of evil. God hears the prayers of his people.
I believe all of the above (I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24).
Second: When the Gospel is spoken and Jesus is exalted and proclaimed the only way to heaven I believe God honors that.
Third: Paul said in Philippians 1 that although some men were preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry thinking to inflict him, he didn’t care, as long as Christ was being proclaimed. He rejoiced in that.
So, even if I don’t go along with all of someone’s theology, as long as they are not spreading hearsay, but are proclaiming the Gospel and Christ crucified, buried and risen, I believe the miraculous can happen. Does happen. The biggest miracle of all is a stoney heart turned to flesh so that it loves Jesus and delights in God.
I don’t have to see the miracles to believe. I walk by faith, not sight, but because I have faith, I want to see the miracles.
Fourth: I do believe God is moving in our day. He is always busy doing things, but here and now, through COVID and all the rest, we are seeing God deal with his Church.
I love seeing Christians, mostly young ones, standing together, singing and jumping to the glory of God. They hear the word, sing, and pray and are a light in the darkness.
GOD BLESS THEM! DOUBLE GOD BLESS THEM!
I believe, now more than ever, God would have the church leave the building!
I am grieved over the state of the church in America. We are complacent and comfortable. We have patted ourselves on the back because during the “pandemic” we finally started to gather again. We are magnanimous in our tolerance of those who wear masks and those who don’t. Our worship is limp and lame. Where is the shouting?
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions (Psalm 20:5)!
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart (Psalm 32:11)!
Where is the loud singing?
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
God sings loudly over us, so shouldn’t we sing loudly over him?
And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with all their might to the Lord (2 Chronicles 30:21).
And, by the way, where is the dancing? Now, I have really lost some of you. But, that was a form of worship in the Old Testament. I guess God like it then …
Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre Psalm 149:3)!
As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart (2 Samuel 6:16).
We know what happened to Michal because she despised David for publically worshipping the Lord. Read 2 Samuel 6.
The church needs to get loud. The church needs to be heard. The church needs to leave the building!
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (1 Peter 3:1-6).
It is never too early to start thinking about your legacy.
What do you want to leave your children and the people who know you? I don’t mean physical things. I mean the things that count. The life and death things. As Christian women, we need to leave our children a legacy of faith.
Genesis 12 through 23 reveals how Sarah lived out her faith and how that translated in a legacy of faith for Isaac.
The Holy Spirit is very gracious in showing this incredible woman’s failings and lapses of faith as well as her successes, so that we don’t think, “Sarah was a superwoman! I can never be like her.” Sarah wasn’t a perfect woman, but her God was.
We all have our lapses of faith. But, like God was gracious to Abraham and Sarah, so he is to us. I think Sarah must have had many quiet repentant moments inside her tent that were wholly between her and God and not recorded for us. But what is recorded leaves us a picture of a faithful, holy woman. That is what Peter called her in 1 Peter 3:5.
Isaac, her son, must have heard the story of God speaking to Abraham and telling him to leave everything, pack up and hit the trail with God as his GPS. He heard how Sarah had downsized and followed his father. How she had gone from a well-supplied home to living in tents.
Isaac must have heard over and over again about her long wait for him. How God had promised and how He had delivered.
He saw her obedience to Abraham and perhaps heard how Abraham had asked her to say she was his sister when he felt threatened and how Sarah had obeyed at great risk to herself. Remember, Isaac did the same in Genesis 26.
She must have lived a fearless life before him knowing that God was able. Isaac was, besides Abraham, closes to his mother and knew her heart; that when the trials and afflictions of life came Sarah demonstrated the “incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).
Isaac must have been able to see God’s blessings upon his mother because her behavior was precious in the sight of God. And most of all he must have sat at her feet and heard her speak of God and her faith.
A good first step in leaving a faithful legacy would be to pattern ourselves after Sarah.
Peter said we are her daughters “if you do good and are not afraid with any terror” (1 Peter 3:6).
She shows us how to pass on a legacy of faith to our children and our family. Some of you have already raised your children and didn’t pass on a legacy of faith either because you didn’t know Jesus or because you just failed to do so.
It is not too late.
Study 1 Peter 3:1-5. See the different attributes of a “holy woman”. Ask God to create these in you. People will notice. Your children will notice.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18).