"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice!"
Philippians 4: 4
King James Version
EXPLORATION "Living A Transformed Life in 2011"
"The joy of the Lord, the joy that is strength, the joy that no man taketh from us, the joy wherewith we joy before God, the abundant joy of faith and hope and love and praise - this it is that gathers like a radiant fostering, cheerful air around the soul that yields itself to the grace of God, to do His holy, loving will."
"Rejoice" - To feel or be joyful. To be filled with gladness.
"The Lord is my Strength and my impenetrable Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him."
Psalm 28: 7
You and I are rejuvenated. Refreshed. Renewed. Isn't it tremendous what God promises to do for us when we say, "Yes," to His transforming power in our lives?
Frankly, it gives me something to shout about! Something that brings gladness to my poor, broken heart! What's more, God's transforming power gives me something to "rejoice" about!
From the beginning of the Bible, to the very end, we find that prophets, kings, apostles, peasants, shepherds and followers - all rejoiced when they recognized the transformation that was made possible when they said, "Yes," to the presence of God. The same can be true for you and me today.
The Welsh Anglican Bishop Rowan Williams describes the transformation God offers us this way:
"The gospel will not ever tell us we are innocent, but it will tell us we are loved, and in asking us to receive and consent to that love, it asks us to identify with, and make our own, love's comprehensive vision of all we are and have been. That is the transformation of desire as it affects our attitude to our own selves - to accept what we have been, so that all of it can be transformed."
I have to admit, I don't find myself rejoicing at all I have been in my life. Maybe you don't either. There may be rough, painful patches in your journey that bring tears to your eyes and a stab to your heart. Sorrow, hardship and despair may have stalked you, trailing your every move. And as 2011 begins you don't feel like rejoicing. The Christian author and Irish-born missionary to India, Amy Carmichael, herself well-acquainted with struggle, penned this observation: "Sorrow is one of the things that is lent, not given. A thing that is lent can be taken away; a thing that is given is not taken away. Joy is given; sorrow is lent."
No matter what you face right now, God promises that in His presence, we will be filled with joy. So I'd like to give you a list of just a few of the reasons you and I should be filled with rejoicing this coming year. Here are ten reasons straight from the Scripture:
1. Rejoice, His people…for He will be merciful to His people." Deuteronomy 32: 43, K.J.V.
2. "Hannah prayed, ‘I rejoice in Thy salvation.'' 1 Samuel 2: 1, K.J.V.
3. "Glory ye in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord." 1 Chronicles 16: 10, K.J.V.
4. "Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice: and let (women) say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigneth.'" 1 Chronicles 16: 31 K.J.V.
5. "O Lord God…let Thy saints rejoice in goodness." 2 Chronicles 6: 41, K.J.V.
6. "But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice." Psalm 5: 11, K.J.V.
7. "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." Habakkuk 3: 18, 19 K.J.V.
8. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5: 1, 2, K.J.V.
9. "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." 1 Peter 4: 12, 13, K.J.V.
10. "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come." Revelation 19: 7, K.J.V.
After this text coming from Revelation, the last book in the Bible - a text which speaks about a glorious day to come - I want to end our devotional today with the personal reason I find to rejoice in the New Year. Because God sent His Son to earth to bring redemption, transformation, and restoration to my life - like you and all God's children I can, as the disciple Dr. Luke transcribed these words of Jesus, Himself:
"Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" Luke 10: 20, K.J.V.
"Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,
All Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart."
"Come, Lord Jesus,
Come as King.
Rule in our hearts,
Come as love.
Rule in our minds,
Come as peace.
Rule in our actions,
Come as power.
Rule in our days,
Come as joy.
Rule in our darkness,
Come as light.
Rule in our bodies,
Come as health.
Rule in our labours,
Come as hope.
Thy Kingdom come among us."
"Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel - which, when translated, means, God with us."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.