Morning Musing: Hebrews 12:2

“…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Think for a minute about the last time you had to do something you really didn’t want to do. How was that experience for you? Enjoyable? Boring? Unbearably awful? How did it leave you feeling afterwards? Were you glad you did it? Were you grateful it was over? Did you regret you had to give any of your precious time to it? Sometimes in life we have to do things that aren’t our first choice. Occasionally they are our last choice. And then there are times we face the prospect of doing that and God is the one leading us to do it. Not wanting to do something God has called us to do may bring guilt – especially in light of what we see in this verse – but let’s take a look at it this morning because there’s something here we don’t want to miss.

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Digging in Deeper: Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We talked yesterday morning about people reacting to situations in the wrong way – happy when they should be sad, sad when they should be happy, mad when they should be glad, and so on and so forth. Reacting the wrong way is one thing. Have you ever reacted to a situation in the right way, but you didn’t really mean it? We talked some about gift-giving yesterday. I suspect you’ve been through the experience before of opening a gift on your birthday or Christmas and you either already had it or didn’t even remotely want it. But the other person had really put a lot of thought into it and fully expected you to love it. So, you put on a smile you didn’t feel and thanked them heartily for it. They left feeling good about themselves, and you left feeling…a bit dirty because you weren’t really honest with them. Sometimes we have to react to a situation in a way that doesn’t match our feelings because the circumstances we are in demand it, but that’s not ever something we enjoy doing. So then, what are we supposed to do with Paul’s command here to rejoice in the Lord always? Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Philippians 4:7

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

God gives gifts in expected ways and times. They come from unexpected people too. He delights in using the least likely individuals to accomplish the most powerful kingdom good. The world was recently treated to an example of this that I suspect will reverberate far and wide before its impact begins to abate. If you haven’t already heard the name, this morning I’d like to set before you the story of Jane Marczewski, also known as Nightbirde.

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Morning Musing: Luke 2:10-11

“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’”
— ‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10-11‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

A week’s worth of joy is not such a bad thing to have. Better would be a whole season of it. Even better than that is a permanent joy that no amount of trouble or fear can shake loose from our hearts. When Jesus arrived on this earth in the form of a little baby, that’s exactly what He came bringing with Him. Rejoice with me today in this good news, this Gospel, and then close out your week with a song that’s sure to bring a smile to your heart.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 5:11-12

“You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

People don’t like it when you’re happy at times they think you shouldn’t be. There’s a great scene from the classic baseball movie Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner’s dad tells him how he hit when he played. He would look the opposing pitcher in the eyes, and just before he threw the ball, he would smile and wink at him. He said this would get in their head and make them think he knew something they didn’t know. Of course, when he actually got to put this into practice in the ghostly game near the end of the film, the pitcher threw the ball at his head in retaliation, but it worked. As followers of Jesus, we get to be like that batter. No matter how bad things may get in this life, we can smile and give a little wink because we know something the world doesn’t know. This is what Jesus tells us joy looks like.

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