April 6, 2017 | Rejoice

 “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth!
Sing about the glory of His name;
make His praise glorious.”
[Psalm 66:1-2 HCSB]
After teaching Psalm 66, it seemed odd that my inbox was devoid of the normal encouraging dialogue. Usually, the first few hours after a lesson brings a half-dozen letters relating how the Lord had edified someone’s life through His word. This time – when the whole message of the text was about shared rejoicing – nada. There were a few complaints, as always when humans are involved; yet the normal shared joy was conspicuously absent.
And that odd combination provided me a great opportunity to praise God. You see, in the lesson on Psalm 66, I had related the following thoughts [the first came from a friend, the second from my pen]:
We seldom take time to celebrate the little victories and blessings along the way. It seems to me that we hinder ourselves by not doing it. If we do not take time to celebrate the tiny wins, then all we have left to remember are the losses. I once heard it said that it takes a ton more good things to get us over one bad thing (thing being words, events, whatever). When we do not celebrate the good, we let the bad win.
We as a people have become experts at complaining and downright poor at praising.
Now, without the normal responses of rejoicing, I was being tested. Verses 10-12 of Psalm 66 were being activated in my soul so that I might be granted opportunity to mind my own words and rejoice always. Laughing at the irony, I was blessed with a delightful time of prayer, praising God for all His greatness and goodness and thanking Him for not letting the bad win in my soul. It was awesome.
Later, I checked email and it was full [you surely saw this coming, though I didn’t] of incredibly uplifting notes. People shared experiences and ideas about living out the rejoicing psalms, and I was blessed as I read and wrote them back. Below are a few that may bless you, as well.
  • A couple of weeks ago, I heard a lady say that she asks her children 3 questions each day so they will focus on the Lord. 1) What has He done? 2) What am I thankful for? 3) What is a name for or characteristic of Jesus that I can remember today so I can Praise and Worship Him?
  • I was reminded of the many references to this practice in Colossians. (See 1:12-13; 2:6-7; 3:15-17 and 4:2).
 Early American history was positively influenced by the Minutemen – common people ready to fight for freedom in a minute’s notice. One of the most positive things we can do is be minutemen of a slightly different sort – people ready to rejoice at immediate notice. Grateful people change the world. They are always noticed. In fact, the #1 most attractive trait in a human being is gratitude. When we are ready to rejoice every minute – to see God’s blessings and glorify Him for them – it draws people to truth and positively changes the world.