Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again rejoice! Philippians 4:4
In this joyful Christmas season when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, I am reminded of an experience of my son Andy several years ago. He had gone black Friday shopping to get a special gift. As the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was playing on the speaker he looked around at a mass of people shoving each other, fighting over the last television, and general mayheim. He grabbed and paid for the gift he wanted to buy, got out of the store as quickly as possible and has never since braved the black Friday crowds. I remember, with a chuckle, him telling that story every time I hear that song.
Why are people not joyful? It’s obvious more than ever that the world needs Jesus. We have been called to a wonderful opportunity to share God’s gift of Salvation to the lost at the jail. It was an exciting day when Rosetta, who works in the Ladies Office of the Oklahoma County Detention Center, called and said the volunteer chaplins could return after a year and a half of not being able to go on a consistent basis. Now the men’s office has opened and hopefully the rest of the county jails will open soon if they haven’t already.
I have been in a Bible Study on the book of Exodus. I was surprised how relevant it is to the time in which we are living. God’s chosen people grumbled and complained when things were not easy for them. They were looking at their circumstances rather than God who was personally leading them in the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day. We have the Holy Spirit within us guiding us day by day and yet I find myself complaining, gas prices are going up, the grocery store doesn’t have every thing I need, etc. In our Bible Study I learned: It is human nature to grumble sometimes. We might say to ourselves that we are just annoyed at “circumstances” but, in reality, we are grumbling at God who controls our circumstances. Oops! This has made me more aware of my complaining and to stop and be thankful for God’s blessings.
Exodus 19:4 “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
God uses the eagle to illustrate His care for Israel. The eagle is an amazing creature, it can use high winds to soar to great heights. It has keen vision and can see a rabbit from two miles away.
Deuteronomy 32:10-11 “In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.”
In Deuteronomy, God speaks of the eagle stirring up her nest. Eagles use sticks to make their nests and pack it with soft material like grass to make it comfortable for their young. At a certain point the mother eagle will tear out all the grass and soft material from within the nest. The sticks will begin to poke the eaglets and it’s time to leave the nest. When the eaglets are learning to fly, the mother eagle flutters over her young. When each eaglet takes its first flight, the mother eagle will spread her wings under her eaglet and bear them up, literally bearing them on eagle wings until they have sufficient strength to fly alone.
We don’t need to be anxious, when hard times come our Heavenly Father carries us until we are healed/delivered and He gently sets us on our feet. He always walks with us, guiding us, loving us, correcting us through his Word. We have great reason to rejoice! Joy to the World the Lord has come, let earth receive her King!!
OJPM Board Vice President