Words from the Heart for Thursday September 1st, 2016
1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV)
God has made every day and called it good. There are blessings to enjoy, challenges to face, and opportunities to grow. Start this day with joy that the Lord is God over this very day and that His purposes are good!
In October 2015 a pair of panda bears were born at the Toronto Zoo. They were given names that will always remind them and others of the country of their birth. The male Panda is Canadian Hope and the female is named Canadian Joy. The cubs had been held in a special maternity at the zoo until they were deemed to have survived their infancy and were then introduced to the world earlier this year. Panda’s born in captivity are cared for closely and kept sheltered until they reach 100 days old and are then considered healthy enough to be viewed by others. Their mother, Er Shun, is on loan from China. She and a male panda named Da Mao arrived in 2013. A special committee was set up to compile possible monikers, which were then put to a public vote.
There is much about this world that can steal our joy. We can wake up having had a great night’s sleep and before we get to work the news or the driver next to us has taken any joy we might have had. Joy, at least in a human sense, is dependent upon the circumstances around us. But Christian joy is something altogether different. Which is why Paul can give the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 “rejoice always.” There is no more succinct command in scripture than this one. Now the Bible never gives a command that is impossible to keep. Almost every command in the Bible is followed by a promise. This command is followed a verse or two later by the benediction to the epistle. Paul prays that the God of peace would sanctify the believers, setting them apart for the work of the Lord in them and through them. It is the presence of God Himself in our lives that guarantees our joy. In Christ we see the long term picture. As one little boy told his Sunday School teacher, “I read the last chapter and we win.” The follower of Jesus has the assurance that no matter what comes our way in this life, ultimately we are the victors through Jesus Christ. It is His abiding presence and joy that guarantees us the ability to rejoice always, no matter what is going on around us.
These have been words from the heart.