Last month I started a word study in Scripture to discover how many times the Lord told us to rejoice.  As I was working on this, it dawned on me that God commanded us to rejoice repeatedly because He knew that we won’t do this naturally.  At times life is hard, we don’t understand the trials that our loving Heavenly Father allows us to go through, and rejoicing is the LAST THING that we want to do.  Yet, over and over in scripture we are reminded to rejoice.

After several weeks of research, I found 44 specific times in scripture where we are commanded to rejoice.  Sometimes these commands are for specific times or occasions.  Other verses simply tell us that we are to rejoice always or evermore.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.  I only looked for verses using the word rejoice.  No research was done with any synonyms for rejoice.

What did I learn from this study?  God wants us to learn to rejoice in Him, NOT OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.  I have found that rejoicing is an act of the will.  We determine what our attitude will be in any given situation.  We can decide to trust God and rejoice in the fact that He is in control and there is a plan that will benefit us in the end.  Or we can worry and fret while trying to devise solutions for the problem.  The second choice is so silly because God can see the whole situation.  He already has a plan that will work out far better than anything we can concoct.  Yet, we humans seem to think we know more than God and with just a little help from above can solve our own problems. 🙂  In fact, we usually make more problems trying to do it our way instead of waiting for God’s perfect plan.

When we choose to rejoice in situations that are incomprehensible, we show to the world that we trust our all powerful, all knowing Heavenly Father.  Anyone can and will worry and fret when things go wrong.  It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome anxiety by rejoicing in who God is and the plans that he has for our life. The fact is when we allow the devil to win by rehearsing negative thoughts repeatedly and refusing to trust and rejoice we are sinning.  It is up to us to make the choice to obey God or obey Satan.  I choose God’s way.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”  Philippians 4:4




Remember what I said a few months ago about wanting things to go my way?  I like to plan ahead—way ahead.  I love being able to look at the calendar and know what I am doing 6 months from now.  If I had my way, each day, week and month would be scheduled with very little deviation.  I would like to know that we will always eat our meals at the same time, go to bed at the same time and get up regularly.  Unfortunately, life does not work like that.  Even in households that have very set schedules there are sometimes wrenches thrown in the plans.  It is a constant struggle for me to remember that when my day does not go as planned it is no surprise to God.

I like to make lists and plan my day.  This is not a bad thing if I remember to ask God for His direction in my schedule for the day.  All too often I forget who is in charge and I make my plans and then “suggest” to God that He might like to bless those plans.  Even when the schedule is completely derailed I have found myself praying and asking the Lord to “fix” the problem so that I can get back on the track that MY train was scheduled to be on.  What is wrong with this scenario?  I want to be in charge with God’s blessing.  I have a tendency to believe that I know more about how my day, week, or month should go then God does.  Not only is this wrong, but I have given myself a lot of needless frustration and indigestion trying to do things my way and argue with the Lord.  The silly thing about all of this is that I have known since I was a child that God is all knowing, all powerful, and wants only the best for me!  So what is my problem?  Could it possibly be a sinful nature?  I hate to admit it; but, YES!

You see most of us are basically selfish creatures, full of pride and we tend to have tunnel vision when it comes to our lives.  We forget that God had a plan for our life before we were even born. So if the Lord has a grand plan for our life, wouldn’t it stand to reason that he also controls every minute of every day?

I think that most of us believe that God has a life plan for us but we tend to forget that there is a plan for each day.  So we go merrily on our way deciding what we will do each day and never consulting our Master about His wishes for the day.  Then, when things don’t go as planned, we become frustrated and sometimes angry at God for allowing situations and people to mess up our day.
So, how do we gain a righteous perspective of our daily interruptions and the major disasters in our lives?  By turning to God’s word and His instructions.  There are many reasons that the Lord chooses to bring problems, changes of schedule, or disasters in our lives.

First, God’s plan for our life is eternal.  My view is often short sighted because I cannot see the big picture.  When things are not going my way I become frustrated because I cannot see how God can possibly work this out for good.  Many years ago I came across an analogy of our life to a piece of needlework.  It said that God is working on the tapestry of our life.  Often we become frustrated because all we see is the ugly underside with the knots and broken threads.  But God sees the right side with the beautiful design that is forming and He knows what the finished product should look like.  We must learn to trust the Lord and not get is his way while He is weaving our life’s design.

 Psalm 37:23 & 24 tells us that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:  for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.  Note that is these verses the psalmist says the “steps” are ordered not the life of a good man.  I believe God is trying to get us to realize that each step we take is planned.  Nothing is an accident with God.  It may seem to be unplanned from our point of view but our Lord and Savior knew about each situation and planned it for our good.

God also knew that we would like to make plans.  In Proverbs 16:9 He tells us that A man’s heart deviseth his way:  but the Lord directeth his steps.  It’s all right to make plans as long as we ask for God’s direction in those plans.  We must remember that God’s way is perfect (Ps. 18:30) our way is imperfect.  It only stands to reason that if God has a divine plan for our entire life there is a plan for each step along the way.

 Romans 11:33 says O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  It is not up to us to understand why God changes our schedule or the path we are taking we only need to trust and follow.  The one who created us and designed our life can do just fine in orchestrating each day if we don’t get in the way.

 Second, God wants us to mature and learn to display the fruits of the spirit.  These are listed in Galatians 5:22,23.  Look it up and memorize this list if you haven’t already done so.  The Lord knows that we won’t develop joy, peace, longsuffering, & self-control if we never have any trials in our life.  Most of us don’t willingly ask God to give us patience because we know what builds patience!  So God, in his infinite wisdom, provides those learning experiences for us free of charge! J

Remember that beautiful tapestry of our life?  Part of the beauty comes from hard work, trials, & suffering.  Some of the metals and jewels that we humans admire like gold, silver, & diamonds are not beautiful when they are first mined.  It takes chipping away at the outside and polishing and firing them to truly bring out the shine and glory in these items.  That’s what God is doing when he applies the polisher of interruptions, irritations, and detours to our everyday schedule.  He is sanding off the rough edges and polishing us up so that we can better reflect His glory.

Some of the happiest, kindest, most beautiful people I know are not those that have had an easy life with everything seemingly dropping in their laps.  They are the ones that have worked hard, had major problems, and gained victory in the Lord.  Some of these people have attained what the world calls success.  Others in no way, shape, or form could be considered a success in the eyes of the average person.  But the common thread running through their lives is their obvious joy in the Lord and the ability to overcome obstacles and always see things from an eternal perspective.

In II Corinthians 4:17,18 Paul says For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 

We must remember that God allows trials, irritations & interruptions to help and teach us not just to drive us crazy!  I will never forget one day when I was in high school.  It was a VERY bad day I went huffing in to chapel and plopped down in my assigned seat.  Randy, the young man who sat next to me, looked at me and asked “Bad day?”.  Was that ever a mistake!  You have to remember he was young and had not learned what most of our husbands now know—sometimes it is best not to ask.  Anyway, I proceeded to inform him of how bad my day had been.  He looked at me and asked me “Marcia, do you know Romans 8:28?”  Well, of course I did!  I quoted it to him word for word.

Randy quietly asked “does it really mean ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD ?”  Well, he didn’t have to preach me a 3-point sermon!  I got the point!  The problem is that even now, 37 years later, I have a hard time remembering the point.

Third, God sometimes allows problems in our lives so that we can glorify Him and in turn help others that are going through the same trials.   Part of our testimony to the world is letting them see how we react to the normal everyday irritations of life.  You see any unsaved person can be happy when all the bills are paid, the car is running, the children are obedient, and the sun is shining.  What they can’t understand is how we can have joy in spite of everything going wrong!  It is when we learn to rejoice in the Lord and overcome the daily difficulties that we glorify Him and show the world what it truly means to be a Christian.


I Peter 2: 19, 20 says For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  For what glory is it, if when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently?  But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.


The Lord also helps us understand that when we get victory over problems we can use the knowledge we have gained to help others in the same situation.  II Corinthians 1:4 says Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.


When we learn to gain victory over large trials and small irritations in our lives then we can help others that are going through the same type of problems.  It is much more effective to tell someone that you have been through the same problem and this is how God helped you than it is to just spout scripture and give empty platitudes.  We all feel that someone truly understands when they have gone through a similar trial and can give testimony of God’s help and faithfulness.


Let’s pray for each other that God will help us to grow in Him and become the joyful, FLEXIBLE Christians that He would have us to be.