Encourage others to this state of joy
The first E in REJOICE is for ENCOURAGE, and this year we should ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO THE EXPRESSION OF THE JOY WE FIND IN OUR SAVIOR.
Often we hear people emphasize that their church is a ‘friendly church’. Yet, behind the sign at the front door, over the welcome mat in front of it, is often a crowd of people still depressed, lonely, still craving what is seldom experienced, i.e. that intimate joyful relationship of the ‘Friend, that sticketh closer than a brother.’
Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Our ‘user friendly’ computer program may answer audibly our questions, lead us to sites of many, many people. Yet the intimate relationship that is desired, longed for, and sought for hours at a time, is not there in the computer.
Some on sites like ‘Facebook’ boast thousands of friends, have daily conversations sharing many intimate details of life, and yet, the user languishes in unhappiness.
GOD RECOGNIZES THAT IS IS NOT GOOD TO BE ALONE. YET, HUMAN COMPANY ALONE FAILS TO BRING TRUE JOY.
Genesis 2:18 (KJV)
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
It still is not good for mankind (male or female) to be alone. God designed us for fellowship, for companionship with Him and with others. When we seek joy, without its true source being from our Lord, a sadness and loneliness is still truly within the person.
Sadness, the lack of joy is a state of mind, not a measurement of how few people are around. One can be lonely and sad in the midst of a stadium of people, in the midst of a business meeting, in the center of a family reunion. Yet, one can also be contented and joyful in the center of a lonely forest, miles from the nearest person.
Sadness, the lack of true joy is a from of neediness, that feeling of needing companionship and support that is lacking in oneself. When a loved one has died, one may feel that lack of companionship, and even in the crowded funeral, it is sad.
Some stray from the Lord, walk a different path than He does, and feel that inner spiritual sadness and loneliness for His presence.
When we have found Jesus, we can realize that we are a unique person, filling a place of calling from God. It may not be in a ‘glass cathedral’ with thousands cheering you, but you are walking, as yourself, with the King of Kings, ready to do a work thentat He approves and has called for you to do.
Elijah was called to a lonely ministry. On Mt Carmel, there were hundreds of false prophets, but the true prophets of God numbered ‘one’, i.e. Elijah. After he left that place, he found himself alone and a death sentence from Jezebel pronounced upon him. That loneliness needed a trip to a cave where a still small voice from God assured Elijah of who he was in God, of his mission for God. This joy found alone in a cave with God reinforced that he did not have to be with others. He found real joy being with the Lord, a man with a work to do for God.
There are things that you can best accomplish in ‘alone with the Lord’ time. The Bible speaks of a ‘prayer closet’, a private place of prayer where only you and the Lord are present. You can honestly confess, question, and challenge Him, for only you and He are there. Bible study can be done with you own chosen pace, no rush to keep up with others, and with time to stop on one word, or one verse, for as long as you wish.
Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
We are in this year of 2019 to ENCOURAGE others to find true joy. There will be times of joy with others too, and far more joyful when we arrive, dwell with, and leave such ones, with our source of real joy, i.e. our Lord Jesus.
Jesus and joy can always be with us, for Jesus can always be with us, and we need to ENCOURAGE this joy for others.
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Join groups that offer you an opportunity to fill someone else’s loneliness or pain. Share with that group what you have learned of Jesus. Share Jesus, that through REPENTANCE can bring a REJOICING, JOYFUL, companionship.
You, and myself also, cannot bring true joy to anyone, not our mates, our family, our friends, our neighbors, etc for the only true, unadulterated joy possible is found in relationship with Jesus. We need to encourage this true source of joy this year, 2019.
Numbers 11:14 (KJV)
I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
Psalm 142:6-7 (KJV)
Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for Thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
This joy we have in Jesus is going to be expressed in worship. One cannot worship and praise the Lord for His awesome nature without feeling His presence. He inhabits our praises, and when He is there in ‘feel-able’ presence, one cannot be sad. Find the kind of worship music that you love, fill the house with that music, turn up the volume. Sing along, praise Him. Play the best song you find over and over. Clap, dance (no one can laugh, you are alone). That time of praise and worship will be the highlight of your day.
Psalm 68:4-6 (KJV)
Sing unto God, sing praises to His name: extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His name JAH, and rejoice before Him. A Father of the fatherless, and a Judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God setteth the solitary (Hebrew word, yachiyd, meaning ‘to be lonely’) in families: He bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
We are to ENCOURAGE this joy to others.
Romans 15:5-6 (KJV)
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we all have the same God our Father, we all have a relationship with our Savior, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is our same Teacher and Empowerer. Therefore, the like-mindedness should be there. Sometimes, a major disagreement in doctrine can be a weakening factor in that like-mindedness. If we can ‘with one mind and one mouth glorify God,’ that like-mindedness creates quite a bond.
Yet, the family of God, has a belonging together that is far stronger than all other bonds should be, and our ‘like-mindedness’ is an eternal belonging.
Philippians 2:2-5 (KJV)
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
The bonding and belonging nature of Christian friendship, all rejoicing together in Jesus, should be far beyond anything the devil can offer his crowd.
John 13:35 (KJV)
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
We need to seek out these ‘like-minded’ ones, and not forsake gathering together with them, so we, and those we ENCOURAGE, avoid that SADNESS feeling that is indicative of not having come through repentance to a relationship with the Lord.
The E in REJOICE is ENCOURAGE, and it is commanded in:
Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
We are to ‘provoke one another to good works’ and we will need this kind of friendship ‘so much the more as we see the day approaching. Jesus is coming soon, and we may feel isolated, sad, alone, more and more, since there may be fewer ‘like-minded’ ones as the ‘great falling away’ apostasy takes place. Find the ‘like-minded’, find Christians that are also ‘disciples’ of Jesus in the same way as yourself. That will be a catharsis to the loneliness.
Remember, that the Christian is never alone. The Lord is always with you. His joy can fill your soul daily.
John, the apostle, was on a prison island of Patmos. He was near a cave wherein he probably slept at night. Yet, there, Jesus appeared to Him. There, he was given a vision revelation of ages to come, of the rapture day events in heaven, of the tribulation judgments followed by the second coming of Jesus. He saw the millennial earth, the new earth to replace this old sinful one. He saw the devil put in the abyss, and later into the lake of fire. That all happened while he was a prisoner.
Jeremiah was thrown into a prison of criminals, put down in the sewer pit of the prison, and there, alone, still talked with the Lord, yelled out prophecies for Baruch to write down. His aloneness and physical misery did not mean God was not there with Him. Jeremiah could whisper His name, and the Lord was there to answer Him.
Psalm 23:4 (KJV)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
We are never truly alone. Jacob thought he was, but a Person arrived, Who wrestled with the troubled Jacob, and Jacob soon learned that it was the Lord:
Genesis 32:24-30 (ASV)
24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with Him.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.
27 And He said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29 And Jacob asked Him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, Thy name. And He said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after My name? And He blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, said he, I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Jesus prayed for us to belong, in His group, and He recognized the problems that we would have in that pursuit. The loneliness can come yet, for we are still in this world of sin. Jesus prayed that someday, we all would be with Him, in harmony with the ‘like-minded’ ones. Read carefully this part of Jesus’ prayer:
John 17:14-23 (KJV)
14 I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.
18 As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one:
23 I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.