SHOUT joyfully to the Lord all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100
Joy and gladness is a BIG thing to our God! It is a sincere expression of faith and faith is music to God’s ear.
As a matter of fact joy and gladness insulate us from some pretty ugly things.
Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies…Deuteronomy 28:47&48
The Book of Philippians is an amazing book. The Apostle Paul is sitting in a prison cell and writing a letter of thanksgiving to the church in Philippi. To understand this situation it is important that we understand the setting. The prisons of that era were not like our prisons of today or even recent history. No these were typically dungeons of filth and disease. Absolutely on care was provided to prisoners. The only food or clothing that they had was that which cam from the outside world. This where the church at Philippi comes into the picture. They sent not only food and clothing but attendants as well.
There were no laws regarding false imprisonment, unfair terms of imprisonment or even the condition of the imprisonment. Paul had no idea when, if ever, he would get out!
This same Paul had left his entire family, his vaulted position and his society. He had traveled the known world to spread the good news of Jesus. He had been shipwrecked, stoned, whipped, stranded and alone and run out of town.
His recent life had been totally dedicated to the service of his God. Now we find him in the dregs of a filthy jail cell.
Paul, in writing his personal note of thanks to the Philippians makes this statement: …I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly so that I may also be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. Philippians 2:19&20
I’m not certain how I would react to this situation if I were up to my knees in filth, death and waste and I looked around and could find no one other than one single person that we trustworthy. Years of ministry, years of service, years of self-sacrifice had brought him to this.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write these things again is no trouble to me and it is a safeguard to you.” (3:1)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. (4:4&5)
There is his secret. It didn’t make any difference to Paul where he was; the Lord was always there with him. So, whether imprisoned or whether free, he was with his Lord.
The importance of rejoicing is that it keeps us in the presence of the Lord. He may be with us; it is rejoicing that places us with Him.
It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, choose to rejoice and be glad. Stand back and see how God will respond!