Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His
disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He taught them the
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.
You are not promising us laughter, pleasure, or earthly prosperity. To you,
Jesus, “blessed” means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward
circumstances. To find hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness, we must
follow you, Jesus, no matter the cost.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be
When things are going well, we feel elated. When hardships come, we sink into
depression. But true joy transcends the rolling waves of circumstance. Joy
comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ. When our lives are
intertwined with his, he will help us walk through adversity without sinking
into debilitating lows and manage prosperity without moving into deceptive
highs. The joy of living with you, Jesus, daily will keep us level-headed, no
matter how high or low our circumstances.
We need to avoid envy whom God has apparently singled out for special blessing?
A cure for jealousy is to rejoice with those people, realizing that God uses his
people in ways best suited to his purpose.
Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp,
sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it,
she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have
found my lost coin.” In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the
presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Each individual is precious to God. He grieves over every loss and rejoices
whenever one of his children is found and brought into the kingdom. Perhaps we
would have more joy if we shared your love and concern for the lost. I remember
when you told the Parable of the Lost Son and said,
But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes
comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him.
The father forgave because he was filled with love. The son refused to forgive
because he was bitter about the injustice of it all. His resentment rendered
him just as lost to the farther’s love as his younger brother had been. Don’t
let anything keep you from forgiving others. If you are refusing to forgive
people, you are missing a wonderful opportunity to experience joy and share it
with others. Make your joy grow; forgive somebody who has hurt you.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because
your redemption is drawing near.
The expectation of coming persecutions and natural disasters is gloomy, but
ultimately it is a cause not for worry but for great joy. When believers see
these events happening, they will know that your coming is near, and they can
look forward to your reign of justice and peace. Rather than being terrified by
what is happening in our world, we should confidently await your return to bring
justice and restoration to his people.
I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so
that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
The key to immeasurable joy is living in intimate contact with you, Jesus, the
source of all joy. When we do, we will experience God’s special care and
protection and see the victory God brings even when defeat seems certain.
You came home cranky because a deadline got moved up. She came home grumpy
because the day care forgot to give your five-year-old her throat medicine.
Each of you was wanting a little sympathy from the other, but neither got any.
So there you sit at the dinner table – cranky and grumpu – with little Emily.
Emily folds her hands to pray (as she had been taught), and the two of you bow
your heads (but not your hearts) and listen. From where this prayer comes, God
“God, it’s Emily. How are you? I’m fine, thank you. Mom and Dad are mad. I
don’t know why. We’ve got birds and toys and mash potatoes and each other.
Maybe you can get them to stop being mad? Please do, or it’s just gonna be you
and me having any fun tonight. Amen.”
The prayer is answered before it’s finished, you both look up in the middle and
laugh at the end and shake your heads and say you’re sorry. And you both thank
God for the little voice who reminded you about what matters.
That’s what “lovebursts” do … Lovebursts. Spontaneous affection. Tender
moments of radiant love. Ignited devotion. Explosions of tenderness … They
remind you about what matters. A telegram delivered to the back door of the
familiar, telling you to treasure the treasure you’ve got while you’ve got it.
A whisper from an angel, or someone who sounds like one, reminding you that what
you have is greater than what you want and that what is urgent is not always
(From He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado)
How do you react to problems and pressures? Ask God to help you lighten up with
laughter, forgiveness, and trust – that God will give you all the energy you