Daily Devotional: Psalms 34:15-22
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.
1 Thess 5:16-24
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.
Have you ever met someone who has a life filled with major problems but seems to always be happy? I have a friend who is always jovial, happy, upbeat and has a smile on his face. Another friend said to me one day that the other person was so happy that it made them just want to slap them! Of course they were joking and really wanted that for themselves. I know personalities play a part in this.
But it is possible for us to “rejoice always” when we put our trust in God. What Paul said was not just to rejoice but “rejoice in the Lord always”. This is not something we can make happen in our hearts but is the result of trusting God so much we give up grumbling and complaining. We trust instead of worrying as we see victory instead of defeat. Everything that happens is an opportunity for us to trust God and put our faith in Jesus. We have peace beyond understanding.
The thing that rids us of this joy more than anything else is trying to attain our standing with God on our own. When we fail, we beat ourselves up and want to quit trying. When we succeed, we become proud and self-righteous. When we trust God in all things and for all things, we consider others better then ourselves and we want to serve them instead of judging, gossiping and condemning them.
O Lord God, creator and giver of life, I am so thankful for your love and for the forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Thank you for showing your love to me and how I can love others as you love me. Give me a heart like Jesus, a heart of compassion and a willingness to use all I have to your glory. Help me remember that I am on earth to do your will and not my own. Forgive me when I fail to live up to your glory. Be with your people wherever they are and use each of us to reach the lost as we have opportunity to do so. I humbly pray in the name of Jesus my Lord.