I try to walk everyday, and I take my dog Jug with me. He hears my voice inside the house, and he stands by the door until I come out. He is visually impaired, yet somehow he knows I am taking him for a walk. He must smell the leash in my hand. Immediately he starts to yelp, bark and run in circles around me. He is so happy. It almost seems that there is a smile on his face when he is barking. He continues to run two feet in front of me and return to me barking and jumping in the air. It is quite evident how happy he is to go walking with me. Eventually he calms down and trots happily out the driveway because he is walking with his master.
As we walked, the verse from Philippians came to mind, “Rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say rejoice.” It is interesting how the Lord used the actions of my dog to teach me about a simple attitude of rejoicing. I decided to do a word study on the phrase, “rejoice in the Lord.” Here are some of the results. It is amazing how these definitions describe my dog’s behavior when he was anticipating my presence with him.
Ps 33:1 Rejoice -i.e. to shout (usually for joy):–aloud for joy, cry out, be joyful (greatly, make to) rejoice, (cause to) shout (for joy), (cause to) sing (aloud, for joy, out), triumph.
Ps 97:1 and Isa 41:16- Rejoice-a primitive root; properly, to spin round (under the influence of any violent emotion), i.e. usually rejoice, or (as cringing) fear:–be glad, joy, be joyful, rejoice.
Isa 61:10 Rejoice- a primitive root; to be bright, i.e. cheerful:–be glad, X greatly, joy, make mirth, rejoice.
Joe 2:23 rejoice- a primitive root; probably to brighten up, i.e. (figuratively) be (causatively, make) blithe or gleesome:–cheer up, be (make) glad, (have, make) joy(-ful), be (make) merry, (cause to, make to) rejoice, X very.
Hab 3:18 rejoice- primitive root; to jump for joy, i.e. exult:–be joyful, rejoice, triumph.
We learned from the sermon series on “Christ is All, Christ is All in All” that Christ is ever present with us. He resides within the believer. He is wholly present, everywhere and all the time. He is our sufficiency. As believers our attitude should be one of “shouting or singing with joy.” Knowing that Christ dwells within us should make us spin around with such happiness. We should have an attitude of victory over sin and allow no opportunity for self defeat. Our countenance should reflect bright cheerfulness. As believers we can rejoice in the fact that our Master is always with us, and He will never leave us or forsake us. He is our All! He is All we need, All we want and All we have.
The title of today’s sermon in the worship service was “Honeymoon to Honeymoan.” It was a description of the relationship with God and Israel and then carried through to a description of Christ and the Church. I want to focus on the relationship with Christ and modern day Christianity. The “Honeymoan” aspect of the relationship is a picture of our own culture. Pastor Kaminski stated that one of the reasons for the “Honeymoan” stage is because Christianity is obsessed with being culturally relevant. It seems we as Christians are more concerned with fitting into society than with being committed to the covenant we have with Christ. As Christians we are to be separate from the world because we are strangers here, we are not of this world. When there is no obvious difference between our behavior and that of the world, then communication has broken down between the groom, Christ, and the bride, the Church or believers. Pastor asked this question, ” Does the Lord seem to be somewhere else?” “If God does not seem close, then who moved?” In Re 2:4 Christ says to the church at Ephesus, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” And then to the church at Laodicea in Re 3:20 Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” It is apparent that the one who has moved out of the relationship is the church or believer. God didn’t move, He is always the same as stated in Heb 13:8,” Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
Does Christ seem aloof ? Do other things take priority over prayer, Bible study and worship? Is God just along for the ride or is He the driving force in your life? Have you been walking in the flesh more than in the spirit? If so, examine your heart and mind. If Christ is knocking at the door, open the door and renew your relationship with Him.