The last thing a person wants to hear when they’re in the dumps is: REJOICE! When I’ve been “in the valley of the shadow of death” I usually didn’t see anything to rejoice about. When someone needs money, it doesn’t make sense to them to give away what they have, but there are spiritual laws that run absolutely contrary to all natural laws. For example, I have been in hospital waiting rooms with someone whose family member is near death, perhaps a heart attack, or a surgery gone wrong, whatever the reason. You wouldn’t expect to see their loved ones jumping up and down for joy when the doctor comes out and says, “We’ve done all we can, but we don’t think there’s any hope they will pull through.” Rejoice? At a time like this? You gotta be kidding!
But God put spiritual laws in motion long before He created physical things. When Jesus came telling people to rejoice in times of adversity, it sounded like pure foolishness to those who heard, and even so today. Need I remind you that Jesus was there in the beginning, and He knows how it is all designed to work? You may be going through some hard times right now. Jenny and I have been hurting in our finances, and the ole’ devil has been trying to get me down, and tell me all this sowing and reaping stuff doesn’t work. It finally occurred to me; I know better than to be feeling like this. Has God ever let us down before? Well, there have been times it sure looked like God wasn’t coming through, but, God has always taken care of us without fail. Yes, God’s word works….it always works!
THEN I HAD TO LAUGH… It hit me like a brick…this has all been a plot of the devil to try to get me to give up my faith in God! The devil knows he can’t separate God’s love from me, so he’s trying to get me to separate myself from God’s love. WOW! Why hadn’t I seen this earlier? I, of all people should have recognized this from the start. Would God abandon one of His children? You gotta be kiddin’! Think about it! Duh!

The Lord sent me to Hebrews 13:5-6…..He almost always speaks to me in chapter and verse: “Let your conversation be without covetousness: and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The LORD is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Then, the word of the Lord came strongly; REJOICE! Yeah, right, REJOICE! Lord, I don’t feel like rejoicing! We’re low on money, my wife’s not here, (I told her jokingly today, I’m out of clean coffee cups and cereal bowls to get her to feel sorry for me and come home). I’m miserable, lonely *, (feeling sorry for myself) and you want me to rejoice? *Now you can substitute whatever is ailing you…finances, sickness, depression, etc. Ok, Lord, I rejoice…..(mumble, mumble…..) You could almost see the black cloud hanging over my head. I think I feel it starting to rain on me even…and I’m standing in my living room. The Holy Spirit said, DO YOU CALL THAT REJOICING? You see, I had been so busy being caught up with other things, I wasn’t purposely taking time out to rejoice. I had to ask God to forgive me for playing into the devil’s hand, and not even catch myself doing it. The best weapon I have against the devil’s fiery darts, I wasn’t using. And that’s unusual for me. At the very time I should have been opening my mouth, I was keeping it shut. How stupid of me!
The Lord told me a few things I needed to hear. And if I needed to hear it, you may, too. He sent me to Philippians 4, starting in verse 4, REJOICE! in the LORD always: and again, I say REJOICE! Let your moderation be known unto all men. THE LORD IS AT HAND. Be careful for nothing: (Don’t worry, be happy!) but in everything 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. Finally Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
After reading Philippians 4 about rejoicing in the Lord, I saw my failure; I had not been rejoicing, and it’s one thing for a baby in Christ Jesus to fall for that one, but there’s no excuse for me to do it, or any other mature Christian…we know better. It just goes to show me how subtle and sly the devil is. While you’re standing guard facing frontward, he will sneak up on your backside! You can actually spend so much time praying for other people, that you don’t take time to rejoice. Once your joy slips away, you’re a prime target for discouragement.
If you were watching a commercial you hated on TV, you’d simply change the channel, right? Can it really be that simple to “turn off” all the negative junk the devil broadcasts 24/7? Apparently so, else Paul wouldn’t have written Philippians 4. It’s easy for someone who isn’t going through hard times to say “Cheer up!” to someone who is, but when it’s you, it’s not so easy. However, when I was weighed down heavily and could not cheer myself up, the Lord did what He is so good at doing….He came alongside and took my burden. I didn’t really want to carry it anyway….Now I can walk a little straighter. And rejoice!

How about you? Could you use a little joy right now? Don’t feel like rejoicing? That’s all the more reason to. Go ahead…Spoil the devil’s day. Start praising God. Praise up a storm! Don’t stop until you’re laughing so hard your ribs hurt. Don’t let the devil get you down like I just did. Learn from my mistake and start rejoicing right now. Why? Because God loves you and if that isn’t enough reason, I don’t know what is! And besides, I read the back of the book, and it says WE WIN! PRAISE GOD FOREVERMORE!

The devil just told me a joke….. He said we’re going under instead of over…HAHAHAHAHA! THAT’S FUNNY, DEVIL! (God even got a good laugh out of that one!)

GREAT BIG GOD! little bitty devil….