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Feb 04

Rejoice in the Lord…Always?

FHU 14

This week is the Freed-Hardeman’s Lectureship in Henderson, Tennessee. For seventy-eight years this noble institution has invited strong, Bible-based speakers across the nation to share their thoughts and understanding from God’s word. This year’s lectureship has been focused on I & II Thessalonians and men like David Shannon, Ralph Gilmore, Bruce McLarty and Bill Watkins have taken the pulpit and presented the truth.

Perhaps one of the most encouraging messages I’ve heard at this point in the week came on Monday morning in chapel. Craig Evans, from Spring Hill, Tennessee, brought the lesson focusing on I Thess. 5:16. “Rejoice always…” The message was simple as we considered when and why we rejoice. Often we find it easy to ‘be happy’ and understand the times of rejoicing, but Paul tells the church in Thessalonica to rejoice ALL the time (always).  How do I do that?  How can I ‘be happy’ when times are sad and dreary?  Is there reason to rejoice in the face of disaster, misery and death? It’s easy to show excitement when you’re feeling well, and any of us can be happy when we’re celebrating. But how can we keep the command of I Thess. 5:16? How can I possibly, rejoice ALWAYS? 

Perhaps James offers a bit of understanding as we read the second verse of the first chapter of James, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…”  When you despair and see nothing but cloudy skies, rejoice.  When heartaches fill your days, rejoice.  When dangers threaten your very existence, rejoice. But still the question haunts me…how do I do that?  How can I rejoice in time of dire distress? The answer may be best found in God’s Word. Do we spend time in His word letting Him ‘teach me’ the joy of His salvation? King David understood that joy as he wrote Psalm 51.  Perhaps this hymn from the early 1900’s will help us understand and appreciate the joy that comes through God’s holy word. We can know HOW to rejoice when we learn and follow His way.

“Teach me Thy way, O Lord, teach me Thy way! Thy guiding grace afford, teach me Thy way! Help me to walk aright, more by faith, less by sight; Lead me with heav’nly light, teach me Thy way!

When I am sad at heart, teach me Thy way! When earthly joys depart, teach me Thy way! In hours of loneliness, in times of dire distress, In failure or success, teach me Thy way!

When doubts and fears arise, teach me Thy way! When storms o’erspread the skies, teach me Thy way! Shine through the cloud and rain, through sorrow, toil and pain; Make Thou my pathway plain, teach me Thy way!

Long as my life shall last, teach me Thy way! Where’er my lot be cast, teach me Thy way! Until the race is run, until the journey’s done, Until the crown is won, teach me Thy way!”

1 comment

  1. Donna Holloway

    This is one of my favorite scriptures along with the next two verses! Encouraging!

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