Rejoice My Children Rejoice!

Rejoice My Children Rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

The Hebrew word, “simcha,” means to have “Joy in the most full sense.” In other words, “Be Happy!” In the book of Philippians, we find the Apostle Paul writing to the church at Philippi to, “Be Happy in the Lord!” The thing is that Paul wasn’t telling the church to “be happy” as he was sitting out somewhere on the beach with bright rays of sun shining down on his face with a cool glass of grape juice in his hand…He was telling them to, “be happy,” as he, himself, was sitting in a cold, dark, lonely prison cell facing death. Sure, it’s easy to tell someone to be happy when all around you is at peace and happiness, but can you tell someone to be happy when your cup is running over with stress! That’s exactly what Paul did.

The past few days, actually the past four years, have been stressful at times for my husband and me as we take care of his mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Two years ago, we had to admit her into a fulltime nursing home to help with her care. But, even that doesn’t completely erase our concerns, cares, and obligations to her. I continue to do her laundry at least two to three times per week. And, it is very sad watching her decline as she goes from one stage to another. This past week she decided that she doesn’t need to wear her glasses, so she hid them in a bundle of clothes. After searching for them for several days I finally found them wrapped up in a pair of pajamas. When I took them to her, she became quite defensive and insisted that she has never worn glasses her entire life and I could do with them whatever I wished but she would not wear them. So, naturally, not wanting to upset her any further, I brought them home. Since then, her behavior has continued to decline. Some days it nearly seems that it is too much to bear…So, today my husband called me from a funeral he was attending and when I answered the telephone he started singing an old Gospel song, “Rejoice My Children Rejoice!” Truthfully, I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh at his attempt to “cheer” me up, or scream!

But, he was right…The Bible does tell us to, “Rejoice in the Lord.” So, I took a deep breath and said, “God, I really need your strength to continue with all of these issues involving my mother-in-law. And, after a few deep breaths, I could feel my tension leaving being replaced with JOY! I have so much to rejoice about…And, when life is taking a hit at you, we sometimes need to remember to REJOICE just like the Apostle Paul did while incarcerated in prison…

Today, you may be in need of JOY…So, as my husband reminded me today, “Rejoice My Children Rejoice for our names are recorded above…Be glad, exceedingly glad for Heaven is ours today.” Yes, my friend we have a lot to Rejoice about!

Remember, God Loves You!
Lin T Rollins,
Author

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A Love Letter from Prison

A Love Letter from Prison

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord….Philippians 3:1

While chained in a Roman prison, the Apostle Paul wrote words of comfort to his beloved church at Philippi.  One can read his love letter in the book of Philippians found in the Bible.

Bible scholars estimate that Paul spent somewhere between five 1/2 to six years of his evangelistic life in prison before finally being martyred for his strong faith and dedicated preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  However, prison bars did NOT stop the Apostle from spreading the Good News of Faith nor did it stop him from sharing the JOY  within his heart for serving the Lord.

It was an eventful time for Paul when he established the first church at Philippi during his second missionary journey.  After receiving a vision of a man saying, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us,” (Acts 16:9) Paul perceived God was now opening the door for him to carry the Gospel westward to the Gentiles.  So he set travel for Macedonia.

After he arrived, he visited the thriving city of Philippi.  There he met Lydia, a business woman who sold fine cloths of purple. Lydia accepted Paul’s message of Christ and both she and her family were baptized.  Then, Paul delivered a damsel from a spirit of divination only to be cast into prison along with his fellow evangelist Silas who had accompanied him on his journey.

But, as customary with Paul, he used any situation, opportunity, and circumstance for the furtherance of the Gospel.   While in prison both he and Silas sang praises unto God at midnight.  God intervened with an earthquake that resulted in the conversion of the Philippian jailer and his whole household…. Thus, the church at Philippi was established.

Paul writes often of the faithfulness that the converted Philippians showed to him throughout the rest of his life with their financial support, gifts, and prayers.  But, now in a Roman prison awaiting execution, he wishes to “comfort” his followers.  He assures them that every seemingly “bad” thing that had happened to him was divinely orchestrated for the continuance and furtherance of the Gospel…Good or Bad, Paul rejoiced in the Lord…”Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 3:1)

The book of Philippians is packed with promises for the Christian, including his famous words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).  It takes the Love of God for a man to show more compassion and concern toward those who will be grieving his death than being anxious that his own life is about to be taken!  (For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  (Phil. 1:21)  And, Paul was truly filled with the Love of God for both God and the people of God.

Today, you may be in need of strength and encouragement; we are indeed living in difficult times.  If so, I encourage you to read Paul’s love letter to the Philippians in Philippi and know that each promise he shared with them is also a promise that God is sharing with you; right now this very second…

Remember, God Love You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper…

God is our refuge (safe hiding place) and strength

Psalm 46:1

For the past several weeks, I have been deeply engaged and engulfed in studying God’s word and writing lessons for a 10-weeks Bible study for a group of wonderful ladies in my area.

I was very thankful when they called asking me to come and teach for them. Almost immediately, I sat down at my lap top with Bible in hand to seek out God’s guidance.  Within minutes, I felt the Lord had placed the foundational scripture for the study upon my heart, “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10).  Truly, one of my favorite verses.

Before I knew it, God had given me topics for the entire ten weeks. Next, it was my time to study and study deeper.  While studying for week-two’s lesson, I discovered some hidden truths in the Apostle Paul’s words of comfort to his blessed church in Philippi.  I don’t think I will ever be able to read the book of Philippians in the same manner again after “digging deeper” into the scriptures.

Scholars tend to differ which imprisonment Paul was when he wrote to Philippi, but I tend to support and agree that he was in Rome facing the last days of his life.  His words of encouragement to his beloved friends are a testimony of his great Faith in God and in God’s sovereignty at a time when he was facing death.

When we “dig deeper” into God’s words, the Bible, along with commentaries and other resources surrounding the Bible and the Good News of Jesus Christ, we can receive a much-needed and renewed sense of faith within our heart and spirit.  Nothing can compare to “digging deeper” into God’s word.

Today, you may be in need of strength to face a certain situation, circumstance; something that you were not prepared to deal with…If so, take time to meet with God in prayer and ask Him to show you what scriptures can be applied to your situation.  In today’s mass media world, God’s Words are as close as your finger tip.  Try to find time to read the Apostle Paul’s words found in the four chapters of Philippians.  What heart-felt words of encouragement for all types of situations and circumstances.

“Dig Deeper” in God’s word, for in it you will find strength and rest for your mind, soul, and body.

Remember, God Loves You

Lin T. Rollins, Author