Lesson 5 -- fourth quarter 1996
September 29, 1996
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications
Me? Rejoice? Surely you jest!
How can we make plain the vision today?
"Although." My computer crashed, and I lost a bunch of time and data. One of my vehicles now sports a profuse oil leak, and what I did to fix it didn't. I spent a bunch of time and energy on some tomato plants, but tomatoes remained only a genetic squiggle in the plants' DNA. Doors for our return to Mexico have opened various times in the last five years, and have shut before we could walk through them; now the door is wide open . . . but we are no longer free to walk through (I just made that decision a week ago today). The lump on my jaw refuses to go away, and the three on my back are likeminded. "Yet I will rejoice . . . I will joy."
Our refusal to rejoice reveals a temporal focus. If my joy and rejoicing depend on things working well and doing what they are supposed to do, I'm looking the wrong direction. If our joy springs forth only when we are in good health and feel good, our joy will be fickle indeed. May the Lord teach us to rejoice in Him!
Our refusal to rejoice reeks of ingratitude. Ingratitude results from a wrong focus and presumptuous expectations. Before we can succumb to sadness, discouragement or depression we must first ungratefully disregard the myriad of wonderful things, events and people with which God has blessed us. May the Lord teach us to count our blessings and to give thanks in everything!
Our refusal to rejoice is disobedience. Perhaps this statement strikes you as carrying the matter just a little too far. I'll admit, I don't like to think of rejoicing in these terms either. "Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified" (Psalm 40:16). "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). "Rejoice evermore" (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
Our refusal to rejoice keeps us from climbing higher. I am again blessed and challenged to realize that God wants to use the mountains in my life to take me higher! "The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places."
You are a watchman. For generations before you, others have stood guard, some of them specifically for you. Now your turn has come to exercise vigilance. So get up that tower! Watch for the vision, then proclaim it faithfully and clearly, "that he may run that readeth it" or hears it or witnesses it in your life.
In my announcing of the vision, I try to make my proclamation as plain as possible. In my writing and in my speaking presentations, I strive for practical simplicity and real-life clarity. But I believe the "thing" that will most enhance the directness of my message is my life. Oh, I may have a lot of good, even helpful, things to communicate, but if they do not manifest themselves in my own life . . . . Well, you know the problems that come with personal inconsistencies in the life of the messenger. So ask God to lodge His message in your heart and life.
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