Good afternoon! I hope you had a wonderful Spring Break and found the time to rest, catch your breath, and the respite required to come back with the energy that is needed for the remainder of the semester.
Our Lenten devotional for today comes to us from Nancy Styles. Nancy serves as the Executive Assistant for the Vice Chancellor for Government Affairs and assists Margaret Kelly in the Office of Community Projects. If you’ve spent any time on the top floor of Sadler Hall you have undoubtedly been met by the warmth of Nancy’s smile and experienced her deep love for TCU. Likewise, because of her deep connection to her faith, Nancy was recommended by more than one person as someone who might be a good person to write a devotional. I am grateful for her willingness to do so, and for the words she invites us to reflect upon today. Blessings on your journey…
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
REJOICE! That word is used close to 150 times in the Bible. Do you think the Lord was trying to tell us something? “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” I don’t know about you, but that’s not always an easy thing for me to do. I take this verse to mean that we are to rejoice in Him no matter what our circumstances are!
If you’re like me, it’s easy to rejoice when something fun or exciting is going on. Like when your daughter/son is getting married, when your newest child or grandchild is being born, when your favorite sports team is winning, seeing and spending time with your children or grandchildren, etc. But, it’s a lot harder to rejoice when we’re going through a catastrophic event in our life (death of a loved one, experiencing or watching someone go through a sickness or cancer, divorce, etc.) or even in the mundane, everyday things of our life. I recently went through an event in my life where I just kept focusing on all of the negative aspects of the event and was very anxious about what the outcome would be. And, unfortunately, a lot of the people around me kept feeding to that negativity. Instead, I should have been looking for the good in what was going on and focusing on that.
As we go through the Lenten season, I would encourage each of us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives and not on the negative ones. Surround yourselves with encouragers and not discouragers. 2 Corinthians 13:11 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
Father God, thank you that you are the giver of life. As we go through each and every day, help us to focus on YOU no matter what our circumstances are. Help us to be an encourager and not a discourager to others. And above all, help us to REJOICE! Amen.