Joy Ridderhof, born March 30, 1903, was the youngest daughter of the six children of Nickolas and Anna Ridderhof. Joy learned at an early age her need of a Saviour, but it was at age 19 while attending Columbia Bible College that she began in earnest to practice the truths of rejoicing faith that set her apart from the crowd and made her life a radiant inspiration. Her obedience to God's call to record the gospel for every language group brought blessing to the nations of the world through Gospel Recordings.
Joy Ridderhof founded Gospel Recordings and was director of the work for 39 years. She consistently admonished and challenged staff members and others to exercise rejoicing faith in the face of adversity. Perhaps her most remembered question to us was: "Are You Rejoicing?"
In this daily devotional booklet, as in the first two, Joy's personal faith and rejoicing practices are clearly expressed and seen through her walk of obedience with God.
On the morning of December 19, 1984, Joy Ridderhof quietly and peacefully "fell asleep in Jesus" and Joy began the joyous task of meeting the millions of people from over 4000 tongues, tribes and nations who heard of the saving grace of Jesus Christ through Gospel Recordings.
May God speak to you as you meditate upon these thoughts and life experiences taken from Joy's letters, personal diaries, and taped messages. Our prayer is that as you are encouraged to exercise rejoicing faith in every hard and dark place, God will be glorified and many souls will be turned from darkness to His marvelous light.
A person may ask, "How can I begin this life of rejoicing?" Not being a theologian, I will not analyze the steps a person takes to enter a new plane of living, but I have seen many find their way into a life of victory through rejoicing. After trying to rejoice and failing many times in their own strength, they have taken God's promise of victory. "Who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord." We realize that in a promise God puts Himself within our reach. We may take this promise of God that assures us of an overcoming life.
"Likewise reckon ye yourselves also to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:11)
Lay hold of this promise. Rest your whole weight upon it. It is God's Word to you, and all the strength and power of our omnipotent God is there to back it up and to make it good.
So it is we may rejoice by faith. We may thank God for making Himself available to us, for it is God who quickens us by His Spirit and makes it possible for us to live a life of rejoicing. His promises are valid and there is omnipotence in EVERY PROMISE God gives to His people. At any time we may ask God to show us a promise which suits our need. We may search for this with glad expectation, counting on God to make it come alive to us. We may apply it to our hearts with assurance.
No matter what is on the debt side, one promise of God can counteract and overbalance all. Then, let us continue to live from day to day, rejoicing in the "land of promise" and persevering in it. Are you persevering today? Are you beginning your journey -your adventure in the life of rejoicing? Are you rejoicing? Make it YOUR CHOICE to REJOICE!
Quite suddenly and out of a blue sky, as it were, I was overwhelmed with a burden or a depression which pressed down on me like a crushing weight. It continued for days with little or no relief. Sometimes it seemed unbearable and I could not understand it. But from the start I set my soul to praise the Lord even more than usual. I sang and rejoiced and the worse it became, the more I expressed praise and worship and thanksgiving to Christ. Although I still didn't know the why of it, yet I knew that nothing would please Satan as much as if he could stifle the song of praise, or get me to turn my eyes within instead of up to my living Lord.
I also knew that God, through rejoicing, would be released to do mighty things in my life and in the work of reaching out to the lost tribes of earth with the gospel message. Before long I began to realize that the whole thing was mainly Satan's attempt to intercept the progress of the work by stifling faith and rejoicing.
In the space of less than a year and eight months we had been able to successfully record nearly two hundred of the New Guinea languages and dialects, and plans were being made to press out to other fields, some of the most neglected in the world. The enemy knew that if the song of praise could be hushed the battle would be his! And it was these very words that had been sent to me by a friend that helped me make of that experience one of the greatest victories of faith of my whole life.
"Keep up the song of faith, the foe will hear and flee,
Oh, let not Satan hush your song, for praise is victory!"
As unannounced as it came, this battle ended and with it such an open door for faith that it seemed as though I could reach out and take kingdoms for our Lord and Christ!
WHEN BURDENED . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Melbourne, January 21, 1953. Tonight (the night the burden lifted) is a peak experience of my life. I have never sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit more fully than now, nor has my mind ever leapt ahead so greatly to the things that are before. Even now I'm writing down the many things I believe He would have me take by faith for this very year, as well as on and on until He comes.
I believe that millions of souls are potentially born into the kingdom this night. I also believe that everything is definitely heading up for the great consummation.
January 27... Now it isn't only dreaming, hoping, expecting, but much seeing as abundant token for the fulfillment of His promises. I feel so weak but received great blessing from Hebrews:
" ... out of weakness were made strong, obtained promises, waxed valiant in fight."
Our weakness is evidently the ingredient God uses for doing wonders!
February 10... We are in Lake Kutubu, Papua, and God has done for us glorious things. Wonderful is His name. Oh, His promises - His answers! His words - His fulfillments! It is all so beyond human power to express... it is joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Day by day He has unfolded His plan and worked His manifold blessing. Over and over again by faith we have said, "We know God will not fail us. He will do something wonderful!"
He has, and He will complete what He has begun.
WHEN WEAK . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Suki... February 26... God has encouraged me to step out into the deeps of His promises. These terrific declarations of expectation for this year that I have made seem to be continually corroborated by His Word, and I am constantly receiving new assurances within my soul. His Word keeps pouring in the cement under my feet... Those who may stand by and wonder at my fantastically extravagant goals for this year should behold with me the Words of God cheering me on.
When we see through what He means and the extent of His promises, the vastness of the resources to which we have access by faith, and which we may reach out and take and possess, it is a staggering revelation!
There is faith, and there is credulity, but real faith is the confidence of things hoped for, the settled knowing in the depths of our hearts, being sure - secure in our hope. It is solid ground, firm substance.
If we can see, then we don't need faith.
I have stuck my neck out so far this year, have opened my mouth so wide, but believe it shall be even as He has promised. Day by day without lapse or change He has steadily strengthened the hope in my heart and given "Amen" to it!
WHEN STAGGERED . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
My own experience in the past weeks has been so thrilling. After those weeks of battle in January in which I seemed to be sifted as wheat dragged through a knothole. But it was a wonderful experience because He gave songs in my dungeon and permitted me to praise Him with a hearty spirit even in the worst darkness and pressure.
Yes, it was glorious in itself because with all else squeezed out God remained. It was the joy of believing without any feeling or inspiration to help. It was taking His Word alone, just as it stands, yet knowing beyond feeling or seeing - this Word alone would stand and the outcome was sure.
Faith, assurance, reaching out and taking of His treasures, setting foot upon the possessions He offered, - taking over the government of new spheres, entering into the possibilities of new worlds. Mine! Mine! Ours for the taking! In this, asking is receiving.
"Ask of Me and I shall give thee the heathen."
Oh, that the eyes of all may be opened so that they may see the legions awaiting the call and command of faith!
We are expecting way beyond our powers of accomplishment. But as we look back over the last months and tabulate the great miraculous things He has already done we cannot doubt that He can also do ALL the rest!
WHEN SIFTED AS WHEAT . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
January 31, 1953 . . . Dear Board and Staff, Let's move ahead with God this year. If some of our goals were not reached last year let's stretch ahead for far greater ones!... God has led me to place tremendous goals for this year, and I believe He can easily fulfill every one but we can hinder Him and keep millions from getting the Gospel.
I believe He wants us to take and claim far, far more than we have ever done before. I'm asking for 25,000 phonographs, 1,000 new languages, 500,000 records and A MILLION SOULS. And I'm ashamed to be asking so little from such a God.
If I said 200,000 records you'd say we'll roll up our sleeves and do it, but in the face of 500,000 you'll say, "God must do it." Expect Him to and move forth as though He actually were going to do it! Dig the ditches and He will take care of the rest...
... Let us fearlessly step out on His promises - the BARE WORD OF GOD - and make a great victory which will completely swallow up the failures of the past. Let us examine ourselves brethren. Is there in us an evil heart of unbelief, a bit of pride or self-seeking or desire to gratify the flesh? Let's be cleansed of every stain, and no more hinder the outflow of God's power and grace...
WHEN DIGGING DITCHES . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Satan would be so glad if we would decide to walk by sight, for he knows our sight is so poor we would be sure to stumble. But when we walk by faith, we are walking by God's sight WHICH IS SURE!
Oh, let us rise up and go forward in the name of the Lord of Hosts. We are but a little handful in comparison to the great company we are going against, but well able to overcome them by the power of God...
... Oh, how marvelously God has worked in the past... again I know I do not have strength for the least of what is ahead - But my GOD IS ABLE !
Is thy God able?
Oh, let us get before the Lord and gaze up into His face until our soul is fused with His grace and glory and power. Until that One fills us who meted out heaven with a span and gathered up the dust in a measure, and taketh up the isles as a very little thing, and to whom the nations are as a drop in the bucket!
Know Him and NOTHING will seem impossible!
WHEN FACING IMPOSSIBILITIES . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Years ago I made the impossible goal of recording 100 new language groups a year. We didn't quite reach it for a couple of years, but after making the goal we accomplished three times more than before, and soon we were reaching that number and more to make up for the lack in other years.
The Holy Spirit has been revealing great and mighty things to me. It's hard for me to pass them on although they possess my very being. I'm asking God the Holy Spirit to do the same for you and enable you to go forth at His command according to the vision He gives.
The need of these lost millions breaks my heart, but we don't have to stand and weep, but believe that God has put within our hands that which when blessed and used by Him can "thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills as chaff, and the wind shall carry them away and the whirlwind shall scatter them and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel."
For what period of history is God referring to when He speaks of the great things He will accomplish in the earth? If it is not for now, for when is it?
Oh, may He make straight paths for our feet and confirm the feeble knees. Let us say to those of fearful heart - FEAR NOT! Read Hebrews 11.
WHEN FEARFUL . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE !
After God had been urging me to take and take for this year, I thought perhaps this is too much. Perhaps this is a figment of my imagination - but since then have come some quiet words of assurance. "According to your faith be it unto you:" "Blessed is she that believeth for there shall be a performance of the things which were told her from the Lord."
"Abraham staggered not... but was strong in faith knowing that He who calleth the things which are not as though they were, would be able to perform His promises."
"Because Sarah judged Him faithful who had promised, therefore sprang there so many as the stars of the sky in multitude and as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable."
"Who through faith subdued kingdoms, obtained promises, out of weakness were made strong (I love that) waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens."
I've asked God to increase the work by multiplication this year and not addition, and this is the challenge and promise: " ... They that sow sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and they that sow bountifully shall reap also bountifully. He will also multiply your seed for sowing."
WHEN CLAIMING PROMISES . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE !
My heart is filled with joy in the expectation of the great things God will do in the earth. Let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. The assurance and confidence in what He is going to do is so great that there is the consciousness that it is as good as granted.
My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour, for He that is mighty has done great things and holy is His name. He hath showed strength with His arms, He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things (hers was a song of faith).
Let us forget the things which are behind and press forth to the prize..
May God enable us all to LEAP to the opportunity and believe that He will do the mighty things He has promised.
Let's begin NOW to praise Him for the fulfillment!
WHEN CONFIDENT . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
When we first arrived in Australia, we told of this God of ours who had done, and would do, wonders through faith and rejoicing. We have seen the manifestation of it already before our eyes in Australia.
When I spoke to the Wycliffe Bible Translators in Melbourne the theme was often about rejoicing - that we should always look forward with the certain joyous expectation of seeing Him do marvels.
Although that was the very time that all seemed so dark, I declared that I believed that the months ahead would be the most glorious of our whole life in Gospel Recordings.
Now, as I look at my diary having to do with this, I find these words:
"AND SO IT IS."
Through rejoicing the very weapon in the hands of the enemy is turned to his own destruction. Obstacles are turned into vehicles. By rejoicing you ride the enemy instead of being mastered by him.
Deuteronomy 32:29 "Happy art thou, oh, Israel, who is like unto thee, oh people saved by the Lord... and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee and thou shalt tread upon their high places"
WHEN ALL SEEMS DARK . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Recently Satan rose up with terrible threats. We recognized that it was a thrust against our great advance into specific countries, and we took our stand in the name of our Conqueror, the Lord Jesus Christ. We wielded the two-edged sword of FAITH and PRAISE and the enemy beat a retreat! "This honor have all God's saints" says the Psalmist.
In Psalm 146 we see that the high praises of God in the mouth puts into our hand the two-edged sword against the enemy.
It is fascinating to be in this Christian warfare. These battles that come to us give us experience. We learn by experience to recognize the strategy of our enemy, Satan. We must not be ignorant of his devices. With much experience we can more effectively triumph over our enemies. What man can be an honored soldier unless he has known combat?
Let us not run from the enemy attack, but stand in the almighty name of Christ. Let us recognize that it is our enemy who is bringing that terrible depression or that awful sense of fear. Let us make full use of our rights as His child.
Let us take our two-edged sword of faith and praise and not let go until the enemy has turned and run!
WHEN UNDER ATTACK . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
It is hot out here, unusually so, even for New Guinea, but He gives strength and cheerful endurance. Now my hostess has put a fan in my room which helps so much.
"When troubles and trials crowd upon you, my brethren don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends." James 1:1-2.
Yes, even when it is so hot that you feel you are continually in a steam oven, and your clothes stick like glue, and mosquitoes devour you unmercifully, and the noises about you continually hammer in your ear, and you can't sleep - realize that these are friends and not enemies. So you welcome them for they serve to deepen, sweeten and strengthen your spiritual life and make you a blessing to others.
"He will exalt you in due time." "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
When our Lord sees that we are willing to accept inconveniences, disturbances, discomforts from His hand gladly, He always steps in with a cooling fan and never lets us be tempted above what we are able to bear.
He has a blessed purpose to perform through these things.
WHEN IN DISCOMFORT . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE !
I've been listing a few of the benefits that trials bring: patience, understanding, sympathy, tenderness, knowledge of God, appreciation of Calvary, greater desire for the consummation of the age, heaven, the glorious return of Christ, retirement from the superficial things of the world that separate us from our devotions and communion with the Lord.
Trials crowd us to Christ. They cause us to take our eyes off people and to put them on the Lord. Material things begin to receive their proper evaluation.
Through trials we learn to see that God's way is best. We come to realize our helplessness and are cast completely upon Him. We become humble, and in that place He can and does exalt us.
Even if there were no reasons for us to "glory in tribulation", it is given to us as a privilege not only to believe on Christ, but to "suffer for His sake." Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered.
When we rejoice in tribulation we receive far greater benefits than otherwise could be possible. Our Lord is made glad as well, and others seeing us are also encouraged to rejoice.
Therefore, let us not fail to rejoice and give thanks continually!
WHEN IN TRIALS . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
We have the record of history and the testimony of experience to attest to the value that comes through difficulties. The word of God, both by example and declaration tells us many reasons why troubles, trials, adversities, hard times, afflictions, illnesses, losses, limitations, persecutions and unjust treatment are permitted and even sent to us from the Lord.
"We glory in tribulation also, knowing that..." What are some truths we know? If we dwell on these, the part that we do not know can well be trusted into His hands.
We know that "all things work together for good for the redeemed..." We know that nothing that hits us should be considered "strange" "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you... But, rejoice.." He promises that the trial of our faith is more precious than gold - purifying and increasing our faith.
Paul said that the trials that came to him had fallen out unto the furtherance of the gospel. Looking back into his experience and the experience of others that suffered intensely, we know that to be true.
Instead of asking "WHY?" when trouble comes, let us remind each other of the truths we know and in dwelling on these truths make it our choice to rejoice and glory in tribulation!
Are you rejoicing?
WHEN IN DIFFICULTY . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE
Patience must be a virtue of great importance to God. It must be worth any price to obtain. In Romans it says: "We glory in tribulations knowing that tribulationworketh patience." In James 1 we find: "Count it all joy when ye fall into various trials knowing this, that the testing of your faith worketh patience."
And in the fifth chapter we have the same thought. "Take my brethren, the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy who endure..."
James goes on to explain why we count as happy those who have suffered great afflictions such as Job. Because we have seen how the Lord dealt with them in the end. "The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy."
Who is counted happy in this world? Not those who have afflictions and sufferings but those who endured through patience. These prophets who had suffered demonstrated such great patience as to be an example to us all of those who are counted truly happy.
I must admit that I have passed over it often because patience did not seem something wonderful to obtain. It certainly is not glamorous. l like the promises about glory, fruitfulness, success, triumph, possession of nations for Him, honor from Him, but this? Who wants it?
WHEN TESTED . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
So we must change our viewpoint. Instead of exulting in getting this, obtaining that, feeling something else, we must glory and rejoice in that we can suffer - even in little ways from day to day, thereby having patience worked into our lives.
Yes, patience brings its own reward. Patience brings us to the realization and the actual endowment of those things "which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," which are promised to those who rejoice.
We have not only heard of the patience of Job, but have seen the great recompense that he received, the manifold reward.
We are in line for a great prize, but it is not cheaply given. It is not found at the fifth inning. There are battles that endure just for a night, and some that continue through scores of years. Every battle won adds up scores for the final touchdown. We have races which last an hour, and there is a race that takes our whole life. The great prize is not granted until the race is won.
Rejoicing will lighten the way, speed us onward in the race and make "enduring" joyful to the end!
Are you rejoicing?
WHEN IN BATTLE . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
O walk in a way that is slippery and dark is not cause for joy or gladness. To be faced with lurking dangers, pelted by rains, chilled by cold is not in itself a matter for praise. (In this work of recording the gospel for every language group we have had many such occasions!)
But when the way is hidden, and we cannot see, and we are weary, worn, hungry, lost it is blessed to hear, "This is the way." "Here I am." "I will direct you." "No harm shall befall you." "All these things are working together for good." "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." "Happy are they that keep my ways." Then because I hear His words, have His promises, and believe, I can sing in the ways of the Lord.
Storms may come. Lightning may flash. Dangers may lurk on every side. No matter what comes - how tangled, how misty, how difficult may be the way before us, when I hear His words I am comforted. I am enlarged. I am given hope, assurance and light. I will continue singing in His ways and claiming promises. I shall be filled with glory, for great is the glory of the Lord.
"All the kings of the earth shall praise Thee, 0 Lord, when they hear the words of Thy mouth. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord."
WHEN IN DANGER . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE !
You will be thrilled to hear this story of God's provision for me. When l arrived in New Zealand I found that my one suitcase had been lost in transit. I remembered to "count it all joy" and what do you think happened? My host and hostess who owned a department store completely outfitted me for my travel in cold New Zealand!
Besides this my host asked for my ticket which just took me as far as Australia, and exchanged it for a round-the-world ticket - a gift! When I arrived in Australia and needed to attend to the securing of visas for my stops in various countries, I found that to apply for entrance required exactly the sort of ticket I'd been given!
Now what would I have done if God had not caused this new friend to do such a magnanimous thing? I did not have the money.
We do not need to think of this. When I stepped out by faith, the Lord already had this planned. Let us exalt His name together!
When I arrived in Sydney airport, there waiting for me right before my eyes was my lost bag! God is faithful.
"What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits? I will bless the Lord at all times." While we wait for His answers, let us "count it all joy!"
WHEN LOSS COMES . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
"Now I would have you know brethren that the things which have happened to me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel." Phil. 1:12
What things? Bonds, imprisonments, envy and strife by so-called Christians, reproach, unfair criticisms. Everything was heaped on Paul all at once!
It would have been enough for him to be in that dank, awful prison facing imminent execution, discomforts of body, threats and blasphemy of the unconverted, but to have on top of that all the strife and wicked opposition of his "brethren" It seemed too much!
And yet, it was under this very condition that he said, "These things have fallen out unto the furtherance of the gospel." They were aimed at him to stop the progress of the word of God, but they worked the opposite. Oh, how wonderful!
Yes, and in Gospel Recordings we could tell story after story to add to this. The persecution in Honduras, my illness, the war, trials in early stages of the work, casualties in the loss of needed workers, not getting buildings we thought we needed, illnesses, seeming frustration, trial and testing from within the ranks as well as without, criticisms, oppositions, lack of supplies, in journeys and dangers and isolation - BUT ALL of these things have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel. Let us not forget it!
WHEN DISTRESSED . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Did you receive bad news today? Turn it quickly into a matter of praise, a challenge to faith, a stepping stone to expectation.
When Paul and Barnabas were in prison they sang songs at midnight. Paul reached a height of rejoicing then and on many other occasions. His song has several verses. Phil. 1:12.
Verse 1) I am thankful for these trials and afflictions and stripes because they are working to the end that more people may be saved;
Verse 2) No matter about this pretence in the proclamation of Christ and this insidious purpose to add to my misery and suffering, I do rejoice in it and know it shall be for my salvation;
Verse 3) My desire is that Christ may be magnified through my body whether it be by life or death. My only ambition is that His name be glorified. If my life is to be taken, then I will be with Him and that will be wonderful. Nothing could be better than that. If I am to be spared (and I believe I shall be) then it is for blessing, for your progress and joy in the faith, and we will have a happy time when we get together and review it all.
Verse 4) Don't be afraid of persecution and hardships or whatever thing Satan or any other adversaries may try to bring. Remember, it will turn against them and you will get all the benefit. You see how much good has already happened through my imprisonment. The brethren are more bold to proclaim the gospel and that is worth it all.
And if Paul could have foreseen all the rest of the blessing that was to come, his song would have had no end of the verses. Think of the millions (in which we are included) who have been encouraged not only to rejoice, but to carry the flame lit by Paul of taking the gospel where it was not named.
WHEN IMPRISONED . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
If I ever wrote a devotional book (which I am not contemplating) I'm afraid it would not be very popular! In devotions you want something that will sooth and calm and comfort you. Something to make you feel good.
But I am glad that years ago when I was still in my teens, Dr. McQuilken in dealing with my propensity to worry said, "That is sin." If he hadn't, I might have dragged that besetting load with me through life. There would have been no great victories on the mission field, and no Gospel Recordings reaching its arms around the world.
Therefore, I wish to be faithful to you. You have perhaps lost your money. I say, "Rejoice in the Lord because of it." You may say, "I have been cheated. I have lost my job. My friends have dropped me. My plans have fallen through. I didn't get my share of the inheritance. I'm ill. What do you say about it, Joy?"
You already know my answer. "Rejoice and thereby make every one of these trials a springboard for blessing and fruitfulness."
But you may say, "It's killing me."
Now I am not heartless. I've suffered too much for that, but I know that Jesus said: "Unless a kernal of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."(John 12:24,25)
Even when it's not in you to do it, by His Spirit count it all joy.
WHEN LOSING ALL . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
God says, "Rejoice evermore! In everything give thanks." Why should we do this? He tells us in the same verse. "For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Why does God will this for us? Why won't He let us not rejoice about a few things? Why is it important to give thanks for EVERYTHING?
First, because as God's children we believe that all things come to us from HIM. He allows all that touches our lives. If He sends trouble it is for a purpose and so we can thank Him for it.
Second, if we are not thankful, we are unthankful to say the least, and it may be there will even be a root of bitterness that will spring up. God says that by this many may be defiled.
Rejoicing is the plant which takes over keeping down the roots of bitterness which would hinder the fulness of the blessing of God in our lives and the lives of others.
Bitterness cannot take root where joy and a spirit of thankfulness are rampant.
"Rejoice evermore! In everything give thanks" and provide no ground for a root of bitterness to grow.
Are you rejoicing?
WHEN QUESTIONING . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE
"Rejoice, and again I say, Rejoice." Phil. 4:4 This work of sending the gospel to everyone in his own tongue is God's answer to rejoicing faith. It is a principle which means, "Rejoice when everything is against you. Rejoice when you are ill or lose your money or your friends." "Rejoice in the Lord always."
In 1936 I returned home from Honduras ill in body, disqualified for future missionary service and without financial support. It was a dark picture indeed.
Then God's Word spoke to my heart, "Rejoice, Joy, Rejoice."
God is working all of these things together for your good. He has a wonderful purpose for your life. "My ways are higher than your ways."
And I answered, "Lord, I will believe. I do trust Thee and thank Thee for what you are doing. I rejoice by faith in these circumstances because I believe You are using them for great blessing. I believe these very difficulties will accomplish the fulfillment of my heart's desire to reach the lost."
And you already know the sequel. How wonderful indeed! Rejoicing for what you cannot see is your investment for future dividends. Are you rejoicing?
WHEN DISQUALIFIED . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
When praying about a certain matter I came to a conclusion which really meant doing nothing. Just waiting. Then it was called into question and I asked the Father if He still had a further word to me about it that was different. lust then I glanced down where I was reading. I can't quote what I saw, but it was this thought, and the very answer.
"When you are asking for a victory which only God can bring, then rest - and let faith sing."
What a truth is embodied here! Many times we believe that we are exercising faith, and of a truth we are, but we are exercising with self-effort instead of just letting it sing. If God is going to do it anyway, why not enjoy letting Him take it over completely? (And incidentIy, He will enjoy it a good deal more as well!)
Much of our faith has a mixture of works. "Our God has spoken." says our chorus, "so laugh and sing." Yes, we can relax and sing. It is something He has to do anyway - that change in another's heart, that removal of hindrances, that opening of a closed door, that victory. So let faith sing!
Even if there are bumps and the storms whisk us about to some extent, never fear. We are safe for we are in His care.
"When you are asking for a victory which only God can bring, then rest - and let faith sing!"
Are you resting? Are you singing? Are you rejoicing?
WHEN WAITING . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Are you facing a battle? Rejoice! The Lord shall fight for you. You don't need to get in and convince someone you are right and he is wrong. Just tell your heavenly Father about the difference. He will take care of the battle. He will make it right in a loving way. He will fight, and your part is to sit on the side lines and hold your peace.
If you jump into the fray, your peace is sure to go rolling away. If you, in calmness sit and watch the Lord do the fighting, your peace will stay.
When you see His masterful tactics, you know that victory is certain, and what victor would not rejoice? Indeed, it may not even look like a battle when He is doing the fighting, for He is able to soften any heart. "Even the wrath of man shall praise Him and the remainder of wrath shall He restrain."
A trusting heart sits still and holds its peace and sees the victory first by faith, and then by sight.
Are you rejoicing?
WHEN IN BATTLE . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Have you reason to groan? Then rejoice, for your cry unto God will be heard. In Exodus 2 the king of Egypt died. The children of Israel were in bondage. They cried. Their cry came up unto God. "God heard their groaning." He remembered His covenant. He will remember His covenant with you. He will break the power of your oppressor. He will bring release and comfort. Should we not be encouraged to know that God hears and answers our cries? That He can and will come to our aid? That victory is in His hand to give? That our enemies shall not continue to triumph over us?
This verse should also be a solemn warning to us. There is a vast difference between crying out to God in faith that He will take hold of our situation and work by His mighty power, and crying out in complaint against our circumstances.
God permits the circumstances, and to complain against them is to resist God's plan for us. Woe unto us if God hears our groaning in self pity and the desire for an easy life! Our groans will condemn us.
Rather, let the song of praise arise from hearts that trust when all outward circumstances make us want to groan.
God is listening for our cry. Will it be one of murmuring and doubt or one of faith and praise?
WHEN GROANING . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Our God wants us to praise Him, and He wants us to praise Him with understanding. "For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding." Psalm 47:7
Often we are told to praise when things look dark and we don't understand why God allows such things. You do not need to understand the reason for each experience in order to praise Him with understanding. We may not understand just why sorrow has come. We may not see how some experience will bring glory to God, but through faith we can rejoice.
It is through faith that we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. It is also through faith that we can praise with understanding.
We can praise God in trials and sorrow and suffering and bewilderment because we understand the nature of God - that He delights to work in ways far above our human understanding.
When we understand the character of God, that He allows testing and trials to accomplish His good purpose for us and in us, then we can rejoice when we can't understand the details.
Praise God! Even though we cannot understand or see the reason for each experience, we can sing our praises today with understanding!
WHEN BEWILDERED . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
How lovingly God deals with us! How thankless and joyless we often are, and His goodness continues.
Don't think that He owes us something because we serve Him. We are His servants, His slaves, and joyfulness is to be a part of our serving. Deuteronomy 28 states: "Because thou served not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart for the abundance of all things therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee."
God wanted Israel to serve Him, but He wanted more than service. He wanted joy and thanksgiving in it. He does not rebuke them for not serving. He rebukes them for serving and not rejoicing in it, for not being thankful. Because they did not rejoice, He made them serve their enemies!
If we don't choose to rejoice in the abundance of all things while serving God, we may find worry a very real enemy to our health, our happiness, and our service.
If we allow worry to take over, are we not serving an emeny? Rejoicing is a weapon to fight our enemy. Worrying is the enemy's weapon to defeat us, but worry cannot hold out against joy!
Are you rejoicing?
WHEN SERVING . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Brethren, let us praise the Lord! When was the last time you thanked Him for His goodness and mercy?
"Praise ye the Lord. Oh, give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever... who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?... Who can show forth all His praise?"
We cannot tell all His great acts of love, or praise Him enough for blessing, but we can begin to thank and praise Him instead of accepting His gifts indifferently or casually.
"Oh, but I don't complain." you say. If you neither complain nor praise then you certainly are lukewarm. God does not like lukewarmness.
Sometimes God has to deny us His blessings so that we will realize how very blest we have been. Then when He restores we are grateful and begin to praise. How much better it would be to ask Him to make us sensitive to His blessings, obedient to His commands to praise Him.
Like a chemically treated film which brings out the picture because light has come in, He can make our spirits sensitive to His goodness and praise will be registered when His light shines upon us.
WHEN LUKEWARM . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Today, so many do not see Jesus. He is with them truly, but they don't recognize Him. I am sure that if they would rejoice that He was with them, they would realize His presence. They would see Him.
As Mary grieved over the death of her Lord, her eyes were blinded by her tears. She could not see Jesus. Jesus' salutation to Mary was "Rejoice" ("Hail" in this passage means "Rejoice".)
Jesus had deep meaning to this greeting. Before He went away He told the disciples that if they really loved Him they would rejoice in the fact that He was going away.
Rejoice because He was going away? Why?
Because He would be set free from the body of His humiliation; redemption would be accomplished; Satan would be defeated; Jesus would be in the exalted position with the Father where He could bestow the Spirit without measure and be with them always.
So to Mary He gives a word which can be recalled in every dark hour -"REJOICE" A word that reminds her that Jesus is all He says He is and more.
What a word this is! REJOICE!
If you are discouraged, disillusioned, disappointed - LOOK UP! Jesus is ALIVE! JESUS IS WITH US! REJOICE!
WHEN GRIEVING . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!
If you didn't have a hard test this week against praise and rejoicing, you did not have the chance to prove His exceeding grace and power in your spirit!
God desires praise. He asks us to praise Him. Over and over He repeats that He wants our praise, and the praise of all. One cannot do it for another - each has his part to play in His orchestra; not one instrument must remain silent.
"Let all the people praise Thee, Oh God, Let all the people praise Thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall reverence Him." Psalm 67:6-7.
First praise, then shall the earth yield her increase, then shall God bless us. Then shall the ends of the earth reverence Him. Then shall revival come.
His name will be made known with conviction unto the ends of the earth. Tribes will be reached. The lost will be sought and won. The rebellious shall be saved. The increase is sure!
God is waiting to pour out blessing, until there is no room to receive it! ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU REJOICING?
WHENEVER . . . MAKE IT YOUR CHOICE TO REJOICE!