“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
As many of you may know the book of Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible and the Apostle Paul is one of my heroes; although many will agree that I have surpassed him as chief of all sinners. In Philippians 4:4 Paul wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" There is a story behind the attached photo of two girls, sisters who attended school at Bois Marchand which is located on the Northern outskirts of Gonaives. The photo of them was taken on my journey to Haiti in March of 2010. I went alone on that trip and was just blown away that I could capture this moment in time. They were about to eat their lunch, the girl on the left was in the process of getting up from their desk and getting her plate of rice and beans. After they ate their lunch, I took a photo of her plate that had been polished clean and this girl let out a loud squeal of laughter that turned many of the heads, as she was embarrassed that I was taking a photo of her empty plate. Rejoice for that sound of laughter, for that smile, for that gift of God. Your quarter put a wide smile on her face; you can barely see it in the second photo attached (that is my normal photographic skills).
Back to Philippians, we read that Paul wrote about how the Lord had given him joy even though there had been so much suffering in his life. And as he served the Lord, Paul found a great deal of joy. Sometimes it is really easy for us to rejoice and to fulfill Paul's strong encouragement for us. Sure, everything's going right in our lives, house doesn’t need repairs, money is in the bank, car is running smoothly and heck, I have even managed to lose ten pounds during this holiday season; rejoice, I will say it again REJOICE!
But there are some times when it is not so easy to rejoice. While interviewing this child I learned that she had not had anything to eat before coming to school that hot day in March, nor had she anything to eat the night before. A plate of beans and rice is a reason to rejoice. For you and for me as believers, we have much to rejoice in when we think of our salvation. This child and her sister will prayerfully bring many reasons to rejoice in their lifetimes as they bring the saving message of the salvation of Jesus Christ to the lost in Haiti.
We not only have salvation from the penalty of our sin, which would be spending an eternity burning in hell, but also from the power of sin that God gives us in day to day living. Consider the blessings that God has given you as your Savior: strength, supply of needs, grace, mercy, peace, on and on and then consider the blessings that you have made possible for these two girls in Bois Marchand, rejoice! Think about those things throughout this day and you will do as Paul said - rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!
Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay