Celebrate and Rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Phil. 4:4, NKJV)
Our God is a God of celebration. You may have heard it said, “We should live every day like it’s Christmas.” Another way of putting it is, “Jesus lived and died for you yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so why make distinctions among the days?” Here’s why – God does.

Look for a moment at the Jewish calendar. It’s almost more difficult to find a day that is not a festival, fast, day of remembrance, or holiday. Passover commemorates the rescue of the Israelites from Israel, Shavuot celebrates the Law being given to Moses on Mount Sinai, Sukkot marks the wandering of the Israelites in the desert. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur is the day of atonement. Purim celebrates the Jews’ deliverance described in the book of Esther, while Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple after its deliverance from the Syrians.*

There are fast days and feast days and pilgrimages. God taught the Jews to remember and to celebrate all that He had done for them. Why? I think it’s because humans have very short memories otherwise. We are quick to forget the good God has done amid the troubles of the moment. Like the Israelites wandering in the desert, complaining of hunger when God had just rescued them from slavery, we often act as though God won’t redeem the difficult situations in which we find ourselves, despite all evidence to the contrary.

This past Sunday, we celebrated the first birthday of our 5twelve City Church plant, and what a celebration it was! Donuts, coffee, brunch, worship, a powerful message… who could ask for a better birthday party? Why is this such a big deal? When all our arrangements for a venue fell through, the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center almost just fell into our laps. When we lost our worship leader suddenly, the Tylers and then the Phillips family joined us to keep the singing going. Our 5twelve Kids leadership got a great new job opportunity in Houston, and Cheyenne stepped in and continued their legacy. When we needed a new venue, the FED opened up just two Sundays before, when their routine Sunday commitment departed. We’ve been on the edge of not being able to meet financial commitments, only to have surprise windfall contributions.

What have we learned? God is faithful! If Paul could tell the Philippians to rejoice, while he himself was in prison, how much more should we rejoice in this family God has given us?
Hope is what happens when the blessings and miracles of the past convict us that God will continue to be faithful into the future. – Jurie Kriel 9/19/19

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Rom. 12:12, ESV)
- Sarah Jo Smith, Austin TX, 24 Sept. 2019
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