Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 24, 2010

more than just lemons and lemonade

As I rented a car on Monday morning, I began the day with a bit of frustration. Maybe it is just me, but irritations large and small seem to creep into every day. Aren’t there days where you would like to give the person who said, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” a piece of your mind?! I am comfortable enough in my own skin to accept that life will always be dominated with daily interruptions of the negative kind. What I am not comfortable with is that often the “stuff” large or small can alter my focus. My Lord says to rejoice and I want to, but often I don’t. How about you?

Back to the rental car! The counter representative told me that I was getting a Cube. Have you ever driven a Cube? One of my friends told me I was driving a toaster. And to top it off, the gas tank was not completely full. It all worked out, but a luxury car with XM radio would have been more to my liking. Isn’t it just like us to view life with expectations that create a sense of disappointment? Even though you and I often fail, our goal should be that each day is viewed with a rejoicing heart. Before your natural reaction of “yea, right!” takes over, look at what God breathed to us in His Word.

Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!

Psalm 118:24 (NIV)
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Proverbs 15:15 (MSG)
A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song.

Do you think that God had Paul tell us to, “rejoice in the Lord always,” as a platitude that is noble but not realistic? I don’t think so! Do you think a cheerful heart is the product of each day’s circumstance, or the result of a heart yielded to God that chooses to rejoice? If we really want to make our faith contagious, a cheerful heart (even on bad days) is a great place to start. Honest evaluation among Christ followers on the issue of  “a rejoicing and cheerful heart” can help us choose how we want to view each day and be viewed by others. I can promise you that our Father is not concerned primarily with our comfort, and will allow the frustrations and irritations to come. But He says “Rejoice!”….so why not obey?

As I journey through life and meet fellow travelers, I see a lot of “circumstances” but fewer cheerful hearts. Every day will bring a new Cube, and an unfilled tank. So be it! But if my (and your) heart bleeds rejoicing, and people see cheer, could that be a catalyst for them to ask about my Lord? Just a thought!  Days may be long and sometimes hard, but in Christ rejoicing can be the norm. Can we make our faith simple enough just to believe the Truth?

The great John Wooden challenged others to make each day a masterpiece. Could there be a better way to create your masterpiece than with a heart that rejoices “in the Lord”. Remember, the source of real joy and meaningful cheer is from the Lord.

And by the way, there was a reason for the Cube. I was on a mission….for the cheapest price. Enjoy your day…and rejoice!

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