You Have The Choice To Rejoice

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

Acts 16:25

Your joy as a Christian should not depend on your circumstances.Joy comes from God, and therefore it cannot be affected by what isoutside of you. Don’t be fooled into letting the actions of othersdetermine your joy. True joy comes from knowing that God Himself liveswithin you and has fellowship with you, regardless of yourenvironment. Real joy lies in the knowledge that holy God hascompletely forgiven you of every sin, and even now, He has a homeprepared in heaven where you can spend eternity with Him (John 14:3).The circumstances of your life cannot change these truths! 

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What Else Could I Do?

What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?

Isaiah 5:4

The prophet Isaiah told the story of a man with a vineyard on a fertile hill. The man cultivated the ground and removed the stones sothat nothing would hinder the vines’ growth. He planted only the bestquality vines. He built a tower in the middle of the vineyard so hecould watch for wild animals and intruders. He constructed a wine vatso that he would be ready for the ripe grapes. Then he waited. Ratherthan producing good grapes, however, the vineyard produced worthlessones. The story illustrates the relationship between God and Hispeople. 

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Strongholds

Therefore I also said, “I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.”

Judges 2:3

God gave the Israelites specific instructions: Drive the Canaanites out of every corner of the land,and obliterate any vestige of their abominable idol worship. Thisassignment was challenging! Their enemies had formidable chariots. TheCanaanites had seemingly impregnable fortresses that were dangerous and difficult to overcome. The Israelites failed to drive all theCanaanites from the land. Much about the Canaanite lifestyle andreligion appealed to the Israelites’ sinful nature. Rather than destroying them and their idolatry, Israel compromised. 

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Integrity Upheld

As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever.

Psalm 41:12

Joseph was a righteous man who had cultivated a reputation for godliness in his community. Then wordspread across the community that Mary, the woman to whom he wasengaged, was expecting a child. There would be many who would assumethe worst of this apparently scandalous situation. Joseph probably experienced gossip from some, ostracism from others. Yet he was a man of integrity, aware that God knew the truth of his relationship with Mary. 

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Servants of Doing Right

And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:18

Before you were a Christian you were a slave, in bondage to sin. Even when you did not want to sin,you were unable to do otherwise (Rom. 7:15–24). When God saved you, Hefreed you from sin, but you remained a slave. Now, rather than beingbound to sin, you are bound to righteousness. In every area of yourlife you are obligated to do what honors God. There are some whobelieve that when Christ sets them free, they are free to do whateverthey want. That is not so. The apostle Paul realized that when hebegan following Christ he became a “bondservant” of Christ, and hislife was no longer his own (Rom. 1:1). 

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