Tag Archives: Renewed mind

Rejoice … Always?


We love to be happy. We take special joy in happy celebrations. But we’re not always happy are we? There’s a lot of stuff in life that steals our joy. We don’t rejoice in disappointment. We don’t rejoice in cancer. We don’t rejoice in being mistreated or ignored by others. We don’t rejoice in hardships or injustice. But Paul says we can – and should – rejoice always… when we rejoice in the Lord. (Philippians 4:1)


Why can we rejoice in the Lord always? Because he is the ultimate authority over the suffering and difficulties we face. He is the one who:

  • Makes us able to be gentle with others
  • Answers our prayer with a peace that transcends all understanding
  • Renews our mind with thoughts that are true, pure, and praiseworthy
  • Teaches us the secret of being content in all circumstances
  • Gives us sustaining strength
  • Meets all our needs


We can rejoice in the Lord in the face of all trouble because he is constantly faithful, because his plan is infinitely wiser than ours, and because he offers hope we need and can’t find anywhere else. The world brings pain and disease but we can rejoice in the Lord because he restores our soul. The world is filled with turmoil and anxiety, but we can rejoice in the Lord because he gives us peace that transcends all understanding. The world is full of uncertainty but we can rejoice in the Lord because his faithfulness is constant.    We can rejoice in the Lord because he is strong when we are weak, because he loves us when we are most unlovable, because he calls us when we aren’t even looking for him, and because he never abandons us even when we turn our back on him. We can rejoice in the Lord because the headlines at the end of all time read, “God Wins!” and those found rejoicing in him win with him.



If you have nothing else except Jesus you may find that Jesus is all you need. I cannot imagine more or settle for less. Paul is not talking about putting on a plastic smile and pretending to be happy. He’s speaking from the personal experience of excruciating suffering and still finding the contented joy in rejoicing in the Lord…always.


Have you learned the secret of rejoicing in the Lord even in the toughest of times? Maybe today is the day to turn to him and ask him to reveal more of himself to you – more of his power, more of his love, more of his joy, more of him in your life.



Living more…with less


Many years ago I was inspired by a book called Living More With Less. It was written in 1980 by Doris Janzen Longacre before “living green” was in vogue. Her premise is that we live “more” when we live in ways that honor God’s creation, are mindful of the plight of the poor, and in keeping each other in mind. She asserts we can live more when we live with less. Her book describes practical ways to “live simply so others can simply live.” (You can get a copy here.)


I was thinking about this yesterday when reading about “income inequality” in the USA. I was reflecting on our observations in Bolivia where world poverty reports list 45% of people there living on $2 or less a day. In fact, much of the world lives on less than $1 per day. We read about it in the news – children going without food and medicine, no access to clean water, no hope for sustainable living – and yet such news is quickly shoved aside. After all, we live busy lives and what could we do about such things anyway?


We could live more simply so others could simply live.


We went on an experiment in living more simply, first by choice and later by conscription to a situation. What we found is that there is often more in less. For example, if you enjoy an income of $30,000 and you find a way to live well on $25,000 you have $5,000 more, not less than you had before. If you live on $50,000 and live on $40,000 you have $10,000 more. If you live on $100,000… well you get the picture. People think they can’t afford to tithe or give to others. They think they couldn’t possibly live on any less than what they have. But we can and maybe we should if we are really interested in Jesus’s commands to look after the needs of the poor. We all have more available to share when we live with less.


Living with less doesn’t mean living with nothing or even living less. It means living well with a clean conscience, celebrating what you have that you value most. There’s no inherent value in living a minimalist life-style as a goal in itself. But living with less can help you – and others – live more. Buying less things means having less things to store, less space to store it, less to insure, less to break, and less to worry about. Living with less not only provides more savings, but also more enjoyment of what you have, more awareness of the simple things, more of the beauty around us. Making more money doesn’t always allow us to live more. But living more with less might. Living more with less contributes less to filling the landfill and more to filling our lives with the best God really intended – for us and for others in need.


I know this sounds crazy and maybe impossible. We’re conditioned to follow the pattern of this world in always wanting more. Having more makes us happy – we think – until we tire of what we have and yearn to replace it with something better, something more. Too often more is less and less is more. By renewing our mind, there is a transformational power to live more, even with less…especially with less.


What would living more with less look like for you? Imagine how it would simplify your life and fill it with more satisfaction and meaning.

Here’s to living more – with less!