This booklet has been compiled as a tribute to Joy Ridderhof's nearly 40 years of inspiring leadership as General Director of Gospel Recordings USA.
We believe it captures the essence of the rejoicing truths that she has been proclaiming through the years and that have made her life of faith a vibrant witness to the greatness and faithfulness of God.
Because we have been greatly enriched by her message and example, it is our prayer that all who read these pages will discover for themselves the secret of her joyousness and be constrained to make rejoicing faith their own way of life. Together with Joy, may we all put that faith to work for the glory of God and the good of all nations.
Download the booklet as PDF - Devotional - Count it all Joy!
SING A NEW SONG . . . HIS PRAISE!
I have a deep conviction that wherever -- no matter how restricted by circumstance -- a song of praise goes up and up from loving hearts consistently, in continual thanksgiving for all He sends through trial or pain, it shall reach even unto the end of the earth!
No walls can hinder it, no vault can retain it, no distance can deter it, hot suns cannot wither it, nor pelting rains drown it!
This new song, made fresher and sweeter because of the circumstances that would bind it, shall carry His praise throughout earth's circuit!
Try to hold it back, try to smother it, try to clip it's wings! So long as we permit this song of faith by the power of His Spirit to soar out from us, it cannot be quenched until its sound has gone into all the world!
"SING UNTO THE LORD A NEW SONG . . . HIS PRAISE FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH."
ARE YOU REJOICING?
The basis for rejoicing is obvious. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming. Everything we see of God's handiwork -- every suggestion of His power, every reminder of His love -- all these persuade us to trust God implicitly.
The design of His plan, which we can trace back through the years in our own lives -- and the lives of others -- is also proof to us that God's way is best. But if our eyes have become dimmed and if our memories fail, we have yet a myriad of reminders before us in the Word of God. We have enough to employ our thoughts with love and praise throughout our whole lives! Let us put our stakes deep into this fact, "God is love."
Abraham took one promise and banked everything on it. He gave glory to God on the basis that God would fulfill his Word; and having believed, he was steadfast to the end.
We do not have just one promise, but many, and each is just as true as the one given to Abraham. Furthermore we have centuries and centuries of experiences behind us of those that have proved God and have found Him faithful.
With this great cloud of witnesses let us hold fast our faith and rejoicing firm unto the end.
IN EVERYTHING . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN IN DISAPPOINTMENT
Do God's children ever become discouraged and feel like giving up? YES! Many times! But this is never God's plan! He has a far better way. God wants us always to be full of joy and rejoicing!
We must remember that our joy and happiness is not found in things that happen to us. But our joy is in the fact that Jesus is Saviour and He lives within our heart; and God is our Father who constantly watches over us. No harm or illness can come except God allows it. No loss or misfortune comes without God understanding it. Our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine, and He is able to give us all we need. We must learn that what He sends to us is the very best thing for us. Then we can always rejoice and be glad.
So when the next disappointment comes your way, say "Thank you, Jesus, for giving me this disappointment. I know you sent it to me for a purpose. It is the very best thing for me." Then let Jesus cheer you and give you real JOY! He loves to do it for His children!
EVEN IN DISAPPOINTMENT . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN IN A WILDERNESS
In the 106th Psalm we find these two contrasting phrases. "They believed not His Word: but murmured in their tents," "They believed His words; they sang His praise."
Herein lies the secret of the rejoicing life -- it is in believing His words. In the army during the war they posted an ironic sign, "If you don't like it here, resign." The Israelite's should have said, "Let's like it or turn back." And of course they couldn't turn back any more than our soldiers could resign. But they kept on murmuring and all it did for them was to keep them going round and round right in the wilderness that they hated.
Murmuring is the opposite of rejoicing. Unbelief causes murmuring. Murmuring is sin. When we really believe God, we burst forth into praise! We need no other proof than His word.
The sooner we begin to believe God's Word and thank Him by faith, the sooner will our hearts be warmed in the realization that His word is true and that the answer is on the way. Paul said, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." A writer has said, "What a source, God! What a supply, His riches in glory! What a channel, Christ Jesus! It is your sweet privilege to place all your need over against His riches. His exhaustless treasury is thrown open to you. Go and draw upon it in the artless simplicity of faith and you will never have occasion to lean upon a creature prop."
EVEN WHEN YOU'RE IN A WILDERNESS . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU MUST DO IT BY FAITH
"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing."
I believe there are two things sadly lacking among God's people today. One is that we do not sorrow, and the other is that we do not rejoice. Oh yes, we do sorrow! People are borne down with grief because of the loss of loved ones, because of frustrations, or hurts of one kind or another that affect them personally; but they give very small proportion of their attention to the sorrow that stabs the heart of God, the grief that pierced the Saviour on the cross. They do not have a deep concern for the millions of lost souls who are without Christ -at least not enough to drive them to hours of intercessory prayer or to count everything else of little importance in comparison to reaching them for Christ.
And they do not know how to rejoice! Oh yes, we are elated and pleased when we have our own way, but we are even niggardly in praising God for all the visible blessings and benefits He pours down upon us each day, to say nothing of rejoicing in adversity. Instead of rejoicing in the hurts, injustices and losses that come, many nurse them, meditate on them -- give so much time to their grief there is no time left to intercession or for reaching the unreached.
Rejoice in your tribulation. Have a heart at leisure from itself that you may fellowship in Christ's sufferings, by giving time for the souls He died to redeem.
And as you pray -- believe and be glad.
EVEN WHEN YOU MUST DO IT BY FAITH . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T SEE
A friend of mine used to say, "If only I could understand this trial, it would not be so hard." Amy Carmichael said, "l cannot recall a single explanation of trial -- we are trusted with the unexplained."
May God enable us to live in patience and rejoicing, so that the trial of our faith may be found unto praise and glory at the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whom having not seen we love... yet believing we rejoice.
We believe, and therefore we rejoice! Faith which is not expressed in gladness lacks its inherent quality.
There are many reasons why l rejoice, but l just wish to mention one which makes me consider it a sin not to do it. Rejoicing is our way of expressing confidence in Christ in all that He does. Not to rejoice is not to believe -- not to believe is not to love.
Having not seen we rejoice. Just so, faith which calls "the things which are not, as though they were," rejoices in the glorious reality of the unseen.
Keep up the song of faith, however dark the night,
And as you praise, the Lord will work, to change your faith to sight.
EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T SEE . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
There are some people who can never see how or why they should give thanks for things they don't like or don't understand. Usually these are folks whose faces often wear a cast-down or fretful look, or whose words do not always carry the spring of victory.
When I see they cannot take it in, as yet, to rejoice by faith I stress to them all the positive things which could consume their thought and time in praise. I mention the blessings of every day which we all share -- the sunshine and the rain, water, air. Then we talk of the One who paid such a great price to set us free, whose Name is Love.
Let us be:
Thankful for all life's leanness here below,
For all earth's little heartbreaks and despairs, For every loss sustained that I might know How much, how very much, my Father cares. Thankful for every wound unto my pride,
For all ambitions of the flesh that failed,
For poverty and pain, and dreams denied -To teach me how completely Christ prevailed.
"In everything give thanks" seems hard at first, But oh, it is the gate through which I see, When men forsake and life has done its worst, The Christ of God Who hung on Calvary -And gave me so much to be thankful for. Though all else fail, how could l ask for more?
IN EVERYTHING . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY
EVEN WHEN IT TRIES YOUR PATIENCE
I am sure some of you must think, "If Joy only knew my trouble she would not say, 'Rejoice.'" Dear one, l do know how deep heartaches can go. I know how fiery trials can be. l do not believe in this life we will get to the place where we will not feel these hurts, these cruel wounds that gash our hearts. But according to the measure that we can look steadfastly in His dear face and trust Him and praise Him -- in that proportion they will be made more endurable. Yes, and in that proportion they will result in blessings and eternal fruitfulness. Afterward they will yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness -- thirty, sixty or a hundred-fold.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, for it has great recompense of reward!... but "ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.." Right around the corner a surprise is awaiting you -- don't give up. Right over the brow of this hill, you will have a glimpse of sunshine country. Fill that cup with praise! Tell Jesus your thanks before you see the answer -- you can even thank Him for this hard thing.
Sing your assurance in the night and chains will drop off, iron gates will yield, and the answer will come in such a manner that you will scarcely be able to contain your joy!
"He is silently planning for thee in love."
EVEN WHEN IT TRIES YOUR PATIENCE . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN TESTINGS ARE HARD
While we were in the Philippines in 1950 we had a time trying to record the ninety different languages of those islands. (See Mountains Singing) Over and over again we had trouble with our recording equipment. In between attempts to fix it and prayer regarding it, we would go back to test and see if it was working. In doing so, we would often sing one of our rejoicing choruses: "Our blessed Lord is working out His purpose..." "Testing, testing, testing." "He's teaching us and training us..." "Testing, testing, testing." "To trust His guiding hand..." and so on.
The Word says our light afflictions which are but for a moment are working for us an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. What a thought! These very hindrances and testings are working for us! As we rejoice they become our servants to work in us the glory of God and the fulfillment of our heart's desires!
Sometimes, frankly, it seemed as though it would be much more in the Lord's interest to let the equipment work smoothly and thus avoid delays and expenditures which seemed unnecessary. We would think, "What good can come out of this?" However, He has not promised to explain His doings but has asked us to rejoice in them -- so we did, by faith.
Often we meet people who say, "Reading Mountains Singing has taught me to trust in the Lord." At least two of our GR workers have come to us as a result of reading the account of those many trials in the Philippines, and letters through the years have told of hundreds of souls who have been saved through hearing the records which were made then. This gives overwhelming evidence that rejoicing makes devoted servants out of our difficulties.
EVEN WHEN TESTINGS ARE HARD . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT
As a missionary in Honduras, I spent most of my years in a mountain station far removed from other missionary co-workers. It was not an uneventful life. Things were happening. Souls were being saved and set free from their evil ways and vices. On the other hand, the enemy of souls constantly instigated persecutions that harassed the Christians.
I had learned never to look at second causes but always to receive everything directly from God's hand joyfully. l must say that my soul was often sorely tried, but l believed that all those things that came upon us would only serve to bring more blessing, more results and to strengthen our faith.
But there was so little I could do against the forces of evil that were constantly arrayed against us. l had no power and l had no access to any form of earthly justice or protection. I was cast on the Lord.
This verse meant worlds to me: "For men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen a God beside thee, who worketh for Him that waiteth for Him. Thou meetest him that rejoiceth." Is. 64:4,5 (ARV) And ever afterwards it has been a principle which has yielded abundant fruit. Not, "God helps those who help themselves" but "God works for those that wait for Him"... that trust Him -- that rejoice in His faithfulness.
I have seen God perform so many wonderful things as the result of waiting with praise. In fact, if any great thing has ever come to us, it is quite likely we would say, "All we did was to pray and rejoice. God did it." Our part is to wait believingly, joyously, praisefully, and know He will do it.
EVEN WHEN YOU ARE HELPLESS . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT!
In Isaiah 48 we read, "with a voice of singing, declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth. Say ye, the Lord hath redeemed His servant, Jacob."
Utter it with joy, tell it with gladness!
Keep rejoicing in your spirit throughout your daily tasks. Put cheer into your everyday voice when you answer the phone -- in the office, the store -- speak with the ring of hope and faith. If you can't wear a smile on your face, carry one in your voice. It's a command, "Utter it with a voice of singing -- for the Lord hath redeemed." Note the past tense. Miriam said, "Sing praises unto the Lord for He hath triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea."
Every false sect says DO. Our Book says DONE! He hath overthrown your enemy. He hath redeemed you. He has already promised the good you seek. He has made provision for your present need. "Sing -- for the Lord hath done it."
Tell it with a voice of singing -- to your family, your neighbors -- and to the ends of the earth. It's a wonderful story to tell! It's a wonderful song to sing!
Yes! and remember...
EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN IN DISTRESS
Are you rejoicing?
"Upon a broken limb that swings
There sits a bird that sings
Knowing it has wings."
At this moment our parakeets in the garden are chirping their merry song as they do through all the hours. l have a friend in New Zealand who had a great deal of illness and nervous trouble. She knew she should rejoice always, but thought a little reminder would help her. So she trained her parakeet to say, "Rejoice, rejoice, Thora!" Sometimes she did not feel in the mood, but the bird would chirp out glibly, "Thora, Thora, where are you? Rejoice, Thora, rejoice!"
Jesus often gave us rejoicing reminders: Fear not, only believe. Have faith in God. Be of good cheer.
When Ann and I were going to Mexico in 1944, we had a terrific demonstration of how a circumstance that seemed to be fatal to our recording trip was just a forerunner of one of the most exciting answers to prayer we have ever had. After that, as never before, we said, "No matter what comes, let us remind one another to rejoice, and we did. I lost my purse... rejoice, Joy. We had some flat tires... rejoice! We were delayed in the country because of the war... "Thank you, Lord Jesus."
And as a result of that trip, the various tribes have heard the gospel on the discs over and over, and many have been saved. Soar up above the smog and noise and distress about you, into the clear blue of God's heaven through the wings of praise!
EVEN IN DISTRESS . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU SEE NO INDICATION OF AN ANSWER
Moses and the children of Israel, after crossing the Red Sea, sang, "l will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea." And Miriam answered them, "Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously."
They had good reason for singing for they had just been miraculously delivered from the Egyptians after all those bitter years of bondage. It says that when Israel saw the enemy dead on the seashore, they believed the Lord. They believed because they saw. But Jesus says, "Blessed are those that have not seen, and yet have believed."
I have often thought how wonderful if the children of Israel could have sung and danced to the Lord before they crossed the Red Sea -- before they saw the great deliverance. God has promised it and that should have sufficed.
When we were in Africa, near Egypt and the Red Sea, this thought was emphasized. We too were looking to God for a great miraculous deliverance in connection with our entrance and work in Ethiopia. Thereupon, our little band decided that we would not wait until we saw before we sang, but we would sing NOW in faith for what God would do.
It was two and a half years after this before we saw the deliverance. During that interval the prospect of success often became very dim and far away, but we continued to sing and to praise Him for what we believed He would do. We counted it as done. We sang in praise of the yet unseen triumph. And then one day He showed it to us, before our very eyes. And now records are going out to Ethiopia in many languages to give the news of God's redemption from the bondage of sin.
EVEN WHEN YOU SEE NO ANSWER . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU FIND IT HARD TO SING
"Spring up, O well!"
The children of Israel were famished and there was no water. They were advised to sing to obtain it. They did so and the water flowed. They took their staves and dug deep into the burning earth and as they dug they sang, "Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it." And, as Streams in the Desert says, "Lo there came a gurgling sound, a rush of water and a flowing stream."
How did they reach this well? It was by praise. In East Africa we traveled for many weeks in the dry season, and everything was parched and arid. There were no evergreens to relieve the landscape and we often would see women returning with their meager supplies of water, carried in bottles on their heads, after a considerable walk to one of the sparse water holes. Then all of a sudden right in the middle of the desert we saw a tree -- the leaves just fluttering in the breeze as though showing off its sparkling green dress. What a thing of beauty and refreshment it was! There must be a secret -- its roots had surely tapped a hidden spring.
And right today, no matter what your environment or circumstances are, no matter whom you live with or work with, you too can display the joyous dress of His sufficiency. Your situation may be just as dry and unyielding and fruitless as this desert. Sing ye to it and the water will flow?
Praise your Saviour that His promise is true, and your stave of faith and rejoicing will touch the spot that will spring forth His blessing into your thirsty soul.
"Thou waited for deliverance, O Soul, thou waited long, Believe that now deliverance doth wait for thee in song."
EVEN WHEN YOU FIND IT HARD TO SING . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU MUST WAIT
Isaiah 55:9 says, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways, saith the Lord."
When I came home from the mission field in 1936, with a sick body, none of it was according to my good pleasure. I wanted strength to return to the mission field, but no strength came. I wanted to be well in order to serve the Lord, but l continued to be sick, and the above verse took on great meaning.
I am not getting what I want. My prayers are not being answered. Everything is in reverse! And so it was, and so it must be until we realize that when we put our trust in the Lord and yield our lives to the blessed Holy Spirit, we can know that all things are working together for good. He is giving us the desires of our hearts by a far higher and better route than we can devise. He is making all of the mountains that seem to beset us and hamper our progress to be ways, -- highways. He is giving us hinds feet, so we can walk upon the high places and tread our enemies under foot.
This is when we rejoice and sing -- when we believe with thanksgiving. And you will be glad you are not getting your own way when you find out what He does. His way is far better and you'll like it, for "as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways than your ways, saith the Lord."
EVEN WHEN YOU MUST WAIT . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU LOSE SOMETHING
Years ago while living in the home of the McQuilkins as a student of Columbia Bible College, Dr. McQuilken returned from a trip only to find that his clothes had been ruined by an overturned ink bottle in his suitcase. His first remark was this, and I never forgot it, "Take the spoiling of your goods joyfully."
Every day we all have experiences of losing things, having something spoiled at the cleaners or in the wash, or of being overcharged. When traveling abroad, we often were caught in an unfair transaction and reminded one another -- "let us take the spoiling of our money joyfully." While in New Guinea we were looking forward to sharing our bush treks and experiences by means of many colored slides. But when we saw them, they had all been spoiled in the heat. Although we knew they could never be recaptured, instead of being depressed, we rejoiced. After this, the Lord poured so much blessing upon us that it would take more than this little space to describe it!
Isn't it wonderful that we can transform "spoiled goods" into eternal blessings by just a little praise? And besides, we can by this means bring pleasure and delight to the One we love.
Learn this little chorus which Ann Sherwood wrote in the Philippines at just such a time:
There's a reason -- a glorious reason
For everything the Lord may send your way!
When there's nothing going right,
Walk by faith and not by sight --
There's a reason, so REJOICE the live-long day!
EVEN WHEN YOU LOSE SOMETHING . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN IT'S HARD
In Psalm 69 David says, "l am poor and sorrowful..." and then, l think he is wondering what kind of a sacrifice to bring to the Lord so that he can be comforted. He considers giving an ox or even a bullock. Yes, those would be expensive offerings but, after all, would they help? He answers his own question with the words, "l will praise the name of God with a song and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This
also shall please the Lord more than an ox or bullock... They have horns and hoofs."
Some of our service and gifts to God are mixed with pride, with a desire for recognition, or done as unto men. These sacrifices have horns and hoofs. The sacrifice of praise is always a pure sacrifice, especially when it really costs. A friend recently asked one of our workers, "What does it mean to give a sacrifice of praise?" She answered, "It means to praise the Lord when you don't feel like it. "l thought this was a good answer. It is rejoicing when everything in the circumstances of your day is entirely against it. But you know this will please the Lord, and so you do it and get a great blessing in your own heart as a result.
As that sacrifice of praise goes up to the Lord Jesus Christ, He is even then seeking ways to pour it back into your life in manifold measure. It will do you good, it will please Him, and it will spill over as a blessing to others, so set your will to do it now.
"I will offer sacrifices of joy; I will sing; yea, l will sing praises unto the Lord." Ps. 27:6
EVEN WHEN IT'S HARD . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN IT LOOKS HOPELESS
My heart is bursting with many rejoicing thoughts these days. l suppose it is because they have been hard days. Trial and glory often go together. At such times we hear the admonition of the Lord Jesus, "Said not l unto thee that if thou wouldst believe thou shouldst see the glory of God?" This was spoken in the midst of pandemonium. Lazarus was dead. Jesus had not come at the call of His friends and they were disappointed if not disillusioned. And when He did come it was too late. But Jesus knew what He would do. He wanted them to believe and thereby see the glorious outcome. Our unbelief hinders Him in performing miracles in our behalf.
We can bring the glory experiences right into our present need. We know He is going to work it out in a wondrous way, but why not partake of the joyousness of the answer now? Distance and time will melt away as you rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Bring that future gladness right into your heart and your home this very day by rejoicing in the promise you believe. What joy you will give to your Lord when you can show Him that you do not have to see to believe.
The world says see and you can believe. Christ says, believe and you shall see. He loves you, dear Christian. He is in your heart and His greatest delight is to bless you.
EVEN WHEN IT LOOKS HOPELESS . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN THE ENEMY TEMPTS YOU
Enroute to the Philippines the devil fought us. He put many suggestions in our minds such as, "You don't have enough money. They are having guerrilla warfare in Luzon and you won't be able to travel; you have no car and how are you going to cart this heavy equipment from place to place? No one has written inviting you to come and record; you won't be able to get the languages."
As the wind lashed and the waves caused the boat to roll and toss we were sorely tempted. As l walked the deck l lifted up my soul to God as the storm persisted day after day against my spirit. But I repeated the promise. l praised the Lord on the basis of His Word. Tenaciously clinging to His assurances, l thanked Him for the blessings He would give and the victorious outcome of our journey. If we had not rejoiced we would have been sunk!
Then this very special verse was found in Deuteronomy 33:29, (read it all) "Happy art thou, 0 Israel..." and to me it said, "Happy art thou, 0 Joy. Who is like unto thee, 0 daughter saved by the Lord... and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee..." In other words, all these whisperings of Satan are not true. Things will turn out the opposite to what he says. He is your enemy and he is a liar.
And what happened? Bob Bowman met us at the boat. We had no duty to pay, and enough money for all our needs; a car was loaned to us for our travel; missionaries cooperated with us most graciously... and we got the languages -- our "quiver full" -- 92 in the one year!
EVEN WHEN THE ENEMY TEMPTS YOU . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN IN DOUBT
Do you ever have a situation where you are in doubt as to whether you should rejoice? If in doubt, DO IT! "Rejoice in the Lord always!"
A friend of mine had a bad fall in her home which resulted in a broken leg. She said to herself, "l wonder if Joy would say to rejoice now?" Then she laughed to herself at the thought of it. Later she wrote to me to say that the accident had caused a long-time pain in the leg to be permanently relieved!
When we rejoice, we take the situation out of Satan's hands and we place it in the loving hands of God. Dear Christian friend, ever since you put your case entirely in His hands, God has been doing the miracle of working it all out for your good. Are you anticipating the blessing, with praise?
In this work, things have often looked very dark, but after rejoicing we have been able to lift up our eyes and see by faith some of the thrilling things God was going to bring to pass, and according to our expectations, it happened. This work of Gospel Recordings stands today as a monument to God's answer to rejoicing faith, and as an example to show what He will do for you who will trust Him with glad expectation.
In Psalms 5:11 we read: "Let all those that put their trust in Thee, rejoice. Let them ever shout for joy because thou defendest them; let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee."
EVEN WHEN IN DOUBT . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T LIKE IT
"As the Lord hath said,
There is glory on ahead
So keep on praising Him."
The Bible tells us, "You are all children of God by faith in Jesus Christ." As His dear children we have a desire to know His will and to do it. And He has given us this formula:
"In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you...
How simple. You say, "I wish to do His will." Then thank Him for everything! "Let the melody of your heart go up to the Lord continually in thanksgiving for all that He sends you ."
Praise is the occupation of heaven, and our petition, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is in a large measure fulfilled when we thank Him unceasingly.
Are you practicing praise? Do you --
Rejoice when you miss the bus!
Rejoice! and don't make a fuss!
Remember His grace is sufficient for us!
REJOICE! REJOICE! REJOICE!
EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T LIKE IT . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL STUPID
A dear one has written asking: "Can a person rejoice in his own blunders? l would say, "Yes". Being notoriously absent minded, l have made some bad ones! But l do not mean to, and each time l hope to do better. However, I immediately begin to rejoice in it. Furthermore, I thank God for permitting me to make the mistake. Of course, if others have been hurt or inconvenienced because of it, l am sorry and ask their forgiveness. But I trust the Lord to work it out for greater blessing and because l believe He will, l can thank Him.
Once I forgot a speaking engagement. I was shocked when I realized it, and sorry, but it was too late to correct it so l rejoiced and was comforted in the realization that God would cause it to work out for good. The result was this: (and let me pause to say we do not always see the result here and now) a new full-time worker came!
Some people say the only good they get out of such mistakes is to learn not to do it again. Very well, but most of us find that we still are apt to forget things and make mistakes, even though we have tried hard to improve. No rejoicing Christian is purposely careless. So why not turn it to something that will delight God's heart? REJOICE! Rejoice in the hope and glory of God. It is when we realize we are nothing that God can work best.
When we, by rejoicing, place the case in His hands, Jesus takes the "tangled strands that we have spun in vain", and by the skill of His dear hands, only beauty shall remain.
EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL STUPID . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN IN TEMPTATIONS
I am sometimes asked if rejoicing always means that you do not have periods of depression. No, l have had many such periods which have been a source of great trial as l did not know their cause. Satan attacks us at such times and brings condemnation to our hearts. l deal with it very simply. l come to the Lord anew, reminding Him l am His child and that my life is His. "If this depression is from Thee, Lord, show me what it is; put Thy finger on it." But if it is just a general bad feeling and nothing l can remedy, l just thank him for it, as He tells us to do.
Temptations can be very real, but they are not in themselves sin, unless yielded to. Your dedication to the Lord is what you are in your heart; it is what you have sincerely said to God. These bad feelings do not affect your dedication -- it is just the enemy's way of getting you to be discouraged. Take the shield of faith. Rejoice -- thank God that His Word is true. Find a promise and grasp it to your heart. Eat it. Appropriate it. It is yours. He says He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ. He says He has loved us with an everlasting love. He promises to guard us from all evil -- to provide our needs and to satisfy our spiritual hunger. He says He will never leave us and that at His right hand we have pleasures forevermore.
Take these promises. Rejoice in their truth. Those bad feelings within you are not true -- they are not from God. Fill your mind and heart with His Word. Praise Him for the fact He is using these very temptations for a great spiritual victory in your life, which you will experience in reality.
EVEN IN TEMPTATIONS . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for those that love Him."l Cor. 2:9
Yes, even in this present world He has "squillions" more of blessings for us than we can dream about. When trials vex us and temptations would overwhelm us, express that vote of confidence to Him which is -- REJOICE!
What can we expect from God? We can ask every good of which we have heard; every good which God has promised in His Word, or that we can think of or imagine. We can go beyond limits of all human description, and after all, God is able to do more for us than we can ask or think -- and He will.
Do you believe it, dear one? With such a rich, loving, faithful Father and Friend, who did not even keep back His only Son, but gave Him up for us all, do you think He would deprive us of any good?
"None of self, Lord. All of Thee."
And watch Him work, rejoicingly.
Praise God! Give thanks! Keep practicing praise!
EVEN IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY
EVEN WHEN NOTHING MOVES
"I will sing in the ways of the Lord."
In 1954 when desiring to enter Ethiopia for our work, we were faced with insurmountable barriers -- impossible!
But remember, in old time "the singers went before" the army, so we decided that we would just sing and rejoice and let the Lord follow after and fight all our battles.
It is a wonderful secret! We sang these words to the tune "It Is No Secret What God Can Do":
I have a secret
So laugh and sing.
Our God has spoken
Don't do a thing.
Just keep on praising
Your Lord and King!
This glorious secret
Will vict'ry bring.
For three years nothing moved, but banking on His naked promises, we kept singing, and the outcome was glorious! Inexpressible joy!
Keep practicing praise -- sing in the ways of the Lord.
EVEN WHEN NOTHING MOVES . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE TO WAIT
I remember when this verse from Psalm 65 came alive:
"Praise waiteth for Thee, 0 God, in Zion."
We faced an impasse in the work. Part of our house had been condemned and must be torn down. But we had neither permits nor builders nor money to rebuild. Humanly we were stuck.
Time passed and no change. "I know! We must praise God more heartily. We must prepare the way for the answer with much thanksgiving. The cup of praise must be filled to the full!"
"Praise waiteth for Thee, 0 God." Like those who raise banners and have the musicians in trim for the reception of a king we must anticipate, with joy, His blessing.
The only hindrance to God's working, if our hearts are right, is lack of faith. We express our faith by praise. We were kept rejoicing by faith alone for months, and when the answer came, it was so miraculous and so wonderful we could only bow and worship Him.
Are you raising the banners of praise in preparation for the answer? Cast not away therefore your confidence which hath great recompense of reward. Your cup will be running over with joy. Gladden the heart of your Saviour with praise.
EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE TO WAIT . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN IT COSTS
In Leopoldville a missionary asked me, "How do you dare offer these records free of charge? How can you?"
I said, "We dare not do otherwise. The promise, 'It shall be given you' is contingent upon obedience to the command, 'Give'. if we want to receive, we must give -- but we cannot outgive the Lord."
The more we give Him of that which costs, the more He pours back to us. To rejoice when it hurts costs us something. To rejoice when we are humiliated is not the thing which gratifies our human nature. To thank God when things go wrong is not what our proud hearts enjoy. To praise our Saviour when we have been offended by another is a sacrifice, but when we give this kind of praise to Him, in the hard places, it accumulates and multiplies in His hands and is poured back into our hearts in overflowing blessing. As Gladys Aylward expressed it from the Chinese, "You will receive blessings so many you will never use them up."
Give praise in trying days, and then anticipate the joy He will pour back into your soul. Remember, it is a promise, "GIVE, and it shall be given you."
EVEN WHEN IT COSTS . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN YOU ARE MADE LOW
"Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted, but the rich, in that he is made low." James 1:9,10
I have had the opportunity recently to practice some of the advice l give you, and it is good for me. Often when l get up to speak, although l have such a wonderful story to tell, l have no liberty and find myself walking through my message instead of mounting up with wings and being inspired. Now that is a great trial to me, especially when there is a large eager audience and I want to fire their hearts in love and service for a dying world.
But we can rejoice when we are made low, and by His grace l count it all joy. l will say, however, that one of the greatest meetings, as far as results are concerned, came after such an experience. And l trust in God that He will take the intent of my heart and His word which was given', and use such to bring permanent fruit in the lives of many.
In fact, I am looking for even greater results from these meetings where no one could say to me, "That was a wonderful message." All the glory for any results will surely go to Him.
Perhaps you are made low or humbled by circumstances -- rejoice! Brother or sister of low degree -- rejoice in that in God's sight you are exalted.
EVEN WHEN YOU ARE MADE LOW . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN PRAYERS SEEM UNANSWERED
Some of the stories I tell may lead you to think that you rejoice, and presto-things happen in your favor!
That is not true. Sometimes it is this way, and at others you keep on rejoicing through the months and even years. I have things I am rejoicing for, which have seen no change, though I have rejoiced in them for a long time. But l expect to rejoice right on, even if l never see the answer in this life. Abraham never saw the fulfillment of his rejoicing faith, but he lived in the joy of the answer throughout his whole life.
You heard the story about the phonette which Gospel Recordings Australia designed and developed. It is such a wonderful machine --stands up to almost any abuse, plays so faithfully, accurately and so easily that anyone can use it. It's the answer to years of waiting -- the "atom bomb of Gospel Recordings". Yet its full development was preceded by years of trials, delays, frustrations and furious opposition of the adversary.
But we always said, "Let us keep on rejoicing and when it happens it will be better than we even dream about." And so it is! Each one will give a tribe or village a gospel witness.
EVEN WHEN PRAYER SEEMS UNANSWERED .... COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG
We are happy that the children of our staff learn at an early age to give thanks to Jesus for the little disappointments and trials that come to them. One, age 9 years, gave this testimony before the staff, "l did some errands for a lady and she didn't even thank me. l wanted to cry, but when l talked to mother about it, l decided to rejoice instead ." Another, age 8 years, was keenly disappointed one evening when a favorite aunt could not keep her promise to come to dinner. He bravely said, "Mother, Joy would say to rejoice."
The children and I had a little talk together about the reason we should rejoice when things go wrong. Joseph had a life of much suffering and many betrayals. He was cruelly treated by his own brothers, yet he had no ill-feeling against them. He knew God was working it together for good. We remember what he said to his wicked brothers, "You thought evil against me but God meant it unto good, to save much people alive." Even the youngsters could see how very hard experience and disappointment in Joseph's life was a necessary step towards bringing him to his high office and for making him the means of blessing to multitudes.
As we look back, many of us would say, it was hard at the time, but l can now see that it was for the best. Therefore let's not wait until we see the outcome before thanking our Heavenly Father. Let us rejoice now, in the assurance that everything He sends is planned in love for our good.
EVEN WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN THE SMOG IS THICK
REJOICE! REJOICE! REJOICE!
For the Lord hath done great things for us!
He dote all things well --
Far more than tongue can tell!
REJOICE! REJOICE! REJOICE!
For the Lord hath done great things for us!
Exceeding abundantly --
REJOICE! REJOICE! REJOICE!
For the Lord hath done great things for us!
"The former things are come to pass, new things do I declare: before they spring forth l tell you of them. Sing unto the Lord a new song... His praise from the end of the earth..." Isaiah 42:9,10
These former things remind us, not only of the great things God has done for us, but of the obstacles and hindrances, the needs and trials which He has turned to blessing. How often along the way, when everything seemed hard and even impossible, we were reminded to rejoice. And, time after time, when we could have given up, by the remembrance of His promises we have been enabled to look up and praise Him for the great thing we knew He would do, and for the triumphant sequel we were sure to see according to our expectations.
Just as our hearts well up with praise for the "former things" even so by His prediction of "new things" we would (as before) move forward by faith not by sight, to scale a wall or bridge a chasm with the assurance He will not fail. New things will include new tribes possessed, new areas penetrated, new conquests won. And what is the secret of these blessings? It lies in these words, "Sing unto the Lord a NEW song" -and the result: His praise shall be heard from the ends of the earth.
EVEN WHEN THE SMOG IS THICK . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!
EVEN WHEN THE WAY OF THE CROSS IS HARD
Helen Frazee-Bower puts it this way:
Some praise Him for the sweetness of the earth,
Sun-splashed or drenched with dew;
Its hills, its fields, its quiet country lanes --
I thank Him for these, too.
Some praise Him for the energy of life;
For simple tasks to do;
For all the bright abandonment of health --
I thank Him for these, too.
Some praise Him for the kindly clasp of hands,
For friendships, tried and true;
For children's faces, laughing in the light --
I thank Him for these, too.
But, most, I praise Him for a lonely hill,
And One who died for me.
Sometimes I think my grateful heart must burst --
All this -- and Calvary.
Although Calvary was the culmination of the cruelty and betrayals our Lord suffered, we still sing, "I love that old cross", because we know that there our sins were laid, our debt was paid. Calvary marks the place of our rebirth, and the time of our deliverance. No wonder artists have given years to painting this scene; no wonder we sing of it; yet we can never think of Calvary without seeing here the proof that God can make the wrath of man to praise Him. No Calvary -- no salvation.
What is your sorrow? What is your heart-break today? Remember Calvary and offer praise! For someday you will look back on this experience and say, "I am glad it happened, for it brought me to the end of myself, and there I began to live in Him."
EVEN WHEN THE WAY IS HARD . . . COUNT IT ALL JOY!