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Rejoice! Pray! Think!

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:4-8

Being the somewhat practical person that I am, I have always appreciated Paul’s letter to the Philippians. God has used it to grow me and teach me how to love and trust him more and more. I’ve learned how to face my fears and how to keep my heart and mind focused on him and the good and excellent things of life.

That daily choice to focus on what is excellent and praiseworthy is so important. Otherwise the false, immoral, unjust, ugly, impure and abominable things of this world can overtake us so easily.

I am sad to admit that Joy has not been the emotion that has dominated my life. While joy, Joy in the Lord, has certainly been a part of my life for years, I did not start out that way. In my youth and young adulthood, I spent more time wrestling with fear and anxiety (mostly completely unwarranted) than turning to God and putting all my cares on him.

I thank Him not only for changing me, but also for continuing to grow me toward the person he created me to be.

So, in this fallen world, what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy? Jesus, of course. And there we find Joy!