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Rejoice! God is With You

Date: Dec. 13, 2015

Author: Michael Mark

Zephaniah 3:14-20, Isaiah 12:2-6, Philippians 4:4-7, Luke 3:7-18

Key Verse: Zephaniah 3:17

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Is anyone here excited for this Christmas? Are you usually excited every year for Christmas? For many people, Christmas is their favorite holiday, and mainly because it is a joyful holiday. It is a time of joy because you get together with family that you have not seen in a long time. It is a time of joy because of the gifts that are exchanged. As Christians, the reason for the joy is because we celebrate the birth of our Savior. But for a lot of people, Christmas may not be a joyful season. Some people may have to work when they don’t want to. Some might be far away from family and be lonely. For some, a sad or difficult event may have happened around that time, and the joy of the season may be dampened by it. For most people, joy depends on the circumstances. The Bible says in 2 different places, in Philippians and in 1 Thessalonians to rejoice always. How can anyone rejoice always, as the Bible mentions? In our circumstances, it is impossible. But in Christ, we can always rejoice. Jesus Christ our Lord is the difference. In the Lord, we can always rejoice. It’s not always like a shout or a woohoo!, but it can be an inner peace, a comfort, and a delight in the Lord.

Our passages today are from Zephaniah, Isaiah, Philippians and Luke, and one of the major themes that stick out in these passages is rejoice. Although Philippians is the classic book about rejoicing in the Lord, today we will be looking mainly in Zephaniah from the Old Testament, so we can get a view to how rejoicing is linked to both the first and second coming of Christ. Zephaniah was a prophet of God who wrote during the time of King Josiah, who as some of you may remember was the last good king of Judah. Zephaniah was a descendant of King Hezekiah, just as Josiah was – so the two are distantly related. The book we are looking at today is only 3 chapters long, and most of it was concerning the judgment of God on the whole earth, and also regarding Judah and Jerusalem. He prophesied that because of Jerusalem’s sin and unrepentance, God would pour out his wrath on them. He raised up Babylon, which came and destroyed Jerusalem and took all of its people into exile.

The verses we are reading in Zephaniah are the last 6 in the book, and they are the only joyful verses in the book. Even though God poured out his wrath on Jerusalem, he wanted to give them hope that one day he will restore them back to their home and forgive them. Look at v.14, “Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!” Who is Daughter Zion, and Israel, and Daughter Jerusalem? They all describe the people of God. Zion is the hill in Jerusalem that the city of David (the original city) was built on. God’s individual people are sons and daughters, but these cities or states are characterized as daughters. He tells them, sing, shout aloud, be glad and rejoice. These are 4 different ways to say the word rejoice. The shouting is that same kind of joy, like when you watch sports and your favorite team makes a big play. Kind of like when we watch Sam Rarick play basketball here at IIT. Now how can the people of God rejoice? They would be held captive and oppressed by a foreign nation, they would not be allowed to celebrate their traditional festivals, their homes would be destroyed and all of their possessions taken. How could they rejoice in a time like that?

Verse 15 gives the reasons why they can rejoice. Look at v.15, “The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.” These are the reasons God tells them to rejoice: first, the Lord takes away their punishment. Second, he turns their enemies back. In other words, he has gotten rid of their enemies. Third, is the the Lord, the King of Israel, is with them, and that is the greatest reason to rejoice. We will look in to each of these reasons now more in depth.

First, the Lord takes away their punishment. The kingdom of Israel was exiled by Assyria. Around 136 years later, in 586 BC (586 years before Christ was born), the kingdom of Judah was taken into exile by Babylon, as punishment for their sin and rebellion against God. God removed them from his presence, and from their homeland. God, however, did not abandon his people. He continued to communicate to them through his prophets to keep up their hope. They weren’t treated very badly in Babylon but the fact that they could not yet go home meant that they were living under the judgment of God. There was shame and guilt. But God promised that he would take away their punishment, so he brought them back to Jerusalem after about 50 years in captivity. Imagine their excitement, imagine their elation. Who could work such miracle – to cause a kingdom to allow a captive nation to go back home, and to give that home back even after someone else started living there.

The Jewish return from exile back to Israel is only the tip of the iceberg. It was but a shadow of things to come, a tiny sneak peak at the great and amazing thing the Lord is about to do. The Lord did not take away Israel’s punishment yet, but their return signaled the beginning of forgiveness. God was not only interested in taking away the punishment from Israel, but also the punishment from the entire world. The punishment that all humanity faces is death. Romans 3:22-23 says, “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 also says, “the wages of sin is death.” The fact that all people die is evidence of sin in the world. In the new Rocky movie “Creed,” Rocky gives us a bit of wisdom. Rocky, the former heavyweight boxing world champion says, as he is getting much older, “Time takes everybody out; time’s undefeated.” So here you stand before the Son of Man, the judge of heaven and earth, and what will be your verdict? Can you look the Lord straight in the eye and say, “I’m innocent?” On what basis? All have sinned, all deserve death, all deserve to be cast out from God’s presence. Rev. 21:8 says, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolators and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” I’m sure you can find at least two things in that verse that you are guilty of. Cowardly? Unbelieving? Liars? People such as these will be cast into the lake of burning sulfur.

But we are saved – we are saved by a promise. Jer 31:33-34 says, “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” That’s the promise! And it’s more than a promise, it’s a covenant. A covenant is a binding agreement, like a contract. It’s like a promise that has consequences if broken. God himself makes a new covenant, a promise to his people, and look at what is promised in this new covenant: his law is in our minds and our hearts. His law is no longer written on tablets of stone, but his law is in our hearts. He himself will guide us in what is wrong and right. In the new covenant God also says this: “I will be their God, and they will be my people…they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.” God promises to be with us. And what is our part? What do we have to do as part of this deal? See, there is nothing he tells us to do to fulfill this covenant. It is a covenant of grace. It is God’s gift to us – to be with us, to be our God, and we his people, to know him.

And how does he come close to us? According to the new covenant, God says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” That’s the ticket! That’s the way out of the lake of burning sulfur. The only way out is if the Lord will not remember our sins. But how is he to do that? He did not spare even his own people from judgment, how will he spare those who are not his people? He would honor his promise by sending his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come and to die for us. Like real death. Jesus came to die, and to put into effect the new covenant that we heard God speak of. Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 22:20, at his very last meal, “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” A covenant, a contract is a promise that has to be signed. God didn’t sign his covenant with ink, but he signed it with his own blood. And so through Christ, and only in Christ, are your sins forgiven and forgotten. Only in Christ alone is your punishment taken away: both Jew and Gentile.

When you believe in Christ, his blood blots out all your sins. Covers over them all. And your name will be written in the Book of Life, again, not in ink, but in blood. You will not be among those consigned to the lake of fire. Rev 20:15 says “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” You want your name to be written in that book, it’s more important than anything you can have or do. When the disciples were driving out demons by the power and authority of Jesus’ name, Jesus told them, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” To have your punishments taken away, and to have your name written in heaven, is something to rejoice about, and both of those can be received by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Look again at verse 15, and we come to the second cause for rejoicing – that the Lord has turned back their enemy. The Lord has caused the enemy to either retreat, or be cleared away. God prophesied through Jeremiah, in Jer 50, that he would punish Babylon for her sins, for her delight in plundering and pillaging Judah. God used Babylon to judge Judah, but Babylon was not free from God’s judgment either. God is sovereign over all nations, he is the king of kings and judge over all the earth. Just as the exiles were oppressed in Babylon, when they returned, and in the time of Jesus the Jews were being oppressed at home by the Romans. But ultimately, we are all oppressed by sins, either our own sins or the sins of others. If you look at Luke 3, John the Baptist calls out the sins of many of the people looking to get baptized. He exhorted the people to share their clothing or food if they had extra. He told tax collectors not to collect more than they are required, and soldiers not to extort and accuse falsely. These might have been common at the time. The people were being oppressed by the tax collectors, collecting tribute for Rome, and a little extra for themselves. Or also being oppressed by the soldiers, abusing their authority.

John spoke as one who had authority, and were turning people around from their sins. He preached the good news, and his messages were so moving that more and more people came to learn from him and to be baptized by him. They must have also heard of the miraculous circumstances of his birth, how his birth was prophesied by an angel, how his mother conceived when she was very old, and how his father was mute because he did not believe the angel. So here was that guy, wearing camel hair and a leather belt, telling tax collectors and soldiers what to do. Imagine that. You are a 1st century Jew, and God promised to make your kingdom great, but right now you are oppressed by Rome. You see this guy preaching. What might you think? Look at Luke 3:15, “The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.” Could he be the promised son of David who will finally bring Israel to glory?

Now the people were wondering this in their hearts. It doesn’t say if anyone asked him if he was the Messiah. But it seemed that he had great insight, enough to read their hearts, and he put their question to rest. He answered them, look at Luke 3:16-17, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Jesus said of John the Baptist that there was no one born of a woman greater than John. He was powerful, but he testified to someone even more powerful. Someone whom he could not even untie his sandals, which was the most humble of services. His winnowing fork is in his hand. Jesus was ready at the beginning of his ministry to separate the good from the bad. The good he will gather up, but the bad he will burn with an unquenchable fire.

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, not only established the new covenant through his death, but has come to destroy his enemies. And if we are in Christ, his enemies are our enemies, and he will save us from them. Who are your enemies? Have you ever been picked on? Believe it or not, I used to be picked on up until 3rd grade. Not all the kids, but some kids picked on me. One guy used to call me names while forcing me to play mercy with him. We were about the same strength, so it was a struggle to wrestle with him. I was relieved that he stopped picking on me in 4th grade. This is just a small example, though as Paul wrote our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities and against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12). Our enemies are sin, demons and the devil. We are slaves to our sin. The devil is not someone to play with either. He’s behind all of the worst evil in the world. And we see sin taking down our families, destroying relationships, ruining lives. Now our ultimate enemies are sin and death. Satan is an adversary, but he is still a created being under God’s control, and God could shut him up immediately in an instant. Why he’s still loose – perhaps to test people, or as God’s judgment to sinners, I can’t really say.

In his book, “The Christian in Complete Armor,” William Gurnall writes (p.102, edited slightly for clarity) – “Satan’s power is so limited that he cannot do what he wants: God lets out so much of his wrath that will bring him praise…God will take him off before he can finish his work on a saint. He can, if God allows, rob the Christian of much joy, and disturb his peace by his cunning insinuation; but he is under command; he stands like a dog by the table, while the saints sit at this sweet feast of comfort, but dares not disturb their cheer; his Master’s eye is on him…Did the Christian consider what Satan’s power is, and who shuts it up, this would always be a song of praise in his mouth. Does Satan have power to rob and burn, kill and slay, torment the body, distress the mind? Who can I think that I am out of his hands? Does Satan love a person more than Job? Or does he not see me? Or am I not in his path? Is he not so bold, or is his wrath satisfied, that I should escape him? None of these reasons keeps me safe. His wrath is not against one, but all saints, his eye is on you, and his arm can reach you. His spirit is not quenched, nor his stomach satisfied with the millions he has devoured, but he is keen as ever, seeing that God is now ready to take away, the end of the world drawing on so fast. It is God alone that you are to thank for this safety; his eye keeps watch over you; when Satan finds the good man asleep, then he finds our good God awake; therefore you are not consumed, because God changes not. If God’s eye wandered or slumbered one moment, Satan could consume the world.”

Satan cannot lay a finger on anyone outside of God’s authority. But we would still have sin in our hearts, and consequently death. If sin is destroyed, then death would be too. Jesus’ blood poured out for you has nullified the power of sin. Having tasted death, on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, defeating the power of death. He has won the victory over death. But then why do people still die? It is because he has not come back from heaven yet, so that this gift of life that he won may be given to as many people as possible until he comes again. However, be assured of this, that death really has been defeated, and those who believe in him have no need to fear of the 2nd death, which is to be cast into the lake of fire. And because they do not need to fear the 2nd death, they really have no need to fear the 1st death, the death of the body either. Jesus told his disciples in Matt 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” Paul writes at the end of 1 Cor 15, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” Jesus has defeated sin and death, and though we may not rejoice over this now, I am sure that we will rejoice over this fact when we see Christ, or when we get to heaven.

We now come to the third reason based on Zeph 3:15 that we can rejoice – and that is “The Lord, the King of Israel is with you.” The other two reasons to rejoice are great, to have your punishments taken away, and your enemies turned back, but perhaps the best reason to rejoice is this: that God is with you. Remember part of the new covenant Jesus established in his blood: “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” The Almighty God has cleansed and purified a people for himself, and has taken them to be his, under his mighty and loving arms. Verse 15 ends “never again will you fear any harm.” The Lord is our strength and our defense. That’s part of Isaiah’s song in Isa 12:2, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” This is what it means when the Lord is with you – he is yours, and you are his. We can confess to the Lord that he is “my salvation,” “my strength,” and “my shield.” When you think about it this way, you are not your own salvation. Nothing else is. The Lord alone is your salvation. You are not your own strength. The Lord is your strength. And you are not your own shield, the Lord is your shield. This seems to suggest some intimacy, or closeness with God. This verse, verse 2, is actually a song, and the object of the song is God. It’s like a love song you would sing to your wife, when the object of the song is your wife. Here this is a song of praise to God.

With God, you are also given access to the wells of salvation. Look at Isa 12:3, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” We need water to survive. Water is nourishment. Water is also refreshing. Think about on a hot day, after a long run, a nice, foggy, cool, refreshing bottle of water. Psalm 42, begins, and you may recognize it in a popular song, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” God satisfies the soul with living water. It is a well that will never run out. Why? Because God is always good, he never changes. If our joy is not in God, it can change. It can run out. If our joy is in material things, like Christmas gifts, or money, or in honor or fame, or recognition, it cannot be sustained, because these things change. But if our desire is for God, he is constant, and eternal, he can satisfy the soul eternally. And where can this water be found? Is it in Fiji, where they bottle Fiji water? Is it in France, where they bottle Evian water? Or is in Maine, where they bottle Poland Spring? It is in none of these places. But as with forgiveness, and strength, the wellspring of living water is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus told a Samaritan woman in John 4:13-14 “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Just as God gives water to nourish and to refresh, it shows that God gives us what we need to sustain life. Water is necessary for survival, so just as God shows that he can provide an abundance, and provide for your life, it shows that God wants to provide for everything you need. So what can we come to God and ask for? The Lord invites us to come and ask for everything, all that we need. This is not like a blank check to ask for a Mercedes or a yacht, but a true heart is a sanctified heart, and asks of things with the right motives, motives that are not worldly. When God is with us, he puts his laws in our hearts. Our hearts are changed to please him and to do his will, to live according to his law in our hearts. The Lord transforms us on the inside. Look at Php 4:6, another passage in the lectionary: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” It’s natural, and ok to have some anxiety, but Paul warns against being overly anxious, perhaps to the point you despair and forget to come to God. He does say in every situation, whether good or bad, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving (we can’t forget giving thanks), present your requests to God. God knows what we need before we ask him, but we ask to acknowledge that he is our provider, and to learn to trust and depend on him.

With God, we don’t have to be anxious about anything either. God can provide what you need, and on top of that, he also give peace. Look at Php 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” God will give you a peace beyond your understanding, beyond words, when you trust in him. Over this past week I was slightly anxious and worried – I had a deadline at work, and also the message for this week, but it was something I prayed for, even with a coworker. God gave me wisdom for work, and we are on track to meeting the deadline, and I have received some help in preparing for the message. But this past Friday, I fell for a moment into a little bit of anxiety. I still had a lot to prepare for the message, and I had to attend my cousin’s baby’s birthday party, and I also had to find time to deliver some things to my mom, uncle and grandparents. On the way there I took the wrong road, and ended up in traffic and I started to get anxious. But I was thinking about why I was anxious – it’s that I wanted more time with the message, but why? So that I can make it better? But I already prepared enough, and I should go and support my cousin, and Mary drove all this way with me. So I repented of trying to take things into my own hands, trying to do what I thought might make me look better, and trusted the Lord. There was this peace after that, to trust in the Lord to help me. I didn’t slack off, but there was also no need to be anxious. By God’s grace, I repented, and received peace.

When you trust in God, you will have peace. You will not understand why, or how. But it’s ok, it’s supposed to transcend understanding. And that peace will guard your heart and mind. That does sound a bit odd… a peace that guards? Don’t warriors guard? But peace? Yes, peace can guard your heart, as opposed to anxiety, worry and anger weakening your heart. And peace will not only guard your heart, but your minds as well.

Now let’s continue through Zephaniah, only 2 more verses so we’re almost done. Look at Zeph 3:16, “On that day they will say to Jerusalem, ‘Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.’” We did see “On that day in Isaiah 12, and here also in v.16.” What is “on that day?” That day refers to the day that Israel will be delivered out of Babylon, and brought back home. That day refers to when the Israelites will be saved. But then we see promises that go beyond their return to Israel. We see promises of the taking away of guilt and never having any more fear. Even today, we only see this in part, but not perfectly. We see the taking away of guilt, and the removal of fear through Christ – but there will be a day when the enemies of God will be unable to reach the kingdom of God, and truly, the people of the kingdom of God will be safe on all sides at all times. In that day we will be transformed, glorified and made perfect through Christ. So here’s what the prophets were seeing: they were seeing all of these things as the same. The deliverance from Babylon was also the coming of the Messiah which is also the return (2nd coming of the Messiah). Even though the deliverance between Babylon and the first advent of the Messiah was around 500 years before Christ, and now Christ’s 2nd coming has been about 2,000 years – the point is, these things will happen. The idea is, if God delivers Israel from Babylon, then the Messiah will definitely come – because if one of God’s promises are true, all of them are true. And if the Messiah came, he will definitely come again. He will not not come. We can consider and live as if the Messiah will come tomorrow. Jesus has come, so the kingdom of God is already here, and even if we don’t see it now, it will be here before we know it, and we will all rejoice.

Following that in v.16, Zephaniah writes, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.” This means not to fall into despair, where your hangs hang limp and you don’t do anything. This was encouragement for the exiles. He was telling them, don’t worry about Babylon, marry, and have sons and daughters, build homes, pray for the city (Jer 29 actually says this). Sometimes in our anxiety, maybe even despair, we become paralyzed, or don’t want to do something. But let us never become weary of doing good, especially doing God’s work. It might seem hopeless, we might face opposition, or be persecuted for doing good, whether it’s just living and working honestly, or living up to your Christian convictions, or serving your family or neighbor. Just as John the Baptist told his listeners, bear fruit in keeping with repentance. When they asked, “What should we do?” He didn’t reply – move into the desert and get out of the city. He said, if you have more than enough, share. If you are a tax collector, don’t quit your job, but don’t work dishonestly. If you’re a soldier, don’t quit, but do as you’re ordered and no more. Don’t abuse your power. So in everything we do, we do it for God’s glory, in any situation. And if we need help, we can ask.

Php 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” There is a meekness and a gentleness to the Christian life. You are not always demanding your rights, in fact, you might show and display mercy instead. See how Paul follows that up: “The Lord is near.” That means the Lord is coming, and he could come tomorrow. The Lord is near, so the kingdom of God is also near.

How near is the Lord? So near that he is with you. He lives inside of you by the Holy Spirit. Can we all please read Zeph 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” The Lord is with you because he loves you. He takes great delight in you, as a father is to a child. He protect, he provides, and he saves. Yes, we rejoice in that. And we also rejoice because of this: He loves you with a rejoicing love. In his love he will no longer rebuke you. Some translations say, “He will be quiet in his love.” That is the more accurate translation. He will be quiet in his love does include that he will not rebuke you. But it means even more than that. It means that he loves you inwardly, without even words. He watches, as a father watches a child, with perfect love and delight. One scene I will always remember is Pastor Ron, walking through the basement, and his son David is playing the piano. Pastor Ron just stops where he’s going, and gazes at his son, and you could see the love in his face. It’s the love a husband has for his wife, when he can take great delight in her, just look at her, and be happy because he loves her.

The Lord rejoices inwardly, and he also rejoice outwardly. He will rejoice over you with singing. This is the outward expression of that love. This verse shows us that the Lord loves us completely, perfectly, inwardly and outwardly. His love is expressed in this: a rejoicing over you with singing. Maybe again, as a father holds his daughter in his arms, cradles her, and sings to her. So we love, because he first loved us. He proved it: through Jesus Christ. He did not even spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all. He loves us. That is why we can have peace. That is why we do not need to fear. That is why we can rejoice.

How shall we respond to this love. Look finally at 12:4-6, in another song, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” This is the singing, the shouting, the rejoicing spoken about in Zephaniah 3:14. We sing about God, we tell the praises of God, and his wonderful works to others. We proclaim and shout the greatness and glory of God because of our rejoicing in him.

In Php 4:4, Paul was concluding his letter to the Philipians by beginning with “Rejoice in the Lord always.” How can we rejoice in the Lord always? As we learned last week, we must prepare our hearts – to repent of our sin, repent of our unbelief, and be purified through faith in Christ. Then we may rejoice always – our sins are forgiven, enemies driven away, and most of all, God is with us. He who gave to us his own Son, will he now leave us? He will not! God saved us, purified us, and he rejoices in the fact that we can be with him. Let that sink in for a moment, and rejoice, that in Christ, God is with you. We do not rejoice in our circumstances, which can always change, but we rejoice in the Lord, who is never changing. And it’s not always a shouting or crying out. We can rejoice quietly. We may be hurt, or sad, but as a child runs to her parents arms, she still delights to be with them. We might be worried or anxious, but a child goes to her parents, trusts them and asks them for help. In any and every circumstance, the Lord is near. He is with you, and He loves you. Therefore, in any and every circumstance, rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

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