Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!
Good morning Prayer Team!
Today I’m going to begin a ten day series focusing on a mere ten verses of scripture, Philippians 4:4-13. Each one of these verses is a powerful affirmation in itself. And taken together as a unit, can become foundational for how to thrive in this life, with Christ at our side. Each weekday for the next ten weekdays (since I focus on the Liturgy on the weekends), I will be focusing on one verse from Philippians 4:4-13.
Leading off today, we are told by St. Paul to “rejoice in the Lord always.” So convicted is he that he makes the statement a second time “Again, I will say, rejoice!”
Having joy is a mindset. It is a mindset learned over time that finds an opportunity for joy in everything. It’s a mindset that sees challenges as opportunities, which sees the glass half full rather than half empty. I’m reminded of the story of the blind man in John 9:
And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. John 9: 2-3
The lesson here is that it was NO ONE who sinned to cause this unfortunate cross the young man. But even this terrible situation was an opportunity for God’s work to occur, a cause for joy in itself.
St. Paul tells us in Romans 12:12: Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” It’s not always easy to have joy in your life.
If your life is not joyful today, be patient.
If your life is filled with joy, be thankful.
But whichever place you find yourself today, be prayerful.
It is difficult to find joy in difficult times, yet this is mindset we are supposed to have. Why? Because we are God’s people, God’s children, and any setback is temporary, in the space of eternity. And the joy of God and the hope of eternal life, even on our worst day, in our worst circumstance, is what is supposed to carry us through. Here is an assignment for today: Take a few moments and write down 5 things in your life that bring you joy-even if they are things like TV shows. Every life has some joy. For the life that is filled with joy, build on that joy. And for the life that doesn’t have as much joy as it should, take the things that DO bring you joy and ask God to help you build on that base today.
Heavenly Father, help me to be a person who is positive. Help me to find joy in things both large and small. Help me to see the good in people. Help me to see hope even in the midst of sorrow. Be with me today and help me find joy throughout the day. Help me grow closer to You today. Amen.
Have a joyful day!
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