What will you celebrate this month? Children all over the country will be celebrating that school is over and summer vacation is beginning! June has traditionally been the most popular month for weddings; will you be celebrating an anniversary? We must thank God that we have the freedom and privilege of celebrating all sorts of wonderful blessings (and we ought to remember and pray for those around the world who do not enjoy these opportunities). Our family had the joy of celebrating Walter’s graduation from Perry Hall High School last week. And although the ceremony was longer than we had anticipated, it was exciting to see and hear those hundreds of students who had successfully completed this stage of their education. Please pray for the graduates that you know as they embark upon the next stage of their lives..
They have good reason to celebrate! And the enthusiastic responses when the ceremony was over were great to see (and participate in)! Do we as Christians understand and express regularly all the reasons we have to celebrate? We have been given the greatest gift EVER—Jesus Christ! Salvation is a free gift of God! Every good gift is from God (see James 1:17); do you celebrate the hundreds and thousands of gifts that He has given you over the course of your life?—In the last week or month?—Yesterday, or in the past few hours? That was the one thing that was noticeably absent in our public high school’s ceremony: any thanks to God for His love and mercy and kindness.
I hope that our celebrations cause us to look up! Look up and praise God who has blessed us so. Look up above our own accomplishments and achievements and potential to the One who has made us and blessed us in these ways. It is certainly not wrong, in fact it is good and right to celebrate individuals and all that they have done, to celebrate the Class of 2014 for instance and extol the grand possibilities that await them. But if we only look within ourselves or around us and never raise our eyes up to heaven, then we dishonor God and do not give Him the praise He is due. Let’s praise God in all sorts of ways this month as we celebrate.
But what will you celebrate this month? Only a few of us have graduating seniors, whether children or grandchildren; only a few will attend a June wedding; can everybody find something to celebrate? Yes! Here are three “takeaways,” three truths that will give you something to celebrate this month; consider them and then act on them:
Celebrate our Great God who has saved us at the cost of giving His own Son. Rejoice, give thanks and praise Him for His amazing grace and love! Remember all of His promises, which are for you certainties because of Jesus Christ. Celebrate that you have been given the Holy Spirit who testifies to your soul that you are God’s loved child. You did not have to earn your salvation, you only had to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. As Derek Prime says: “We can never praise Him enough for His grace and loving kindness in giving His only begotten Son to be our Saviour. As the ever-growing wonders of our being ‘in Christ’ daily dawn upon us, so our praise of God in-creases. We praise Him for His grace in the provision of daily forgiveness, and we long to show forth His praise in grateful living” (Created to Praise, 22). Do you know what he is saying? Have you ever felt that way? Does it resonate with your heart? If now, plead with God to make it so. Just a couple of pages earlier in that chapter, Derek Prime relates how the famous evangelist D. L. Moody remembered his conversion: “I thought the old sun shone a good deal brighter than it ever had before – I thought it was just smiling upon me; and as I walked out upon Boston Common and heard the birds singing in the trees, I thought they were all singing a song to me. Do you know, I fell in love with the birds. I had never cared for them before. It seemed to me that I was in love with all creation” (p. 20). Celebrate your Savior as you enjoy all of His good gifts.
Christians have a unique, God-given ability and obligation to celebrate with others. As Paul concludes his letter to the Church in Rome, he writes about Christian love. And here is one of his exhortations: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15 NIV). Are you including others in your celebrations? Do you invite them to join you in giving thanks to God for the goodness He has shown you? Perhaps someone is struggling to smile, maybe God would use you and the sharing of an opportunity to praise God to help. And as believers, we clearly understand the real sorrows that are ours in a sinful world, so sometimes our celebrations will be accompanied by tears, on the other hand, there will also be a joy in the midst of crying because of what God has done and promises yet to do. Share your celebrations.
Lastly, every day as you open up the Bible to continue in your daily reading, celebrate that God has spoken and given you ears to hear. Pray for more understanding and a life that more closely follows His directions, but pray with thanksgiving. Praise God that He is working through that daily discipline to show you in all of Scripture the glories of His name. As you finish your reading for the day, bow your head and celebrate God’s greatness. Even as you see the sins of God’s people in 1 & 2 Kings, praise God that He has provided the perfect way of salvation in His Son.
Praying that this month you will rejoice with me in the God of our salvation,