How was your weekend? I hope that yours was as pleasant as it was for my wife and I. Early yesterday afternoon we stopped off at our neighborhood Mobile station, filled up the tank, put down the top and headed off on the approximate fifteen minute journey to the town of Apex, North Carolina. Apex is a somewhat small community that sits a little southwest of where we currently call home. It is an old railroad town that was incorporated in 1873 at the highest point on a section of the Chatham Railroad which ultimately extends between Richmond, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida. It boasts a current population of about 40,000.
We have felt ourselves drawn to the town as we have traveled around the area looking for potential places to settle down in. Apex has retained its small town feel. Even though it is twice the size of Morrisville, it is set apart by itself whereas Morrisville intertwines with the larger city of Cary giving it a busier, less country feel. The old downtown or “Historic Apex” neighborhood as they put it hugs the still active railroad freight staging area and looks to be the center for town activities. The first time we drove through they were having a Jazz festival with couples dancing to the beat of a live band under a huge tent that was set up in a parking lot next to the tracks. The narrow street was stuffed with smiling and happy folks who were meandering around the booths that were erected up and down the block.
The old downtown definitely demonstrates an older country atmosphere with small shops and cafes serving at tables on the sidewalk, mixed in with old hardware and farm supply stores. In many ways it reminds me of the old downtown areas in some of the smaller towns around the Wine Country where we used to live, without the sophistication, BMW’s and fancy restaurants. When we drove through the narrow downtown yesterday we slowly passed another couple about the same age as my wife and I who had just stepped out of another Mustang convertible the same color as ours with a black interior. The driver who was standing only inches away from me as he closed his car door, gave me a big friendly smile and a salute which I joyfully returned!
It pleases me to see folks enjoying the blessings that God has afforded them! That happy interaction got me to thinking about some of the things that I had been studying over the weekend as I continued to pour over Philippians 4:4 where we are instructed to “Rejoice in the Lord always...” (KJV) On Saturday morning I followed a cross reference over to Romans 12:12 in the Contemporary English Bible that stated: “Let your hope make you glad.” As you probably know, the word “hope” would be more accurately translated “expectations” so that the verse would read: “Let your expectations make you glad.”
This particular scripture single handedly gives us the prescription for the “how to” for following Philippians 4:4! Paul simply tells us to let the things that we are expecting to happen in life be the fuel for our consistent joy in the Lord. And in case you don’t know where your heart is, stop right now and ask yourself: “What am I expecting?” (sound familiar?)
To be consistent with Paul and every other writer of the Bible your answer should be: “The truth and promises of God as stated in His Word!” When your expectations are based on the truths of His Word, you can’t help but be joyful… even when things in the natural don’t currently look that promising. Albert Barnes says that “we should rejoice that we have such a savior.” It can be very discouraging, hopeless and depressing when you place your expectations on worldly, natural remedies …or the lack thereof!
Believe me when I say that we have interacted with some Christian folks who didn’t have their expectations fully centered on the truth of God’s Word concerning my wife’s healing and they were quite uncomfortable to be around! Like I have mentioned before, I had to physically remove my wife from their presence as it was negatively affecting her health. On the other hand, the effects of those who are joyfully expectant of God’s goodness energize her countenance. That shouldn’t really be a surprise to any of us right?
So if you’re not feeling especially joyful right now, I would prescribe a dosage of the Word of God and a time of concentrated praise and thanksgiving to get you back on tract and in line with Philippians 4:4! Have a REJOICEFUL week, stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “Just what AM I expecting today?”