Christians should learn to celebrate every day. I was in the baggage area of the Reno, NV airport preparing to receive my luggage so I could head for my crusade in Incline Village, Nevada. An old man walked by dressed in a red and white striped hat, carrying a red and white striped crocheted blanket, and a white helium filled balloon. Thinking he was heading or returning from some birthday party or other celebration, I asked him, “What are you celebrating?” His response was, “I’m celebrating everything!” I laughed.
As I walked away, I realized if that shriveled up, eccentric, perhaps soon to die old man is celebrating everything; then shouldn’t I, a son of the living God, be celebrating everything too? I rejoiced as I realized such a simple truth that so many of us are missing.
1 Thess. 5:16 says, “Rejoice evermore.” We celebrate Jesus’ birth, His resurrection, birthdays, and wedding anniversaries. But, why do we just celebrate several times a year? Elvis Presley sang a song written by Red West called, “If every day was like Christmas.” The chorus sings, “Oh why can’t every day be like Christmas? Why can’t that feeling go on endlessly. For if everyday could be just like Christmas. What a wonderful world this would be.” What a thought: treating every day like Christmas! One time we celebrated my wife Kathy’s birthday. That night she commented how wonderful her celebration was and how good life would be if I treated her everyday like it was her birthday. The next morning, a cut a piece of her birthday cake, lit a candle and came into the bedroom singing “Happy Birthday to you.”
Shouldn’t Christians be celebrating everything all the time? Absolutely! It’s scriptural. James said, “Count it all joy.” James 1:2. “Counting it all joy” means to celebrate every moment: in both the good and the bad moments! Celebrate! It’s a word that is used only three times in the King James Bible. It’s used in Isa. 38:18, “Death cannot celebrate thee.”
So, the first thing we should celebrate is LIFE! We sometimes take life so for granted. As I drove to the airport one morning, thinking about my age; and how little time, relatively speaking, I had left on this planet, I cried out to God to help me learn how to get the most possible things of significance done in the time I had left. You often hear older people say that they thank God each day for another day of life. When Ronald Reagan turned 70 years of age while in office, a news reporter asked him, “How does it feel to be 70?” The wily Reagan replied, “Well, considering the alternative!” This is a no brainer if ever there was one. If we are alive, we can celebrate that reality every moment we breathe, and thank God for it. Kathy Lee Gifford said,“If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.” Using the gift of life, and the plus or minus 30,000 days we are afforded during our lifetime in the most productive way, is not just a great privilege but an awesome responsibility for which we will one day be judged: “The books were open . . . and the dead were judged every man according to his works.” (Rev. 20:12).
I read a report about the things people regretted most about their life. 67% of those polled said “worrying.” The second largest group said “The time they had spent watching television.” Worry is foolish, because it does no good. Before my dad got saved and began pastoring, he was an alcoholic. How many times my mother would stay up all night, looking out the window, and waiting for him to come home. One day, she decided to stop worrying, and even stopped praying for him and just put him in God’s hands. Within months, Dad was saved; and within a few years, pastoring a church. Dad and mom both are in heaven now. All mom’s sleepless nights were wasted and in vain. “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He gives his beloved sleep.” (Ps. 127:2).
Don’t worry! Instead, celebrate life by, “Casting all your care on him, for he cares for you.” l Pet. 5:7. Celebrate care-free living by enjoying worry-free sleep! The average man watches television 28 hours a week, spending 1/4th of his waking hours in front of the boob tube! Think of it! Is that celebrating the glorious privilege of life? One day, I was walking in my living room and glanced at the T-V, which was off at the time. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “That’s your enemy!” What do we do with enemies? We either kill them, or make them our servant. Is T-V your enemy? Does it rob you of much time that could be spent reading the Word, praying, enjoying your family, etc? If so, either “kill it”, or make it your servant (to serve you for educational, inspirational or R & R purposes). T-V can be a blessing or a curse; depending on whether it helps you celebrate life, or robs you of that celebration. Learn from the man with the balloons who said, “I’m celebrating everything.”
Years ago, I had flown home from a crusade and my family and I had ordered pizza. We were sitting down to eat it, but instead of our usual video with the pizza, we sat around the table and talked. We talked for maybe an hour and half. My son, Nathan, opened up and revealed issues he was facing that we hadn’t discussed before. We counseled him and celebrated the love and togetherness we as a family have. Later, Nathan said that he enjoyed our conversation more than he would have enjoyed T-V. It was another lesson on the value of celebrating life (your own life, not some fictitious T-V character’s life!) Moses said: “Choose life, that both you and your seed may live.” (Deut. 30:19). We must to learn to “choose life:” that is, to treasure and celebrate the time we have on earth, and choose to follow the God ordained laws for living which make life most fulfilling and bring salvation to both ourselves and our children. Celebrate life at times with a pizza and a DVD. Celebrate other times by just sitting around the table talking. But, celebrate: celebrate God by praising Him; celebrate your family by enjoying them; and celebrate every moment of your life filled with the joy of the Lord! Let’s live like that old eccentric man with the balloons did: “Celebrate everything.”
Parents Should Celebrate Their Children: What is a parent’s richest treasure on this planet? Is it not our children? Yes, it is! As we seek to learn to “celebrate everything,” if we feel we have nothing else to celebrate, we can always celebrate and enjoy our children! “You husbands, dwell with them (your wives) according to knowledge (with wisdom), giving honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life.” (1 Peter 3:7). Notice it says married couples are “heirs together of the grace of life.” This surely is referring as much as anything to the privilege of having and raising children: the grace granted even to sinners of bringing a life into this planet through child rearing. I’d give a $1,000 to have my kids little again to enjoy for one day. How can people even think of abortion? How can someone hold a babe in arms and not cry out, “There is a God!” Our children are meant to be a source of continual joy to us. Truly having our children around us is part of life’s greatest celebration. But, many parents feel they cannot enjoy their children because they are rebellious or backslidden. How could a parent celebrate such a worrisome thing? Only one way-by faith through the comfort of the Scriptures. One verse that I have claimed often is Proverbs 11:21: “The seed of the righteous shall be delivered.”
You are the greatest key to your child’s deliverance! Remember, the children of believing parents are “holy” according to I Cor. 7:14. That means they are “set apart” by God for his special protection and personal dealings and even their sinful choices cannot nullify God’s love for your children. There is hope for their future; and your prayers provide the greatest hope. God promised to bless the children of those who keep his commandments in Exodus 20:5, 6 (NLT): “You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.” Also Jer. 31:15-17, KJV):
“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus says the Lord; Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears: for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of your enemy. And there is hope in your end, says the Lord, that your children shall come again to their own border (The safety of the salvation of your household and/or their spiritual inheritance)” (Jer. 31:15-17 KJV). The above was a prophecy Jeremiah gave concerning Herod’s slaughter of the young children in his attempt to slay Jesus. It promised that these little mercilessly slaughtered children would enter heaven and by so doing would “come again from the land of thy enemy.” (This is also a promise that assures us that all aborted children enter heaven also!)
Think of it! The worse thing that can happen to a believer’s children is death. And, even then according to Jeremiah, their children simply enter “their own border:” their home with their redeemed family in heaven and their inheritance. But, there is one condition: “Thy (a promise to parents) work shall be rewarded.” Mother; father: you have a job to do! You must ever seek to work hard in training, teaching, role modeling, interceding, and claiming God’s promises over your children. Every promise has its conditions. Jer. 31:15 is no exception! I prayed over our kids, Carissa and Nathan, since they were infants that God would give them wisdom. (I’m like Jabez, whose name meant “pain,” praying that his life would not cause himself or others pain. My lack of wisdom through the years motivated me to pray wisdom into my children’s lives so they wouldn’t end up like me!). The first decade or so of their lives, I probably prayed that prayer over my children more than any other. My “work” was “rewarded” too!
When my daughter was only 23, a staff member at the church where she works with children said Carissa has the wisdom of a “woman in her forties.” My son also shows wisdom in many of his choices in life (Like going to Thailand last year for 5 months to work at a Missions Station there for free instead of partying and celebrating his graduation from college at home all summer!). I didn’t pray they’d be great athletes or musicians (neither one of them were much involved in sports or music). But, I did pray that they would have wisdom. That was the desire of my heart. What is the desire of your heart for your children? It’s not too late to start interceding for that. You are promised, “Your work shall be rewarded.” A Christian’s children have a “border:” an inheritance and a rightful place in your family in fulfillment of Acts 16:31 (GW): “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.”
As parents, we should work and believe hard for them to fully enter into that promise!” Celebrate your children now and plan on celebrating with them forever!
Believers Can Celebrate every difficulty: “In everything give thanks.” (1 Thess. 5:18) We learned from Isaiah that we are to celebrate life. We learned from Peter that we are to celebrate our children. The only other places in the KJV where the word “celebrate” is used are in Lev. 23. In verse 32, speaking of the Day of Atonement, wherein they were to spend the day fasting to “afflict their souls”; the Lord said to “celebrate” that day. Days of fasting are difficult. They are a time of affliction, but yet God says they’re days we are to celebrate.
The disciples once asked Jesus to eat and His reply was, “I have meat (food) to eat that you know not of.”(John 4:32). Jesus had a relationship with His father that far excelled the pleasure of eating. When we seek God during a fast, what should be our attitude? God told Zechariah in Zech. 8:19 that the “fast of the 5th, 7th, and 10th month, shall be to the house of Judah joy, gladness and cheerful feasts.” Fasting should be a “cheerful feast.” In other words, celebrate difficult things as unto the Lord. “Count it all joy.” (James 1:2) means just that!
Paul said, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses.” (II Cor. 12:10). Notice Paul said, “I take pleasure.” It is a decision and an act of faith to reach out and take pleasure in the midst of difficult circumstances. Paul learned to do it. We can too! Interestingly, in the same chapter in Lev. 23, in v. 41, the Bible tells Israel during another occasion to “celebrate” by having a feast! Celebrate fasting; celebrate feasting: when we learn this balance, we are on our way to truly “celebrating everything.”
Fasting is one of the highest forms of fellowship with Christ in His sufferings. Eating a meal together with friends or loved ones is the highest form of fellowship with family or friends. The fact that food tastes so good is proof of a loving creator, (Evolution wouldn’t know how to make food taste good!): “He left not himself w/o a witness, in that he did good . . . filling our hearts with food and gladness.”(Acts 14:17). Every time we eat should be a reminder to celebrate life! When my kids were little, I enjoyed watching them eat junk food. I’ll never forget the first time I put a piece of See’s chocolates in Carissa’s mouth. She sat for a moment in her stroller sucking it down and then pushed forward ready for more! I knew the day would soon come, though, when they would need to more carefully watch their diet. I wanted them to enjoy feasting. Now that they are adults, I want them to enjoy fasting too. That’s being a loving parent. Our heavenly Father is a loving parent who wants us to be happy. We often think this means God should only arrange pleasant circumstances for us to make life easier.
Many Christians, for instance, think if they only had more money they would be happy. It’s a deception. “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.”(Luke 12:15). I saw a program on Discovery Channel where people had become instant millionaires. You’d think they had real reason to celebrate, wouldn’t you? One of them started receiving 400 letters a day asking for money! Another had to move out of his home into “hiding.” There are some advantages to not having much money. As wise Solomon wrote, “Being kidnapped and held for ransom never worries the poor man.” (Prov. 13:8 The Living Bible). Do you drive an old beat up car? At least you never have to worry about someone stealing it, do you? I don’t even set the alarm anymore on my 1995 GMC van!
Not long ago, every day three new Starbuck’s Coffee shops were opening somewhere in the world. It was one of America’s hottest success stories. Do you know how it all got started? I heard that the managers were roasting 1,000 pounds of beans and accidentally burnt them. What would they do? They couldn’t throw away that much coffee. So, they put it on special sale. And, people raved about it. I personally love that burnt, pungent taste. The long lines in airports around America attest to the fact that many feel the same way. Only in America can you burn something and become a millionaire! I imagine those owners were mortified at burning all that coffee that day: but they would have danced if they’d known it would make them very, very rich! Is your life full of burnt coffee? Start dancing; because you are a spiritual millionaire! I was driving down the street in Tracy, California thinking about the Starbuck’s success story, when suddenly I realized that I am a “spiritual” millionaire. It hit me like a flood of revelation knowledge and I began to shout! We think we would celebrate if we were millionaires. But, I believe it was Dale Carnegie who said, “I have never met a happy millionaire.” Eccl. 5:12 says, “The abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.” Spiritual millionaires are the truly “Rich and Famous.” Prov. 10:22 says, “The blessing of the Lord, it makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”
There is no “downside” to the spiritually rich. “Hath not God chosen the poor in this world rich in faith.”(James 2:5). We have everything that we need to make us happy. Paul put it this way, “All things are yours.” (1 Cor. 3:21). We are “co-heirs with Christ” Rom. 8:17. Christians are filthy rich! Every morning, we should wake up and shout, “I’m a millionaire!” and celebrate.
One final point: Perhaps the best way of all that we “celebrate everything” is by praising God in everything. As 1 Thess. 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks.” Paul writes further: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” (Phil. 4:4). 100 yrs. from now (Maybe even 10 months!) all our bills, burdens, and bunions will be forever behind us. As Christians, we are saved from eternal hell and headed toward heaven! And, we are already experiencing that eternal life now (John 11:26). So, don’t wait for a party to celebrate, let’s “celebrate everything!” today and always. As Ps. 46:1-4 promises: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed . . . there is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.”
Drink from that river of life daily, by praising God every day in celebration! Celebrate Your Children! Celebrate when you eat! Celebrate when you fast! Celebrate every difficulty! And celebrate your eternal relationship with the God of the universe through praising Him continually!