Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Be Joyful always.
Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
These verses keep coming up for me at this time each year. I have the dates written beside the verses in my Bible. Perhaps God is saying “Listen!” As I begin to dissect these simple verses, there comes an understanding. I love it when God puts things in black and white. No grey area here – a 3-step programme for being in God’s will. These are commands given in love, a road map for us earth-wanderers following an unseen Savior. At first glance however, they seem
I have always wished the verses were in a different order, a 1-2-3 list, with prayer first as it comes easier than being joyful – at least then I could check off #1. Digging in deeper, as it turns out, they are in a perfect circle, not a list at all. Inner joy that is not moveable by outside circumstances comes from the knowledge of our salvation, redemption, grace, eternal life, and Christ dwelling within me. It is not external – living up to the world’s standards; and it is not saying ‘no’ to sadness or pain, loneliness or struggles either.
It is feet firmly cemented to the truth - we have an eternal home, an eternal Father, a Christ to consider, with hope eternal – its unshakeable, immoveable, and remains our inner joy-anchor when all else seems like whirling winds.
With joy in place because of what Christ has done, ‘praying continually’ is next in line. The last few months I have been reading The Only Necessary Thing by Henri Nouwen. From it a little nugget of insight set me on an exercise these past few weeks of changing every thought into a prayer. Every thought into a prayer goes something like this: “I’m so tired today but have to go to work” transforms into “I may be feeling tired, Father but you give strength to the weary and I’m so blessed to have work to go to.” If every thought becomes a prayer because of what Christ has done for us and is continuing to do, the natural outflow is thanksgiving, the next command in the circle. Inner joy produces prayer, prayer produces thanks, which in turn solidifies joy – the circle complete.
A list appearing all but impossible, now possible and the greatest part of all - it is God’s will for us. Have you ever wondered what God’s will was for your life? This is it – BEing joyful, BEing prayerful, and BEing thankful! LISTEN this Advent to His simple command, all laid out in ‘red and yellow, black and white’ – human form come down to dwell and live in us.
Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth.
Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo.
Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lighting.
Terri is a mother to one, a sister to three, a friend to anyone who wants one, and a passionate lover of beauty. Her heart has two homelands – Vancouver and Uganda. She loves to cook and create. She’s a child of God and His Master's piece in progress. She lives under grace, with a grateful heart, but often with a dash of doubt and fear.