“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
These verses are easy to read but hard to put into practice.
How in the world do we possibly do this? If we focus on ourselves we will not be joyful for long. We will become discouraged and beaten down. We will have little to be thankful for. We need to keep our eyes on Christ and depend on the Holy Spirit to be able to put these verses into practice in our lives.
When we spend time in God’s Word, we learn about His character and we can thank Him for who He is. Psalm 23 is a well known and beloved Psalm and a great chapter to remind ourselves of who God is. This is a good Psalm to pray back to God. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23.
Thank You God that You are my Shepherd so I lack nothing.
You are always with me so I do not need to live in fear. “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them; and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28. Lord thank You that as my shepherd You know me and I can know You. Thank You that I am always safe in Your loving hands. I choose to trust You to supply what I need and to take care of me. God open my eyes to the need around me. May we all be willing to give of our time and money to help fill a need. Prayerfully consider volunteering to help at a soup kitchen, give baby items to the local Pregnancy Resource Center, or support a missionary financially and with prayer. Be a blessing to someone in need.
Thank You that You grant me rest when I am weary.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message. So much of my stress and frustration could be avoided if I would just remember that I need to keep my eyes on Christ and walk with Him. God leads me, He restores me and He guides me continually, I need to remember to keep my eyes on Him today and obediently follow where He leads. “Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are my God my Savior, and my hope is in You.” Psalm 25:4-5. Thank You Abba for teaching and guiding me in Your paths. Thank You for being my Savior and my hope.
We will all walk through some really rough times, the valley of the shadow of death, but we need to remember that God is walking with us. “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b. My sister Julie and her children are walking through that valley right now. This will be their first Christmas without their dad and husband. God was very present during all the funeral preparations, the funeral and He is very present with them each and every day. God has provided many blessings for them and for the extended family too numerous to count. God’s arms of comfort has surrounded Julie and her children and He continues to provide comfort for them. “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there..” Psalm 34:18a The Message.
When our son Dan was serving as a Marine and was deployed, I found great comfort in Psalm 23, especially verse 5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” I would thank God for all His provisions for Dan. Dan was held securely in God’s hands so he was safe. God had planned the number of Dan’s days before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16). I did not need to fear because God was Sovereign and He was in control. Thank You God for the blessing of Your peace during Dan’s deployments.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7. Thank You Heavenly Father for Your goodness, Your kindness, Your mercy, Your grace and for Your perfect love. Thank You for providing Your Son, Jesus to completely pay the debt of our sin and for generously giving us the indwelt Holy Spirit.