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Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

There was once a lady who complained about everything and everybody. Finally, her minister found something that she couldn’t complain about. The lady’s crop of potatoes was the finest for miles around. He said to her, “For once you must be pleased. Everyone is saying how splendid your potatoes are this year.”

The lady glared at him and said, “They are not so bad, but where are the rotten ones for the pigs?”

It’s safe to say she had a gratitude problem. Her attitude might have improved upon reading and reflecting on today’s verse. We are to give thanks when things are swimmingly; our potato crop is good, but also in those other times when we are concerned about feeding the pigs.

The Apostle Paul was familiar with changing circumstances; here’s what he wrote to the church in Philippi, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Ph. 4:12-13). The secret is that while our situations change, God, our source of strength, our helper in times of trouble, does not; he is the same: “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” (He. 13:8). God’s steadfast goodness and mercy is the reason we can rejoice always.

How are we to pray without ceasing? We can’t remain in the position of prayer endlessly, but we can stay in an attitude of prayer. Secure in the knowledge God is unchanging, and that he desires and cherishes our conversation, it is easier to rejoice in our circumstances, whatever they might be. The Biblical scholar and commentator Charles H. Spurgeon expresses it best, “When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude.”

Why should we rejoice, pray, and give thanks? Because it is God’s will for us. This isn’t the disciplinarian Father commanding us to do it because it’s his will, but the invitation from our loving and merciful Father to do it because it is best for us. He doesn’t want us to be bowed under the burden of anxiety and distress but to rejoice in knowing he is with us at all times. In praying to God, we can have heart-to-heart conversations that heal and encourage.

Father God, we rejoice in knowing that you are with us always, loving, forgiving, and cherishing us. Help us continually converse with you as our friend, remembering to praise you for your many blessings and share the things that trouble our hearts. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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