September 20, 2022 – Reflection on “Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks!”

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18.

      Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4.

         Learning to obey God’s commands written in His Word is sometimes truly difficult. But what if you do not want to obey? Long ago, I came home from school, and found the sink full of dirty dishes with a note nearby from my Mom. Please wash the dishes for me. I rebelled. When Mother came home, she surveyed the dirty dishes and requested my presence at the sink. She slowly unfolded the tea towel beside the sink, and there lay a Hershey bar.

         God’s commandments are to be obeyed, and there are often gifts along the way by walking in His Way of Life. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. Psalm 13:5.

Count the ways God has gifted us. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:11-12.

         Rejoicing is an attitude. The opposite attitude is grumbling. Yes, that word is in the Bible, in Exodus, when the Children of Israel grumbled against Moses. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Exodus 15:24.

         Long ago, a man wrote lyrics for a hymn. Oh, they grumble on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, grumble on Thursday, too. Grumble on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, grumble the whole week through. Grumbling can take over your attitude!

          Rejoicing in the hope of the Lord’s salvation gives us a taste of the glory of God. Even when things go wrong, or to our liking, we have this promise. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4.

         Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Psalm 32:11.

         But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” Psalm 40:16.

         We have the choice between rejoicing in the Lord or grumbling and complaining. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4.

         When I first read ‘pray without ceasing’, wondered how this worked while raising four children, teaching school, being a caretaker, in the different phases of life. Then I realized that at any moment be ready to be ready to pray. It is not the place or the posture, but a heart walking with God gives the ability to pray for others all along our way.

         Even as we grow older, it becomes a joy to think of others. Now I look at a beautiful flower, or a tree swaying in the wind, and know God created everything I see. It gives me joy and thanksgiving. And even God’s creation praises our Father in Heaven. Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Psalm 96:11-12.

         Give Thanks in all circumstances. I remember how many times we read, Do not Fear! Then in John 14:27, we learn about Peace… Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

         In the center of our journey with the Lord, the song we hear in our heart is this: The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17.

Through Him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5.

         And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

        Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1. His steadfast Love will be forever through His Son Jesus. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8.

        How much does God love you and me? “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.’” John 3:16-17.

         But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I Timothy 6:11-12.

         Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. I Thessalonians 5:23-24.