Joy, Prayer, Thankfulness
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT
Let's examine these three.
1. Joy - the deep down satisfaction that comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit inside the believer.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
The joy we have as believers is not based in the situation or circumstances that surround us. The joy we have finds its source in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Joy is not happiness. Joy is the satisfaction and assurance of the presence of God in us. Joy is the assurance that comes when we trust in the Person, Power, and Promises of God! His goodness to His children is eternal. Nothing can take that away from us!! When God is with us we need not be cast down or defeated. The storm around us may be raging but Jesus is on the boat with us. He is the Master of the wind and waves.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2-4 NLT
Jesus is our sustainer and supplier. We must trust in Him, not our worldly circumstances, to experience his peace and joy.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.””
John 16:33 NLT
2. Prayer - communication with God.
Prayer is the line of communication that believers have with their Father. We must utilize this divine privilege if we are to navigate through this world successfully. God has provided us with the opportunity to dialogue with Him. WOW! Think about that for a moment! Dialoguing with God! What an awesome privilege! We can cry out to Him in any situation, at any time, in any language. An old hymn says it this way "He hears our faintest cry and He will answer by and by..."
His ears are open to the cry of His saints.
“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:12 NLT
We need to pray, not only to ask God for things on our end, but to listen to what God has to say on His end. Remember, this is a dialogue not a monologue. There must be mutual conversation. Have you ever taken the time to listen to God in prayer? Have you ever hushed long enough to hear what He has to say?
I don't know about you but I can think of some people that call me and dominate the entire conversation. I hate to answer the phone with these individuals because it isn't a healthy, hearty dialogue. The conversation is cumbersome and unhealthy. How many times have we disrespected and disregarded what God has to say because we do all the talking. We take advantage of His patience and we don't give Him the primary place in the dialogue.
Prayer is a critical practice if we are to stay in communication with God!
3. Thankfulness - recognizing God for what He does.
Thankfulness is a proper response to God's merciful and gracious provision. We must not allow ourselves to become ungrateful. Gratitude is what takes us to a higher altitude.
How many times has God rescued us from ourselves and other things in life? How often has He provided what we needed? How about the things we can't buy, like the air we breathe, the beat of our hearts, and the salvation He has given?? We are to be thankful in all things! Stop allowing the circumstances around you to cloud your appreciation for God's great goodness!
Today, take the time to rejoice that your name is written in heaven. Pray to God and take time to listen to Him! Then, express your gratefulness to Him for what He has provided! This will help you stay focused and secure!
Curtis R. Norris
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Rev. Curtis Norris