November- The Month of Thankfulness and Praise.
“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 (NIV)
Paul pens these words as part of final instructions to the believers at Thessalonica.
“Be joyful always. . .” People who read these words for the first time might think, “What does Paul mean by this? Can we be joyful in times of sadness? Paul hasn’t been through some of the sad times we have seen in present times.” Our joy at that time is that we know God is there with us as we face the issues at hand.
“. . . pray continually. . .” Again, babes in Christ wonder, “How can I always be in prayer? I have a family to raise. I work outside my home. I have hobbies I pursue.” I believe Paul asks us to be willing to go into a mode of prayer anytime we face hardships, ours or those of our friends. As we listen to our friend’s circumstance, Jesus may whisper into our ears that it is time to pray for this friend and his/her needs.
“. . . give thanks in all circumstances. . .” One new to Christianity might voice some concern, “What, give thanks in ALL circumstances? What does Paul mean?” Let’s look at this phrase carefully. He says to give thanks in all circumstances.
When the house right across the street from us caught fire, I gave thanks for the firefighters who were on our street two minutes after I called. When my friend’s son-in-law was diagnosed with rare cancer, we were able to praise God every step of the way for the very attentive medical team that worked with him and his wife. We also gave thanks when he became cancer free.
“. . . for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God, being our heavenly Father, teaches us to be appreciative, much like our earthly parents taught us to thank others when they do something for us. This is a small part of who God is.