1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NKJV) 16 Rejoice always
I was struck instantly tonight as one of the kids from our youth group prayed us in. I am always blessed by each member of our youth group, they never cease in teaching me stuff when it is supposed to be me leading them. From dedication and trust to heartfelt prayer, these kids are certainly the church of tomorrow, leading today. I had just finished complaining about how much it stinks that we cannot be worshipping the Lord together and that we have to use teleconferencing during this time of social distancing. Well, I asked this faithful student of God’s Word to pray before we got started. He offered the customary prayers like asking the Lord to bless the message and prayed for us to hear God through the message and all that, but he finished by thanking the Lord for the technology provided to be able to meet tonight. That just struck my heart, here I was their Christian leader complaining about the place we were worshipping and he was just thankful that we were meeting at all. I absolutely love how the Lord humbles us with such love and care. Does Always Mean Always? We are reminded in James 1:2–4… (2) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (4) But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing… James literally telling us to be joyful even through the many storms we face in life. Why should we be thankful? Because the testing of your faith produces patience. Is that how we face trials though? Looking at this verse in reverse order we see that if we want to lack in nothing, we must become perfect through patience and the testing of our faith. Our goal should be to be complete in the Lord, if we are striving towards our goal, shouldn’t we be joyful that we are heading in the right direction? Give Thanks For Everything! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 offers us… (18) in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you... If we are completely surrendered to the Lord, we should be seeking His will, not ours. We should be absolutely thankful that the Lord has a plan for us, be thankful that He makes His will known to us. I absolutely love how Psalm 107 begins… Psalm 107:1 (1) Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever… Give thanks why? Because we are promised a new car each year if we believe? Because we will never get sick? Because we will never lack financially? No, give thanks to the Lord because He is good! Give thanks to the Lord because His mercy endures forever! Never-ending forgiveness that we absolutely do not deserve. Should we rejoice always? Without a doubt! Closing Thoughts: Look around at the world today, the pain, the suffering, the lack of hope. Everywhere you turn lately there is another sad story, another glimpse into hopelessness. The God of hope has a great future for us. Be thankful for our tomorrow while cherishing the journey there today. Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.