Addendum: Let me apologize before you start reading today. My dog Jack decided to “HELP” write….. so any typos or weird, random letters are, of course mine. 😉
Life today is not easy. As Christians, we are bombarded on every side with temptation; beautifully and seductively presented through every way possible. Our humanity causes us to stumble and to often, we succumb to the temptations. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica to encourage them as new believers. As I continually rediscover scriptures, not only were they written to the early church, but they seem to be increasingly relevant 2000 years later. I guess truth remains truth, no matter how much time passes.
“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
Is Paul kidding? “ALWAYS be Joyful…?” In the middle of tragedy, when death hits home, when we deal with financial disasters? Personally, I haven’t quite figured that out, but I’m working on it – with God’s help. There’s a certain peace that is evident when a Christian who is secure in their faith deals with tragedy. Oh, we can be overcome by grief, even anger, for the moment, but that strength from God shines through. When we know without a doubt – without a doubt! – that this is all temporary and we know what a glorious future we have, it becomes a little easier to let the Joy of Jesus glow in us. I’m a work in progress….
The second verse shows us how to attain that spirit of joy Paul is talking about. If we skip verse 17, and instead focus on 16 and 18, it would be, it IS, impossible to achieve that joy and thankfulness he is speaking of. It is only through prayer; constant, unrelenting prayer, that we can be joyful and thankful through the junk the world throws at us. When you see people that you know are Christians going through hell on earth, and you see unbelievers living life unscathed, there is a distinct reason. The enemy, Satan, wants us to blame God for the pain and suffering so that we will turn away from God.
Satan hates God and everything He created, because he is jealous and wants to have it all for himself. Take heart, SATAN WILL BE DEFEATED. I know this because I have read the back of the book! As a Christian, I can read the Revelation of John without any qualms or trepidation. I know that I have target on my back placed there by the enemy. He may overwhelm me with problems in this world (physically, emotionally, financially…) but he will lose in the end. Hallelujah!
“…. Then the devil*, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. And I saw a great White Throne and the One sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His Presence, but they found no place to hide. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” – Revelation 20:10-11, 14-15
* …. the devil: aka Lucifer, angel of light; Satan, the enemy, father of lies, and so on. The most beautiful angel, who became and remains the most hideous of all creation. How incredibly sad.
These verses are so encouraging to me! Are you secure in the knowledge that your name is written in the Book of Life? Now is the PERFECT time to make sure…
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved ….. ” – Acts 16:31a
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His ONE and ONLY Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have Eternal Life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to SAVE the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s One and Only Son.” – John 3:16-18
Joyful, Joyful, we Adore Him!
(All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com/NLT)