Rejoice always??


We are told in 1 Thess.5:16-18, that we are to rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  and give thanks in all circumstances.  Some of you are asking, how is this even possible, how can I rejoice, and give thanks when I face so much tragedy?
On your own power, I am not sure it is possible to rejoice always and give thanks, much less pray without ceasing. Who can rejoice in the sudden death of a loved one, who can pray twenty-four hours a day? I think we have a clue to this puzzle in

Philippians 4:4-9  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things. 9 Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

(2015-08-10). The Apologetics Study Bible (Apologetics Bible) (Kindle Locations 60588-60596). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

When you are walking with a friend or loved one, without speaking a word it can be special. It is like you are sharing emotions, instead of words. Deep emotions at that. God is with you no matter where you go, he is walking beside you like a loved one. The feelings you get when you acknowledge God’s love is prayer.  So while it is impossible to get on your knees, close your eyes, and bow your head 24 hours a day, it is possible to walk with God, knowing that he is at your side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As for rejoicing always, it is harder still. If you celebrate something like 9-11, something is wrong with you, but even in the worst of tragedies if you look really hard, you can see God there. God was in the emergency workers that were willing to risk their lives helping others. God was there when politicians of both parties sang God Bless America on the Capitol steps, and people from all over the planet did whatever they could do to help America heal. We can know that God can make whatever befalls us, work for good. That is what we celebrate!

I am no expert at this, but I am trying a new thing. I have a set of counting beads that I use as a prayer prompt. I confess seven sins, praise God for seven things, and pray for 7 people or issues.  It isn’t always easy to find seven praises, but in this world of constant bad news, it is important that you do find things to praise God for every day. It will help you with your walk with God, and help you to keep your sanity when it feels like everything is crashing down around you.

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