FIRST Thoughts

The Apostle Paul shares this insight that needs to be incorporated into one's daily practice.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Is that not a better, more blessed way to live each day than the model we too often fall prey to? Rejoicing largely depends on things going our way. Prayer is often only utilized when there are few if any other options available to me. Being thankful for the blessings as well as the burdens is mostly a forgotten response.

The following question was once posted in a window in New York around Christmas. It read, 'what if you woke up today with only what you thanked God for yesterday?' That is worth reading again.

Would your life be filled with bounty, or would you be bankrupt? Would your family be larger or much smaller? Would your house be similar, or would you have shelter at all? Would you be dining on steak or dumpster diving for scraps? Thought provoking? It's a sobering question that is not considered nearly often enough.

In a country where excess is considered normal, many if not most have grown accustomed to the 'things' we feel entitled to. And when those 'things' begin to diminish, most become very critical in their personal complaints.

When was the last time you took the time to really 'count your blessings?' If you haven't in a while, it will amaze you how it changes your personal perspective on life. Instead of falling into the persistent practice of desiring or demanding more, we learn to be more content with what we have been graced with by God who provides all things for us.

I realize that there are millions in our own nation who are impoverished, even hungry on a daily basis. While not minimizing that need, when compared to the world at large, the poorest American is much wealthier and healthier than many, if not most in this world.

I ran across a prayer once that simply said, "God, I pray that you would grant my needs according to my thanklessness lest You grant me Your provision according to my thankfulness and I starve."

Not everything in life is good but God is able to take what is often considered to be bad and turn it for good. If you have walked with the Lord long enough, you have seen that truth demonstrated by a caring and compassionate God. If you haven't, you will with time because God is faithful to His Word.

The Scripture says, "And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28.

Everything in this world is not always good. However, God always is. God is always working for the good in our life. We must believe God when things are difficult and demanding in the same way we do when things aren't. Failure to do so will cause us to be overwhelmed by the circumstances around us.

Jesus is not one hope of many. He is our only hope! He is not another source of help. He is our only source of help!

Therefore, "rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

It is not always easy, but the benefit is always of much greater worth to us personally.

So, be mindful of being thankful. You will enjoy more of what you have and desire less of what you don't really need. Will you wake up any differently tomorrow because you were more thankful today?

You could, in fact, for a believer, you should and praise God, we can!


Pstr K

Psalm 27:1