Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 ways to be Joyful, Prayerful, and Give Thanks in all circumstances

               It’s usually those crazy, busy days when I lie down to sleep and think “God, I don’t know where the day went…I’m sorry for not spending more time with you, thank you for all of your blessings!” And then comes “honey, I forgot to thank you for turning off the oven that I had left on…2 hours after dinner, and for your sweet text message that I never responded to, and well, for being you”.

                I am done with the late thank you. With those I love, and especially with God. Thank you notes are pretty much the only type of thank you that I deem appropriate to arrive 2 weeks late.

                The other day my husband reminded me about an issue we had been praying about for over a year. He brought up the fact that the issue was pretty much now non-existent.  “Oh, wow your right” I thought. How did I not notice that ‘the issue’ was no longer an issue anymore? In fact, it had not been an issue for months. I felt ashamed that I had not been more aware of how much God had blessed us and answered our prayer!

                Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 that it’s not enough to only be thankful when things in our life are going well.  Instead, we are to “be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. In other words, we are called to give thanks to God, to pray, and to be joyful even when we don’t feel like it.

This is often times really hard to do because our natural human inclination is not to be joyful and give thanks when we are sad, hurt, or discouraged.  In fact, Satan wants nothing more than for us to go farther and farther down a dark hole of despair when we are having negative emotions. In order to go against what Satan wants us to do and act in a way that God has called us to, we have to make a conscious effort to go against our natural inclinations.

This takes discipline, self-control, faith, and support.  Here are 5 ways to help you (and me) be joyful, give thanks, and pray in all circumstances:

·         Begin your day in prayer and in God’s word. If this can’t happen in the morning, do whatever you can to find a time to spend 10-15 min with God sometime before noon.  

·         Keep a notepad or a saved e-mail to yourself available as much as possible and jot down both the positive and the negative thoughts, feelings and events throughout the day.

·         At the end of the day, keep the things you are thankful for and then pray about the negative things.  End your prayer with giving the negative thoughts and feelings to God and erasing them. Remind yourself that only God can have those thoughts, not Satan, for God will turn the bad into good, and Satan will turn the bad into worse.

·         Ask whoever you are close to and trust to hold you accountable for your actions. Are you so busy and stressed that you have a bad attitude? Ask this person to kindly remind you when they see your attitude shift so they can help you turn a bad attitude into a prayerful attitude.

·         Agree in your heart, in your mind, and with your body that you will obey God, depend on Him, and acknowledge Him in all ways. Trust that God will provide for you and cast your burdens on Him (Psalm 5:22).Practice being joyful by showing yourself and everyone around you how much you love Jesus and how thankful you are for His Grace, Love and Forgiveness. What is one of your favorite things to do? Go do it, and give thanks to God while doing it!

The more we lay down our lives for God, take up His spirit within us, and obey God, the more natural it will be for us to be joyful and thankful in all circumstances. I don’t know about you, but I will do whatever it takes to get closer to God and be joyful all the time. Try it with me?

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me” (Proverbs 8:17).

Father God, Thank you for never giving up on making us more like You. We are your clay and you are the potter. Mold us and make us like You. Give us Your Holy Spirit and transform our minds so that we may not miss a second to serve You and be Your hands and feet. We love You. Amen.

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