16 Rejoice always – 1 Thess. 5:16 NKJV
One of the reasons I love Paul’s letters is the fact that right in the middle of telling us how bad it is and how much worse it could be, he suddenly stops, (and I believe) he just shouts it out. REJOICE! If our laboring for the Lord does not bring us joy, we need to realign our priorities. One of the ways we quench the Spirit is to refuse to be joyful in our walk with God. We should test everything we hear, Does your pastor’s sermons always line up with the Word of God? You should check every comment I make and see if it really fits the with the Scriptures. The more we study God’s Word, the more we will see why Paul was always content regardless of his situation. God will give us His peace, and we are blameless in God’s eyes because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Fear not, God is faithful, He will do what He says He will do. If we remain faithful, we will reap our crowns (rewards) in heaven.
Hebrews 10:19-23 NKJV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! –Revelation 3:15 NLT
God wants each of us to be totally committed to Him. Our lifestyles should reflect that commitment. We have to look inside ourselves and allow God’s Holy Spirit to show us where the problem lies. What is keeping us from being totally committed to Jesus? Are temporary physical pleasures more important than eternal life in heaven? Eternal life with Jesus is a free gift, so earning more money is not going to get you there. The only true peace and contentment we have is in Jesus. He knows our hearts and He knows the solution to not only the sins we try to hide, but to any situation we are facing. He is waiting to share that information with You.
If you do, He will speak to You.
3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ — Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
3 Then he said,“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. — Matt. 18:3 NLT
When some hear this passage, they think of the innocence of a little child who has not yet learned the difference between right and wrong. Perhaps that’s what Jesus was referring to but I am not so sure. I think in the context of His remark about humility, He may very well have been referring to something deeper than that. After all, small children who truly do not know the difference in right and wrong would not need forgiveness, would they? No, I believe Jesus is referring to us becoming as dependent on Him for everything we need as a small child is dependent on his/her parent for everything they need to survive. We have to come to Jesus in such humbleness and humility because we realize that we can do nothing about our situation. We are lost and will stay lost without his mercy and grace. But I believe He is reaching even deeper than that. We must humble ourselves to the point that we really and truly understand that we can do nothing in any situation without Him. Just like a little child comes to us and says “Daddy, tie my shoestrings because I can’t”, so must we humble ourselves before our Daddy and confess that we can’t.
8 He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.
— 2 Chronicles 32:8 NLT
When Hezekiah became king of Judah, he tore down false idol and restored the Temple. He brought back the priests and the Levites and re-established the worship services according to the words that Moses had recorded. The people had joined in and given their tithes and gift offerings with joy and celebration. It was a time of restoration in the land of Judah. Hezekiah had faithfully carried out his work. As we know, satan does not like to see the work of God carried out successfully. The only plan satan has is to see what God is doing and react to it. So, God allows him to bring Sennacherib and the Assyrian army to attack Judah and Jerusalem. Sennacherib had been successful in taking some of the walled cities of Judah and now his army had arrived at Jerusalem. Hezekiah continued his work of restoration by completing the walls of Jerusalem and building an outer wall as well. He encouraged all of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to continue in their work and worship of the true God of Israel. Hezekiah had faith that God would deliver the city from danger. He understood that it was God that had made his efforts successful and not the power of man. So, when he saw a great army of “mere men” arrayed against him, he trusted his God to deliver him and he was right in doing so. Hezekiah and the priests cried out to God and God delivered them by sending an angel to destroy the Assyrian army. When we are obedient to God we do not have to fear regardless of what the situation looks like from a human standpoint. “Trust and obey, there’s no other way”.
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? — James 4:11, 12 NIV
If there is an area in the life of a Christian where we sin daily, and shall I dare say it, deliberately, it is in our thoughts and our words. It is hard to look at someone and not immediately form some sort of opinion of that person before we even get to know them. We are told over and over how important first impressions are in this world. As Chritsians, we need to pray for discernment and patience before forming opinions of others. We need to predetermine that we are going to love the people we meet every day. When we love someone, we usually give them the advantage of any doubts we have about their goodness. We need to assume that they are good and show them the same respect we want them to show to us. We should look at every person, regardless of their station or situation, with the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty. We should assume everyone is worthy of our love and affection until they prove by their words and actions that they are not. We need to pray that we will see others with the eyes of Jesus, hear their words with the ears of Jesus and above all, filter every thought through the love of Jesus.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: — Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV
What a wonderful world it could be, if each of us, each day, strived to have the same attitude toward others that Jesus has for us.
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. — Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV
Jesus provided purification for our sins when He hung on a cross. From that cross, He announced that “it is finished”. His work here on earth was completed. God gloriously raised Jesus from the dead and He ascended into heaven. He is there now, at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us.
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. — Romans 8:34 NIV
There are times in our lives when we become so frustrated or burdened that we do not how or what to pray. Those can be the times that our prayers are the most fervent and the most effective. God, in His great mercy and love for us, has made a way for us to pray at any time in any situation. When we reach the place where we are at a loss as to what to say or pray. the Holy Spirit prays through us and for us.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. — Romans 8:26,27 NIV
When we are praying and we literally run out of words to say, we should stop and consider this fact: The complete Trinity is involved in every prayer we pray. The Holy Spirit takes our stumbling, bumbling mutterings and groans. He cleans them up and presents them to the Father as Jesus watches and intercedes on our behalf. A simple prayer is sufficient since God already knows what we need. Peter’s prayer “Lord, save Me!” moved Jesus to save him from the angry waves and those three words are still enough to bring salvation.
4 Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful! 5 Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. 6 Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. 7 Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable. 9 Practice what you’ve learned and received from me, what you heard and saw me do. Then the God who gives this peace will be with you.–Phil. 3:4-9 (God’s Word)
God is waiting to show you the way.
Over the past few days we have been looking at how we should act as Christians. We have looked at what God expects of us. Now, we need to practice those things daily and they will bring joy to our hearts. We will be able to rejoice and praise God in any situation. Not because of the situation but because we are learning that He will be there with us and carry us through every situation. Praying and giving thanks will keep us from worrying because we will have the peace of God in our lives. We must focus on the things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, and commendable. We must be diligent in our practice because it is so easy to stop if we are not consistent in our habits.