From my notes on Carl Palmer’s excellent teaching: Rejoice Always, 11/27/2016.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Those words from 1 Thessalonians were written by Paul from prison. Rejoicing for the Christ follower is emotion based on fact. Jesus said in John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
So if you’re following Jesus his joy is in you. Letting it out might seem difficult at times, but that could be a first world problem. Because when Carl (who travels the world) asks Christians in foreign countries why they’re so joyful, they give simple answers. Answers like, “Because I’m saved.” Or, “Because I’m not a Muslim anymore, so I have confidence.”
These same joyful people are often persecuted because they follow Jesus. There are few nominal Christians in Africa and India where Carl travels.
If they can rejoice always, so can you and I.
The thing about prayer is that it’s not limited to certain places or certain times. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you can pray.
God wants us to pray continually because God wants relationship with us. I think Jesus made that obvious during his time walking the earth.
The most valuable things you have in life are your relationships. The most valuable relationship you have is the one you have with Jesus.
So build that relationship.
Give Thanks In All Circumstances
When you’re suffering and you pray but there’s no answer, and it feels like God isn’t there, is that true? Is God not there? Of course that’s not true. God is most definitely there. And you can know He cares, you can know He loves you, because He gave his own Son so you could be saved. He gave His own Son so you could be reconciled to Him.
So give thanks.
Look for whatever good you can find in every trial, even if it’s small, even if it’s tiny.
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God.
What Kind Of Person Should I Be?
I should be, you should be, we should be people who are focused on our Father. Because focusing on our Father blurs our focus on our problems, in a good way.
If you’ve ever encountered someone who’s joyful, prayerful, and thankful in the midst of great suffering, then you know that these are some of the most powerful people on earth. God wants you to have that kind of power.
“The greatness of God is bigger than the reality of the worst pain and tragedy. Do you think God ever looks at what’s happening to us and says, ‘Oh no! They’re in trouble now. I don’t know what I’m gonna do.’ Of course not. If only we could look over God’s shoulder while we’re enduring a trial.” –Carl Palmer
What God Wants
So what does God want? He wants a life of faith that rejoices in Jesus, prays to God, and gives thanks in all circumstances.
“Father help me, and help the person reading this right now, to live a life of faith that rejoices, prays, and gives thanks in all circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”