1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit;…”
God’s Word Translation interprets verse nineteen as: “Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire.” Make the connection? Be joyful, happy in your faith, rejoicing and being glad-hearted continually, unceasing in prayer, and thanking God in everything. Want to pray continually? Give thanks. Want to be happy in your faith? Give thanks in and in spite of all circumstances. The result? Holy Spirit Fire! Do you desire to stoke those fires? Give thanks like your life depended on it. Give thanks for those unanswered prayers as if they are already a manifested reality.
Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.” Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.”
In Budapest, a man goes to the rabbi and complains, “Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?” The rabbi answers, “Take your goat into the room with you.” The man in incredulous, but the rabbi insists. “Do as I say and come back in a week.”
A week later the man comes back looking more distraught than before. “We cannot stand it,” he tells the rabbi. “The goat is filthy.” The rabbi then tells him, “Go home and let the goat out. And come back in a week.” A radiant man returns to the rabbi a week later, exclaiming, “Life is beautiful. We enjoy every minute of it now that there’s no goat — only the nine of us.”
Todays Challenge: Give thanks that your not sleeping with a goat. In other words, give thanks today in spite of the negative circumstances that assail you. When you are tempted to be angry – give thanks. Irritated – give thanks. Hopeless and despairing – give thanks. Anxious or worried – give thanks. Thank God through it, in spite of it and remember and recall – your not sleeping with the goats.
What ten things are you, or could you be thankful for today?