Over the last several months I have had many conversations with those who are weary of the continuing cultural hemorrhaging and discord impacting families, businesses and one’s spiritual life in tangible ways.
Many believers all over the world can relate to the spiritual battle that seems to intensify on a daily basis. Here in South Africa lock down restrictions tighten up once again in an already tanking economy. Desperation, discouragement, and depression rise to the surface to take its toll within communities impacting daily life and one’s faith. What IS the solution? Where IS the hope?
On Sunday morning I was journeying through 1 Thessalonians and came across the often memorized text of verse 5:16-18:
“Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
I picked up my journal and thought these words are the solution to overcome the darkest spiritual clouds. Yes, Paul knew we would face personal and spiritual battles. The Apostle Paul writes these words to a start up church, in the beginning stages of being discipled by Paul . These were difficult days for the apostles who was eventually forced out of Thessalonica by the authorities because of His teachings about Jesus. Yet, in 3 verses Paul gives the believers what is necessary not only to survive the cultural battles of paganism, a religious spirt opposing grace, and the strong arm of the Roman Caesar, but to thrive and flood the city with the Kingdom of Jesus.
Here is an excerpt of what I wrote in my journal on January 17:
“Always be joyful?” Why? Because Christ, the true King is living in me right now and I am a citizen of heaven. I can’t lose since King Jesus is coming again to make all wrongs right!
“Keep on praying?” Why? Prayer is the gateway into the Heavenly realm and brings the power of Heaven to earth through the Holy Spirit. Since this power lives in me I can overcome any spiritual battles I may encounter. Praying the Words of scriptures brings victory!
“No matter what happens, always be thankful?” Why? God the Father’s heart is linked with those who resonate a posture of thankfulness. A thankful spirit indicates an inherent trust and dependency on the Father. Thankfulness demonstrates that I believe He is the Sovereign over everything in life and He will use it for my good and His glory.
Patty and I are blessed to have Oceans Ministries partners Mike & Dawn Verkaik out here in South Africa. Yes, they miraculously made it over the Atlantic Ocean and brought “much needed” supplies of Frosted Flakes and Peach Tea. But what has been even better than the treats has been the sweet fellowship in the Spirit. Together with other fellow believers we have shared meals, spent time in prayer, worship, Bible study, enjoying God’s creation, and ministering to those in the community. Indeed it has been a time of refreshment to the soul.
As a community of believers when we choose to “rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in every situation” we become a powerful force of transformation not only within our families and businesses but also in our culture. And don’t forget it also brings forth spiritual renewal in our own lives.
I challenge you to take action with these 3 verses! Give them a try! Write them down and post them on your mirror! Or find 2 or 3 others to join you in memorizing and practicing these verses. Make a conscious effort to renew your mind and believe with great hope what your Father can and will do when we exercise this solution.