In Good Times and In Bad

2015-05-27 14.06.29We had good weather today. With warm temperatures tomorrow, I may be able to get some of my garden planted. I had another appointment with my chiropractor today and I believe getting my skeletal system in alignment will facilitate some of the nerve regeneration that needs to take place.

I did get out for a late afternoon ride on my bike. Before that I took the dog for a walk and took some pictures or our neighborhood lake. All the recent rain has it at capacity, but it makes for a nice setting. You can see many of the “willows” of  the Willow Springs community.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… Be joyful always, pray at all times,  be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

When I read this verse from the Apostle Paul, I think of Micah 6:8 “….Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God.”

When it comes to what the Lord desires for us and from us, the list is fairly small. Even the commandments are summarized in two basic admonitions. “Love the Lord you God with heart, soul, mind and strength….love your neighbor as yourself.” John the Apostle said, “Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)

During Jesus ministry, He was challenging the Pharisees about their hundreds of rules and regulations that were the source of pride and judgment, while calling people into relationship with Himself and the Father. A relationship based on forgiveness, love, and faith. Jesus’ desire is for us to know Him as the one whose, “burden is light.” His greater desire is for us to experience what He has for us, more than what He wants from us.

When we look at our verse for today, we see three basic concepts of joy, communication with the Lord (prayer) and thankfulness.” I am attracted to these verses because they are to serve as the guide for all of our life, in all circumstances of our life.

We relate “joy” and “thankfulness” to our life when life is well. We view “prayer” as being more fervent and consistent when life is filled challenges. However, these aspects of our life are to be a part of our life in all circumstances. Paul communicates that when he says we are to “thankful in all circumstances.” But it comes across as well when we are to joyful “always” when we are to pray “at all times.”

How can this be? Remember, “joy” is not a sense of happiness or being “giddy” about life. It is not a manic condition; it is a deep settled peace that comes from our faith and confidence in the Lord. “Prayer” is important in all situations and circumstances. When we are glad as well as when we are sad. Since prayer is our communication with the Lord, it is important that we cultivate our relationship with the Lord on a daily basis, not just out of our own sense of need. Remember the words of the old hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”?

Finally, we can be “thankful in all circumstances.” We don’t have to be thankful for all circumstances, but we can have confidence that regardless of where the path of life leads the Lord is with us. And that alone gives us something to give thanks for.

When I share my story, about my illness and hospitalization and on-going recovery, people comment about my positive outlook and attitude. I realize that is not something that is possible in myself. People have prayed for me and I have faith and confidence in the Lord for His plan for my life. But it is important to note Paul says, God’s desire for our life is an out growth of our, “union with Christ.” Outside of Christ you won’t and can’t be joyful and thankful and persistent in prayer. I’m thankful that the Lord enables us to live the life He wants for us, as we simply place our faith and confidence in Him.