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Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks

Whether it is news nationally such as illegal immigrants pounding the border or personal news of a death or sickness, bad news ingulfs each day with a heaviness that can overwhelm us if we let it. So, on this Thanksgiving, how do we rise above all the bad news and cultivate thanksgiving and joy?

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Being thankful comes directly from God.  As humans, it can be difficult to be thankful for all since so much is negative, and we have been hurt by circumstances, events or people in the past. I don’t believe that we can be negative and positive at the same time. Once filled with a negative thought, it consumes us so completely that there is no room for the positive. So how do we become “thankful in all circumstances”?

First we have to trust that, true happiness can only come through intimacy with God. It is clear in the Bible that God wants us to have a personal relationship with Jesus. It is His will for us to be able to talk to Jesus in the same way we would talk to a best friend.

For me that relationship flourished when I was willing to Surrender completely to the will of God. Giving all to God, to His control and His direction, is not easy and for most. It usually starts with a partial surrender. “Lord, I will give you my job and my children, but not my money and car”. I admit, for most of my life I submitted only parts of me to the Lord and took control of the rest. The true relationship began when I gave God EVERYTHING…my money, my car, my job, my children, my house…EVERYTHING. I was willing to give it all up to follow the lead of Jesus. It was then that I became acutely aware of the Spirit inside me directing me and guiding me. At times the direction was not fun and so hard to accept, but the ultimate goal became a rich joy that I could not have imagined. (I often ask the question, what took me so long?)

Intimacy with Jesus is the start and that comes with a total surrender. Allowing the Spirit to have full reign over our lives is the only option. Only then will we achieve in our heart and soul a peace that is beyond understanding.

Here is the secret behind Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks: First, surrender all and pray to the Spirit for direction, then pray, pray, pray. The true sign of surrender is when we can’t help but pray constantly in all circumstances. Find me someone who prays often, and I will show you someone who has a relationship with Jesus and is joyful in all circumstances and can’t help but be thankful. That is the formula and the answer to the question: “How do we rise above bad news to be thankful?”

Jesus says to us that He will never give up on us or leave us no matter what we have done wrong. No matter the severerity of our heinous acts, Jesus’s love is so much greater for He is relentlessly pursuing us. Surrender this Thanksgiving and be truly joyful and thankful in all, no matter our circumstances.

Isn’t this the lesson we want to teach our children this Thanksgiving?

 

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joe-sturnioloBy Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.

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