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Responding to God

Responding to God

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

It is approaching the end of 2020, and what do we say to God as we conclude this year and look forward to another year? We all know it has been a difficult year and one that will always be remembered for the many unexpected changes and cancellations of anticipated events. Most of us know of someone who has lost a loved one to Covid or perhaps you know the grief of losing someone yourself. We have all experienced the disappointment of traditional family, church, and community events that have been cancelled or changed dramatically. How do we respond to God at such a time as we make plans to turn the calendar over and begin a New Year?

Paul wrote the above verses at the conclusion of his letter to the Thessalonians. This was likely his first letter, and here we have a very simple conclusion of instructions to the church members as they face persecution, uncertainty, confusion, and death. This advice in these short verses is simple and direct − kind of like advice a parent might give their child as they are getting out of the car to go visit friends − very familiar and expected, but very meaningful if we really listen. The parent’s words would be different from Paul’s words. Parents may say things like “Say please and thank you, pick up after yourself, call me if you need anything.” All common words that the child may not really listen to.

Paul tells us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks − all the time. These are common and ordinary phrases around church, but we may want to pay close attention to this advice. Why? Because it is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. That is what makes the difference − Christ Jesus. He came and died for us and then rose from the dead. His purpose was to show every person in the world that God loves them and is drawing each person closer to himself. That is why we can be calm in the midst of difficult circumstances, grief, and uncertainty. We know that Jesus is guiding us and is with us comforting, guiding, and showing us the way.

Maybe we can make that our New Year’s Resolution for 2021 − Rejoice, pray, and give thanks all the time. It might change the way we react to people and circumstances around us. And we may want to focus on the good news that this is possible because of Jesus in our lives. I hope you can join us for worship all four Sundays in December!

David Brock

 

david brock ovalDavid loves being with people and greatly enjoys serving as pastor of Spiceland Friends Church. He and his wife, Linda, enjoy spending time with their three grown children and their grandchildren. David is also a full-time attorney. David likes to say that his job description is simple - it is like a pizza delivery person - deliver a hot, fresh sermon each week in LESS THAN 20 MINUTES! Actually, he does a few more things at the church, but his focus on the pastoral team is preparing a Sunday morning message that makes the scripture relevant and applicable to our lives.

 


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