December 8, 2011

Dec. 8: Rejoice, pray, give thanks


By Alicia Hofer, a sophomore elementary education major from Dolton, S.D.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances.
We know this is not our first nature. How many times do we have a rough day, not wanting to rejoice, failing to pray because we don’t find the time or the desire?

Rejoice always. We can rejoice always because although we live in this world, our joy isn’t based in this world. Rather, it is based on God. Trials are what help us grow, give us faith, and let us connect to others. Through trials, we rediscover ourselves. God never changes. Rejoice through it all — God’s love and grace are on our side!

Pray without ceasing. Prayer is our unique connection to our Creator. Praying without ceasing seems overwhelming and difficult – but what is prayer? Could this unceasing prayer also refer to our attitude? When we pray we refocus ourselves, re-center on what’s important, and approach stations with a God-like attitude. It allows us to be mindful of a world beyond ourselves and lets us know God is in control.

Give thanks in all circumstances. At some point in our lives, we all go through tough, unexplainable experiences. Did you hear that? All. Every one of us. We are not alone in our struggles; we have the most powerful being imploring us to give ourselves up, willing to bear our load and give us rest. Isn’t that a perfect reason to give thanks? I think so.

As Paul writes, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

In this season of love, giving and sacrifice, let Paul’s words be a faithful reminder that through everything, the God of peace is faithful in every moment of our lives. Let us rejoice, give thanks, and pray without ceasing for our God is great!

SCRIPTURE: 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24 (NRSV)
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.



Comments (12)

  1. Thanks for the encouraging words and the reminder about prayer.

    Kristel December 8, 2011 |
  2. Excellent and helpful thoughts. I particularly like your statement: “Through trials, we rediscover ourselves.” I am going through some trials right now and I have found that to be so true….what is important and what my core beliefs about God really come to the surface. Thank you.

    Scott December 8, 2011 |
  3. The breath prayer is a way of praying without ceasing.

    Peter Kufeke December 8, 2011 |
  4. Glad to read your comments, Alicia. Are you from the Mennonite Brethren Church in or near Dolton? It used to be a KMB church, and I grew up in the KMB church near Waldheim, Saskatchewan. I taught at Goshen College from 1961 to 1994. I hope you are having a good year.

    Marlin Jeschke

    Marlin Jeschke December 8, 2011 |
  5. Our God is Great! Being able to rejoice, pray and give thanks is because of this faithful God whose “love and grace are on our side”. Thanks for sharing!

    Ruth December 8, 2011 |
  6. Thank you, Alicia, for taking time, as a busy student, to write this devotion and share the truth with us for encouragement. I needed to hear your thoughts on this scripture today! It was good to be reminded of the Most Powerful Being willing to bear my load and give me rest so I can rejoice in Jesus. Again, Thank You.

    Susan December 8, 2011 |
  7. Thank you, Alicia, for helping me to be God-centered in my suffering and thanksgiving.
    Thank you, too, for being you.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet December 8, 2011 |
  8. Thanks for the inspiring words! I’m pondering the word “sacrifice” as “In this season of love, giving and sacrifice.” I’m curious about your thoughts.

    Lois Kennel December 8, 2011 |
  9. Thank you for your thoughtful insights!

    Dale December 8, 2011 |
  10. Beautiful words, Alicia! An especially good reminder regarding prayer as a tmie to ‘refocus’ and think about what is important…and to also remove ourselves to a position of submission to God’s leadership rather than our own selfish motivations. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us this Advent season.

    DeeDee Barnes Bruns December 8, 2011 |
  11. Thank you for your message. It was exactly what I needed today. Having just had my job and my whole department abolished last week, I needed to read the words that we should give thanks in all circumstances and pray without ceasing. Your message brought me hope.

    Mary December 10, 2011 |
  12. Thank you for this powerful message and timely (for me!) reminder. Such a message of hope that is needed right now.
    God has spoken to me through the words he gave you to share. Have a blessed Christmas!

    Susan V. December 11, 2011 |