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Paul's epistle for the church in Thessalonica was written in Corinth. It was a substitute for his personal presence, and so he charged them by the Lord that the epistle be read to all the holy brethren. By writing it, Paul wanted to make sure the specified practice was established. So I have specific instructions from few short verses below, unique in the mentioned chapter, to share with us.

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

Practising unconditional joy, continual prayer and thanksgiving helps us to stay in charge of all circumstances and rise above all negativities of life. Paul's joy, thanksgiving habit and prayer life overpowered all his trials. In spite of ill-treatment, brushes with troubles and collision with challenging situations, he always rejoiced and thus, prevailed. So by his experience, Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians, offering these practical instructions.

In our Christian walk, there is always a need to be constantly joyful, prayerful and displaying an attitude of gratitude to God in every circumstance.

Let's start with being joyful: When you master such practice, it shows that your source of confidence is not earthly. You become heavenly because this practice speaks of heavenly expression. Every Christian can rejoice always because our joy isn't based on feelings and circumstances, but in God, our source. Feelings and circumstances are subject to change, but God isn't. And every challenge has a time and intensity limit, but our joy has no limit. This is why the Scripture informed us to, 'rejoice always'! In other words, we have a great liberty to rejoice, because God has said so.

The second instruction is 'pray continually': There is significant, important value in every time we shut out all other distractions and focus on God in our closet for quality prayer. And there is great value in continual, moment-of-the-day fellowship with God. As Christians, we must never put ourselves in a situation where 'we could not pray' continually. Your prayer time is the main time you can create a sense of significance for your purpose in Christ. Every Christian can hear from God but there's such a thing as God's specific voice for you. That voice is not for everybody but you. This is why you need to shut out all distractions. Therefore prayer times, properly focused, generate radical reward from God. This is what Matthew 6:6 is talking about. The (NIV) reads, 'But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.' The reward is beyond just having your prayer request answered, though time will fail me to go into the reward system. However bear in mind that continual and well-focused prayer times always produce great reward. The reward system is based on persistence, because people who persevere get things others do not get. One of such rewards is seen in Luke 18:1-8, where Jesus shared the parable of the persistent widow to illustrate that we should pray continually and not give up.

The last instruction is to 'give thanks in all circumstances': When you form the habit of giving thanks in all circumstances, it shows that you trust God. God has a craving to be trusted and so, even if you don't perceive anything else in any given situation, settle it in your heart that God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. He has never spoken and failed to act and He has never promised and failed to carry it through (Numbers 23:19 NLT). Therefore being grateful with a heart and voice of thanksgiving is the vital evidence of your firm belief and trust in God. It is a thing of honour to give thanks to God in all circumstances. A thankful heart says, 'everybody else may accept the status quo but I refuse to normalise'. I dare to be different and take any limit off me by thanking and praising God.

Finally we are urged to practise these instructions as part of our daily lives because according to our referenced Scripture, this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus. Therefore, never give up, never give in and don't give out soon.

Scripture Reading - Ephesians 5:18-20; Philippians 4:4; Acts 16:24-26; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2; Hebrews 13:15-16.

Guided Prayer: Thank you precious Father, for the joy of knowing you and having Christ in me. By maintaining a continual prayer life and supplication, the peace of Christ rules in my heart, and thankfulness overflows. In all circumstances, I sustain a grateful heart and I praise you for your faithfulness and sovereignty, thereby fulfilling your perfect will for my life in Christ. Thank you Lord for your peace that transcends all understanding and your love that endures forever, in Jesus' Name, Amen!


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