Recently, I was contacted by a ministry looking to hire VP of Development. I’ve been with MAF for 7 years, & love the organization. With this new potential opportunity, I’ve been praying for God’s will. Whenever we come to a crossroads in life, Whether it be: -job change -new home -major decisions We should seek God’s will. What we’re looking for is clear discernment. As a friend at MAF said: “May your answer be as, A pillar of cloud by day & a pillar of fire by night” As important as seeking God’s will (on major issues) is, we often overlook the basics. That’s what today’s passage is all about. Because life doesn’t always give us excitement like: -new jobs -new houses Sometimes it’s the same old, same old everyday. When that happens, We can get in a rut. 1) 1 Thes 5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Christianity is not about God shielding you from bad things. If so, everybody would do it. The awesomeness of Christianity is how it changes my mindset about HARDSHIPS. 2) Mt 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Even believers have: -enemies -those who persecute us Being a believer doesn’t make me immune from hardships. 3) Being a believer gives me the ability to deal with hardships. 1 Thes 5 gives tells us how. 4) 1 Thes 5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; If this isn’t a prescription for a positive attitude, I don’t know what is. First, we’re told to 5) Rejoice always Always is the hard part It’s easy when things are going good. But what about when they aren’t. You may ask, “What about when I lose my job.” “Get behind on my bills” Always still applies. The hard part about Always is that It involves TRUST. When bad things happen, I can rejoice knowing that God’s got it. One of the hardest passages in Bible 6) Mt 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendorwas dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. These are hard words to live by. Our natural self wants to worry. Yet Jesus wants us to rise above it. How do you do that? TRUST In 55 years of living, God has always taken care of me. You can look at me & tell I’ve not missed too many meals. Trust is you telling God: “I believe you & know you’re going to take care of me. So what does it mean to REJOICE ALWAYS? It means that, Life may not always be easy, but you’re celebrating God. 7) You’re telling God, “Life may be hard right now, but I know you’re always with me.” In the end, isn’t that all that matters? Think about what this looks like…. You’re going through bad stuff. Everybody around you sees your hardships. Despite those hardships, You’re rejoicing! 8) Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Instead of having a pity party, You’re in a good mood. That’s faith in action! 1 Thes 5:16 & Phil 4:4 In layman’s terms says: 1. Be positive 2. Have a good attitude The next part of today’s passage 9) 1 Thes 5:17 pray continually, What does your prayer life look like? If your only praying at bedtime & meals, You’re missing the boat. Your prayer life should start when your eyes open & Finish at night when they close. Your entire day should be One gigantic prayer. I recently introduced a friend to prayer before flight. He loves it. He said: “I find when I do so, my thoughts are more organized & focus is clearer. Let me make one point clear, PRAYER ISN’T JUST ABOUT ASKING It’s also about praising. Praising God for all your blessings. Again, the power of being positive. 10) 1 Thes 5:17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; Think about your outlook if you Thanked God for all the bad stuff, as well. Sometimes, what we perceive as bad, is REALLY a blessing. You may be listening to this & thinking: “I’m not going to do that.” Listen to this next part: 11) 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.19 Do not quench the Spirit. There’s two important parts here I don’t want you to miss. 1. Being positive Giving thanks IS GOD’S WILL FOR YOU That’s what God wants from you. 2. If you don’t, YOU MAY BE QUENCHING GOD’S SPIRIT It’s like putting his fire out in your life. Anybody can be negative. When you’re positive, the world sees Jesus. That’s what God wants. That’s God’s will for your life. Does God want to help you with: -jobs? -family issues? -a place to live? Where he wants to start Is with your attitude. Additionally, he says: 12) 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. When your life is filled with holiness, You’re a much happier person. 13) 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.25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.