Dec 17 - Rejoice Always

TODAY'S PASSAGE

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

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 5:16-24

SUPPORTING PASSAGES

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, Psalm 126, Luke 1:46b-55, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, John 1:6-8, 19-28


TODAY'S DEVOTION

“Rejoice always…” vs. 5:16 I really like this scripture! And rejoicing does not always mean “happiness” or “exuberance” over something.  I lost my Mom suddenly—she just didn’t wake up one morning.  I could not rejoice as such, other than I knew her health was rapidly declining and although it was a sudden loss, I knew she would no longer suffer.  She entered her heavenly home to reunite with her parents and her five brothers who went before her, and many friends.

My Daddy lived four years after losing his wife and partner on their dairy farm for 59 years.  Daddy spent the last months of his earthly life at our local Life Care Nursing Home.  He never complained, even about the food (well, maybe a few times)!  He had wonderful caring nurses who grew to love him.  His long-time family doctor, Dr. Darby, visited him often.  Farm friends and neighbors were always dropping in to visit and “sit for a while” and talk farming.

When Daddy’s final days became obvious, he became quieter and seemed at peace.  He sometimes would get a far-away look—some say when a person’s life is ending, they begin to see loved ones who have gone before them—his mother, dad, wife, and oldest brother plus many friends who would be there to greet him.

“Pray without ceasing.” Vs 5:17 As I get older, I find that I pray more for family and friends whom I love and cherish.  I pray for my church and our country.  I pray for my pets when they don’t come in for the night, and occasionally one disappears, never to be seen again.  Just this past week, my precious “Layla”, a beautiful, young cat colored like a Holstein cow (black and white) just didn’t come in one night.  I’m assured she crossed over the Rainbow Bridget in our creator’s pet heaven.

A special prayer experience came in the early 90’s when I became a first-time mom three months before my 39th birthday.  I had worked full-time prior and after the first year, I began to contemplate going back to work, but I was not ready to leave my baby son.  I remember praying for God to give me a sign to know what to do.  After many prayers over several days, I remember a real “rushing of calmness and assurance” that I should stay home with my son, T.C.  It was a God-given answer to my prayers and I remember as if it were yesterday (and my son is now 26 years old).

“Our God knows us and what is best for us.” 1 Thess. 5:24 “The one who calls you is faithful…”


LET US PRAY

Heavenly Father God, keep us on the right track of Christian living and loving.  May we always “do unto others as you would have us do unto you.” Amen.


TODAY'S AUTHOR

Diane Grantham is a member of First Baptist Church and a deacon. "During this season of Advent, I am most looking forward to our church’s annual Christmas Eve service which instill in us the 'reason for the season'."