Monday, November 14, 2011

Sermon Summary

The Choice to Rejoice

Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoicing is a matter of choice. You are the only one who decides if and when you will rejoice. Below are 3 Biblical guidelines to help us  rejoice in all circumstances.

To be joyful is the same as to rejoice.

1. Devote ourselves to prayer. (pray continually)
The bible commands us to do things we can't do ... apart from Him. 
The word "continually" means without ceasing. We are to never stop. Similar to a pilot and control power relationship we are to be constantly open and receptive to communication from God. He is always available to us.

2. Train ourselves to  give thanks. (give thanks in all circumstances)
Giving thanks doesn't happen naturally - it takes training. Just as children must be taught to say please and thank-you, we need to learn to develop the habit of thanking God in all circumstances.
In Acts 16 Paul and Silas were accused, attacked, stripped, beaten and flogged. After all that they were thrown into prison and place in stocks. Yet they prayed and sang hymns. 
Video clip of Helen Behrane - 
We need to quit whining and give thanks to God - we have so much for which to be grateful.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize. (for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus)
Let us fix our eyes on the Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Jesus kept his eyes on the prize. We also need to focus on what matters most. Jesus came to do God's will as shown in Heberews 10:7. We too can rejoice when we know we're right where God wants us to be. 

Ps 16:11 says will fill me with joy in your presence...

There are only three places where we are told directly what the will of God is - 
I Thessalonians 4:3 - It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.
I Peter 2:15 - For it is by God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
I Thessalonians 5: 18 - give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

If you wish you could do God's will - this is it.

We need to remember that these verses are commands not suggestions or options.

Such a lot of content for such a little passage.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coming Soon: Christmas Tree Skirt

Cut it last night.
Hope to sew it tonight.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful ... for My Husband

I am thankful, really. It might not seem like it based on the number of posts in the last few several months. But that's not it. Life has gotten kinda crazy, kinda busy. Blogging has become a lower priority. Hopefully, this will change as new choices are made in the future.

I have a renewed thankfulness for my husband. He has been going through a lot of changes in the last couple of years. After losing his job as an architect, he chose to take on a much lower paying job as a janitor at our church. It was humbling, yet fulfilling for him. He was sad to have to leave California and our friends their, but oddly enough he was also sad to leave that job. It gave him time to think - that is a wonderful thing for him.

His next job was as retail salesperson at a nursery (with hopes of becoming a landscape designer). Even though the pay wasn't great, the opportunity to explore a long-held dream was wonderful. The step from salesperson to landscape designer has been challenging. And yet he is so thankful for this chance to pursue that dream that he is working through those challenges with diligence and commitment.

As I have watched my husband make these changes and deal with the fluctuations in salary and hours, it has become apparent that he is committed to providing for us and allowing himself to be used by God in new and different (sometimes very uncomfortable) ways. In this month of thanksgiving, I want to publicly profess my thankfulness to my husband for his provision.

But beyond that, he is a man who cares deeply for me. He's not one for mushy words and extravagant gifts. He would rather show his love in practical ways by folding laundry and taking me out to eat instead of watching me schlog through dinner preparations when I'm exhausted. He's a no-nonsense guy who can be my best supporter and most encouraging cheerleader. I'm seeing a side of him I never would have seen if we hadn't gone through the things we're going through now. I know even more deeply that he is fully committed to me and will never leave me. I will be forever grateful that he is mine and I am his.