Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (1 Thess. 5:16-18, MSG)
Happy New Year! This month gives all of us a brand new start. Welcome to 2021.
Last year, my devotional emphasis was choosing joy. Beginning the day with God and staying in touch with Him throughout the day causes joy. The verses found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tell the importance of living a life filled with joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. This is how God wants us to live, those who believe in Christ Jesus.
As a child, I played hide-and-go-seek. I was pretty good at hiding, but not so good at seeking. I think perhaps I was not patient enough to keep looking. As an adult, I now seek God continually. My patience has matured, and I am able to seek Him in prayer and wait on Him and His answers. God’s timing is always best.
Working with preschoolers and loving them no matter what has helped my patience. I know that God loves them unconditionally. Preschoolers cannot see God, but they can see me and sense my love. My prayer is that one day the preschoolers I love will come to know God’s great love for them.
Recently, a lady I have known for years began talking with me about her life. Each time I listened, I told her I would pray for her. She is on my daily prayer list and I pray for her every time I think about her. One day she asked me how often I prayed to God. I told her that for me, walking with God is talking with and being ready to listen to Him all day long, each and every day. No one had ever told her that they wanted to pray for her. She seemed surprised when she asked me how one prays often, I told her that for me it is as natural as breathing. Relentlessly seeking God in prayer can develop into an enriching, lifelong habit.
The verses in 1 Thessalonians remind us to be cheerful. There are times to be happy and times to be sad, but we know that God always loves us no matter what. It also says to pray all the time and be thankful. Just by opening our eyes to what and who is around us will lead us to pray. Looking beyond ourselves, watching for God’s blessings and care over us, and seeing others in need of our heavenly Father leads us to pray. We pray always, with cheerful-ness and thanksgiving, because this is how God wants us to live, we who love Jesus.
God loves us, cares for us, and knows us by name. My prayer is that every day we will see God, listen to Him, talk with Him, and tell others about Him in all that we say and do.
Father God, Thank You for giving us the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Remind us to live cheerfully, pray continually, and thank you for everything, no matter what. Help us to relentlessly seek You in prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
by Wendy Dever