We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

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Extra Strength for: Thanksgiving Sunday service.

In school I was taught not to use absolutes.  Words like “never” and “always” should not be used in a statement unless you are 100 percent sure that something always or never occurs.  Even then it is cautioned because there is always the possibility of change.  As a matter of fact, there is a phrase that says, “the only thing that is constant is change”.

Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”  Here in scripture we find that rule being broken.  Maybe Paul didn’t learn the same lesson that I did about using those absolutes.  Here he uses the word always as he instructs us not once but twice to rejoice in the Lord.  Paul doesn’t say rejoice sometimes when the situation is good or on a day when no change has occurred.  He tells us to rejoice ALWAYS.  Paul can use that absolute because God never changes.

Thanksgiving ImmanuelI looked up the definition of rejoice and it was defined as “to show great joy”.  Notice it doesn’t say to show great happiness. Happiness is something you feel when things “happen.”  Joy on the other hand is what you feel not because of something but because of Someone.  Joy allows you to smile when you world is turned upside down because of a change.  Joy allows you to wake up in the morning in spite of the tears you cried last night because of a change.  Joy is found not in the physical but in the spiritual.  Do you have joy?

Next Paul tells us in verse 6 that we should “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

We are to bring all our anxieties to him, everything, but we are to do it with thanksgiving.  Don’t miss that part of the verse.  We are to tell God that we are anxious because our rent is due, and then we thank Him for giving us shelter.  We are to tell Him that we are anxious because our child is sick, and then we thank Him for blessing us with them in the first place.  We are to tell Him that we are anxious because we need a job, and then we thank Him for being our provider.  We rejoice always because we have Him and in Him we find joy in the midst of change.  Do you have joy?

Paul goes on to say in verse 7 that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

In the midst of a change, when we rejoice anyway and cast our cares on Him, while thanking Him, He gives us peace.  This peace isn’t just a brief passing but it’s a lingering presence.  It’s the kind of peace you get that places a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart that not even you can understand at times.  The Bible tells us that it surpasses ALL understanding.  Not only does He give us peace but He allows it to guard our hearts AND our minds.  God knows that you are vulnerable in this state which leaves you open to the enemy but He protects you.  He guards your heart from being hardened and your mind from taking over.  It is in that peace and protection that we find joy in the midst of a change.  Do you have joy?

Lastly Paul doesn’t just preach it, but he shows us that he practices it too. In verses 10-13 he tells us that no matter what situation he has been in, he has learned to be content.  Don’t miss that.  Paul isn’t saying that he has been content since day one.  He tells us that he “learned” how to behave that way. He had an attitude adjustment.  In every situation he had another chance to learn. It was another chance to look not at his situation but at His Savior.  Even when he was successful he didn’t look at his rewards; he looked at his Redeemer.  It was in those times that Paul was able to find joy in the midst of a change.  Do you have joy?

In every testimony I heard on Sunday, there was joy. In spite of all they had been through they rejoiced.  In spite of what they were going through, they rejoiced.  In the midst of constant changes, they found joy.  Do you want joy?  Maybe it is time you adjusted your attitude and start having an attitude of gratitude. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice.

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

 

 


 

Be Challenged:

  • What can you give thanks for right now in this very moment? Thank God and then tell Him what you need. Rejoice in the fact that He is a God who hears us!
  • Make a “Thanksgiving Tree” during your Thanksgiving celebration; it doesn’t have to be fancy. Cut out leaves and pass them around to others, each writing something for which you’re thankful on your respective leaf. Shape the leaves into a tree on your dining room or living room wall. Rejoice and thank God for all He has done this year. If the tree is too much, take turns giving thanks to God around the dining room table.

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