God is in Control, Be Joyful

Scripture: Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.  You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-18 NIV

Observations: Paul is giving the Thessalonians instructions for having a right attitude.

Application: I believe that verses 16,17 & 18 are exactly the instructions the Lord wants for us today; “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I am in no way prone to having a rosy attitude all the time and nobody has ever been accused of calling me a “Polly Anna.”  I take everything, especially politics, very seriously and the actions of our Congress this past weekend are very disconcerting to me.  I believe that fact is why the Lord wants me to share about joy today.  There is every reason to be sullen, sad, and scared for our future when we view it from our perspective.  That’s the problem, OUR perspective, not God’s.  We need to change that.  We need to strive to have a Christ-like attitude and we need to look at current events from God’s perspective.   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 NIV God has a plan!  I don’t know what it is, but he does.  I need to know that, accept it and go forth joyfully.
Last night as I lay in bed the Lord put it on my heart to pray for the safety, security, and salvation of President Obama. I was to pray for and believe that he would have a Damascus road conversion; God loves him too. Maybe if a man of power and influence like the president who by all indications is not a Christian were to become one publically a revival may occur in this country.  This is not my will–but it is the will of the Father.  I wish to fulfill his charge for me. I urge all of you to pray for the president, his staff, and our Congress today and do it with a glad heart.

Prayer: Father, today I lift up President Obama. I pray for safety, security, and salvation for him.  I pray that he be humbled today and seek your forgiveness for his life of sin and self-indulgence. Father, I know that through your power he can be a changed man and I believe that his conversion and his public claim of that conversion could encourage a revival upon this land.  Lord I also ask for protection for the president’s staff and all members of both houses of our Congress.  The events of this past weekend no longer have power over my attitude; I choose to “be joyful always.”  I know that through all thing you work for good. I ask that you help us to focus on the fact that you are in control and that is cause for joy.  Thank you Lord.  I ask all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

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