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31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 18

 
Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Ann Voskamp quoted this passage in her blog recently. Then, I read it in my one-year Bible for October 12. Seeing it twice within a week caught my attention.
Verse 16 is: Always be joyful.
This sounds like a command to me and I don’t think God would command us to do something we can’t do. If He tells me to always be joyful, then I believe that it is always possible for me to be joyful and that this is what God desires for me.
Verse 17 is: Keep on praying.
I hear another command. And, it follows the first one, which I understand to mean that prayer is related to being joyful. The joy provokes the prayer; the prayer sustains the joy, or both. Either way, I like how God has placed these two directives right next to each other.
Verse 18: No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
No matter what happens, I can be thankful. God’s will for me, as one who belongs to Christ Jesus is that I would be thankful. This stirs my heart to commit to the regular practice of gratitude all over again.
God wants me to be joyful, constant in prayer and thankful. This is what I hear Him say in this passage, “Be joyful, Jody. Be constant in prayer, Jody. Be thankful, Jody.”
Why does God link these three things? I think He is trying to show that they go together. When I practice gratitude through prayer in every season and situation, I will experience joy in God’s presence. This sounds good to me.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #558: Tea and coffee in the morning
·         #559: Having the freedom to wear jeans to work
·         #560: A short work day in a quiet building
·         #561: An afternoon adventure with my parents to Galena, IL
·         #562: Fall colors that have remained despite wind and rain
·         #563: New smart wool socks!
·         #564: Window shopping
·         #565: An Italian dinner with two of my favorite people
·         #566: Finding a coffee shop that made espresso drinks right before it closed for the day
·         #567: Laughing hard together
·         #568: Car naps

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