Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Choosing to live differently

If we choose to live differently to the world, then expect those around you to let you know what they think!

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, " Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Does this mean we stop doing daily life to either stand or kneel and pray?  No.  It means that whilst you are going about your daily life, pray.  It's good to set time aside as well to pray.

Hold on - what is prayer?  Essentially, it's a conversation with God.  When you're in a relationship you talk to each other.  It's the same with God.  We're in a relationship with Him and we spend time speaking with each other.  Getting to know each other.  Expressing our hopes, dreams, as well as our fears and concerns.

It's good to set specific time aside to pray - to have a conversation with God.  It's good to talk with Him throughout the day as we work, play and get things done.

Also, be thankful.  Thank the Lord for what you have, what you get to enjoy.  In our western culture, we are blessed.  Most of us have a roof over our heads, a vehicle and some money.  We have the freedom of choosing how we will live, how we will spend our money, some even get to choose if they will work or not.  We have freedom to engage in ministry and church life.  We have the freedom to read Scripture (The Bible) and study it. We even have the freedom to speak about Jesus.  In some countries of the world, even speaking or having a Bible can mean prison or death.

Have you been around an ungrateful person?  Being around such people drain you.  You walk away weary and tired and feeling flat.  But when you are around a grateful person, you come away feeling lifted up and encouraged.  Sometimes a grateful person has little money or social standing, yet they impact those around them in a big way.

Johnson Oatman wrote a hymn "Count your blessings", and the chorus says,
"Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!"

The verses show that he knew life wasn't easy.  He also knew how you thought about your life mattered.

(To hear a version of this hymn)
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.


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