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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, December 28, 2015
Today’s scripture reading:
Our joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings. Obeying these three commands–be joyful, keep on praying, and be thankful–often goes against our natural inclinations. When we make a conscious decision to do what God says, however, we will begin to see people in a new perspective. When we do God’s will, we will find it easier to be joyful and thankful.
We cannot spend all our time on our knees, but it is possible to have a prayerful attitude t all times. This attitude is built upon acknowledging our dependence on God, realizing his presence within us, and determining to obey him fully. Then we will find it natural to pray frequent, spontaneous, short prayers. A prayerful attitude is not a substitute for regular times of prayer but should be an outgrowth of those times.
Paul was not teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us, but in everything. Evil doesn’t come from God, so we should not thank him for it. Built when evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence and for he good that he will accomplish through the distress. (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – 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.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Joanne Groff (Pennsylvania) titled her story “THE HEART TO KEEP TRYING;” here is Joanne’s story:
“When I began running, the training was hard. Each run felt like an impossible mountain I had to climb. As I forced myself to continue, I found that remembering the blessings in my life helped my mindset. During my run, as I reached the point of wanting to quit, I whispered to God, ‘Thank you for legs that work so that I can run. Some people cannot run and wish they could. Thank you for lungs that take in air as I run. Thank you for breath. Some people are fighting for each breath.’ Prayer changed my focus and helped me push through the hardest part of my run.
“Similarly, when I face hardships, I sometimes want to stop trying. I want to feel sorry for myself, but doing so often brings me more discouragement and disappointment. I am learning to look for things to be thankful for, even in situations I don’t like.
“Prayer helps in other areas of my life as well. Remembering the blessings I have is a simple practice, but it accomplishes a mighty change of heart. When I feel discouraged, I remember what God has given me; and I find new strength to keep trying. A change of focus creates a change of attitude and motivation.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Giving thanks to God brings us hope and joy.
Prayer: Loving God, you give us good things. When we are overwhelmed, remind us of all your blessings. Amen.
Prayer Focus: RUNNERS
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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