Today’s verse features the action words ‘give thanks’. How thankful do you consider yourself to be? Do you live with a continual attitude of gratitude or is it fleeting depending upon your circumstances? If truth be told, the fleeting gratitude is probably more to what really happens in our lives. However, it is God’s desire that we be thankful at all times in all things.
1Thessalonians 5:17-18 “pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Paul is exhorting the Thessalonian believers and us too, to be prayerful at all times and have words of thanks on our lips as we pray. This combines two actions towards God- prayer, talking with God, and giving Him thanks with our words. What fills your prayers? Do you constantly seek His help with a give, or an I want attitude? This exhortation is focused on talking with God and having thanks be at the forefront of our praying. Being thankful – not just when things are going well but in all times. This is often very hard to do but seeking to see something to be thankful for in your situation gives you hope. It helps alleviate pain and refocuses you on God and the power of His might in Christ Jesus. God knows there is suffering and pain in this world but He wants to keep us focused on Jesus. Jesus will give us peace, hope and endurance as we look to Him in thanksgiving and praise. Seek to live each day with a prayerful thank-filled attitude just as Christ desires.
A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I have a friend in Jesus. In John 15:14-15 Jesus calls us His friends. “You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Being a friend of Jesus means He is always with you, supporting and caring for you. I pray the desire of your heart is to follow His commands and seek to know Him better. We are not considered servants but friends and we belong to His family. Being a member of God’s forever family is always something you can give praise and thanks for. Knowing Jesus as a friend gives hope and reassurance to us each day. Thank you Jesus.
My dear friend Joan recently passed and is now in heaven with her Savior. As I speak at her celebration of life today, I’ve chosen 2 scriptures to highlight in memory of her. She was a friend like no other. Our example in scripture of true friends is Jonathan and David. They had each other’s backs, could see good when evil was present, kept their focus on what was right in spite of dangers and loved each other. 1 Samuel 20:42 “Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. Today as I think about bidding my friend good-bye, I know that we will be reunited forever and for now I am to go in peace filled with the knowledge that she is with Jesus. We are and will be forever friends. She was a true friend to me like David and Jonathan.
The second scripture I chose was James 5:16-17 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.” My friend was a prayer warrior. I could call her anytime and ask her to pray and she would. She upheld me before God and covered me with His comfort and love. She would always hold my confidence and I never had to worry that she would speak to others about me. Like Elijah, she was a woman of prayer and prayed fervently for others. She prayed believing all things were within God’s power. What a true gem.
I know my friend Joan loved Jesus. She sought to follow Him, intercede with Him, study about Him in the Word, speak out about Him and worship Him. Now she is rejoicing in heaven, singing praise to her God. I was mightily blessed to have her in my life.
Thanks you Jesus for the gifts of love and hope she brought into my life. I am truly richer for having known her.
Because Christ died and rose from the dead, I can rejoice in the homegoing of my dear friend.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a friend in Jesus. I love the old hymn, “What a friend I have in Jesus”. The lyrics speak of our friend Jesus bearing all our sins and griefs and our privileged of taking our problems to Him in prayer. Jesus called us His friends in John 15:14-15 “You are my friends if you do what I command you.15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Being called a friend of Jesus means we follow His Word and walk beside Him in our daily life. He is right there to help us when we stumble, give a word of comfort or be our companion. By following His pathway we are no longer just like a hired servant or one who receives orders but a friend to be confided in, helped and taught. He also promises to reveal what He knows about God the Father to us. A few verses later in John 15:18 Jesus warns us that being called His friend will put us in a position to be hated by others. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” He also speaks of this in Matthew 10:22 “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” I love the promise Jesus gives at the end of the Matthew verse. Standing with Jesus and enduring the derision and persecution that the unbelieving world places upon us because we proclaim Him, will bring a great reward.
Where do you need Jesus to be your friend today? Reach out to Him in prayer and let Him know of your thoughts, hopes and struggles. Read His Word with confidence and hope as if expecting a word from a friend, the Bible is God’s love letter to us.
Suggestion: Spend some time with your friend Jesus today. Go for a prayer praise walk with Jesus. Talk with Him as you walk along and praise Him for His provision and the glory you see along the way. Can’t get out? Just gaze out a window and spend time journeying with Jesus in prayer.
Here is a country version of the old hymn- What a friend we have in Jesus.
I am currently reading All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque with a student. It graphically describes the horrors of WWI as seen through the eyes of a young German soldier. Most of us read this in High School and could not relate to what the author was saying. We were too young and inexperienced to realize the truth of the characters experiences. Nothing adequately describes the horrors of war and its aftermath in the mind and soul of the individual. November 11th is set aside for the specific remembrance -the 11th month, 11th day at the 11th hour the armistice was signed ending WWI, named the war to end all wars, and yet it did not. Scripture tells us there will we wars and rumors of wars until the end of time. Today we remember those who served and those who died in any war or conflict with grateful hearts.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some pictures of the beaches and cemetery at Normandy. This was place of great sacrifice during World War II. Thank you to each Veteran on this Veteran’s Day for your service and the sacrifice of all those who have died to preserve our freedoms. I am most grateful.
In John 15:13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”. (NIV) These brave men and women paid the ultimate price and they did not even know me. I am humbled by their patriotism and sacrifice on my behalf.
Psalm 119:57-64 is a testimony from the psalmist that God is His true place of fulfillment and contentment. He can rely upon God to sustain, fill and be his all in all just as He promises in His Word.. “The Lord is my portion; I promise to keep your words.” Later, in verses 63-64, he concludes that God is his friend and he will be a friend to anyone who trusts in God and lives by His Word. He realizes that His love can be found everywhere on earth. He asks the Lord to teach him as he knows that God’s Word will sustain and strengthen him. “I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts. 64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.”
How do you chose your close friends? Do you choose people that align with your beliefs in God? The psalmist proclaimed that he is a friend to all who know and follow God’s Word. Paul spoke of this in Romans when he urged all believers to be united in Christ. He prayed for them in Romans 15:5-6. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give youthe same attitude of mindtoward each other that Christ Jesus had,6 so that with one mind and one voiceyou may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”Is this a prayer you could pray for your fellow friends in Christ? To really show the world our Savior, we need to be of one mind and voice as we glorify God. The psalmist says that his true friends in the faith follow God’s Word and are teachable. Does that describe you? Are you open to learning from God’s Word?
Take this prayer of Paul’s and claim it for your life. Pray for your friends of the faith, to come alongside you and join together as one mind and one voice to witness to the dying world around us.
Because I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am a friend of God. Being called Jesus’ friend or God’s friend is a privileged position. John 15:15“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Jesus makes the distinction between a servant and a friend. A servant is one who does the bidding of his master, one who works without knowing the plans, motives and purposes behind what he is doing and receives little to no reward for his service. Whereas a friend is someone who is brought into close confidence with Him and with whom Jesus shares His knowledge of the Father. In scripture Abraham was referred to as a friend of God. James 2:23 ” and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.” Through his faith and faithfulness towards God, Abraham was recognized by God as His friend and he was rewarded with righteousness.
Friendship with Jesus brings us an even greater closeness as we know who He is and what He desires for mankind. We share in His vision and purpose when we are His friends. Unlike a servant, as friends of Jesus we have multiple rewards now and in the future because of this relationship. I have a really close friend that now lives near Los Angeles. For years we lived close enough to see each other each week and share our hopes, dreams, struggles and worries. We supported one another in prayer, gave encouragement and listened with a heart of love. Proverbs 17:17a “A friend loves at all times,” describes my friend. She has been there for me and stood by me in some really difficult times. My friend is still my friend even though I don’t see her every week. I know I can call her and she will listen, pray and encourage me no matter what. Jesus is an even greater friend as He goes beyond all earthly friendships. He intercedes for me with the Father (Romans 8:26), and He listens and encourages me through prayer (Hebrews 4:15). He has good planned for me (Jeremiah 29:11), and He loves me (John 3:16). Just like Abraham, I need to be faithful and full of faith in Jesus,then His righteousness will be credited to me. Knowing and trusting Jesus as my Savior will wash and cleanse me and will result in His righteousness being imputed to me.Proverbs 22:11 “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
As a follower of Christ, You can call Jesus your friend. What a blessed friendship it is!