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Nov 14
Mary Marr

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee!

Posted by: Mary Marr

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Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee is often sung during worship in the Christian church whether in the traditional hymn version or in a contemporary refrain. Why is it that Christians may be joyful in the midst of a world spinning completely out of control?


If the “world spinning out of control” was not grasped before, last week the crisis at Penn State, the debauchery at the Occupy Wall Street gatherings, the corrupt business practices, the seeming overlooked worldwide persecution of Christians, and the acute economic misery brought us to that reality. The U.S. enjoyed a prominent and prosperous history, yet we see thoroughly pagan manifestations all around us.

In the seaport village of Thessalonica the Apostle Paul preached the Gospel on his second missionary journey. As he preaches to the city where a strong fellowship of believers has been forming, they complain to him of the persecution they are now facing, the slander they are experiencing for heeding his teaching, and the sensual temptations on every corner.  Paul then focuses them upon the coming of Christ.


In I Thessalonians 5 Paul reminds them that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night. When people say all is well, even when it is clearly not, disaster will come upon them with no escape, he says.  But for the believer in Christ, there will be no surprises because the children of light do not belong to the dark things of the world. Stay alert and be sober! Those were his words. Do not sleep like the others. Live in the light and think clearly. Put on the armor of God and wear the helmet of salvation because God has saved us and spared us to be alive with him upon His return.


So, Paul says, encourage one another and build each other up! Honor those in Christian holy leadership because they work hard to warn you and guide you in the midst of wrongdoing. Esteem these leaders and give them your wholehearted love Paul admonishes. Live peacefully with all. Encourage those who are timid and warn those who are lazy.


He tells us to not stifle the Holy Spirit and to test prophecies. In fact, he says test everything that is said. Hold onto what is good and stay away from evil Paul exhorts.


In the U.S we celebrate a national holiday called Thanksgiving, a reminder of the time when our forefathers set aside time to thank the Lord for His bounty and blessing. And while many traditions which caused us to be a kinder, gentler and godly nation may be gone, thankfully, we still celebrate Thanksgiving in our fledgling nation today. We cannot help but wonder would our forefathers be grateful at what they see in our nation has become this past week? 

There is much to be grateful for in our nation despite the attention being paid to the unholy state of the union in the media. And, as Christians, we are reminded of Paul’s words of daily wisdom to live a holy life in the midst of disaster: “Always be joyful. Keep on praying no matter what happens and always be thankful for this is the will of God for you who belong to Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 5:18.


As we as a family celebrate Thanksgiving 2011, I am joyful when I think of Christ who gave His very own life for me so that I could live each day abundantly in the midst of the pain and apart from the things of the world. I am grateful to be serving One who is worthy and to enjoy His blessings another day. Given the reality of our times, I am deeply encouraged and thankful for the many Christians who are now biblically ready to respond as a ReadyChristian. 


Paul says: “Now, may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God who calls you is faithful; he will do this.” I Thessalonians 5:23-24.


What are you thankful for?


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