“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Rejoice always? But sometimes I don’t feel joyful! Why does the writer of this passage say to rejoice at all times? Does he mean to always be happy? No, I don’t think so. There will be times when we struggle and even face persecution–spiritually, emotionally, perhaps even physically. That’s what was happening to the church in Thessalonica. Paul had visited them, but had to leave abruptly, with many of the new converts feeling discouraged and alone. Paul is encouraging them to depend on each other rather than on him, and even more, to depend on God for encouragement. He reminds them to rejoice always, even when times are tough.
Rejoicing is a matter of choice, not a feeling. We must choose to rejoice. But how?
Paul gives the answer in the next passage, verse 17. He says, “…in everything give thanks…” No matter the circumstances, find something to be thankful for. Rather than focusing on the bad things around you, focus on the good things in your life, the blessings in your past, and what God has already done for you. That’s how to readjust your thinking.
Maybe all you can find to be thankful for is that you woke up this morning–but that is better than the alternative! How about the food you have to eat? The clothes you have to wear? The shelter over your head? Sometimes we have to look at the very basic things first. Then there are the relationships you enjoy, the job that pays you money (even if it not’s the best of jobs), the beautiful sunrise or rainbow that you saw this morning. Perhaps you only had one tire to go flat instead of two. We can train ourselves to have an “attitude of gratitude,” but it takes practice to always look for the good in all circumstances.
One thing that should consume your thankfulness is the fact that Jesus loves YOU, died for YOU, and wants to be in a relationship with YOU! When nothing else can cheer you up, choose to think on that simple–yet profound–fact, and be thankful. As you go about your day, remind yourself to whisper up a “thank you” to God. It could be for anything, but when offered up regularly and earnestly, it brings joy and peace into your heart. In other words, you begin to rejoice always. That my, friend, is the will of God in Christ for you (verse 18).
I created this Bible Journaling page as a reminder to rejoice always. You can see the entire process video here, or using the link below. Since this video is my 100th upload on my YouTube channel, I wanted to show my appreciation to my followers and subscribers who have helped to support my ministry. I’ve uploaded a Rejoice Lily that you can use in your journaling as well. You can use it as a tip-in or an alternative page by just printing it on card stock and coloring the image. Or you could use it as a traceable. I’ve shown you both of these options in the video. You could also choose to print it on a clear sticker sheet and just slap it in your Bible or notebook. (You could add color to the page with any medium before or after you do this, but beware that water may cause your printed ink to smear.) Use this file as you wish. If you do create something with it, I would LOVE to see it, so please tag me on instagram (@julesk.jewels) or Facebook (Julie Bragg Cassell).
I’m thankful for you. And being thankful helps me to REJOICE ALWAYS!
Rejoice Lily Printable
Watercolor Pencil Set
Illustrated Faith Watercolor Paint set
Distress Sprayer 2 oz. Bottle
Ranger Heat Tool
Speedball Rubber Brayer
Zig Dual-Tip Writer Marker
Stencil – July Documented Faith Stamp/Stencil Subscription
Broken China Distress Oxide Ink
Ranger Blending Tool
Illustrated Faith Basics Tool Kit
IF Black and White Criss Cross Washi
Avery Clear Sticker Sheets
Barbour Personal Reflections Bible