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Summary: Learning to be truly thankful despit yourself.

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READING FROM PHILIPPIANS 4:4-8

V4: REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS. I WILL SAY IT AGAIN! AGAIN I WILL SAY, REJOICE!

V5: LET YOUR MODERATION BE KNOWN UNTO A LL MEN. THE LORD IS AT HAND.

V6: BE ANIXOUS FOR NOTHING; BUT IN EVERY THING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION WITH THANKSGIVING LET YOUR REQUEST BE MADE KNOWN UNTO GOD.

V7: AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING, SHALL KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.

V8: FINALLY, BRETHREN, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE TRUE, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE HONEST, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE JUST, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE PURE, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE LOVELY, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE OF GOOD REPORT; IF THERE BE ANY VIRTUE, AND IF THERE BE ANY PRAISE, THINK ON THESE THINGS.

BODY:

VERSE 4 BEGINS WITH A STRONG STATEMENT: “REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS”. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EASIER IF THE WORD “ALWAYS” WERE NOT THERE. SURELY IT CAN’T MEAN THAT WE ARE TO REJOICE IN THE LORD ALL THE TIME, NO MATTER WHAT!

NOT WHEN YOUR FINANCIALLY UNDER ATTACK, NOT WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ARE OUT OF CONTROL, NOT WHEN YOUR SPOUSE IS HAVING A BAD DAY, NOT WHEN YOU RECEIVING A BEAT DOWN, NOT WHEN THE FOLKS ON YOUR JOBS ARE GIVING YOU A HARD TIME. NO SURELY IT CAN’T MEAN THESE SITUATIONS THAT YOU SHOULD REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS.

YOU SEE, PROBLEMS ARE NOT MEANT TO DEFEAT YOU, DEPRESS YOU, OR DISCOURAGE YOU. GOD MEANT THEM TO DEVELOP YOU. PROBLEMS ARE NOT TOOLS TO TEAR YOU DOWN BUT TESTS TO BUILD YOU UP!

IN THE WORLD, ONE MARK OF A SUCCESSFUL PERSON IS THE ABILITY TO SEE PROBLEMS AS OPPORTUNITIES RATHER THAN OBSTACLES. THE GREATEST LESSONS YOU WILL EVER LEARN OCCUR NOT WHEN YOU PARTY DURING THE GOOD TIMES BUT WHEN YOU PERSEVERE IN THE BAD TIMES. AND, THAT IS WHY THE BAD TIMES MAKE THE GOOD TIMES SO GOOD.

~ INTENSE

IT’S AS IF PAUL IS ALMOST READING OUR THOUGHTS WHEN HE RESPONDS: “AGAIN I WILL SAY, REJOICE!” WE ARE TO REJOICE IN THE LORD IN EVERY SITUATION, WHATEVER THE SITUATION IN YOUR LIFE---AGAIN I SAY REJOICE!

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED HOW MANY PEOPLE OFFER YOU ADVICE WHEN YOU ARE FACING ADVERSITY? YOUR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS HAS A WORD FOR YOU, YOUR NON-CHRISTIAN FRIENDS HAS A WORD FOR YOU. YOUR CO-WORKERS HAS A WORD FOR YOU, AND YOUR FAMILY MEMBER HAS A WORD FOR YOU. MOST OFTEN THEN NOT MANY TIMES THEN ARE FACING TROUBLES THEMSELVES. HOW CAN SOMEONE THAT IS IN TROUBLE OR MORE TROUBLE THEN YOU HELP YOU OUT OF YOUR TROUBLE. THEY WILL SIMPLY SAY “JUST PRAY” WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE PRAYING.

~SOFT

YET PAUL TELLS US, WHEN HE WAS IN PRISON, FALSELY ACCUSED, CHAINED, CONFINED AND LIMITED TO FIND THE “JOY IN YOUR TROUBLE AND REJOICE IN THE LORD THAT STRENGTHEN ME”

PAUL GAVE US THREE PRACTICAL STEPS TO HAVING JOY REGARDLESS OF YOUR SITUATION:

FIRST: DON’T RETREAT (V.5)

- LET YOUR GENTLENESS BE KNOWN TO ALL MEN. GENTLENESS MEANING

o TO BE BIG HEARTED

o TO BE KIND

o TO BE CHARITABLE

o TO BE GENERIOUS

EVEN WHEN YOU ARE FACING TROUBLE….

YOU SEE, THE NATURAL HUMAN TENDENCY IS TO WITHDRAW WHEN FACING A CHALLENGE, BUT PAUL TELLS US IN VERSE 5 NOT TO BECOME RECLUSIVE IN HARBORING HOPELESSNESS, BUT TO BE INCLUSIVE IN DISPLAYING ~ SOFT GENTLENESS. AND NOTICE, HE SAYS TO DISPLAY GENTLENESS “TO ALL”. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE HEARD THE PHRASE: “KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS?” SO HOW CAN YOU DISPLAY GENTLENESS WHEN YOU’RE FEELING HOPELESSNESS. WELL LET’S LOOK AT THE NEXT PHRASE:


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