It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was pulling into my parents' long driveway in the Bay Area with Matthew and Amy, who were quite small--suddenly, everything started shifting, feeling it even in my large Chevy. Telephone wires were swinging, along with the tetherball pole - it was crazy. It was the 1989 earthquake, the largest I've ever experienced.
Living in California all of my life, I am keenly aware of seismic activity.
What do I mean by seismic?
1: of, subject to, or caused by an earthquake
2: of or relating to a vibration on a celestial body
3: having a strong or widespread impact : EARTHSHAKING seismic social changes1
2020 has had plenty of seismic activity; most recently, the election. The fact is, we were already aware of weakness in our ‘fault line’ worldwide, but as Christians perhaps we have missed something along the way.
Toward the end of one of his letters, Paul included three short powerful verses. If you heed them and implement them into your way of thinking and being, you will experience a seismic shift in your life--your attitude, your emotional health and your faith--no matter your circumstances, whether on a personal or even global level.
Paul was writing to the Thessalonians (think Greece), and he admonished them with this:
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.2
~Rejoice always - take delight in, find the joy; Paul is talking about in rejoicing in our God. While circumstances may be swirling, the ground shaking, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.3.
Rejoice is a verb, an action . . . how often ought we delight ourselves (or rejoice)
in God-- who he is, his goodness, his faithfulness, his grace? always!
Make prayer a part of who you are and what you do.
Some people look at their phone every couple minutes…
what if folks were just as habitual, breathing out a prayer,
carrying on an ongoing conversation with the Lord? First of all, it
would be productive and second it would bring peace.
Pray . . . a verb! How often? Continually ... an adverb. [Yes, I was an English teacher.]
~Thank God for all circumstances... even the tough ones!
As you thank (another action verb) him for a difficult thing,
ask him how he might like to use it to help someone else. God takes our bad stuff
and allows it to be used for good. That's because He is good like that you know.
~for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Over the many years I have been teaching from God's Word, so many people have asked, 'how can I know God's will?' Paul is quite clear here. Why not memorize these three verses and make them part of how you operate?
5/Prayer: Praise God for who he is - Heavenly Father, Creator, Savior, Good Shepherd, Friend. Center yourself on him and who he wants you to be. Ask him to put someone in your path that you can bless in some way. Lift your requests to him and leave them with him. Thank him for his good gifts, and name them, one by one. Amen.
5/Worship: Build My Life, Pat Barrett, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZW4_8_zCBE
1 - Merriam Webster’s third sample definition
2 - 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18