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16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

If you are fond of lists, you'll like this chapter.  Lists are short to-do items that enable us to "check the box."  I happen to like lists, and the three directives listed here are certain winners.   

Rejoice always.  Short, sweet, to the point, but not so easily implemented.  This one requires an entire lifestyle change.  How can we rejoice always?  When it comes to what God had done for us in Christ.  Who God is to us.  How great and awesome He is.  What He has given us in the Holy Spirit.  When we think about these things, we have a strong foundation for rejoicing always.   

Pray without ceasing.  This one has thrown people for years.  This one can't be accurate because "I have a job."  My work requires focus, and the list of why nots is long.  But a more accurate perspective is the idea that we are always communing with God.  We are talking to Him and "checking in" with Him on a very regular basis.  One godly man from a few generations ago said, "I don't usually pray longer than ten minutes.  But I don't usually go ten minutes without prayer."  And no, I am personally not there yet, but these things are a great goal.   

In everything give thanks.  This is God's will for us.  Not for everything.  I don't give thanks when I get sick.  However, I do give thanks for God's healing power and thanks for Him bringing me through.  I do give thanks that in every situation, He has an answer.  I give thanks, and in giving thanks, I am acknowledging God.  I can certainly use some growth in all three things on this short list, but I give thanks that I can improve. 


You gotta start somewhere.  Pick one of these three and be intentional about it this week.  See what kind of progress you make. Then next week take another and the next week, another.  After you finish all three weeks, rinse and repeat.  None of this effort will be wasted time.  I'm going to go out on a limb and boldly state this will make for a better you.  And it certainly beats despairing, negativity, and complaining.   


Help me, Lord, to do this shortlist in a bigger way in my life.  With You, all things are possible.