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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
December 14, 2002

Always be joyful and never stop praying.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 (CEV*)

The apostle Paul once again gives excellent advice to the churches he helped establish. Here, in just a few short words, we have two keys to the Christian life which Paul returns to again and again in his pastoral letters.

Paul suffered much. He was imprisoned, beaten, persecuted and had "a thorn in the flesh." So his advice to always be joyful is not at all pollyannaish. The joy of which he speaks is deeper than the externals of our lives and transcends all suffering and sorrow. It is an abiding joy which comes from the certainty of God's unceasing love through Christ Jesus, and the sureness of His promises to us no matter how bleak things may look outwardly. Joy is rightly said to be one of the marks of a true Christian.

Prayer needs to be more than just something occasional for us; it needs to be a way of life. Prayer is our conversation, with and without words, with God. We need to share with God everything about us - our concerns, joys, needs, failures, successes and our thankfulness for His constant care - and take time to really listen as God shares with us. To say "never stop praying" is to say to always keep our lines of communication open with God. We need to stay connected to our one true source of hope.

So, dear friends, follow Paul's sage advice. Always be joyful and never stop praying.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2002 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 12:01:48 EST