Simple Instructions for Life

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Like a parent sending a child off to school – put your hat on, here’s your books, obey your teacher, come right home after school – Paul wraps up everything he’s taught the Thessalonians and delivers it to them in concise easy-to-remember sentences.

Rejoice. When? Always. Always? Yes, even when your world is shaken. Why? Because Jesus knew the world would give us trouble. “But, take heart,” He said, “I have overcome the world.” Paul learned to rejoice in his suffering: beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, poverty and rejection. He rejoiced because His sins were forgiven and His name was written in Heaven (Luke 10:20). We can rejoice in our suffering because the best thing that could happen to us has already happened – our sins are forgiven. Our enemy is defeated. Rejoice!
Pray continually. For the Christian, praying is like breathing. Pray about everything. Prayer stills the heart, fills us with courage and keeps us in the peace of Christ (John 14:27).
Give Thanks. Christians have danced around these words since the day Paul wrote them. Does He really mean, “In all circumstances?” Could it be we’re to give thanks in but not because of adverse circumstances? Can’t I give thanks for the good outcome I’m praying for instead of thanking God for the mess I’m in? That way God wouldn’t be confused about what I’m expecting from Him. Let’s stop doing the hokey-pokey and take this scripture at face value – in whatever situation you find yourself, thank Him.

This is God’s will for you: rejoice, pray, give thanks.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for complicating your will for my life. I will obey you in these three things: I will rejoice. I will pray. I will give thanks.

Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of four books, including One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children. Visit her website Writing from the Heart and read her blogs Promises of Home and here at Listening to my Hair Grow

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A Forever Point of View

He shall reign forever and ever (for the eternities of the eternities). Revelation 11:15(b) AMP

Eternity. How easy it is to get lost in the here and now and forget about eternity, the forever and ever, that waits in the future of every human. Or, to get lost in the past, as sometimes happens when we explore our roots and research the histories of interesting people.
Some days we need to put aside history and refuse to engage in the present political and social turmoil. It’s even necessary at times to break from the continual display of human suffering that troubles the soul. And think deeply about forever.
Believers must never lose touch with the eternity Christ has prepared for us. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus said. “Trust in God and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.” (John 14:1,2(a)).
Having a grip on eternity keeps us grounded in the present. It reminds us that our troubles are temporary. Evil will one day will be silenced. Hunger and suffering will end (but this is no reason not to do something about them in the present).
A dose of eternity helps us keep our priorities in line with God’s plan for us. When we consider forever some interests sink to the bottom of our lists and others rise to the top. Let eternal thoughts calm your mind today.

“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:3).

Prayer: Lord, the wickedness of this world and the anarchy of it oppress. Help me lift my thoughts and intertwine them with Your thoughts. In You, I glimpse eternity, and that glimpse empowers me to live today and every day with a forever point of view.

Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of four books, including One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children. Visit her website Writing from the Heart and read her blogs Promises of Home and here at Listening to my Hair Grow


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Living in the Present Tense

Someday everything will come together; all the stray ends of our imperfect lives will be gathered and tied into an elegant bow. So we wait . . . for perfection, for health, for money. We defer joy. A woman once … Continue reading

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The World’s Falling Apart . . . but

Are we living in the last days? That question comes up every time there’s a major disaster, like the massive hurricanes pounding the southern U.S. and outlying islands.  Financial meltdowns, marauding dictators, uncontrolled diseases – all these cause people to ask … Continue reading

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God’s Peace, a Precious Jewel

. . . and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6


I stood and the window and prayed for peace to return. A phone call came earlier in the day. A man asking if I would fill a position in a Christian organization. They really wanted me he said. Caught off-guard I felt pressured to accept. What harm could come of it? They were believers and I a willing worker. I should have said I’d pray and think about it, but I didn’t. From the moment I accepted I felt inner turmoil, the absence of peace.
Christ deposits His peace into the heart of every believer. Circumstances may rage. Villains approach. Storms ensue. His peace endures.
We’re unaware of that peace most of the time. Unless it disappears as mine did. Then there’s a void. “Something’s wrong,” my heart shouted. His peace left when I ventured where He did not lead. When I assumed His anointing where there was none. Restlessness filled the place where peace once dwelt.
“Oh Prince of Peace, where have you gone?” I promised Him I’d call the next day and cancel my acceptance. His peace returned. I felt the joyful deposit of it.
His peace helps us discern His will. When it flies away to places unknown we can be sure of its return when we put our feet back onto the path He’s chosen for us.
Humanity will continue to demand peace, but real and lasting peace will never come until the Prince of Peace reigns the world.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart . . . “ (Colossians 3:15) “and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Peace is such a precious jewel, I would give anything for it, except truth. Matthew Henry

Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children. This is an excerpt from her devotional book in progress. Visit her website, Writing from the Heart.

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A Forever Friend

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 One harried Sunday … Continue reading

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Healing for Broken Hearts

Many Christians suffer from recurring memories of a sinful or hurtful act, either committed by them or against them. No one gets through life without some heartbreaking loss, rejection or sin. Freedom from these things often happens when, or soon … Continue reading

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The Simple Act of Prayer

Jesus stood by the tomb. He wept. Lazarus, his good friend, had been dead for four days. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, and a crowd of mourners waited to see what Jesus would do. Jesus said, “Father, thank you that you have heard … Continue reading

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A Radical Makeover

The talk show host introduced his next guest. A star I hadn’t seen for several years bounced from behind the curtain.  “Is that really her?” I wondered, searching the perfect face for familiar characteristics. Modern surgical techniques had eliminated the … Continue reading

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A Good Mother is Worth Money in the Bank

Starting life with a good mother is better than being born into money. Not everyone begins life with this advantage. Those who do should treasure it because a good mother saves a child from many struggles. Oliver Wendell Holmes wisely … Continue reading

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