FAITHFUL WORDS Dr. Kenneth L. Faught A Christian’s “to do” list” “Rejoice always . . . pray without ceasing . . . give thanks in all circumstances . . . .” (See 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22). As the Apostle Paul concluded his First Letter to the Thessalonians he hurried to get-in as many final instructions as possible. He wanted them to “rejoice always/evermore” (16). As reflected in his other letters, Paul believed that joy is a “fruit of the Spirit” and that Christians are not to be sourpusses! There are things which give us cause for rejoicing, a new house or car or dress or book. There are people who give us cause for rejoicing, spouses, children, siblings, friends. There are occasions which bring rejoicing, birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, and holidays. Yet, Paul believed that even in the absence of those things, people, or events which cause us to rejoice, the Christian always has a reason to rejoice – even in the midst of difficulty or disappointment. The love of God, the friendship of Jesus, the presence of the Spirit enable believers to rise above the troubles of life and to rejoice. We are instructed to “pray constantly/without ceasing” (17). Praying is talking with God. We may sit, stand, kneel, or recline or even walk. We may ask, thank, praise, or confess. God may say, “Yes”, “No”, “Wait”, “Maybe later”, or even “Do it yourself!” Regardless, the Christian is to be always aware of God’s presence and in the spirit of conversation with him. There are acts of prayer and there are attitudes of prayer. Someone observed, “There are times when, regardless of the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.” We are further instructed to “give thanks in all circumstances” (18). The King James Version says to give thanks “in everything.” Not necessarily for everything – but in everything. Sometimes we may give thanks in spite of everything, remembering that God is good all the time, we are his children, and he is in charge. We may give thanks for what is, or we may give thanks for what is not. Either way, we can count our blessings, naming them one-by-one. I operate by “To Do” lists. A friend of mine once said that he puts things on his “To Do” list that he’s already done just so he can cross them off. There are some things that should be on everyone’s list: rejoicing . . . .praying . . . giving thanks. Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.