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God: Expects you to become a holy witness for Him

Published: Wednesday, 30 April 2014 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-25

These are some of the most uplifting verses you can find in the Bible.  There are three commands given to every Believer: Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks.  There is a time component assigned to each of these: Always, Continually, and In All Circumstances.  These commands actually consist of three verses.  It would be prudent if you could memorize these three very short verses.  There is no way you can say these verses to yourself without experiencing a personal change of attitude.  You could be lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut, but saying and doing these three things will make a dramatic difference in your life.  “Rejoice always” does not leave any room for pity parties or “woe is me.”  There’s no room for going over all of your illnesses for the last six years or 20 years or ever how long.  There’s no need to rehash the jobs you have had not had, interviewed for.  God expects you to REJOICE always!  (Side Note: there’s that word “expects” that keeps cropping up as a possible theme for a new book…let me know what you think, please! The book title will be something like this, “Expectations management”).

As you are rejoicing always, you should also be praying continually.  This doesn’t leave much time in the day, does it?  If you are already thinking that this is impossible for you to do, God has you exactly where He wants you.  With God, nothing is impossible.  So, let’s get on with it.  Let’s get that rejoicing going with praises to God and the music that lifts Him high as the God of the Universe.  Let’s remember those people in our small group Bible Fellowship Group that are going through really difficult times.  Pray for events throughout the world. This week is National Prayer Week where people throughout the nation are getting together to pray for our nation.  Our church will sponsor a time of prayer starting at Noon on Thursday,  May 1 in the Atrium.  If you have the opportunity, come by and participate with other Brothers and Sisters in praying continually.

Also, we are to give thanks in all circumstances.  Here we go again!  God asks a lot of us Believers through His Word.  I don’t know about you, but when I first read this, my mind jumped to bad circumstances.  Then it jumped to good circumstances because it is easy to give thanks for the good times.  But no…God had to include the word “all”.  I remember in the movie, “Facing the Giants”, the coach told his team that they would praise God for the good times and they would praise God for the bad times.  I will guarantee you that your mind will be full of the glory of God and the radiance of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit will consume all of your negative emotions and thoughts.  I think that sounds a lot better than to be down and depressed with everyone I meet.  Let me Rejoice, Pray and Give Thanks so that I am prepared to help someone else out of the despair and depression where Satan loves to see us waddle in.

Now, God calls these three commands as being in the will of God.  WOW!!  Here I’ve been searching all over the Bible for God’s will for my life, and He gives it to me in these three simple verses.  However, He does not stop there.  He adds some deep spiritual activities that every Believer needs to be involved with every day of their life.  Unfortunately, I don’t think many of us Believers are doing a good job with these spiritual ones.  You can almost hear God telling Moses not to quench the Spirit by throwing water on the Burning Bush.  This is like a fire that is trying to be put out, and you throw water or sand on the fire to put it out completely.  Never be a Holy Spirit Quencher.  Let Gatorade quench your thirst, but don’t let anything quench the Holy Spirit working in you or someone else.  In the case of God’s work, the love and grace of Christ, and the Full Power of the Holy Spirit, we should always allow the Holy Spirit to continue to use His power when spiritual things are happening.  It is not a good time to say that you need to get home because dinner is in the stove or kick-off is at 1:00.  We don’t need to look all antsy pantsy when people are responding to the call of Almighty God.  Don’t be a Spirit Quencher.

At the same time, we need to know the prophecies and not treat them flippantly.  Each chapter in the Book of 1 Thessalonians ends with a prophecy regarding the Second Coming of Christ.  This is probably the most agreed upon prophecy by all of the churches and denominations in the world.  Even the Jews are still waiting His first coming.  Also, if you will read all of 1 Thessalonians 4, you will find a description of what some Believers call the Rapture.  This is when Jesus will call the church to come to heaven.  This does not mean that a lot of church buildings will disappear, but rather, a lot of people won’t show up for work; all children will be missing; and, there will be a lot of empty seats on Mass transit.  All Believers will leave this earth in the twinkling of an eye, and will find themselves in the Presence of Jesus Christ in Heaven.  This is beginning to sound really exciting and makes you want to be a part of that rapture.  Do you think this is why God has given us these commands in these verses: rejoice always – Why? Jesus is coming!; pray continually – Why? – Jesus is coming!; give thanks in all circumstances – Why?  Jesus is coming!; do not quench the Holy Spirit – Why? – Jesus is coming!  God has given us the greatest prophecy of all time: Jesus is coming again!  God has given us tools to help us to be a holy witness for God.  It always comes down to “do it!”  It is an imperative for all Believers.

Finally, as Believers, we are to hold on to everything that is good.  Now, I come from a small town in Georgia called “Douglasville” (at least it used to be a small town as long as the county stayed dry.)  It’s now been swallowed up by Atlanta as a part of the Metropolitan area.  Since it was a small town, there were not very many lessons on what is good and what is bad.  Most children usually passed things around and got a real good worldly education.  What I’m saying is that most people know the difference between good and bad.  However, reread the verses again very carefully.  Just like in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus said, “you’ve heard it been said”…”but I tell you”.  Jesus took murder and gave a deeper definition of murder as being anger in your mind.  He took adultery and defined it as the evil thoughts in the mind about the opposite or same sex. 

In other words, there is a higher calling to be a disciple of Christ.  If you are a true Believer of Jesus Christ, you do not want to have the appearance of having done evil.  It’s not whether you have or not, it’s to go so far as to make sure no one can misunderstand or misinterpret anything you say or do as being evil.  For example, a man at work who takes a woman (who is not his wife) out to lunch to deliver a performance appraisal can be easily misunderstood.  A woman who seems to talk a lot about “free marriage” could easily be accused of listening to the world TV or reading worldly books and not reading God’s Word.

As you can see by these verses, Christians are to be held to a higher standard but not for salvation.  I hope you know the answer now after reading this article.  You are to be held to a higher standard (to be holy) so that other people will get to know who God is, what Christ did on the Cross, and how the Holy Spirit provides power to live a glorious and abundant life on this earth.  You might want to do a “holiness” check with your own behavior.  I pray you would have a truthful and candid confidential mentor who could speak the truth to you about how others see Christ in you.


Reminder: Check out the web site ( It has everything you need to know about activities and events regarding Life-Changing Verses. The past four months of the weekly devotionals are available.  Information about all of the books can be found there as well as how to purchase them.  Finally, testimonials and scheduled TV and radio interviews are listed.  Note: I’ll be participating in a one hour discussion (5/18) on the Moody Bible Radio that has a National audience and a yet to be determined date on the Christian Television Network out of Tampa with an estimated audience of 55 million. All I can do is Praise God for His work, leadership, and resources necessary as a self-published author.  God is so GOOD!

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