The theme for today’s Joyce Meyer daily devotional November 22 2023 is ”Be Thankful—Always”
SCRIPTURE: Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMPC).
Someone once told me there are more exhortations in the Bible to praise God than there are of any other kind. I don’t know if that’s true, but it ought to be. When our minds flow with thanksgiving and praise, we develop immunity to the devil’s infectious ways.
If we complain or grumble, the opposite is true. The more we complain, the worse life gets, the more victorious the devil becomes, and the more defeated we feel.
If we are going to live in victory, praise has to be one of our major weapons. A wise pastor once told me, “Praise fills the heaven and the earth with God’s presence and drives away the darkness. So if you want to live in the sunshine, praise the Lord.”
When good things happen to us, most of us turn to praise. It’s easy to lift our hands and our voices when God answers our prayers and delivers us from problems. But it’s not always as easy when things go wrong. What do we do when we’re sick or lose our jobs or people talk against us? How do we fill our minds with joyful thanksgiving in those situations?
If we read the verse above and add Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! we have options.
The negative option is to take the attitude of Job’s wife, who was so shaken up by the loss of her children and their possessions that she cried out, Do you still hold fast your blameless uprightness? Renounce God and die! (Job 2:9).
Job answered with great wisdom: You speak as one of the impious and foolish women would speak. What? Shall we accept [only] good at the hand of God and shall we not accept [also] misfortune and what is of a bad nature? (v. 10). Job understood that a righteous life doesn’t mean that everything always runs smoothly and that only blessings will ever fall on top of blessings.
We have two positive options open to us, and most of us can practice the first, but not all of us can accept the second. The first is to praise God in spite of what’s going on in our lives. Or another way to say that is in the midst of our troubles and hardships, we can rejoice over the things that are not wrong in our lives. It may take effort, but if we can turn our eyes away from the immediate problems, we can see that everything in life isn’t bad. We also can rejoice because God has faithfully taken us through the turmoil of the past, and we can rejoice and know that He’ll do the same thing again.
The second option is to ask, “God, what can I learn from this? What do You want to teach me through this so that I may be closer to You and rejoice more fully in Your goodness?” That’s not an easy question, and the answers are often even harder.
Sometimes we only grasp the important lessons in our lives when we fall flat on our faces. It’s as if we’re running as fast as we can and God trips us. The psalmist says: Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now Your word do I keep [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it] (Psalm 119:67 AMPC). It’s not that God is out to hurt us, but God loves us enough to stop us, to give us the opportunity to change our ways, and to follow Him.
Throughout my many years in ministry, I’ve heard stories from people who had wonderful jobs or great ministries or made a great deal of money—and then their lives fell apart. One man—someone who had once been a millionaire—came to our meetings after he had spent three years in prison. The first words that came out of his mouth were, “I’m glad I was convicted and sent to prison. I had run from God for a long time. The Lord finally got my attention when someone gave me a copy of Joyce Meyer’s book Healing the Brokenhearted.”
Not everyone can rejoice and give thanks for their suffering, but we can all give thanks in the midst of it.
Prayer of the Day: God, I’m thankful for Your love and Your presence. Forgive me for grumbling when things go wrong and remind me of how many things go right in my life. Enable me to rejoice in You always, amen.
Source: Joyce Meyer Ministries.