Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks Always

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This past weekend, I experienced a moment of disappointment which turned into grumbling and irritation. What should have been a time of great joy and fellowship turned into a crash of faith. Without giving too many details, I will just say I quenched the Holy Spirit. There was Holy Spirit fire within me, all was going well, I had my assignment, I pursued the two in front of me, and then all hell broke loose. On the sidelines there was the enemy and he came at me full force and I let him. I turned my attention to what he was doing, instead of what God was doing. The fire went out in an instant and I was left with embers! The flesh took over, I complained, pointed out faults, and left the scene disheartened, irritated, and empty.

I prayed for forgiveness because I knew I was in the wrong but couldn’t quite understand what the issues were. I did not feel as if I were being fair to the other parties involved but couldn’t place a finger on my letdown. I shared my details with a friend, we commiserated, and then stood in agreement that the Lord would show me what exactly went wrong. I certainly did not want to fall into that trap again.

This happened on Sunday and today is Tuesday. He heard our prayers and He’s answered. Thank you, Jesus!

“Do not stifle the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19, New Living Translation).

The study notes on this verse say, “We should not stifle the Holy Spirit’s work in any one’s life but encourage the full expression of these gifts to benefit the whole body of Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:19, NLT Application Study Notes).”

Gifts meaning spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12).

The Lord directed my service to a certain area and I went there. When I approached the place, the Holy Spirit rose up within me and I was set to give gifts and did. I knew what the plan was, praise God, and I went. As soon as the enemy’s distraction began, I felt his pull and went his way, leaving my post, cold and empty! Now, the Lord certainly doesn’t need to be present in any situation. He will accomplish His will, plan, and purpose without us but I certainly don’t want to be left out. I want to be part of His work, not for favor, but because of the exchange between He and I and the others. It is God’s hand moving and there is nothing comparable to it. It is intoxication at its best!

I encourage service because it brings change to one’s heart. God just opens up all kinds of new doors when our focus becomes Him and the ones standing before us. No longer staring at ourselves but at the needs of another human being. Ask God to show you where to help. He will tell you!

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:16, NLT).

This “stifling” was nothing God did, for He is always with us. It is what I did. I broke the connection. I looked away from Him. I stifled the Holy Spirit.

I look back on Sunday and remember with great clarity the Holy Spirit fire, then the instant letdown: loss of warmth, my reach towards others gone, not upward but inward, and struggling with negative thoughts and emotions. The blessing yanked away and given elsewhere. We can not serve God and Kingdom effectively when our heart is elsewhere. We can not be fully used by God if we aren’t looking in His direction.

If I am wrong in this, please correct me! I don’t have it all figured out. I’m learning and growing just as you are.

“Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19, English Standard Version).

The Moody Bible Commentary defines quenching as, “to cause something or someone to cease functioning; to stifle, smother, suppress” (2014, p. 1889).

It also quotes, “Rejoice, pray and give thanks.” “Hold fast to that which is good, given from the Lord, but abstain from every form of evil” (2014, p. 1889).

The Lord instructs me to “pay attention to the Holy Spirit fire and watch what you do to stifle Him because this is not the first time you have done this.”

He is right! I can look back and see all sorts of dead moments in God-inspired opportunities.

Am I allowing negativity and grumbling to stand between God and me?

Guilty!

Am I allowing darkness into my mind?

Guilty!

The Lord says, “Rejoice, pray and give thanks! See what happens when you head in this direction.”

Lord, help me recognize light and dark. Help me always remain joyful and move me out of the way so the Holy Spirit can lead. I am a bump in the road. I don’t want to be a “stumbling block or a hindrance in the way” of another (Romans 14:13, ESV). In heartfelt devotion to you, bring to my remembrance to always rejoice, pray, and give thanks.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

*****

Rydelnik, M., & Vanlaningham, M. (2014). The Moody Bible Commentary: A one-volume commentary on the whole Bible by the Faculty of Moody Bible Insitute.

 

 

 

 

 

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