Rejoice Always

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
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I am not naturally a positive person. I am a glass half empty kind of person. My mind immediately goes to worst case scenarios and to the million “what if” scenarios. Sometimes I get so anxious that I literally make myself sick. I have struggled with stomach issues since I was in high school and I am almost positive the root cause is anxiety. Even as I type this, I find my mind drifting and thinking about work and my stomach naturally starts to tighten as I think about all the things I have to do. I can’t help it…or can I?

Yesterday, at church, I heard a sermon from a guest preacher, Warren King, that convicted me. His thoughts were exactly what I needed to hear, and now I am sharing them with you. The sermon was about being positive in a negative world. You see, it’s easy to look at the world around us and be negative. How can you possibly read and watch videos about mass shootings, suicide, cheating, etc. and think positive thoughts? It’s NOT easy to look at the world around us and remain positive...unless we have what it called eternal perspective. Every situation I can think of that has ever caused me anxiety or stress, eventually ended. When I look back, the situations that I thought would never end, were actually very brief when compared to the rest of my life.

When an elderly person reflects and speaks about their life, they always mention how quick it went by. They will not tell you, “Wow, I lived such an incredibly long life. I feel like I have been alive forever!” The truth is our time here on Earth is very short. So why spend what little time we have worrying about things that will shortly come to pass? Why worry about things of which in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter? Why worry about things that God says he will take care of (Matthew 26:26-27)? Instead, focus on things that are eternal. Focus on God and his plan for you. Focus on the fact that Jesus died for YOU so that you might have a hope of heaven. Focus on telling others about salvation. Focus on getting to Heaven and bringing as many people as you can with you.

Moving forward, I will make an effort to focus on things that are eternal. I will make an effort to replace my anxieties with joy. God says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to rejoice always. If God commands it, then it is possible. With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). With God, it is possible to live in a negative world and rejoice. Will you choose to be anxious, or rejoice? 

Genuine Beauty

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
— Proverbs 31:30 
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Makeup, hair, jewelry, clothes, and shoes are all fun things that women use to make themselves look pretty. I myself enjoy makeup, fixing my hair, and clothes (I'm not much of a jewelry or shoes gal). I spend a descent amount of time every morning TRYING (I grew up a tomboy so I do my best haha) to make myself look pretty and there's nothing wrong with that. However, if I spend more time on my outward appearance than my inward beauty, then there's a problem.

At the end of my life God is not going to tell me well done for how I looked every day. He is going to look at my heart and how I treated others. Was I kind to people? Did I use my mouth to slander people or to praise God? Did I serve others? Did I forgive people? Did I share the gospel with others? Did I turn the other cheek when someone was unkind to me or did I yell at and belittle them? The list could go on and on.

If I'm being completely honest, I think I have shamefully spent more time and effort on my appearance than my heart. Thanks to God and his mercy, it's not too late to fix that. My challenge for myself and for you this week is to spend more time on your inward beauty and making more of an effort to let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. After all, this life is about Jesus, not me. ❤️

-Andrea