"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
What are the marks of a believer? Is it being at church whenever the doors are open? Is it witnessing to one's faith at every opportunity? These are certainly good outward signs that one is a believer. But the apostle Paul, in his final instructions to the young church at Thessalonica offers some advice for the inward life that puts the outward life on the right track. Being joyful, praying, giving thanks — these internal characteristics are revealed in how a believer lives her or his life. We can spot folks like these a mile off because they're so, so ... well, different from everybody else. Who can be joyful always? Who prays continually, that is without ceasing? Who gives thanks in every and all circumstances? It is impossible for us to do it alone. Only by surrendering ourselves to God do we receive the constant outpouring of love, faith and hope that allows us to be joyful, prayerful and thankful, to be different for the sake of the world.
Prayer: Gracious God, pour out Your love on us that we may share it with the world in joyful, prayerful and thankful ways that glorify You. Amen.
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