Always Is Not A Suggestion

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
Man sitting on a grass field praying

We don’t like that word always. It is frustrating to read it, because we know that we don’t do it. We aren’t always joyful, thankful or prayer warriors. We may try to be these things most of the time, but always?!!

Even though we may struggle in these areas of our lives, we should always keep on trying. We should never give up just because we find we can’t do it.

Joyfulness comes from staying focused on the activity of the Lord in our lives. We need to never forget or take for granted that the God of the universe has chosen to take up residence in us. We should rejoice that He is always at work in us to make us holy vessels for Him. We should always keep in mind that we are children of God by His choosing.

Most of us are not prayer warriors. It is one of those things that we don’t practice as much as we know we should. It is hard for many of us to pray except for when we are in need. Effective praying comes with much practice. The more we pray the more comfortable we get with praying. Praying opens up our hearts to God and invites Him in. It is essential for our souls.

We should never let circumstances dictate our gratitude. We are never left alone to deal with life. We have the promises of God for life now and for all eternity. We have been given freedom from the bondage of sin and a clean heart before God. We must always strive to think on these things and bow before our God in deep gratitude.

God desires that we do these things. He knows that it is great medicine for the soul. He knows that as we do these things we will be able to live in victory and not defeat. May the Lord help us to be doers of His Word and not just listeners of it.

We Cannot Separate Jesus And The Cross

A building always takes the shape of its foundation. A man building his house won’t ever build it on another’s foundation. It wouldn’t look like he planned and frankly it wouldn’t be his.

It’s the same in the spirit for His Church. There is a foundation laid – that is Jesus Christ.

low angle shot of high rise building with a cross shape

Jesus’ ministry on earth was not really about the miracles- it was about the cross. The miracles without the cross would have left us all unsaved.

So we cannot separate Jesus and the cross.

Apostle Paul said that Greeks wanted wisdom, Jews wanted signs but as a “wise, master architect” he would only know Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. He knew what was needed for the foundation of our faith. Not teachings or miracles but Christ Crucified.

We can conclude that the foundation for the Church is Jesus Christ crucified. Not Jesus Christ the teacher or the miracle worker.

The right foundation shapes, in the spirit, the church that is built on it. The wrong foundation will bring the wrong shape.

The image that people see will not be the one the architect intended.

1 Corinthians 3:11
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:2
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:5
that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:22-23
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,

  • Mark Saunders


Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NLT)

There is no room in the work of the Kingdom for lazy people. Lazy people do not get the work done. They become a liability rather than an asset. Lazy people have a tendency to be critical of those who are busy. They are quick to judge and slow to change. Lazy people are not growing people. They lack the incentive to help themselves grow. They are not good students of the Word, let alone doers of it. They are not generally prayer warriors. They always follow and never lead.

We need to encourage one another to step out in faith. We need to spur one another on to service in spite of fear and lack of confidence. We need to inspire others by our example to become bold servants of God.

people silhouette during sunset

We need to take tender care of the weak. We should be aware of those who do not have strong faith and come alongside of them to help them. We need to be sensitive to those who are vulnerable and need coaching along the way. We need to get involved in their lives and do what we can to help them become strong.

We need to learn to be patient with everyone. Not everyone thinks alike and not everyone grows alike. We must not become impatient with those who don’t seem to “get it” like we do. We must allow the Lord time to teach and grow others in the faith. We must ask the Lord to exercise patience to all, especially those who have a tendency to mess up more than others. And while we are at it, we need to ask the Lord to grow us. Our ability to help others depends on our own maturity of faith and understanding.