Family Protection

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (WEB)

Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, “Rejoice!” Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (WEB)

I recently read that medical research is discovering (they are slow!) that gratitude is the one emotional trait most likely to benefit physical health and recovery. A thankful heart is a healthy heart! Let’s take that premise and look at these two scriptures.

In Paul’s letter to Thessalonica, he tells us that we should give thanks in everything! Notice that he says before that to be delighted always and pray without stopping! It occurs to me that if I choose to find the joy (look for it, ask the Holy Spirit to show it to me!) and PRAY! that the thanksgiving will grow from those seeds.

To the Philippians, Paul gives another slant on his words about the fruit that will come when you mate your life with the Spirit. Joy, gentleness, steadfastness, and peace will come as we build our relationship with God. In that relationship we converse (pray) and let our requests be known to God with thanksgiving. In asking from God, we stand on the promise that He will always answer with the best answer and the right time and so we give the thanks even before we know the answer. And that sweet promised peace will guard us against the enemy and keep us bound to Jesus Christ.

I could not write this today without my mind going to arguably the most talked about subject – Jon and Kate Gosselin, their eight children, and their pending divorce. Now whether you agree with the media frenzy that has covered this very sad event, I suspect divorce touches most families in the U.S. It has touched mine.

Marriage requires a lot of thanksgiving. As a Christian, my life is dedicated to Jesus Christ and so if I choose to also be married, that marriage must come secondary to my life with Jesus but at the same time be bound with Jesus so that cord of three strands that Solomon wrote about in Ecclesiastes 4:12 is formed. That cord is what binds the family together and relies on Jesus for leadership. A wise person once gave me the illustration of a triangle with God at the top point and the husband and wife at the two lower points. As the husband and wife grow closer to God individually they come closer together as a couple AND they come closer to God as a couple. WOW. When the priorities and intentional focus of a couple in marriage come away from God and seeking His will, then the eyes of the husband and wife are looking at their own wants and an expectation takes root that the spouse will provide happiness – and failure is lurking under every bush.

Give thanks every day. If that means using a notebook to make a list or deciding to send emails every day to give thanks – GIVE THANKS! Be thankful for your wife or husband. In all things – look for the thanks. The enemy – that one who prowls around like a hungry lion just waiting to pounce (1 Peter 5) – can not come around a thankful, joyful heart! He hates that! Guard your family, your life, with a powerful weapon – thanksgiving!

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