Weekday Devotionals

Written by Eric Nidiffer

Adverbs of Frequency

Verse: Rejoice 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)

Thoughts: I love a good ending. From writing letters, preaching sermons, watching movies or reading a book, endings are so critical to the entire storyline. Paul always followed up the heart of his letters with a powerful concluding section. As he closed out this first letter to the young belivers making up the Thessalonian church he gave them a final charge. These final instructions would have to sit with them until another letter would follow months or years later, so it had to be bathed in truth and encouragement for the church to carry on until the next communication.

In this concluding paragraph Paul utilizes the words: "always", "continually", "all" which are 'adverbs of frequency' defining the extent of the action for the verbs around them. He made it clear these action words came without any limitations or ends. How often should we rejoice?...Always. How often should we pray? Continually. How many circumstances should we give thanks in?...All.

His phraseology was not misguided nor was it accidental. He was instructing the church then as he is still instructing us today how we should live our lives as believers in Christ. Paul was not ignorant to the challenges of the days ahead. He knew he himself would be heading towards uncertainty or even death but still he wrote these words inspired by the Holy Spirit. The reality is the church then and now will have days filled with highs and lows, gain and loss, happiness and sorry, but through all things we should remain consistantly focused on Christ.

How quickly we forget these adverbs of frequency, or drop them entirely from the writing and when we do they lose the power and truth in which the words were written. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be so lonely for so many of us, it can remind us of those we have lost, better days where we could celebrate without all the scars and hurt or maybe just times where we used to have peace rather than chaos. The world has been through alot over the last few years and the voices trying to force us to divide, retreat and isolate have never been stronger, but we must remember these words of Paul.

"This is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." What a bold statement and one we can hold firmly to. It is God's will for you today to Rejoice always! It is God's will for you to pray continually! It is God's will for you to in all things give thanks! How do we do this when the world is screaming so loudly in our ears opposition through circumstances, media and even hatred, ONLY when we remain in Christ Jesus! Jesus is the answer to the "how" we remain in those adverbs of frequency.

If today you are lacking a reason to Rejoice, Pray or Give Thanks, remember Jesus. Turn off the TV and open the Bible. Get off Social Media and turn on praise and worship music. Find a quiet place in your house and spend 10 minutes in prayer. Joy, Thanksgiving and Praise will result. But remember each will be challenged again, so it is critical we must remain in Christ! When we do we will be able to Rejoice Always, Pray Continually and give thanks in All things!

Application: Today STOP and concentrate on the truth in this verse. Rejoice today. Pray today. Give thanks today! God is on the throne and he is not taken by surprise by whatever you are walking through. He is with you and He loves you. Rejoice and give thanks in that!

Happy Thanksgiving Thrive Church!!

Much love,
Pastor Eric