Week 32: Always and Continually What?

Today’s Text: Second Thessalonians

Key Text: Second Thessalonians 1:16

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I know a young man who, if you say you do something “all the time” calls you on it.

All the time?” he chides, “can anyone really do anything all the time?”

He’ll probably grow up to be a professor.

Sometimes, though, I am tempted to say – “Well, as a matter of fact, yes – we are supposed to do some things all the time.”

I can imagine the look of disbelief on his face.

Proper use of the language aside, let me make my point.

Scripture says we are supposed to do the following things continually:

  • Pray
  • Be joyful
  • Give thanks

We are to be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.

Sounds like “all the time” to me.

Is it easy? No.

Most of us are creatures with feelings and attitudes that shift widely based on the immediate circumstances we must confront.

Still, the ideal – the spiritual goal – is to let our lives and actions be guided by feelings and attitude of joyful thankfulness and praise – no matter what.

To do that effectively I believe we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, mold us, form us, into being more like Christ – and that is a long, continual process.

So, let the work begin.

Regardless of the particular circumstances in which you find yourself today – let the work begin – and continue into eternity.

Pray – be joyful – give thanks – all the time.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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