Archives For trials

In all circumstances

Lisa Misner —  December 27, 2018

By Adron Robinson

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, ESV).

We cannot control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we respond to what happens to us. The Apostle Paul knew this to be true, so he gives us three ways to live a thankful life.

First, be joyful. The apostles did not encourage believers to live in denial. We are never to deny the fact that trials, tribulations, and adversities bring us pain and grief, but the child of God must recognize that in the midst of trials, tribulations, and adversities, the presence of God through the power of the Holy Spirit gives us reason for joy.

We can rejoice despite our circumstances because God is in control!

Second, be prayerful. The second command to pray is the foundation for the first command of joy and the last command to be thankful. Paul knows that in order to obey either we have to be praying people. Oftentimes our circumstances can cause us to abandon prayer, but if you don’t feel joy, pray! If you don’t see anything to be thankful about, pray! Let nothing stop you from praying!

Finally, Paul tells us to be thankful. It is the will of God that Christians be thankful, but we aren’t commanded to be thankful for everything, we are commanded to give thanks in everything. We cannot control our circumstances, but whatever the circumstance, we have reasons to thank God.

PRAYER PROMPT: Father, we thank you for your promise never to leave us or forsake us. And because of your presence we can be thankful in all things. Thank you for salvation, thank you for life eternal, and thank you for the gift of today. Help us, Lord, to live thankful lives, being grateful for all that you have given us through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Adron Robinson is pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills and president of the Illinois Baptist State Association.

Fred Luter encourages listeners at the SBC Pastors' Conference in Houston.

Fred Luter encourages listeners at the SBC Pastors’ Conference in Houston.

HOUSTON | “Can I just share my testimony for just a minute?”

Southern Baptist Convention President and New Orleans native Fred Luter drew on his experiences  after Hurricane Katrina to encourage listeners at the SBC Pastors’ Conference June 9.

“One day you can be pastoring thousands and thousands of people, and the next day, you can be without a congregation,” Luter said, alluding to the storm that devastated his city and his church, Franklin Avenue Baptist.

“One day, you’re in a city where everybody knows your name…and the next day, you’re in the city where you’re only known by your FEMA number.”

Luter’s message, from Psalm 34, focused on taking heart when you get to “the other side of ministry,” when afflictions and trials of all kinds threaten to discourage and overwhelm the righteous.

“Every child of God sooner or later in life will face the other side of ministry,” he said.

He spoke like a pastor to the crowd assembled at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, exhorting them to pay special attention to the word “but” in Psalm 34:19. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

‘That word ‘but’ is a sanctified conjunction,” Luter said to laughter from the audience. “It negates everything that was said before.” He told the crowd that just when it feels like everything is about to go under, “God can put a ‘but’ in your situation.”

He ended his message with an illustration from his favorite movie franchise, James Bond. Animatedly, he described how the super spy manages to get himself out of every scrape he ever gets into. While watching a documentary one day about the making of James Bond movies, Luter said he realized how that was possible: The writers write it that way in the script!

Holding up his Bible and smiling joyously at the crowd, Luter said, “You know how I know you’re going to make it?

“It’s in the script!”