Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible reading is Philippians 4:4-6 where the Apostle Paul says,

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


My work in Washington, D.C. is overwhelming at times. There are forces in our culture and in our public life (whether political or work-related) that do not have our best interests in mind. Let me say that again. There are forces in our lives even in this, the freest country in the world, which do not have our best, or God’s best intentions in mind in what they say and do. So in the middle of that daily grind, how can a person have a joyful life of thanksgiving? We can because our joy, our thanksgiving, and our very life are not dependent on circumstances, but on Christ. His actions on our behalf, his intentions on our behalf, and his direction for our lives are what really matter. Jesus Himself is the source of our thanksgiving and the root of our joy. He lived our lives perfectly (as humanity reduced to one); He died our death, death as judgment for our sin, sacrificially; and He rose to life miraculously, making eternal life now His gift to us, graciously. We are then called to thank and praise, serve and obey Him in all things.

So let’s get practical today, shall we? As believers in Jesus, we “get to” approach life differently than those who don’t know the Lord as their loving, merciful, and joy-giving Savior. We have a confidence to face each and every day that is stronger than our best efforts and more resourceful than our ingenuity and wisdom. We have a thanksgiving fashioned by God’s unending love and concern. We have a joy rooted in His gracious action for us in all things. That’s why St. Paul’s words can direct us to “rejoice IN THE LORD” in all things, instead of becoming anxious about anything. That’s why we can commit all things to God in prayer, and then rest in the confidence that God is near; He hears and He cares for you! So, rejoice IN THE LORD. Then deal with whatever you’re facing with the knowledge that you get to deal with whatever it is with the resources, assurances, and presence of God Himself in your life.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I want to urge you to start to put all of this to work for others. Put Christ’s joy to work by reveling in thanksgiving toward the God who loves you by resourcing and sharing that thanksgiving joy in your life. Surround yourself with people who also love to spread the joy of Christ around. Make sure that you have people in your life who have also learned how to face each day with rejoicing, to relinquish anxiety, and to rest in the presence of God’s care and concern. Then you can also venture out and be open to new friendships in your life, ones that challenge you to give away what you have (and continue to receive) in Christ. There’s nothing like being that kind of friend or acquaintance to others. So many of you have been “joy-givers” to me over the years. Keep up that good work for others. Our world needs it now more than ever. And we can be that today in the Lord, no matter the circumstances.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, let my rejoicing be rooted in the confidence that You really care for me, that You are near to me, and that all things are in Your hands. Give me strength to put that joy to work for others who need it too. Amen!

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