Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.     – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Things are tough for many people right now.  Thousands are displaced from their homes because of hurricane Ike.  Many are living out of their cars indefinitely with little or no information about what’s going on in their towns or when they can return to their homes.  Can you imagine?! 

Others across the country walked out of their workplaces with just a little box to hold their personal belongings because their companies folded under the weight of the mortgage crisis.  Some had worked for years, acquiring stock and planning their futures on the worth of that stock, only to leave with NOTHING!  What about their tomorrows?  What about their todays?  Will they be forced into foreclosures, too, as victims of the industry they served?  What a terrible twist of irony. 

For some, gas shortages and rising gas prices are making things difficult. 

Others are greiving the loss of loved ones after the train wreck in LA –  possibly due to errors made by the engineer who was reportedly texting before the crash. 

Even if you’re not personally affected by these tragedies, you can’t help but feel for these people!  It can be depressing and overwhelming for some.  So what are we to do?  The Bible says we’re to give thanks in all circumstances!  Yes, praise the Lord and give thanks! 

God has heard my prayers and is leading me along.  Thank you, Lord!  I have breath to live this day.  Thank you, Lord!  I’ve been blessed with the best husband and healthy, happy children.  We share so much love in our marriage and as a family.  Thank you, Lord!  God has surrounded me with WONDERFUL people who bless me and inspire me in so many ways.  Thank you, Lord!  Our God is a loving and faithful God who loves us more than we love Him.  Thank you, Lord!  As catastrophic  as some situations seem, God will be with those in need who call upon Him, and will be with others as well, hoping to make Himself known to them.  Praise and thank you, Lord!  God can create rainbows out of ruin.  Praise and thank you, Lord!  At a time when many in our community are hurting and struggling, God has equipped and enabled our church to serve as Christ’s body and reach out to others.  Praise and thank you, Lord! 

I could go on, but surely you get what I’m saying.  Hopefully your mind is starting to turn with praises and thanksgiving of your own!  When things are overwhelming, seem too much to bear, or you just don’t understand what’s going on around you, leave your cares and turn to prayer.  Praise God and thank Him for your blessings;  know that You can put Your trust in Him; and then lift your thoughts and worries to the Lord.  Soon you’ll be seeing evidences of His presence in the very matters you gave to Him, and you’ll be saying, “Thank you, Lord!” 

Dear Lord, Even in my most difficult times, I’m ok and I still find joy because I know You’re right there with me.  So many times You’ve heard and answered my prayers, and when I need You, You make Your presence known to me.  Thank you, Lord!  I pray that many others will come to know You, trust You, and love You as I do.  Amen.