WHAT A DAY: The Old Testament prophets are a very diverse group of guys, coming from all sorts of different backgrounds, but they all pointed to one thing in particular: Yom Yahweh - The day of the LORD. Here's how the prophet Isaiah describes what that day will be like:
See, the day of the LORD is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. - Isaiah 13:9
We saw glimpses of this as we read through Revelation. Today Paul tells us that although this day will catch most people by surprise (v1-3), it need not surprise us, since we are 'children of the light and of the day (v5).' For us, the Day of the LORD is something to look forward to, not be afraid of, because
God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (v9).
KEEP EACH OTHER AWAKE: You know that feeling when you finally get to sit down after working for hours and you sort of drift off to sleep? Don't do that. Figuratively speaking, of course. It's fine to take a short snooze now and then, but the point is we live in tremendous comfort in 21st century Minnesota, so it's easy to let that comfort soften our outlook for the Day of the LORD and let our Spiritual Disciplines slip as we snooze in comfort. You can't do this alone. You need to be present with other Christians each week, and they need you. Together we encourage and build up one another (v11).
SHORT VERSE, LONG THEOLOGY: I really like verses like v16. It's only two words:
Yet those two words pack a massive dose of theology. What things must be true for you to rejoice always? Everything the Bible says is true: God created all things, and although sin has stained so much of God's creation, He's redeeming all things and will make all things new. Therefore, you can rejoice. What sort of things must you do to rejoice always? Paul has an easy answer for that in v17:
This doesn't mean being on your knees in deep, fervent prayer 24/7, rather it means that as you go about your daily activities, you're constantly Acknowledging who God is, Aligning your life with His will, and:
give thanks in all circumstances.
You didn't see that last one coming, did you. You thought the third step of praying continually was to Ask for what you need. It is. But Paul writes elsewhere to present your requests with thanksgiving (Phil 4:6). Think about how every request you have is tied to something you should be giving thanks for.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God of peace who is coming to bring justice to all things (v2, 23)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (v16-18)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: