Monday Morning Encouragement -- Three Things

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, 
be constant in prayer." 
Romans 12:12 (ESV)

Today's scripture verse is quite short, yet in these eleven words we find tremendous power for living the Christian life. What's more, they were written by a man, the Apostle Paul, who serves as an example of what it looks like to faithfully follow Jesus under extreme pressure.

See what he writes in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27:

"Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. In my frequent journeys, I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brothers, in labor and toil and often without sleep, in hunger and thirst and often without food, in cold and exposure."

Knowing that Paul experienced so much adversity and yet remained faithful to God and true to His calling, makes me even more attentive to the instruction we receive into today's Bible verse. So let's examine the three things Paul exhorts us to do.

First, "rejoice in hope". As Christians, no matter what is going on in our lives -- good or bad -- we have the hope of eternal life with Christ. He sacrificed His life to ensure it, and He has promised that all those who believe on Him will be with Him in Heaven. This is our hope, and it can never be taken away from us. What better reason to rejoice!

Second, "be patient in tribulation". Now, this is not so easy. When trials come, when affliction occurs, we just want it be over. Yet, the very thing that causes us so much pain, can be a blessing depending on how we respond to it. We either turn away from God in the affliction, or make a decision to draw closer to Him. If we choose the latter, we will grow in our relationship with Christ. He will strengthen us and comfort us. He will teach us more about Himself and His faithfulness, and our faith will increase. This is the blessing. . .that our faith is genuine, and that it will result in praise, glory, and honor when Christ is revealed to the world. (1 Peter 1:7)

Third, "be constant in prayer". I love Alexander MacLaren's commentary on this:

"But can I pray without ceasing? Not if by prayer you mean only words of supplication and petition, but if by prayer you mean also a mental attitude of devotion, and a kind of sub-conscious reference to God in all that you do, such unceasing prayer is possible. . .

"There is a verse in the Old Testament which we may well lay to heart: ‘They cried unto God in the battle, and He was entreated of them.’ Well, what sort of a prayer do you think that would be? Suppose that you were standing in the thick of battle with the sword of an enemy at your throat, there would not be much time for many words of prayer, would there? But the cry could go up, and the thought could go up, and as they went up, down would come the strong buckler which God puts between His servants and all evil. That is the sort of prayer that you, in the battle of business, in your shops and counting-houses and warehouses and mills, we students in our studies, and you mothers in your families and your kitchens, can send up to heaven. If thus we ‘pray without ceasing,’ then we shall ‘rejoice evermore,’ and our souls will be kept in patience and filled with the peace of God."

So good! Unceasing prayer is more than kneeling at our beds with heads bowed. It is "also a mental attitude of devotion, and a kind of sub-conscious reference to God in all that you do."

Practicing these three things from scripture will make a powerful difference in our relationship with Christ. Praise God that His word endures!

Today's music video Strong by Anne Wilson reminds us that it is Jesus who makes us strong. I hope it will encourage you if you're struggling today.

I love you, I'm thinking of you, and I'm praying for you.


  1. You're so right Nancy! These practices in our Christian lives will work wonders! The verse is a great reminder for living. Probably better to call these "disciplines," because it can take discipline, especially when the storms come. I know God allows storms to draw us close to Himself, and it serves us well to respond to Him that way rather than reacting in panic and despair. And certainly prayer, talking to God, should not be only asking, but including Him in our day-to-day experiences. These Monday devotions are such a wonderful start to the week! Thank you Nancy!

  2. Oh how Maclarens commentary spoke to my heart today. That is what I want my prayer life to be, a constant stream of prayer daily to the Father. This is the kind of heart surrender I want to model. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Beautiful song. Hope. With all that is going on in this world I think hope is one of the bigger things we can hold on to. I pray so much more now than I ever have. Hope this finds you doing well and stay warm and cozy this winter. Hugs. Kris


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