Feb 27

48 Hour Joyful~Praying~Thankful Challenge

Let’s begin by making this personal.  Who’s up for a challenge?

Read out loud our 2nd reflection verse for the week:

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

Now fill in the blanks with your name.

____________, always be joyful.  ___________, never stop praying.  ____________, be thankful in all circumstances.  ____________, this is God’s will for you.   _____________ belongs to Christ Jesus.

This is not an easy command. It’s challenging. Today let’s take this challenge. It’s the 48 hour Joyful~Praying~Thankful Challenge.  For the next 48 hours be intentional on being joyful (despite your circumstances), praying a lot (even when you don’t feel like it), and remembering to be thankful (despite your circumstances).


Today’s Assignment

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28. This passage includes our reflection verse and more. Highlight or mark verses in this passage that speak to you. Journal how God can use His Word today in your life.

Read Chapter 8, Due to Circumstances beyond Our Control.  

Take Away

What is your take away today?  Share with your OBS Sisters in the comment section of the OBS blog. Also, let us know how you are doing on the 48 Hour Joyful~Praying~Thankful Challenge!

Blog Hop is tomorrow! Here are the topics:

1. Well, that was easy. Check out this week’s reflection verse from I Thessalonians 5:26-18 NLT: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” We invite you to share how this verse helps motivate you to truly be thankful, no matter what, trust God and Let.It.Go!

2. iScream. Chapter Seven. On pages 139-143 in the Putting the Brakes on Busy section, Karen provides several tools to help us trim the fat off our schedules. Which tools will you use on your schedule? What are you able to let go so that you can regain some “schedule sanity”?

3. Serenity. Chapter Eight. Sometimes no matter what we do to try and control a situation…we simply can’t. How has this chapter helped you to discover the difference between what you can and can’t change? OR Can you look back at a time in your life when things were out of your control but you can see how God worked through it all?

 Have a great day friends! I love you~ you bring me joy, I’m praying for you, and I’m so thankful for each of you!  :)  I’ve already started the challenge!




  1. Stephanie W says:

    I am up for the challenge!! In fact I wrote the reflection verse on an index card including my name to carry around with me today. I plan to look @ it every hour on the hour whenever possible. After the stressful day I had yesterday, I really need this reminder today!!

  2. What a timely chapter and verse. I look forward to reading this chapter and my Bible at the hospital today.I hope it is okay to share a prayer request here. First I want to say that I am thankful son, Brandon, who is 12, did not fracture his elbow fracture any worse than it is and that he is not been in much pain. He goes into surgery at 8 this morning. A condition runs in my family in which there is sometimes severe reaction to general anesthesia. I remind myself that I have done my job and have informed the staff and doctors and made sure they are prepared, and that God is in control. Thank you so much!

    • Christa H.(OBS Small Group Leader) says:

      Dear Lord, be with Tina today and her son Brandon. Thank you for caring for him and minimizing his pain. Watch over him and the doctors during his surgery. Keep them ever mindful of this condition and be on the watch for any signs of it. Rest with Tina as she waits. Give her a peace and continually remind her that you are in control. Amen!

      Tina, be sure to let us know how it goes!

    • Praying for you and Brandon and the Dr’s today Tina. For quick healing and no reactions to anesthesia.

      • Lauren B (OBS Group Leader) says:

        Will be praying, please come back and give us an update

        • Just got this Tina, but I am praying that Brandon comes out of the anesthesia with no problems. Heavenly Father, please grant your peace and comfort to Tina now and to Brandon as he recovers. We thank you that his injury was not serious! In Jesus Name. Amen.

    • Just now seeing this but I’m praying all went well!

  3. I just prayed for you and your family. I am sure everyone else who reads your comment will do so. Thinking of you.

  4. When I saw this challenge, the first words in my head were, I can’t! and I certainly don’t feel like it. My mom, who is 60, was diagnosed w/early onset Alz 5 years ago and the past for three months is declining so fast we don’t know what to do. My dad called last night broken, desperate and angry with mom and God. Living hours away I feel helpless and certainly not joyful or thankful. But spending time with the verse, the part that got me was that it is in GOD’S WILL for us. God’s will is all knowing and greater than anything and because it is in God’s will, I will take this challenge. I am so thankful to be part of this study, to be encouraged to get into the Word.

    • Kara S (OBS leader) says:

      I’m praying for you Rachel.

    • Rachel, I’m praying for you. I took care of my mother-in-law, who had Alzheimers, for over 16 years. I’d like to recommend the book “They’re Your Parents Too” by Francine Russo. There is a really good chapter about how you can help when you live away. I don’t know if you have siblings or not but there is a lot of excellent advice in this book about caring for and helping parents when the need arises.

      • carol costello says:

        Saw this comment and ordered the book. I am currently the only sibling living in the same city as my elderly parents (my dad has dementia). My siblings and I are trying to find our boundaries regarding decisions, etc. I often feel ungrateful for not having more help. Hoping this book will bring me much insight.

        • Praying for you Carol as you find your way in this situation and that the book Cindy recommended gives you some guidance, too.

        • Hi Rachel…will be keeping you and your family,especially your dad in my prayers. It is such a hard deseae to deal with day in and day out…it takes its toll on everyone. I was the main caregiver for my mother in- law for the last three years of her life. Our bible verse “He knows the way that I take” is so fitting and comforting for this kind of overwhelming situation. God knows what you are going through and understands how hard it is on you and your family. Praying His love, comfort and wisdom be with all of you.

      • Cindy, Thank you for the book title. I’ll check it out. Thank you for your prayers!

    • Rachel, I can’t say that I know what you’re going through because every experience like this is very different for everyone and my mom didn’t have alzheimers…my heart breaks for you when you talk about the fast decline, your Dad being broken and angry, and you living hrs away feeling helpless and certainly not joyful or thankful, for those things are my story as well. A birth defect that had gone undiagnosed was discovered in my Mom’s heart. 4 months later she was gone. She was 58. I too, am so thankful for this study and it’s timing in my life. Thank you for sharing a piece of your struggle. Lifting you and your Dad up in prayer!

    • Rachel, like Katrina, my story with my parents was similar to your situation. My heart goes out to you. I only wish I’d had the guidance of OBS Leaders and the fellowship of OBS sisters when I was going through all of that! I pray that you can claim OUR VERSE in a mighty way – not just for 48 hours, but for all time!

      • You are right CG, I need to claim the actions and attitudes of this verse, be joyful, thankful, and pray for all time! Thank you!

    • Monika B. Lankford says:

      Special prayers go out to you and your family.

    • Barbara Prince says:

      I’m also praying for you in this very hard place in your life and your father life. I will pray that God gives your family wisdom as to the best way to deal with this terrible situation afflicting your mom. You are right it is God will for us to be thankful, pray, and be joyful. This is God’s desire for us and it is for our good. God bless you sweet sister.

      • Thank you for your prayers, Barbara. We are certainly in need of God’s wisdom as we are making difficult decisions.

    • Hi Rachel…will be keeping you and your family,especially your dad in my prayers. It is such a hard deseae to deal with day in and day out…it takes its toll on everyone. I was the main caregiver for my mother in- law for the last three years of her life. Our bible verse “He knows the way that I take” is so fitting and comforting for this kind of overwhelming situation. God knows what you are going through and understands how hard it is on you and your family. Praying His love, comfort and wisdom be with all of you.

  5. Love this Melissa, and I’m SO up for the challenge! :)

  6. Melissa,

    I am getting so much out of these daily blog posts and today’s is right on.
    I am going to copy this verse and put it where I can see it (adding my name)
    Thank you for the encouragement :)

  7. Christa H.(OBS Small Group Leader) says:

    Karen AND Melissa are walking around in my life! This chapter and these verses in 1 Thessalonians were written for me today. Like Rachel above me, I certainly don’t FEEL like being thankful or prayful or joyful in my situation. I want my way and I want it now and I want to make it happen. But God is slowly giving me a peace about letting God to his job. I’ve done all I can. Now I just need to trust that He has control and knows what He is doing. The verse that stuck out to me was 1 Thess. 5:24 The one who has called you is faithful, and HE will do it. So my heart’s cry today, tucked inside my God bubble, is “HE, not ME”!

    And despite my circumstances, I will be thankful that I job that I love, I will be joyful in having some responsibilities taken off my back, and I will prayerfully accept that God has it all under control!

  8. This is good. I’ve printed out the verse with my name inserted and will put it on both bathroom mirrors and in my kitchen. And of course one for my pocket!


    • Kristy Aiken (OBS Group Leader) says:

      That is exactly where I put my verses and also in my van. It has amazed me today how many times I have already said them out loud by doing that:-)

  9. I’m up for the challenge! I need this challenge, I can be so not joyful some days. I live with my 89 year old mother and love her dearly, but some days can be a challenge. I am thankful that I can be here to take care of her so she is not in a nursing home. She can treat me some days like I am a teenager. So I choose not to be joyful at those times. Lord forgive me for not resting in you and knowing that I am in your will right now at this time of my life. My joy is in knowing you and that you love me and for giving me a godly, praying mother.
    Praying for all of you ladies today and everyday!!! I am thankful for all of you. I am so uplifted everyday by the comments you all make. This is my first OBS and I am making a booklet of notes for everyday. I copy and paste Melissa’s posts and then all of the comments that hit home for me onto a word document, then at the end of every week print them off, read back over them and underline and highlight the things that I want to remember to make changes in my attitude, life, etc. So THANKS ladies for helping me on this journey to being a women after Gods’ heart!! Love you all!! :)

    • Love your booklet of notes!

      • Barbara Prince says:

        I agree that’s a great idea. God will reward you for the honor you are showing you mother. A mother is a mother till the day she dies, so to her you are a child. Your gracious to her is evident in your post.

        • Thanks Barb I never thought of it like that before, you are right, to my mom I am her child. God bless you for opening my eyes!!!

    • Mary G. (OBS Group Leader) says:

      What a great idea!!

  10. God and His Word AND this chapter are getting in my business! :)

    I am currently struggling with my perception of one of the leaders of my church and a request he made of me. My husband and I are sitting on one side of how to do something in our children’s ministry, and he sits on the other. I hear clearly the need to rest quietly in my Abba’s will, and to be amenable to changes and perhaps even see them as the gift they may be rather than a punishment. I pray for obedience to God’s will without conditions, and to trust to His perfect will and plan for me, my family, and my church.

    1 Thess. 5:12-13 – “But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you and have charge of you in The Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.”

    “Whether your life contains life-altering crises, out of control circumstances, or relatively normal bumps and blips, you must nestle yourself neatly and surrendered into the spot God has reserved for you in it all.” p. 163

    God is good. I choose to be joyful, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances because He loves me and daily provides for me in ways that humble and overwhelm me, and He has a plan in all of this that I’m not meant to see right now – only to walk in faith.

    Much love,

    • Pat (OBS small group leader) says:

      Praying for you today, Jennifer. Continue to pray and seek the LORD’s guidance…does this leader’s request align up with God’s Word? Then be obedient. Also part of today’s Scripture is verse 21: “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”

      • Praying for you, Jennifer. I’ve been there! Pat is very wise. She nailed it! I’ve lived that verse out, too. Looong story and long time ago. Hang in there and trust God’s Will.

  11. Debbie Williams (OBS) says:

    I needed this challenge. THANK YOU, THANK YOU. THANK YOU. Through so much pain the month of February – primarily the death of my Mom but also 4 friends and our jr. high asst principa’s husband being one of those making the national news as he was shot at the gun range, well it has been a traumatic month, and now dealing with cleaning out a house of collectibles and family and I’m the giver, the pleaser, the lover and the one who bites her tongue with one family member who is not a sister and who wants to control what we are doing, let’s say there has been more pain.

    But I am up to the challenge. I am up today ready to praise my Savior for ALL that is good. The good that Mom is no longer suffering, the good that I have to spend days and days with my sisters to clean out the house and so far we are loving and hugging and doing things together and in agreement, lots of moments with my husband ministering to me and loving on me -he closed his shop last week to stay home with me on Sat and on Sunday after church he planted trees at our house in memory of Mom and Dad and my Father-in-Law, and today I am headed up to school to take a blessing jar to one of my bosses, our asst principal Mrs. Littlefield in the death of her husband.

    Do you see that ladies! There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for, there is always something to praise Jesus for and ALWAYS be joyful for if we stop and praise. Never stop praying, never stop praising, even through your tears.

    LASTLY but all so important I PRAISE God that He placed me in Melissa Taylor’s Bible Studies last year knowing how I would need these women and these groups to love on me. And today what GLORIOUS PRAISE< I am going with my daughter-in-law and her Mom to her doctor's appointment to hear my first grandbaby's heartbeat.

    Thank you God and thank you Melissa and all your staff for your love and the JOY I can have because of you through all circumstances if I stop and reflect on whose I am. I am a daughter of the King and He loves and cries with me through all my pain and all my joys.

    Thank you Melissa for your heart. Thank you for the most beautiful reflection verse that is now underlined in my Bible with Mom, Let.It.Go, Melissa and 1st grandbaby beside it. HUGS!

    Debbie, always be joyful. Debbie, never stop praying. Debbie, be thankful in all circumstances. Debbie, this is God’s will for you. Debbie belongs to Christ Jesus.

    Debbie Williams (OBS Leadership)

    • Kristy Aiken (OBS Group Leader) says:

      Debbie, I love your heart. I love reading what you write. What a beautiful post and something I needed to read. It is so true that as Christians there is NOT one circumstance in which we can’t be thankful. Wow! What a hope and what a truth!

    • Pat (OBS small group leader) says:


    • Praying and praising along with you, Debbie.

      • Barbara Prince says:

        Debbie, we all just love you so much. You are an inspiration to hundreds, maybe thousands of hurting women. It takes courage to praise in the midst of the pain. As you have done that you have seen all that is beautiful and worthy of thanksgiving and praise to our Father. You are such a helper of the Lord to your family!

  12. All,

    I am up for th challenge! Thanks for this challenge. My thought process lately has been, “Devil, you will not steal my joy today, I will not let you.” I wrote the verse on a card and will keep it with me…will post it on my monitor at work so that each time I get frustrated or annoyed with my circumstance, I have that gentle reminder to whom I belong! Praise Jesus!

    Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” We may set our hearts on what we hope will happen, but nothing happens without God getting his way. What transforms our outlook in us is an attitude adjustment; only we can do that! It’s God’s job to determine our circumstances, and our job to cooperate with Him, adjusting and realigning our attitudes with the truth of scripture. We must remember that God is God, and we are not. We must look to Him for our role in scenarios being played out. We must not attempt to take His job away from Him, because that choice never ends up well. Remember to pray before you act and seek spiritual help when needed. Do not seek the spiritual help that will not be straight, honest, and maybe even step on your toes, if needed; instead choose those who love you enough to tell you when they sense you’re being selfish or unreasonable helping you to make God glorifying choices. Our job is obedience, not God’s job is results. “Trusting Him demands that we learn to fix our gaze on Him and glance at our circumstances.”
    “You can’t always change your circumstances.
    You can change your attitude.
    You shouldn’t seek to micromanage.
    You should seek to trust God.”
    Similarly, you cannot change the weather, but you can decide to have an umbrella.

  13. Tabitha Jones says:

    Oh wow is all I can say after reading all the post. I have not got into the study much this morning, but I was really touched just reading the comments this morning. I AM UP FOR THE CHALLENGE!!! Debbie I am praying for you. You seem to have it all together with all the tragedy happening around you and I admire you for that. Jennifer I will be praying for the Lord to show you the direction with this leader. I am a pastors wife and I have been in a similar situation and I just had to let God have all control and realize I alone couldn’t fix it. Rachel hang in there, you are in my prayers. Tina I am praying for you and your son I hope all goes well. I am going to get into the study and I am very excited to see what God speaks in my life today. Have a blessed day ladies.

  14. Kim Golds OBS group Leader says:

    I am up for a challenge . Thank you for this Melissa . Both chapters 7 & 8 were definitely written for me 😉

  15. Dottie (OBS small group leader) says:

    I am so doing this challenge! I am currently going through a hard time and I needed the reminder to be joyful even in this situation. Thank you for allowing our Daddy to use you to remind me! Love you Melissa!

    • Praying for you Dottie :)

      • Lauren B (OBS Group Leader) says:

        Dottie I am so with you Sister! I too am taking this challenge and am going through a really rough time right now, but God is calling us to trust in him and yes to be joyful, even when it hurts.

        Love you

  16. I am up for the challenge!! The scripture passage is great! I have read it twice and will be refering to it through the next 48 hours several times I am sure! Thanks!

  17. Thank you sooooo much for you and this great challenge! Like some of our other sisters have mentioned, it is timely. My husband and I could also use some prayer. Our “circumstances” right now are almost to much to bear. It is so hard to always be joyful when I am now a wife caregiver to my husband that had a stroke. God has worked amazing miracles and we can see Him in action, bit he is splitting with his business partner and financially and emotionally we are pushing through. There are lots of unknowns.

    My faith is strong and though I KNOW God is in control of all circumstances, I have yet to be able to be “joyful” in all circumstances. I have added this verse to my phone calender to remind me regularly. I am also going to add an index card to my car since I will be on the road.

    In addition to the reflection verse, verses12, 13, 23, and 28 spoke to me. 12,13-“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.”

    23-“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    28-” The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

    Very comforting. Thanks for letting me share :-)

    • Barbara Prince says:

      I know how hard the burden of caring the weight of your household while your husband work on recovering from this stroke is. Trust in the Lord, joyfully. Another Scripture that might be helpful to you is Nehemiah 8:10b “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

  18. I am doing this challenge!! Laura thank you for sharing the verse “Devil you will not steal my joy today, I will not let you.” I am going to use this too thanks so much I really needed this verse. I am praying for all you ladies! i love you all!
    i am having surgery next friday on march 8th if you all can please pray for me.

  19. This verse is timely because I’m usually not very joyful. But I’m keeping the verse on my desk and will refer to it frequently throughout today and tomorrow.

    I was so happy to read about Esther in Chapter 8. Her story is one my favorites in the Bible. She is famous for her line, “If I perish, I perish.” But a closer read shows that the first time Mordecai asked her for help, her answer was no! And her reasoning was based purely on worldly circumstances.

    But Mordecai reminded her of her heritage and God’s omnipotence, so she agreed to do what she can, but fasted first for three days. And even then, she chose to prepared two banquets on two separate nights, and was fair to her enemy, Haman, by allowing him to be present. Even after Haman’s death, the King’s decree could not be taken back. He allowed Esther and Mordecai to issue another one, which they did with careful prayer and consideration. And during all of this, she was still showing love and respect to her husband! There’s so many things about her that is simply amazing and could only have come about from a Godly heart of surrender.

    What helps me the most is to make a list of what I can and cannot control in a situation. Our culture deludes us into thinking we can control so much so we spend so much time trying! But rather, God calls us to have self-control and He will take care of the rest.

    • Pat (OBS small group leader) says:

      Julie, I, too, love the Book of Esther! My favorite verse in this Book: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (4:14b) Her response is how we should all respond to trials/circumstances: calling for fasting and prayer TOGETHER, and then obedience.

  20. Lauren B (OBS Group Leader) says:

    I beyond excited about this challenge Melissa! I am so doing this! I shared with my Group, post it on my Facebook page and instagram! This came at the right time. What a perfect reminder that no matter what is going on in your life, rather happy, sad or hard that we are to trust in him, be Joyful no matter what, on our knees in prayer and thankful for everything no matter what it is!


  21. Lynn Brooks says:

    Those were great verses. Loved…highest regard, peace, warn, encourage, help, be patient, do not put out the Spirit’s fire, test everything, hold on to the good, avoid every kind of evil, sanctify, blameless. WOW – so hard to do these things but the outcome of sanctify and blameless is so wonderful to hear. And, we know that everything we are commanded to do are for God’s glory. We can do this – BE JOYFUL – KEEP PRAYING – BE THANKFUL ALWAYS. And, what I have written in my Bible from some time ago is cannot do this on our own – I need Jesus! Off to read the chapter – more later! I am up for this challenge. Starting NOW! Help me Lord Jesus to do these three things for your GLORY!

  22. I love love love this verse and this challenge!! I’m going to see if some sister friends of mine want to do it with me.

  23. I put the verse in my phone so I would always have it with me! How amazing it is to see the world differently when I am giving thanks and praising him and not letting anyone or any circumstance steal my joy! This is a great challenge that I am going to ask my family to join in on! 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NAB) “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.” That’s what this study does for me, Thank you Ladies!! How easy it will be to build those up around me when I drench myself in His joy and praise Him for all of the blessings He has given me and thank Him for being an awesome GOD!

  24. Jennifer N (OBS Leadership Team) says:

    I am thankful for the challenge today. My flesh wants to rebel through some difficult circumstances, but I am reminded of Psalms 121:1~ I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? And, of course, Phil. 4:13~ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    The reading in 1 Thess. meant a lot to me this morning, especially looking around two verses. V 19, the Life Application Bible warns us “Do not ignore or toss aside the gifts the Holy Spirit gives.” It also says not to stifle, but rather encourage their expression to benefit the whole body of Christ. I want to encourage others to use the gifts that God has given them to encourage and build up His body.
    v 24 is ALWAYS a favorite, “The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.”
    This gives me so much peace of mind, especially bringing in v23 to go with it. Becoming blameless, and the process of sanctification is being accomplished through “God Himself” (v 23), He is faithful, and He will do it (v24). I need to surrender control to Him. In every area.

    Wishing you all a blessed day!!

    • Barbara Prince says:

      I guess it is all accomplished because we are trusting everything in our live to the God who loves us.

  25. Alejandra P says:

    Love it!!! I am so up for this challenge…I’m so thankful to be part of this study, It’s been a huge blessing for me…

  26. I accept this very hard challenge because my whole life is about to become upside down. I have worked at the same job for 19 years as a Dietitian for small / medium size hospital recently had a complete upper management turn over. The CNO whom is new and my supervision came to my office and told me they could no longer afford to pay me and told me I can work 2 days a week or quit and take 14 weeks severance pay. What a slap in the face after that many years of service.
    I know God is AWESOME but its so very hard to let go and trust in God. I am a single parent with a 17 year old son and so afraid of losing everything. So this challenge is for me to keep in continually pray, and trust in the Lord with all your heart that he has something far more better in store for me and rejoice in the Lord.

    • Jennifer N (OBS Leadership Team) says:

      Praying for you Debbie. That the Lord would provide all of your needs. That He would give you peace that surpasses all understanding, and that He would provide double restoration for what you loose. God bless you.

      Philippians 4:19
      And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

      • Barbara Prince says:

        God sees right where you are and he’s in this with you. As you quiet your spirit through this challenge and worship your Heavenly Father, He will speak peace to you and show you the right path.

    • Prayers for you!

  27. Thank you for adding the Scripture readings and challenges. Loving them.

  28. Mary G. (OBS Group Leader) says:

    Hearing about JOY everywhere this morning!!!

    A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23 NIV)

  29. Anna, always be joyful. Anna, never stop praying. Anna, be thankful in all circumstances. Anna, this is God’s will for you. Anna belongs to Christ Jesus.

    Doing the challenging and excited to see God move. I read a devotional from Joyce Meyer talking about how there is sin everywhere and were tempted to do evil. She said the Holy Spirit is combatting that by “tempting”(yes I know God does not really tempt us, more gives us a choice)us to do GOOD! So, this challenge is “tempting” me to do good! Hoping I get some time to blog for tomorrow too. 😉

  30. Judy Huffman says:

    I am currently teaching a women’s Bible study based on Mary Whelchel’s book Soaring on High: Spiritual Insights from the Life of an Eagle.” We talked Monday night and Tuesday morning about James 1:2-4 that tells us to “consider it joy when you go through trials of many kinds…” which is similar in thought to the verses in 1 Thessalonians 5. She defined “consider” as “think forward” and paraphrased the verse like this: “Think forward whenever you find yourself in uncomfortable situations that you don’t understand. Think of the end result and realize that this trial you’re facing can help you develop into the mature Christian that you want to be. It will help you become complete in your faith, having everything you need to live a godly life and bring glory to The Lord.” This really spoke to my heart and opened my eyes. She also said that suffering that we fight and never look for the end result of or purpose for is wasted suffering that Hebrews 12:11 speaks of. If I have to endure suffering, I don’t want it to be wasted suffering.

  31. Pat (OBS small group leader) says:

    I am SO encouraged by this study and by today’s challenge!!! When I look up Scripture using Biblegateway.com, sometimes I’ll add a parallel using The Message. The title for 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 in The Message is “The Way He Wants You to Live”. These ARE His instructions to us!!!! 😀

    Before I even opened my Bible this morning, I knew what I’d find. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 is the FIRST Scripture I highlighted in my Bible after becoming a Christian:

    “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

    The Online Bible Study leadership, the individual facebook group leaders, and all the participants are doing JUST THAT…encouraging one another and building each other up for God’s glory!! I am so thankful for EACH and EVERY one of you ladies this morning!! 😀

  32. I wrote the verse in my journal, filling my name in the blanks! I am trying to recite it as much as possible today. I also forced a smile on to my face to keep me joyful :)

    What I took away from Chapter 8: My family and I are currently facing some circumstances that are being forced upon us which we have no control over. It will change the way we operate as a family and how much time we get so spend together. I have been like an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand about this change in our lives. Ignore it and it will go away right? Wrong! Then, when my husband and I would discuss what is going on, I would tear up and cry. I have been almost no help to him and less than supportive. I am angry and frustrated, hurling blame in the direction of the person that is forcing this change on my family due to their actions. Which, by the way, is only them doing what is right for their family! It is time to stop my less than stellar behavior! I’ve known that my behavior hasn’t been helpful since the beginning. This chapter really hit home for me this morning! I hear you Lord, I get the picture!! It is beyond time for an attitude adjustment on my part. It is time for me to put a big bright smile on my face instead of crying about our situation. it is time for me to become more of a comfort to my husband than I have been. It is time for me to accept and trust in what God has planned for our future.

    Every day when I open this book it becomes more and more clear to me that God brought me here! Thank you ladies! Have a blessed day!

    • Thank you, Keisha B. for sharing your story. Prayers for you and your family. My husband, our kids, and I have had to pull up roots a few times so I can empathize with that part of your ordeal. You are on the right path now. Hang in there!

  33. Kari Norman says:

    I love this challenge! It’s the perfect timing. I’m in!

  34. My take away – “Usually the only aspect we can change about our circumstances is our outlook. So we adjust our attitudes, alter our actions and put on a cloak of contentment to weather lifes storms”.

    I also shared the prayer at the end of the chapter with a fb friend that had a rough morning! :-)

  35. Oh and one other thing that got to me was in teh Part 3 Section before the chapter. By springing into action, we feel we’re being conscientous followers of Christ and doing our part in the kingdom. But what if we are in fact getting ahead of ourselves – or no, worse – getting ahead of Jesus?

    That really made me think!

  36. Yes, I need this challenge!! I choose joy, prayer instead of worry and thankfulness instead of complaining. This week is crazy schedule-wise but I don’t want to just check the events off my list but BE in them and peacefully enjoy my family and blessings! Thanks, Melissa and Holy Spirit, for the timing!!!

  37. I wish I had time to read and respond to each comment. My prayers are with each of you. I am definitely doing the challenge. These verses have really spoken to me. Time to joyfully make lunch for a hungry clan. :)

  38. Thank you for all of your prayers. It means so much. Brandon’s surgery went well. He had some pins put in that will have to be removed in a couple of months, but he is out of recovery now and doing well!

  39. Monika B. Lankford says:

    You are not going to believe this.. While I was checking my e-devotionals this am before I went online to check our assignment, I ran across this verse and liked it and it just filled me with the spirt that I wrote it down on a sticky pad and put it on my desk.. Then I went and checked out the assignment and wow..God is trying to tell me something. I am up for the challenge..God bless.

  40. “respect those who work hard among you…Hold them in highest regard in love…Live in peace with everyone….always try to be kind to each other…Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire…Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. MAY GOD HIMSELF, THE GOD OF PEACE, SANCTIFY YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH. May your whole spirit, soul and body be Kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” Taking the challenge, Melissa, and have been blessed today by your post and all these comments! Now off to read my chapter!

  41. I am thankful for the challenge and am going to take it! I plan on writing the verse on a card too and will reflect on it.
    I appreciated being reminded that God is in control and I need to keep my focus on Him. The sentence in Ch.8 about “your job is obedience. God’s job is results.” is a good reminder for me.

  42. I am participating in a bible verse memory challenge for the year. One of the verses I have committed to memory is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I look at it every day as I study my old and new verses each morning. These verses are a daily reminder not to let the many little things that crop up each day get to me– I am starting to practice responding joyfully to those annoying things that crop up in my life and I look for how it affects those around me. I am beginning to think about how my faith in Christ can become contagious if I am joyful always and giving thanks continually!

  43. Charolette Ragsdale says:

    I have already notified my group leader that I am on board for participating in the 48-hour challenge. However, I will work on taking it further than just 48 hours. I have learned I need to find a way to instill God’s promises in my brain and actually live in His promises to have a fulfilling life and spend eternal life with Him. Chapters 7 and 8 honestly spoke to me in big ways this week. I have always been a major control freak when it comes to my daily schedule. I tend to be a planner since I do not consider myself to be spontaneous or live on the edge. I like my day to generally be planned out in my planner so I am aware of what I have time for and what I don’t have time for each day. I have learned the day gets away from me and do not accomplish as much when I don’t plan it ahead of time. I think controlling my schedule is in line with me being a perfectionist. The other chapter really taught me alot about myself too. I need to quit trying to control the outcome of my circumstances. I am learning they will always turn out for God’s good and the way He intended them to turn out. I can choose to change my outlook on my circumstances no matter what the outcome is in the end. If I try to eradicate the situation, it just ends of blowing up in my face and makes things ten times worse based on how I view the outcome. So, if I learn to embrace the situation and how things turn out, I can finally come to grips with reality knowing that God has a reason and a purpose for the outcome. Two sentences really stuck out to me on page 163 — “Trusting God demands that we learn to fix or gaze on Him and our glance on our circumstances.” “Whether your life contains life-altering crises, out-of-control circumstances, or relatively normal bumps and blips, you must nestle yourself neatly and surrendered into the spot God has reserved for you in it all.” If I can learn to trust God more and realize I can’t change the outcome of the situation with an adjustment on my attitude, I will find that things do not seem as bad as I view them since God is on my side.

  44. Barbara Prince says:

    Yes, I’m taking the challenge. No it isn’t always easy to be thankful or joyful or prayerful. Life will always try to distract me from God’s best for me. My best is found in being thankful and joyful and prayerful. Barbara will rejoice always. Barbara will pray without ceasing. Barbara will give thanks in all circumstances.
    Thank you Melissa for this challenge!

  45. I am taking the challenge. And, thanks to my sweet OBS leader, Kristy, I was inspired to post both 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Psalm 31:14-15 on the garage door – since I’m always either coming or going – so that I can see it each and every time. And remember anew that if I seek God first, I will be infused with His direction. Oh, hallelujah!!!

    And, just for the record, each of the last 4 chapters has been “my favorite!”. I like a little time to chew on my Bible (not literally, thank goodness, as I’ve refrained from dieting during this study) slowly. I’m still “digesting” last week’s verse. And it has wrought some mighty changes in my behavior and attitude towards my little family. I can only imagine what filling myself with these two new ones will do!

  46. Lynn Brooks says:

    Take aways from chapter 8 – God was the string puller that day – Boy Ladies – don’t we want God to be the string puller everyday!?

    I will change my outlook and attitude – That is huge for me. I get a case of the stinkin thinkin way too often. But God….

    Nothing happens without God getting his way – what a comfort!

    Queen Esther did not just sit back and let things happen around her. She prayed and fasted and then acted. I need to remember the order of those three things. I tend to act first and then pray! Reverse this LYNN!

    Straight shooter friends are the best – that is good because i am one of those BUT wish I had more of them in my life. Tell it to me straight for me to listen. PLEASE

    Loving this study – each chapter gets better and better and hit home more and more. Thanking God for his mercy and grace yet again.

  47. Through this study I have tried to hear the words God has for me to hear and this covers it all for me . Deborah,always be joyful.For the next 48 hours, my family will probably think I have lost my mind, but here goes. Deborah, never stop praying. I never have felt that I pray enough and I know the Bible says to pray without ceasing,I just have not.NOW is the time. Deborah, be thankful in all circmstances. My mindset has been so low lately because of surrounding circumstances that I forget about the beautiful family ,friends ,church family and home that God has treasured me with. Deborah, most of all,This is God’s will for me because I belong to Christ Jesus! 48 hours is only the beginning of the challenge! Thank you for this challenge!

  48. Heather McDaniel says:

    Ok…I failed miserably today! 1st day out on this challenge and I failed! I let something get to me that shouldn’t have! So…for the remainder of the day, I will be prayerful and thankful.

  49. God showed me about six weeks ago through some painful refinement how exactly thankful I should be for all that He has blessed me with. I have been living in a posture of prayer and thankfulness and I hope it never ends! Things at home have changed, my attitude has changed, my hope and joy have increased, and I have neverfelt so close to the Lord. At any time everything could change. I am thankful for my kids, husband, parents, family, friends, our pup Kona and for shelter, provision and freedom to worship the Lord. Truly I could live without all else.

  50. Love this challange. Got a late start but maydo it past the 48 hours. I have been home sick with a viris for 24 hours. Good thing about it is I am getting got up on my bible study and blog. Thanks for the challange.