When I asked the Lord what to write about, the answer came quickly: 1 Thessalonians 5:16:  Rejoice evermore.  After that came “the rest of the story”, to which I have to add the next three verses:
1Th 5:17  Pray without ceasing.
1Th 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1Th 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.
   You might be one of those people who are right in the middle of a big mess, and are saying, Rejoice?  About this mess?  You gotta be nuts!  I lost my job, the bills won’t stop, and the car won’t start, my unemployment check hasn’t come, and my mother-in-law won’t go, and you’re saying rejoice??   Yeah, rejoice!  You’d be amazed at the effect it will have.  The next verse says, Pray without ceasing.   OK, are we praying, or are we complaining without ceasing?  There is a difference, you know.  We are told In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  Wow!  Does that mean I’m supposed to be thankful for cancer?  No, it doesn’t mean to be thankful FOR cancer, but to be thankful IN cancer.  Why?
   We all have problems of some sort at any given time.  Have you ever been around someone who is a constant complainer?  They are not much fun to be around, and believe it or not, after a while your heart is not moved to do very much for them.  In fact, you’d rather love them from a distance, if at all.  Then there are those who seem to take everything in stride, who have an attitude of gratitude, no matter what.  Now, let’s pay attention to the next verse: Quench not the Spirit.  Do you know that when we complain, we are quenching the Holy Spirit’s ability to work in our lives?  We’ve all done it.  Yes, I know the Lord will forgive us if we ask, but wouldn’t it be better for our relationship with God to not have to be continually asking for forgiveness because we’ve been mumbling, grumbling and complaining again?  Have you ever noticed how your joy just seems to fly out the window after you’ve been complaining about something or someone?  Mmhmmm, yeah, preach it Pastor…Thank you, I will…You see, the key to keeping your joy is to stop complaining.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all these years, it’s that you can’t rejoice and complain at the same time. 
    I had cancer years ago, and it was no fun, in fact, I’d recommend avoiding it altogether.  Well, I didn’t have a choice about having cancer, but I had a choice about keeping it.  God’s word said He had forgiven all my sins, and healed all my diseases, according to Psalm 103:3.  I had a choice whether to believe that was true, or not.  That presented yet another choice: whether to mope around saying, Oh poor pitiful me, I’m dying, or rejoice, saying, PRAISE GOD I’M HEALED BY THE STRIPES OF JESUS!  Well, it was pretty obvious which choice was best.  I’ve been both very sick, and very well.  Guess which is my favorite?  That’s a no-brainer, well is better!  So I literally rejoiced my way out of cancer.  As many other trials have come my way in life, I have rejoiced my way out of them as well.  Does that mean I’m thankful for trials? No, but I’ve learned how to be thankful while I’m in the trial, because if I rejoice long enough, God always takes notice and lifts me out of it.  Please note that I’m not rejoicing because of the trial or for the trial, but that God is faithful not to leave or forsake me in that trial.  Don’t you know, if God is with you in that trial, He can’t be defeated.  So if you stick close enough to Him, enough of Him will rub off on you, so that YOU can’t be defeated either.  Get it?  God loves it when we rejoice, because we are showing Him that we know He has the victory in every situation.
 Jesus spoke these words in John 16:33: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  It would be nice if, after we receive Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, we would not have any more problems, but that just isn’t the case.  Jesus said we would have problems, but….we can REJOICE! For He has overcome the world, and every problem it contains.  In fact, you can say it like this:  but be of good cheer, for I have overcome ______________(you fill in the blank).  Maybe today that blank is cancer.  No problem, He has overcome cancer.  Perhaps it’s a lost job, or a lost home, or a lost retirement fund.  No problem, He has overcome all those, too.  In fact, there isn’t anything you can name on this earth that Jesus didn’t overcome.  Everything will bow its knee to Jesus, whether it wants to or not, and if that isn’t something to rejoice about, I don’t know what is!  Satan would like nothing better than to steal your joy.  If he can do that, next he will set about stealing your health, then your goods, then your family, and finally, your life.  And it all starts with failing to rejoice.  That’s why it’s so important to keep rejoicing no matter what.  Sometimes you don’t feel like rejoicing, yes, I’ve been there, done that.  But that is when it is most important to make yourself rejoice, because rejoicing is worship to God, and when you worship God, He scatters your enemies.  And of course, you’d rejoice if your enemies were scattered, right?  I call it “paying in advance”  Rejoice first, then you’ll have something to rejoice about later.
    So, before you let your heart become troubled about ANYTHING, remember you DO have something to rejoice about, Jesus WON!!!  And because He won, YOU also win.  They say success in life has a lot to do with who you know, and that’s true.  But it also has a lot to do with WHAT you know.  If you know Christ Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you’re in with the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings.  And that’s really all you need to know.  So what are you waiting for?  REJOICE EVERMORE!  Thank You, Lord Jesus!