2 Thessalonians

Comfort and Hope!

12:00 AM



Welcome to Scripture Saturday!

Today we are memorizing 2 Thessalonians 2:16 and 17…

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Here is the amplified version…

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting comfort and encouragement and the good [well-founded] hope [of salvation] by His grace, comfort and encourage and strengthen your hearts [keeping them steadfast and on course] in every good work and word.

God has given us two wonderful gifts…

~eternal comfort: eternal means whatever we may face in this life will pass - our comfort is here to stay. All of our present pains, sufferings, difficult situations are temporary…our future glory will be forever!

~ good hope: His Word gives us hope! We have certainty that what God promises in His Word is true.  It is good because it is beneficial to us morally and practically.

Paul then adds the words, “through grace.” We have grace because we are the objects of God’s love and receivers of comfort and hope.  It is by His grace and never something we deserve, no matter how faithful we may be. Think upon this…it is by His amazing grace that saved us, that keeps us, and it is by this grace that we will enter into God’s presence eternally.  Such an encouragement for our hearts-!  We are comforted!

But remember, as His loved ones, we are to  “keep (our hearts) steadfast and on course in every good work and word.”  Work and word…these are the essential two parts of a believer’s life…our work, which is our walk, and our words. Our lives should reflect Jesus’ character.  A believer must continuously think upon the truth of God’s Word and hold firmly to the teaching of His Word.

“Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

Our world needs a Savior and our lives should reflect His nature so much so that others will desire to know Him.

Father, thank you for your amazing comfort and hope, not only for today, but for eternity promised. Thank you for the grace that You have bestowed upon us, though undeserving.  With the strength of the Holy Spirit, guide our entire being, our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions, both in words and deeds, in a way that pleases You and glorifies Your Son.   We desire to keep our hearts and mind on Jesus, Your Son, our Savior, and Your Word.

Have a blessed and precious day everyone!

2 Thessalonians

Our Lord is faithful! {2 Thess. 3)

10:30 PM



Today we close an awesome week, with the final  words of encouragement of Paul to the Christians in Thessalonica. Paul insists that they  to continue to pray (1 Thes. 5:18) so that the Word would run freely, without any hindrance. Satan is number ONE in bringing this to pass, and some people may become discouraged when facing trials.  But a life of prayer would not only boost their faith, but prepare them to testify and work for His kingdom. These same words of encouragement are for us, too! God has promised that His word would be free and perform its work:  

So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent (Isa. 55:11). But as with many of God's promises, we are expected to take this promise in faith, and in prayer ask God to perform it for His glory!

In verse 2 Paul warns: “ and [pray] that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not everyone has the faith.“ (emphasis mine).  These were those who wanted to hinder the work of the gospel.  Have you ever been in the situation that some Christian people you know,  don’t’ live their  lives according to God’s precepts but this world’s standards? I have, and must sadly say: many times!!  We might not consider them “evil”, but the Word does!

Paul continues with this wonderful promise: But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you [setting you on a firm foundation] and will protect and guard you from the evil oneWe have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do the things [which] we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness and patience of Christ” (AMP)

Yes, our Lord is faithful!  Even if not all men have faith, the Lord is faithful. This was the basis of Paul's confidence in God's ability to establish and guard us from the evil one.

God promised to keep Satan on a leash. He will not allow any temptation to become too great for us (1 Cor. 10:13) and will not allow Satan to do whatever he wants with us (Luke 22:31-32)



Paul warns the Thessalonians to withdraw from any  brother  or sister who walk in disobedience (vs. 6-12,14).  "The present tense of the verb walks denotes that it is a deliberate course of action. Their disorderly conduct is not an occasional lapse but a persistent practice." (Hiebert)

The purpose in withdrawing from the disobedient was not so much punishment, but more so simply to deny them the aid and comfort of the fellowship of the body of Christ until they repented. The purpose was to bring about repentance and salvation in the disobedient ones, and not to condemn them.

Paul continues with words of  encouragement: “13 And as for [the rest of] you, [c]believers, do not grow tired or lose heart in doing good [but continue doing what is right without weakening].” Or “be not weary in well doing”.  (Old KJV)

We find this same encouragement when Paul wrote to the Galatians:

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (6:9 KJV) Yes, although we may find obstacles and trials in our Christian life, we must remember our Father is Faithful and will not leave us nor forsake us and one day we will be with Him through eternity!

"But well doing consists in taking down the shutters and selling your goods; tucking up your shirt sleeves and doing a good day's work; sweeping the carpets and dusting the chairs, if you happen to be a domestic servant. Well doing is attending to the duties that arise out of our relationships in life - attending carefully to them, and seeing that in nothing we are eye-servers and men-pleasers, but in everything are seeking to serve God." (Spurgeon).

  As with Paul’s final words to the Thessalonians, I would like to close today’s study with his Benediction: “16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” “ 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” (AMP)  Amen!!


Blessings my sisters!!

Mari

2 Thessalonians

The Man Of Lawlessness { 2 Thessalonians 2}

12:30 AM


Paul opens this chapter by talking about the future " coming of the Lord" and he reminds the church that God has a timetable of events that will play out.  One of the big events will be the revealing of " the man of lawlessness". 
Who is this " man of lawlessness?
He is the Antichrist.  He is the opposite of Christ and Paul reveals a lot about him in this chapter.
1. He is the son of destruction.
  God represents creation and newness of life.  The antichrist will bring death, and desolation. 
2.He will make himself a god and oppose the true God.
“who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”
3. He will be given power from Satan and he will specialize in deception. 
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (9-10)
I heard the other day someone say that the devil speaks 97% truth. That's not a quote from the Bible but it does illustrate well how Satan operates. This is why we have to be faithful in studying God's Word.  God's Word gives us the full truth so that we can recognize Satan's sometimes subtle and crafty distortions of that truth. 
4. The antichrist represents that man has a choice.  Those who submit to the antichrist choose to embrace the lawlessness he represents.  By doing so, they choose to ignore truth and reject Christ. When that choice is made, God lets their minds reap the consequences of rejecting Him and His truth.
“Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (11-12)

The " man of lawlessness" will usher in a very troubling time when many will be deceived and ultimately reject God.  But Paul doesn't leave us dwelling on such a bleak and sad situation.  He reminds us who we belong to and that we were "chosen" to be receivers of God's blessings,favor, and righteousness.
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (13-14)
He encourages us to stand firm in what we've been taught.
“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” (15)

Many are getting caught up in predictions of " the end times" and some even obsessively dwell on and worry about what is coming. I think it is good to know what God's Word teaches about end times and to be prepared spiritually for Christ's return.  I also think it is important to remember that no matter what the future holds, God is ultimately in control.  We need to encourage and support each other.  In the end, Christ will overcome evil. “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.” (8)  " Bring to nothing" ....how comforting is that?

2 Thessalonians

Teaching Our Young to Stand on Thier Own {2 Thessalonians 1}

10:00 PM

Paul writes this second letter to the church at Thessalonica shortly after his first. His reason for writing once more is to encourage the Thessalonian believers to stand firm in their faith in the midst of fierce persecution, which got me thinking… shouldn’t we be doing the same today? After all, Christians are hated, persecuted, even martyred more today than in the First Century and it’s only growing worse. Are we preparing our children, grandchildren and young believers to face such opposition? Are we teaching them how to walk so closely to the Lord that they will be able to stand firm in their faith when the trials come?  

Paul begins his letter by expressing a need to pray and give thanks for the believers there in Thessalonica, “We ought always and indeed are morally obligated to give thanks to God for you…”(1:3)    And then closes the chapter with a prayer for them, “ With this in view, we constantly pray for you, that our God will count you worthy of your calling [to faith] and with [His] power fulfill every desire for goodness, and complete [your] every work of faith,  so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the [precious] grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:11-12)

How is your prayer life? I know we often say we will pray, we should pray, but are we taking the time to pray for others; especially for our loved ones, as well as our own needs? I became curious, and discovered through my research, that Paul prays 42 times in his epistles. No doubt about it, Paul was a man of prayer, who not only prayed himself, but encouraged others to as well. Why is it many of us struggle to pass along a legacy of prayer?

Paul, himself has admitted prayer is warfare (2 Cor 10:3-5; Eph 6:10-20), and we know our enemy will do all he can to keep us from praying, but sometimes I think we tend to over complicate the simple act of prayer.

Take for example just the name of God revealed to Moses at the burning bush - YHWH - actually denotes breathing sounds in the Hebrew language. Linguists call them aspirate consonants. If you try to pronounce the name without the vowels, one simply breathes. So, every time we breathe in (YH) and breathe out (WH), we are speaking the name of God. (Try it) Every time we breathe, YHWH all of us; believers and skeptics alike are actually speaking the name of our God, the One who is the Breathe of Life.  

The highest name of our God is the sound of our breathing. Calling on our Lord is just a breath away! Here’s a little of what Scripture has to say about breath:
  •  “Cease to trust in [weak, frail, and dying] man, whose breath is in his nostrils [for so short a time]; in what sense can he be counted as having intrinsic worth?” -Isaiah 2:22
  • “[It is] the Spirit of God that made me, and the breath of the Almighty that gives me life”. -Job 33:4

Knowing this, can you see how sometimes man seems to complicate thing?

I learned these truths right about the time my son went off to school for the first time. He had a very sweet teacher, who was in her first year of teaching. The trouble was, she tended to allow the class to get out of control and then she began raising her voice to try to bring the children back under control. My son was not used to “a yeller”, as he called her, and began to get anxious the moment the class started getting chaotic. As he described it, he wanted to, “run out of the room and not stop running until he made it home”. Somehow, I had to help him at six years old to sit tight, and call on Jesus when the class got out of control and he began to grow anxious. 

The first thing I did was to pull out my Amplified Bible. It’s now referred to the Classic Amplified Bible and I highly recommend every home have one and here’s why:

Here’s Hebrews 2:18 in the English Standard Version, For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Here’s the same verse my son read in the Amplified Bible,
   
For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering]. Hebrews 2:18 (AMPC emphasis mine)

I explained to him that God had a purpose for him in that classroom! He needed him to be an intercessor to help keep the class from getting out of control. I then referred him to God’s name, YHWH and that he didn’t have to go into a posture of prayer, or even pray a long prayer; all he needed to do was call out to Him with a deep breath and a whisper, and ask His help referring to Heb 2:18. I convinced him to go back to school the next day and give it a try, and you can bet I was praying throughout the day as well, until he returned home, and I'll never forget our conversation once he made it home:

Me: “So, how did your day go today? Did the class get chaotic again?”
JD (eyes growing bigger): “Yep!”
Me: “Did the teacher start yelling?”
JD, (Nodding): “Oh ya!”
Me: “Did you pray?”
JD: “Yep, just like you told me.”
Me: “Well, what happened!!?” (not being able to stand the suspense any longer!)
JD: “Jesus came running to the rescue, Mom! Just like the verse says! The class all of a sudden started quieting down!”

That day, not only did Jesus start to become more than someone JD learned about in Sunday School, but he also learned that the words in the Bible are true and can be trusted! And today, that little guy has four of his own children, and is doing a far better job than his mom at teaching his children how to stand on their own!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi Everyone!
If you enjoyed this post I'd like to personally invite you to join me and a wonderful, eclectic group of women from all over the world on a Facebook site we call, Women in the Word . We are currently traveling through the entire New Testament - one chapter a day! It has been such an incredibly journey which we want to share with you! So, if you've ever wanted to know more of what God's Word has to say about everything, and meet and make new friends from all over the world, come join us by clicking on this link . 
There will always be someone there to welcome you! Oh! And please feel free to invite others!
God bless you,
sue


1 Thessalonians

Appointed for Salvation {1 Thessalonians 5}

12:30 AM

Image result for 1 thessalonians 5:9I like to plan.  I like to know who, what, where, when, 
why and how.   When there’s a detour, I can become anxious.  But we don’t know many things.  Much of life catches us off guard.  I bet if I asked you five years ago would there be 3 hurricanes and a massive earthquake all back to back, you’d say, ‘no way’.  Or if you’ve ever been broken into you’d tell me you never thought that would happen to you.  But that’s how Jesus tells us He will return (Matthew 24:32-44).  Only our Heavenly Father knows when He will send Jesus to return to earth.  And while we are here, there’s work to be done.  We are to keep on doing God’s work until we die or until we see the unmistakable return of our Savior.


I don’t know about you, but I haven’t gotten bored with reading my bible.  I don’t skim much anymore either.  No, I dig deeper because I want to know more.   There are probably very few books I’ve read more than once.  That’s what I think Paul is reminding us here in this final chapter of the book of 1 Thessalonians.  We need to encourage others to keep reading and studying their bibles.  We need to encourage them to keep on doing what is God's will. We need to 'live in peace with each other' (v. 13b). We need to thank our teachers for their hard work.  If you say nothing, then how will they know?  They deserve our love and support for all the work that they do teaching and encouraging us!

Paul reminds us yet again to pray continually.  It’s not our natural inclination to be joyful, to pray continually and to give thanks.  But we are to obey the Lord in these commands and they should not fluctuate based on our circumstances.  When we make a conscious decision to do what God says, we begin to see people in a whole new perspective.  And when we do God’s will, we will find it easier to be joyful and thankful. 

When I begin my day by reading scripture, praying, studying and journaling, I find myself in prayer throughout the day.  Sometimes it’s like an ongoing conversation because someone is in surgery, or I know one of my kids has to take a difficult test.  Other times it’s spontaneous due to a sudden change in the course of my day.  Or because something wonderful has occurred.  I believe this is having a prayerful attitude all day long.  

I recently decided to spend more time praying about something I used to complain about.  And I’m here to say, I’m much happier!  My perspective looks so much different.  I’ve even suggested to other people to pray for something they just never considered praying about.

Related imageI think we often forget that we are to thank God IN everything, not FOR everything.  After all, evil does not come from God, but we can be thankful FOR God’s presence and for the good He will accomplish through this distress.

Just as we refer to God as three-in-one, our entire being, body, soul and spirit are our entire being.  Paul was trying to tell us that God must be involved in every aspect of our life.  It’s wrong for us to think that we can separate the spiritual life from everything else.  We can’t just live for God one day a week.  Christ is in control all day, every day, not just the religious day.





1 Thessalonians

Words of Comfort

5:00 AM

Words of Comfort  {1 Thessalonians 4}


It seems everywhere I look I see dire predictions about the upcoming date, September 23. Supposedly the sun will be in the constellation Virgo (the virgin),  along with the moon near Virgo's feet. Additionally, Jupiter will be in Virgo, while the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury will be above and to the right of Virgo in the constellation Leo. Some people claim that this a fulfillment of a sign given in Revelation 12:1-2, "And a great sign appeared in heaven: a women clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth." These events are supposed to cause death and destruction, ushering in the Rapture, the  beginning of the tribulation, and the end of the world. It is the latest among a long string of failed predictions used to conjure fear and panic in the heart of Christians everywhere. But here in 1 Thessalonians four when Paul speaks of death and the Rapture, his words are used for comfort and hope. 

The Thessalonian believers, who knew through Paul's teaching that Christ would indeed return, struggled with questions not only about the fate of those who died before Jesus came back, but about those who were still alive on that glorious day. Paul tackles first the subject of death with, "We do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus Himself died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus." (vs. 13-14) I love how Paul uses "asleep" to describe death. For Christians death isn't a final destination, but rather a beautiful transition from this world to heaven. 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us that "To be absent from the body [is] to be home with the Lord." What a wonderful declaration! After all, isn't that our hope? Not only to see our loved ones again, but to be with our Lord and Savior for all of eternity! And that's just what Paul wants us to remember so that unlike unbelievers who grieve with no hope, we have the assurance of the promises of God. 

Next Paul goes on to describe what will happen when Jesus returns for His church. "The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord." Jesus will bring with Him the spirits of those who died as believers. Their bodies will rise and be reunited with their spirits, and they will receive new glorified bodies. And those who are alive will be gathered directly into His presence, and also receive new glorified bodies. This is known as the Rapture and is the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made in John 14:1-3  to prepare a place where we will be with Him forever. And in God's perfect timing, Jesus will come for us and take us to our eternal home. 


Could there be a more wonderful promise? In our new glorified bodies, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk. No more will we experience pain, sickness, or decay. Our bodies will be perfect in every way! Paul ends with this encouragement, "Comfort one another with these words." (v. 18) Even though "we do not know the day nor the hour" (Matt. 25:13) of Jesus' return, we know He is returning. So "lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28), and cry, Maranatha, Maranatha!

Cookies

Ginger Cookies

12:00 PM

These cookies made my house smell amazing while they were baking! They are perfectly spiced and delicious. My guys gobbled them up almost as fast as they came out of the oven.



Ginger Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened ( 1-1/2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps. ground ginger 
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
Additional sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture and combine. Roll into 1-1/2 inch balls, then roll the balls in the additional sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until puffy and lightly browned. Col on wire racks. Makes around 1-1/2 dozen cookies.

give thanks

Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks!

12:00 AM

 
Welcome to Scripture Saturday!

Today we are memorizing 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17, and 18…

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Here is this verse in the amplified version…

Rejoice always and delight in your faith;  be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

What was Paul asking of me personally to draw me closer to Him and strengthen my faith in Him?  I asked myself these questions and I pray that they will be of help to you as well…

How can I always “rejoice and delight” in my faith?
~I will be thankful. I will focus daily on the blessings that God has given me through His Son Jesus.
~I will yield and rely on Him in every situation I may come across. I will give all control of my life over to Him…I will be worry free! 
~I will sing! Praising Him in song always brings me joy.  I will praise Him for His goodness, love, and grace. Even if I do make a “joyful noise!” ;)

How can I “pray without ceasing”?
~I will first to admit that I need to depend on the Lord for everything.  I read, “Prayer is the language of trusting the Lord.” 
~When I think of a loved one or friend I will pray for them immediately, even if it’s “short and sweet.” When someone asks me to pray for them, I will pray right there with the person.  I won’t promise to pray later and then forget to do so.  I will pray immediately for them.  
~I will read books on prayer.  
~Most importantly I will spend time in God’s word and prayer each morning.  I will continue using His words for my prayers. That’s why I love memorizing His Word!

How can I “give thanks in all circumstances” to God?
~I will read His Word and deepen my understanding of who God really is. I have studied the names He is given in the Bible and recommend every one to do the same!
~I will truly trust Him above all else.  Thankfulness will be my habit if trusting is my habit.  If I am trusting Him, then it follows that I will be thankful and if I’m thankful, I am trusting Him.

Remember that this is not something that we can just do, it is a life-long process, We must practice daily. Remember practice doesn’t make perfect it just makes permanent. Realize that “this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

Dear Father, thank you for your goodness, for your love, for your forgiveness, and for your Son! Help me to live according to Your will.  Give me your wisdom and guidance during my prayer time and all day as I lift others in prayer. Remind me to continually look to You and trust You for all things.

Have a blessed and precious day everyone!

1 Thessalonians

Building Strong Faith {1 Thessalonians 3}

2:08 AM



Paul arrived in the Greek city of Thessalonica after he and his coworker Silas had received a terrible beating and been imprisoned in the city of Philippi. 

During their short time in Thessalonica, Paul, Silas, and Timothy led several of the Thessalonians to faith in Jesus and this new nucleus of believers formed a church. But soon trouble started, and Paul, Silas, and Timothy were forced to run for their lives and Paul and Silas were forbidden from entering Thessalonica again. So the three of them traveled to the cities of Berea and Athens. It was while they were in Athens that Paul’s concern for the Thessalonian Christians reached its peak, so he sent Timothy back to the city to find out how things were.

For some reason the city ban against Paul and Silas didn’t apply to Timothy. Timothy was a young and inexperienced ministry intern, probably in his early 20's, yet here Paul empowers him to be an extension of God to the Thessalonians. Timothy’s mission is to strengthen and encourage the Thessalonians in their faith. 

Timothy had a Greek father and probably looked Greek. He would, therefore, have attracted no special attention in a Greek city, whereas Paul was immediately recognizable as a Jew  It is also likely that because of his youth the authorities didn’t notice him.



Love for New Believers

Paul’s problem is that he is separated from the Thessalonian Christians by distance and circumstances

For Paul, to  leave these new believers was like an experience of bereavement. This is a good lesson for us today. Paul so loved the Thessalonian believers that he would have risked his own life to return to them.  He wanted to give of himself and his resources for them, as a father provides for his or her children. Paul had a passion for new believers. Do we have this type of earnest desire for new believers? Do we long to see other believers and help them grow in their faith? Have we recently invested in new believers?

 Paul is most interested in the faith of these believers, not their comfort, welfare, or prosperity. The word “strengthen” is a building term that means to cause a structure to become more secure. 

Paul basically wanted Timothy to coach them to help in order to take the next step. Paul wanted Timothy to strengthen and encourage the Thessalonians so they wouldn’t waver when problems and suffering came upon them.


Trials and Persecution

No sooner had the Thessalonians trusted in Jesus when the bottom seemed to fall out of their lives. This is true in the life of every Christian. The truth is, if you aren’t presently in a trial you are either headed out of a trial or right now preparing to head into a trial. 

Some of us will face this type of affliction from our family members, coworkers, neighbors, and classmates. We may also face other trials such as terminal illness, loss of job, robbery, imprisonment, death of a loved one, or divorce. This is a part of life. Regardless of how we may try, we can’t avoid afflictions.  They are part and parcel of every believer’s experience. Afflictions are not accidents—they are appointments.

Many believers turn their back on God as a result of trials and one of the main reasons this happens is that many new believers have not been told the truth about Christianity. Instead, they have been told that being a Christian is all about health, wealth, and prosperity. However, the truth is that the Christian life is as sweet as honey and at times, life will turn difficult and disappointing. This is why Paul told these brand new Christians time and time  that they would face trials.

There the importance of building each other on strong faith...to be ready for what it is to come.

Be encouraged today <3




1 Thessalonians

Entrusted With The Gospel {1 Thessalonians 2}

12:30 AM



If you have accepted. Christ as your Savior then you have been entrusted with something very special: the Gospel.
The "gospel" means "good news"
The "good news" we are to share is the story of the Savior, Jesus, and how he saves us from eternal separation from God. 

 Psalm 96:2-4 Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.

Paul took this entrusted mission very seriously and was always mindful that his ultimate goal was to honor God:
 “but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” (v4)

In this chapter, Paul discloses some of the attributes and values he embraced when sharing the gospel with others.

1. He considered his time invested in others to be valuable and worth risk and hardship.
“For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.” ( v1-2)

2. He valued honesty and truth.
“For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive,” (v3)

3. He did not seek personal attention or gain.
“For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others.. (v5-6)

4. He showed those he discipled parental guidance and affection. 
“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children." (v7)
“For you know how, like a father with his children we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (v 11-12)

5. He realized that his most valuable earthly accomplishment would be represented by each lost soul who gained eternal life. 
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” (v19-20)

Like Paul, our earthly mission is to share the gospel, investing our time and talents in others to glorify God. Ask God to give you a passionate, affectionate, loving heart that truly cares about the eternal well being of others. 

1 Thessalonians

Energized By Faith, Motivated By Love {1 Thesalonians 1}

12:00 AM

Just  imagine for a moment  how you would feel if you suddenly received a thank you note from your “superhero of the faith” commending you for things you’ve recently done. This was pretty much Paul’s motive in writing this letter to the Thessalonians. In it, he thanks them for their fruitful work produced by their faith in the Lord, and celebrates the endurance their hope has inspired in the face of much persecution. Truth be told, this is one letter I wouldn’t mind receiving one day, so let’s see what the Thessalonians did to deserve such praise from Paul!

We give thanks to God always for all of you, continually mentioning you in our prayers; recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith, and your service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ. (1:2-3)

Faith, Hope & Love. Do you recall hearing those same words joined together once before?

The work they did was,
  • Energized by their faith
  • Motivated by their love for the Lord and others, and unwavering hope (that will not disappoint) in the Lord’s return.

I wonder if the same could be said of you (and I) in what we’re doing? I believe when this is true of each of us, we won’t run the risk of growing weary in our work. The secret lies in where they were focused, not on the circumstances around them. They were facing mounting persecution, yet their faith and love for their Lord Jesus Christ, along with their hope that He would return one day caused them to persevere! BUT hold on,

Brothers and sisters beloved by God, we know that He has chosen you;  for our good news [of salvation] come to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction.” (1:4-5)

Whoa! Not only were they energized by their faith in Jesus, motivated by their love and the hope of His return, they were also trusting in His word and the power of the Holy Spirit! How can anyone fail with that combination all tied together!?

You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your benefit. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, after you welcomed our message in [a time of] great trouble with the joy supplied by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 1:6-7)

Their final key component was to follow the examples of other godly men and women who were leading the way! And the result of all of this was, “ the word of the Lord has resounded from you and has echoed [like thunder], not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place [the news of] your [great] faith in God has spread...” (1:8)

When Paul started the church in Thessalonica what gave his message and ministry credibility was the kind of men he and his team proved to be while living among the Thessalonians. Displaying Jesus happens best when we “do life” among people.  Nothing replaces the opportunity for others to see how Jesus influences the real routine of our lives: family, friendships, work, trials, etc.. like,
  • God’s Holy Spirit to be living and active in our lives.
  • For us to live among other people with intentionality.

In 2004, my husband and I took over a very large Young Married Life Group class. These were couples with mostly young children at the time, and we thought one way to get to know each couple and their children better would be to invite one family over to enjoy Sunday dinner with our kids and grandchildren each week. What we later came to realize was that, what we demonstrated during those dinners; in how our whole family interacted with one another spoke volumes over anything we taught on that morning!  We know this now, because of what those couples later came back and told us. In so many words, they confessed our words took on greater weight after they could see that we were speaking from experience.

Displaying that level of transparency and vulnerability is almost necessary in this day and age if we want people to see the difference Jesus has made in our lives, and I believe we should place our lives on display with Christians and non-Christians alike!

God has given each of us a life message! When we became His child, we also became His messenger! Did you ever think of that? 
God wants to speak to the world through you. You may think you don’t have anything to share, but that’s where you’re wrong! All of us have a story to tell. We all have experiences unlike any other that God wants to use to bring others into His family. And just sometimes that story can be told through our actions, better than our words!

God Word says, “Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them” (1 John 5:10a). We all just need to get out there and begin to share it!!

Changed Life

Instructions for a Changed Life {Colossians 4}

12:30 AM

Treat others right and fair...

I have this picture in a frame on my desk at work.

 

Everyone is accountable to someone.  Even if you are the boss, we still have a master in heaven.  This should be our incentive to treat others fair and right, especially when we are in a position  over them.  Even in the Old Testament God gave rules about how to treat servants (Leviticus 25:39-43, 53).

I am considered a lead worker where I am employed.  A lead worker is the person who knows how to do many other people's jobs, but also reports directly to management.  This can be a very tough position because I have often struggled to get management to understand the amount of work the employees actually do.  It seems management spends so much time in their offices, away from the hub of activity.  Many times these managers are not Christians - they simply are not fair.  They just don't know how to serve the Lord.  They are puffed up with accomplishments and have filled their offices with awards they've received, mostly because of the performance of the employees under them, but refuse to be good, honest and caring employers.

I recently had the opportunity to change jobs.   Part of the reason I changed jobs had to do with the season if life I am in. Over the past two weeks, I shared about this difficult season of life and during the course of our study, I have discovered a couple of things:

1)         Be devoted to prayer.

Prayer is a skill and it takes time to develop.  “pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17; “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  James 5:16a.

The first key is placing the importance on praying.  If it is not something you see as important, you will never devote to it.

Prayer carries God's promise. (see 1 John 5:14-15.) This is incentive to pray: learn what God's will is and pray in faith.  When you do, you will see results.  He will answer your prayers.

2)        Be watchful, alert and intent in prayer.

God wants us to pray because it gives God the ability to move and act.  He has given us authority. 

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”.  Matthew 18:18;

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.  He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lighting from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”  Luke 10:17-19

and it's our responsibility.

It's not our last resort - it's our first line of defense.

3)        Be thankful in prayer.

Gratitude and thankfulness is the key that unlocks the power of prayer.  Why?  Because praise elevates you into a different realm.  Praise turns the focus off you and onto God - the result is FAITH. 

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16b.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him.  1 John 5:14-15,

Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  Mark 11:23-24

4)        Ask for prayer

Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter on account of sharing the gospel.  And in verse 2, he asks for prayer.  Because in order for him to succeed, he needed the power of prayer.  We all need prayers, not just for our everyday issues, but more for our calling - for open doors to share the gospel and that the message be clear and understandable.

People are watching; they sit back and observe.  If your life reflects Christ and what you believe, it will win the opportunity to speak truth when the time is right.  This is why we are always to be prepared, behaving wisely in our relationships and seizing opportunities to be full of grace and seasoned with salt (v. 6).  See also 1 Peter 3:15-16

I know whenever I see a list of people in scripture whose names I cannot pronounce, I often just skip over those lines.  But should our inability to get to know people hold us back?  If it weren't for these people like Tychicus, who was a convert, we could not have access to these powerful letters.  The fact that these oddly named people are listed in scripture should cause us to pause and offer a prayer of thanksgiving.  We so often give Paul all the credit, but we would not know all we know without what they did, risking their lives to share the good news of Jesus.  These people had no idea of the impact they would have on the world. 

We live a changed life because of our relationship with Christ.  We may desire to see the fruit if our labor now, but what a great testimony of faith to know that what you are doing now could affect someone so far outside of your time and influence!

The journey we are all on has many seasons, but the one thing that is always with us is God's grace.  We should all be so grateful of our chains, of being a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It's so worth it.   Like Paul said in Philippians 3:8-9, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”