Monthly Archives: June 2021

Song of Solomon 7-8; Psalm 127; 2 Thessalonians 2

I love how God invades my quiet time with His Holy Spirit to tell me just how much He loves me, and how much He likes me, and how much He desires to give me favour.

I belong to my love,
and his desire is for me. – Song of Solomon 7:10 HCSB

It reminds me of a Sunday School song from years gone by – I am my beloved and He is mine, His banner over me is love.

A simple message but one that I missed in my early years of family. I had started to show the traits of a workaholic. One of the amazing gifts from God is sleep. Sleep is a gift from my Father.

In vain you get up early and stay up late,
working hard to have enough food—
yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves. – Psalm 127:2 HCSB

When Jesus said that the truth would set me free, I can tell, by looking back over my life, that it has. In fact the love of truth is what started me on the road to becoming a follower of Jesus.

The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved.  – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 HCSB

I wonder how others can reject and have no love for Jesus and the message of His salvation. The gospel in one hand and lying and deceit in the other and the other hand is chosen.

Faith combines with a sweet and voluntary reverence for God. I cannot believe the word of God unless it is lovely and pleasant to me.

Father, I am thankful every day that I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak into my life the truth of who God is and the gospel of Jesus. I cannot imagine my life without You. Today, You are truly a banner of love over me. It is as if love has empowered me and protected me in my journey with You. I love that I can set my alarm, early in the morning to spend time with You, and that I can shut work off and get to bed in a timely fashion to ensure my body and mind have the rest it needs for a fruitful and productive day. I pray that You will give me wisdom to share Your gospel in such a way as for others to sense Your love and see the power of Your truth. May many be set free. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Song of Solomon 4-6 and 2 Thessalonians 1

This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering-” (2 Thes. 1:5 ESV)

Think about that phrase, “to be considered worthy of the kingdom of God.” Boy, that really puts everything perspective! None of us earned our salvation. But if we are suffering for His sake and therefore are worthy, that certainly lightens the load.

since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,” (2 Thes. 1:6 ESV)

God is our vindicator. If we suffer in this life because we live according to His ways, He will set the record straight.

and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,” (2 Thes. 1:7 ESV)

And what a day when He comes bursting through the sky to return for us! No evil can harm us anymore.

inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thes. 1:8 ESV)

He will give permanent consequences to those who did not know Him. How terribly sad for those who refused the truth.

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might,” (2 Thes. 1:9 ESV)

The only good in this world is because God exists. And to those who turned their backs on Him, all that is left is darkness, for all of eternity.

when He comes on that day to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” (2 Thes. 1:10 ESV)

But what a glorious reunion for those of us who lived out the great commission, influencing others so that they would have saving faith too.

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power.” (2 Thes. 1:11 ESV)

So let us all pray for each other in the faith, that we may follow His lead and live out our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit.

so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thes. 1:12 ESV)

And be witnesses to His glory so that future generations may believe and be saved. To God be the glory, amen!

Kellie

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Song of Solomon 1-3; Psalm 72; 1 Thessalonians 5

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

I Thessalonians 5:5-8 ESV

As different as night and day. That is the call to the church.

  • Asleep vs. Awake
  • Drunk vs. Sober
  • Dark vs. Light
  • Purposeless vs. Hope

We should stand out from those around us. My faith should make my logic different from the world’s short-sightedness. My hope of salvation looks beyond and guards my mind just as a true helmet would. My God-given faith and love protect my heart and will from the world’s distortions and manipulations.

It is quite likely in the months and years ahead that those taking a firm stand for the gospel and truth will suffer persecution. Genuine persecution — not just the verbal gut punch some people bring on themselves through unloving ranting on social media.

Because our faith stands in such opposition to the culture around us, we must encourage each other to stand strong. Encourage, encourage, encourage. I find it easy to analyze or even criticize those around me within the church, but the message here is quite clear. Everyone that is joined with us in the body of Christ needs our encouragement and support.

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.

I Thessalonians 5:12-13a ESV

Encourage the leaders and volunteers in the church. Notes of thanks, a smile, a verbal affirmation. So many ways to show that we are in this together, that they don’t labor alone. As someone deeply entrenched in the kids’ ministry at our church, I can say that nothing tells me someone is on my side like offering to get involved, even shouldering a small piece of the burden of ministry.

14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

I Thessalonians 5:14-15 ESV

Encourage those who struggle. Don’t condemn them or criticize their obvious weakness. Speak words of life. Seek to do good. Intentionally choose to bring peace to a situation and growth and maturity to the body of Christ as a whole.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV

Remember, you need encouragement, too. I am still far from perfect, and God in His faithfulness is continuing to refine me. I am thankful that there are others praying for my continued growth and wisdom.

 Brothers, pray for us.

I Thessalonians 5:25 ESV

When we feel we have nothing to offer or no way to encourage someone, prayer fills that void best.

Lord God, the darkness seems so deep at times, but help me to never add to it. The contrasting light seems too great to stand in, but hold my feet firm. Help my words to encourage myself, my family, and the body of Christ without wavering. Keep refining. Your faithfulness is sure. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Proverbs 19-21 & 1 Thessalonians 4

As we read the last section of 1 Thessalonians this morning my Bible titles that section, “The Comfort of Christ’s Coming.” Now that is not inerrant writ — it’s a commentators way of splitting up the different sections of a chapter. Yet all of us who follow Christ should look at these words as great comfort:

13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 [Christian Standard Bible])

What comforts the believer from the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica?

First, we have hope. When a believing loved one leaves us we know they are in heaven with Jesus, v. 13. Although they have died it’s like they have fallen asleep.

Second, those of us who are left will be raptured when Jesus returns, vv. 14&15. This will be done with a lot of pomp and circumstance. There’s going to be a shout from heaven and an archangel will be shouting and a trempet will be sounding. This is going to be fun!

Third, we will always be with the Lord, v. 17. We will never leave His presence and He will always be with us for all eternity.

Fourth, if we take Paul’s words to heart we are to encourage one another with his words, v. 18. Have you done that lately. Have you had a conversation about the second coming with anyone in the last month that has been encouraging? Why not start today. Find someone and spend some time encouraging one another about this great hope of the Christian believer.

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Proverbs 26-28; 1 Thessalonians 3

My oldest daughter graduated high school this year. She’ll be in college full time this fall, and while she’ll still be living at home, I won’t see her as often. I think of what I’ve learned about people and life, but mostly what I’ve learned at Jesus’ feet, and I want to cover her with warning and discernment as she heads out the door, to make sure she’s equipped for the journey. How could I ever say it all?

Proverbs feels like the fervent warnings of a parent condensed on pages, and as I read them, it’s a flood. This is good. I don’t want to forget this. Oh, this is so true, I think to myself. Choices, resentments, trust, character, leadership, reputation, integrity, bravery, strength–I don’t know about you, but as I read through these proverbs, I see how many have played out in my life or the life of someone I know.

This was like a bright red flag when someone recently looked for support and validation in a turbulent situation, one I did not want to be witness to or advisor in: 17 Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17, ESV)

This, a further reinforcement to steward my own affairs:

23 Know well the condition of your flocks,
    and give attention to your herds,
24 for riches do not last forever;
    and does a crown endure to all generations?
25 When the grass is gone and the new growth appears
    and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,
26 the lambs will provide your clothing,
    and the goats the price of a field.
27 There will be enough goats’ milk for your food,
    for the food of your household
    and maintenance for your girls. (Proverbs 27:23-27, ESV)

I’m currently reading Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church by Philip Yancey. I think of it as I read this chapter 1 Thessalonians 3:2-6, NLT, emphasis noted:

and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.

But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you.

Troubles will come. Troubles in circumstances, relationships, choices. Just like I see the life of history past and present at play in these proverbs in 26-28, my daughter will too. I hope she will find encouragement like Yancey did through the testimony of others and through the pages of God’s Word. I hope she walks in wisdom. (I hope this for myself too.)

Courtney (66books365)

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