Category Archives: 1 Thessalonians

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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1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalm 104

Faithful work … loving deeds … enduring hope. When I read the encouragement poured out in 1 Thessalonians, I imagine a group of believers in life’s sweet spot where it’s easy to be faithful and loving. Understand: they weren’t in a sweet spot, yet a sweetness poured out from them–their faith. They were known by it, and God was known by it.

We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.

And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10, NLT, emphasis added)

In a three year drought, faith ignited a fire. Unwavering, confident, expectant faith from knowing God.

30 Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, 32 and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. 33 He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood.

Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.”

34 After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, 35 and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. 37 O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.”

38 Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!” (1 Kings 18:30-39, NLT)

(And rains came, ending the drought. Imagine the elation!)

Land is set aside for the tribes of Israel, and I read this piece:

11 This area is set aside for the ordained priests, the descendants of Zadok who served me faithfully and did not go astray with the people of Israel and the rest of the Levites. 12 It will be their special portion when the land is distributed, the most sacred land of all. (Ezekiel 48:11-12, NLT, emphasis added)

These are stories of man’s faith in a faithful God, not in life’s sweet spot, but in drought, in severe suffering, in focused and enduring service. It’s not just a believing faith, but a persistent, confident, expectant, actionable, demonstrable faith.

Lord Jesus, when I am burdened and bear a weight that’s heavy, what pours out of me? A three year drought … I am humbled, when I know a poor night’s sleep and a taunting stress are enough to make me snap. These scriptures remind me to keep a sure and eternal focus.

You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved. (Psalm 104:5, NLT)

Let all that I am praise you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 11-12; Psalm 13-14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thessalonians 5

In summarizing the reading from Leviticus 11, I came away realizing I may not be as diligent in my walk with God when it comes to defiling my character. There is a lesson in mortality as the penalty of sin that is illustrated here. The law demanded constant watchfulness. In the same spirit I believe I need to watch and pray.

I would also like to give you my general thoughts on Psalm 13.  I have had times when God seemed distant. Not really sure why even though I could come up with a few thoughts that we may all agree on. There are other times when everything is right and yet God is far away, does not speak, I seek Him but He seems to be hiding.

This is David in Psalm 13. Out of the depths of his heart he repeats five times the haunting cry, “How long?” and “How much longer?” Psalm 13 tells me what to do when God seems distant.

Enough with the summaries, here are three short and to the point orders.

Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 GNT

I spent some time with the second point – “pray at all times.” This is about maintaining an attitude of prayer, being aware of God’s presence and staying in constant communion and close relationship with the giver of joy.

It is my posture of unceasing dependence on God. I am abiding in, trusting in, depending on and acknowledging His presence in my life at all times.

 Father, You are my joy. When I spend time with You my life is filled with joy. “I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me. I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me.” How many times has something not supposed to go right and yet You stepped in and made sure I was safe, cared for and protected. For all those times I missed You doing what You do best, I thank you. You are the difference in my life and You matter most. I love You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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Lev. 10; Psalms 11,12; Proverbs 25; 1 Thess. 4

“You must distinguigh between what is sacred and what it common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean.  And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.”  Leviticus 10:10&11 NLT

The Israelites were set apart to do God’s work. I think on Courtney’s post from March 26.  She described Bezalel’s job as Holy Work.  This has stayed with me.  It has helped me to remember that there is purpose in the seemingly meaningless tasks.  The laundry, the dinner, the cleaning…the things that no one sees.  Than there are the hidden ugly places of my heart.  I don’t always want to do the hard and holy work of letting the Holy Spirit work on these areas.  When I do I am more freed up to love and serve.

“Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you.  You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.  For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.  Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1&2, 11&12 NLT

The Lord has chosen me.  It’s easy to get caught up in comparing myself to others.  But, this just derails me from my purpose.  Sometimes I wish I had a different story, especialy when I’m in the middle of it.   And I can’t always see how God is going to use it.  But, I know that he will use it for good, if I let him.  If I surrender it to him.

“I trust in the Lord for protection.  So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right.  The foundations of law and order have collapsed.  What can the righteous do?”  But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven.  He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” Psalms 11:1-4 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to learn to trust you more.  Forgive me for when my heart is far away from you.  Give me fresh eyes to see your goodness.  Amen.

“The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.  Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.” Psalms 12:6-8 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 25; 1 Thessalonians 5

Surprise, surprise and surprise to read this one little sentence and see it set the tone today for my time with God.

And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart. – 2 Chronicles 25:2  ESV

I am being called out this morning to apply my whole heart to the word of God and in its application to my life. To be diligent, and an active participant in the gospel. To worship not with my lips but in spirit and in truth. Not just when I feel like it but to establish this as a daily pattern. I cannot disregard any of it without disregarding God Himself.

Then I read this and was challenged when I reflected on what it meant and what needed to change. 

For you are all children[b] 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. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 5:5-9  ESV

Am I walking through life with my armour on – especially my breastplate of faith?  Am I  placing an emphasis on loving – for I know it will motivate me to pray, encourage, help, admonish and it will energize me to reach out to the lost.

I know that I have hope and am encouraged to know that I have received salvation that I do not deserve and I have been given mercy – what a liberating truth!  Can I live in the light of Christ’s coming? I can if I pray continually. I have hope that God will accomplish my santification and that will encourage me to obey Him.

Father, I am amazed that Your word has once again challenged me, woke me up, and then I as reflected on it, it changed me. I see what You want to do in my life and how I have resisted for selfish reason. I want to give You my whole heart. I want to take You into the rooms of my heart where I have kept the door closed for some time. Walk with me and set me free, in Jesus name. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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