Category Archives: 2 Thessalonians

Amos 1-3; 2 Thessalonians 1; Psalm 80

Father God, you are just. You notice wickedness and wrong-doing, and You promise that it will not go unpunished. You defend what is good. Behind Your mighty words, there were people broken by injustice: those sold off in slavery, those holding broken promises, those chased down and slashed relentlessly in anger by relatives–merciless. Oh, you will send down fire (Amos 1-3).

Paul, Silas and Timothy write encouragement. What follows is a big block of copy–and my heart craves brothers like them who would stand and pray on my behalf in my walk with the Lord, to remind me and encourage me to persevere well, to speak of Kingdom and focus and purpose. I take these words and hold them close.

We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you.

And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. 10 When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.

11 So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 12 Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:4-12, NLT, emphasis added).

An enemy would tear down and destroy, to pronounce worthlessness and abandonment upon the persecuted. But the Lord takes what was meant for harm to call one worthy for His kingdom.

Lord, You are defender, provider, protector. You are sovereign and mighty. You are just. Help me to keep my eyes on You and not to be deceived by an enemy’s words of worthlessness. Thank You that You give me power to do what is right–help me to always keep a Kingdom focus.

Courtney (66books365)

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Song of Solomon 4-6; 2 Thessalonians 1

I have read some 55 marriage books in my lifetime – almost one per year of my life.  Currently I am reading one that has been out there for a while but I just picked it up on sale (Dutch men can be like that).  It is authored by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and it is called, Cracking the Communication Code.

Pretty sure that I have shared before that my wife and I have been married now for 33 years.  I read books on marriage because I want to grow and keeping growing.  Do not think for a moment that an adventure will pass me by – no way.  I want everything possible from my marriage and more and I am not afraid to engage others in sharing what they have learned.

One key ingredient in a healthy marriage is the ability to say, as often as possible and as creatively as possible, I love you to each other.

My darling, you are lovely,
    so very lovely—my darling, you are lovely
    in every way. Your love is sweeter than wine. – Song of Solomon 4:1,7   CEV

Young women of Jerusalem,
    he is my lover and friend.  – Song of Solomon 5:16

So it is not that odd when I think of our Church family and in particular, my small group, in the same way.  If I am surrounded with faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love, then I too, as part of the Church family, should be growing in my love for them too.

My dear friends, we always have good reason to thank God for you, because your faith in God and your love for each other keep growing all the time. – 2 Thessalonians 1:3  CEV

That is a lot of loving.  It challenges me every morning to meet with God and tell Him how much I love Him too.  The one difference from my spouse and my Church family is that God always tells me He loves me too.  In fact, He sustains me with His love, carries my through the day, gives me the Holy Spirit to do what He asks me to do and mostly that means loving other people. What a joy to grow in my love of Him every day – He nourishes my life.

Father, thank you for meeting with me each time I call out Your name.  No matter where I am or what I am doing You come and enter my world and fill me with Your love.  I never have to operate out of my own energy or expect anything from anyone else – You alone are all I need.  Thank you for continue to change me, cause me to grow, for allowing me to see You differently each day.  You have blessed me with Your love and I am so very thankful.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

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Leviticus 15; Psalm 18; Proverbs 29; 2 Thessalonians 3

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” Proverbs 29:25 NLT

Sometimes I get too wrapped up in what I think other people are thinking that I get stuck. I start to wonder if I really heard from God or, “Was I just making that up?” Because the devil wants nothing more than for me to be bogged down in the trap of laying idle.(2 Thess. 3:11 NLT ) Inmefective, gathering dust…just like my paint brushes. I recently entered an art contest for a ministry called Hope Heals.  They are having an art auction to help disabled families come to their camp. Whether my piece gets picked or not, it gives me a purpose to pick up my paint brush again.  To complete a task and watch God weave something beautiful from my own pain. I am reminded that God is always doing a new thing in my life. He wants me to remember his faithfulness and be obedient to what he would have me do next.

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you. May the Lord lead your hearts into a full expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5 NLT

As I reflect on everything he has done in my life, I am thankful that he doesn’t let me stay where I am. He is constantly calling me onward into a deeper understanding of Him.

He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me…He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.” Psalm 18:17&19 NLT

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.” Psalm 18:30-33 NLT 

I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Psalm 18:1&2 NLT

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are. That you delight in me, in me! Help me to get that past my mind and into my heart. I am so grateful for the hope I find in you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Leviticus 14, Psalm 17, Proverbs 28, 2 Thessalonians 2

 

I don’t know why exactly but since I was a child, I have always felt wrestling in my heart: a sort of homesickness though I have never been far from home. I have always had a stirring in my heart for as long as I can remember that wants to be home with the Lord. As an adult believer, this is not so surprising but when I was eight, people thought it was quite strange! I was keenly aware of the happenings in the world around me and would look for signs that pointed to Jesus’ return for his believers. Though I believed in Jesus at a young age, I can still remember feeling fearful of the unknown that may occur at any moment.

 

Today, things have not changed much but as the crazy events of the world seem to be increasing like the speed of an out of control freight train I can hear some of my same childhood fears in my own children’s words. The nightly news, school system, smart phones and social media is very different than when I was young and my children hear so much more than I do and so much quicker but their fears are the same as mine. So, we talk about God’s word and his promises and pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted. Reading this passage reminds me of a few more nuggets of truth to share with them straight from Paul’s mouth:

 

        Don’t worry- we haven’t missed the boat! Jesus came for our sins and we are currently waiting for his return to conquer sin and death and take us home. Don’t be confused by false prophecy or words from fools! (2 Thess 2:13)

 

        Things are going to get worse before they get better but that’s not a surprise! It doesn’t surprise God and it shouldn’t surprise us. (2 Thess 2:3-4)

 

        Nothing will happen without God’s say so. He has already planned Christ’s return and knows the day and the hour and nothing will happen until then! (2 Thess 2:5-7)

 

        We know Christ has already won the battle! If we are in Christ, the victory is already ours no matter how bad things get! (2 Thess 2:8)

 

        It seems like evil is winning and fools are prospering but it’s only an illusion! (2 Thess 2:10-12)

 

        Believers in Christ were chosen before the foundation of the world and called through the gospel and will glory with Christ! (2 Thess 2:13-14)

 

        Though the world seems to be falling apart, stand firm and hold to the teachings found in God’s word! (2 Thess 2:15)

 

The only way to combat fear is through the powerful Word of God. I am always encouraged when I read that the first believers struggled with the same fears and worries as I did. It’s why Paul was writing.  We will soon be going home but until then, let us continue to walk daily in the truth! 

 

“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.” Amen.

kateredding

 

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1 Kings 5, 2 Chronicles 2, 2 Thessalonians 3

“The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him except as a place to make offerings before him?”  2 Chronicles 2:5-6

The bible tells us that Solomon was the wisest person. His declaration of God’s greatness reminds me of how small I am. Who am I that God is mindful of me? That he thinks of me and loves me? There are times when His greatness is so evident in my mind and my spirit that I don’t even have words to praise him. I understand a little bit of how Solomon felt when he underwent the task to build a house for the Lord. It was a task so large that he had to recruit over 150,000 men. Even with all the help and all the money he had to build a beautiful mansion, he was still in awe of God’s greatness. He still felt unworthy and honored to build this special place. A place his father had always wanted to build.

This is inspiring to me. So often I want to do things for the Lord. I want to volunteer my time, be nicer or more loving or more gracious or more ……. You fill in the blank. I’m sure you could add a few things to that list. I want to be more and do more for the Lord. But there are never enough things I could do or be that would make the Lord any more awesome than He already is. There aren’t enough things for me to do that could come close to praising or glorifying him enough. So often, I live day to day trying to please the Lord with my flesh. If I sit down and really evaluate my motives for doing something good, there is usually some tiny little piece of my heart that is doing it for selfish or fleshly reasons. Recently, the Lord has convicted my heart in that area and I have realized I am not allowing the Spirit to lead me in ways to serve Him.

I don’t want to get so caught up in doing a good thing that I forget who I’m doing it for.

O, Lord. You are awesome. There are no words to praise you enough. There is no amount of good deeds I could do to glorify you enough. Spirit, lead me in ways I can serve you with my whole heart and convict me when my motives are selfish. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Song of Sol 4-6; 2 Thessalonians 1

“Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:4

We live in a climate that is increasingly hostile toward Christianity. And, a culture in turmoil over racial tension. While we do need to recognize and address these issues, we also need to keep driving to the heart of the matter and responding with God’s love.

Second Thessalonians offers some perspective and some hope . . .

“For after all it is only just for God to  . . . give relief to you who are afflicted.”

The passage goes on to have some harsh words for those that afflict followers of Christ. Sometimes we are targeted simply because of our faith, and other times, like this past week, people see only our earthly shell.

Because man looks on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart. Man sees race. God sees people, souls.

While many of us were at prayer meetings, small groups, youth group, or various church activities, things changed. Nine lives lost. A disturbing motive.

I walk into church many Wednesday evenings. My last thought is that I would come face to face with a killer there. I expect a refuge, hope, love. That’s the environment we should create for all who enter. Looking at the heart, the need. Heart breaking that we need to consider the possibility, raise walls of protection yet again, because a person (as many others do, but maybe without the violent calculations) looked at skin color.

What’s my response? Speak proudly of their faith. Stand up and against racial violence. It might be the start of some uncomfortable conversations and awkward encounters, but our faith propels us to speak out and live out God’s love.

Lord God, please move in our land. Renew people’s thinking, bring new life where sin currently controls. Here am I, send me. ~Amen

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2 Kings 3; 2 Thessalonians 3; Daniel 7; Psalms 114, 115

But the Lord is faithful and will give you strength and will protect you from the Evil One. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NCV)

God is absolute in the performance His actions. He is always true to His promises. His affections are constant. He can always be trusted and believed because He is always reliable. He always adheres to the truth, always upholds His standard. He is the ultimate picture of faithfulness.

And in that faithfulness to His people, He promises strength and protection. He can be trusted completely to be there in times of struggle, in times of need. And this has held true since the beginning of time, holds true today, and will hold true until the end of days.

Time and time again throughout history God has proven His faithfulness to mankind. One example of that demonstration is when the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom went out to fight the Moabites. They began to give up hope when they ran out of supplies, ran out of water. But they called upon the Lord. He spoke to them through Elisha, and gave them instructions to follow in order to win the battle. The Lord was with the kings, and the Moabites were defeated. The miraculous works He accomplished were “easy for the Lord to do” (2 Kings 3:18).

In my vision at night I saw in front of me someone who looked like a human being coming on the clouds in the sky. He came near God, who has been alive forever, and he was led to God. He was given authority, glory, and the strength of a king. People of every tribe, nation, and language will serve him. His rule will last forever, and his kingdom will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14 (NCV)

The ultimate example of His faithfulness is Christ’s work on the cross. The greatest act of love, giving all of Himself to reestablish the connection broken by the fall, enables me to be in relationship with Heavenly Father. This humble act, full of grace and mercy, once and for all defeated the enemy of my life and opened the doors of my heart to be filled with His Spirit, with His glory.

You who respect the Lord should trust him;

he is your helper and your protection.

The Lord remembers us and will bless us.

He will bless the family of Israel;

he will bless the family of Aaron.

The Lord will bless those who respect him,

from the smallest to the greatest. Psalm 115:11-13 (NCV)

From even before I was formed in my mother’s womb, God’s faithfulness toward me was ever present. While I was still a sinner, He was unrelenting in His goodness (Romans 5:6-11). As I have believed in Him, He continues to remember me, to bless me abundantly, to strengthen me and protect me. His mercies are new every morning, His grace is sufficient, and His love is everlasting (Lamentations 3:22-24; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:31-39).

Not for our sake, God, no, not for our sake,

but for your name’s sake, show your glory.

Do it on account of your merciful love,

do it on account of your faithful ways.

Do it so none of the nations can say,

“Where now, oh where is their God?” Psalm 115:1-2 (MSG)

Yesappa, Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your steadfastness in my life. Show me Your glory and Your goodness every moment of each day. Give me Your strength, Your grace, Your mercy. Protect me from the assignments of the enemy, replace my fears with Your love and Your peace. Rule my life – my whole heart, my whole mind, my whole being – always, so that I am able to serve You forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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