My favorite thing about Paul, is his honest love for those he ministered to. Paul's letters were always covered with love and thankfulness for those God had sent him to share the Gospel with, and he always spoke his love for them. As we look back at I & II Thessalonians today, I want to give a short recap of the things that spoke to me. There is so much for us to learn and gain from these verses.
"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." ~ I Thessalonians 1:2-3
The culture we are immersed in day after day, is all about self. Even as Christians we are more concerned with our well being and our needs more than the needs of others. Now, of course, we think of the needs of our immediate families and those in our close knit circles, but how often do we just sit back and thank God for other believers? It is so important for us to truly care, think and pray for other believers. Take the time to thank God for bringing them into your life. Pray that God will strengthen their faith and use them in mighty ways to reach this lost world. Pray for them and encourage them when they are hurting. Let them know they are loved and covered in prayer by their Christian family.
"For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts." ~ I Thessalonians 2:4
Jesus Himself told us to go out into the world and preach the gospel, and here Paul tells us our purpose while sharing the Good News is to please God, not people. Our goal should always be to bring glory back to God. We must remember that everything we do and say is a testimony of our faith. Think about that. We think that we are only sharing the Gospel when we purposely speak to someone about their eternal life, but as believers, we are constantly giving our testimony. Others are watching us. We are sharing the Gospel (or maybe not) with every word we speak, every action we take, every response we give, every tone we use, every thing we watch and listen to, every activity we participate in, and everything we make a priority in our lives. We are a walking testament of the Good News of Christ - are we pleasing God in it?
"Finally when we could stand it no longer, we decided to stay alone in Athens, 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." ~ I Thessalonians 3:1-3
For all the times we think we have nothing to offer those who are struggling, hurting and suffering, right here lies our instruction. Our job is to strengthen, encourage and keep other believers from being shaken by their troubles. How do we do this? We love them, pray for them, and jump in and help when we know there is a need, even without being asked.
"And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May He, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all His holy people. Amen." ~ I Thessalonians 3:12-13
Who wouldn't want their hearts to overflow with love? This is a constant prayer for myself, but also for my children. I keep a small journal of Scriptures that I pray over my children. I add to it as I read God's Word and feel Him tugging me to words that I want to pray over them. I don't pray every Scripture over them every day, but I do pray a few of them each day. And this one is BIG to me. I want my children to love others. To love them without conditions, judgement or expectations. I want them to love big and I want that love to continue to grow and overflow out of their hearts, and I want that love to start right in the midst of our own home and family.
I Thessalonians, chapter 4, gave us much to think about. Verses one through twelve urges the church (us) to live a life pleasing to God and tells us exactly how to do this.
* Stay away from all sexual sin. (v. 3-8)
* Love each other. (v. 9-10)
* Live a quiet life, minding our own business and working with our own hands. (v. 11-12)
"So encourage each other with these words." ~ I Thessalonians 4:18
Verses 13- 17 of this chapter depicts the beautiful picture of what we call the rapture. When Jesus returns, the dead in Christ (born again believers) will rise first, then together with them, we (believers) who are alive will meet Jesus in the air and be with Him forever. (v. 16-17) This is the truth we are to use to encourage each other as we live waiting for that day.
"So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded." ~ I Thessalonians 5:6
As we are waiting for Jesus, we will face trials, sorrow, persecution, and deceit. We must be vigilant! Verses 6-8 reminds us to:
* Be on guard.
* Stay alert.
* Be clearheaded.
* Be protected by the armor of faith and love.
* Wear the confidence of our salvation.
And again we are reminded to:
"So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." ~ I Thessalonians 5:11
"Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord's work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. " ~ I Thessalonians 5:12-13
We must respect and honor those who are leaders in God's Work: pastors, teachers, ministry leaders, etc. Pray for them, love them and remember they are human just like you. They aren't perfect and they won't always make the right choices. But God has called them to their work and most of them are trying to do it well. Encourage them and let them know they are appreciated, loved and smothered with your prayers.
As I Thessalonians closes, we are given directions to live a pleasing life to God. (v. 14-22)
*Warn the lazy.
* Encourage the timid.
* Take care of the weak.
* Do good and not evil to one another.
* Be joyful.
* Never stop praying.
* Be thankful in all circumstances.
* Hold onto what is good.
* Stay away from evil.
* Don't stifle the Holy Spirit.
It's not easy to live up to this, but I'm praying for God's strength and help to continue to follow these directions.
"So we keep on praying for you, asking 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. 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." ~ II Thessalonians 1:11-12
Every time I re-read a book of the Bible, something new jumps out at me. The last time I read through Thessalonians I high-lighted these two verses and made note beside them to pray this for my own life.
Heavenly Father, enable me to live a life worthy of Your call. Give me the power to accomplish all the good things You prompt me to do and may Your name be honored through me. In the sweet name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
II Thessalonians chapter two, describes the events that must take place before Jesus returns. We are warned to be careful not to listen to false prophecy and urged to stand firm and keep a strong grip on God's teaching (Scripture). (v. 15)
Paul closes his letters to the church of Thessalonica with a prayer for those believers as they minister to others and another warning against idleness. Work hard and resist the urge to be lazy .
With this, we conclude our fall study. It has been a long ten weeks, but I thank God for the knowledge and understanding He has given us as we have immersed ourselves in His Word. Next week as we celebrate Thanksgiving, my prayer is that we count our blessings and praise God for the big and small things, and all the circumstances that have brought us closer to Him. Stop by next week and join me in publicly thanking God for His goodness, love, mercy, blessings, salvation and grace!
Keep reading God's Word!
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. "
Hi! I'm Andrea, wife to my handsome hubby, homeschooling mama to my 5 amazing blessings (with one more on the way), and daughter of the King of kings. I am so glad you have stopped by my little piece of the web. My prayer is that the Lord will use this blog to encourage you in your personal, daily walk with Christ.