Thessalonians

Week 4: Prepare For An Energetic Week!

Few things get to me like this topic, as far the church life goes. Welcome, I am your “equally messed up” tour guide. I cannot help but read 1 Thessalonians 4, and be reminded of the ways the Church is… far from where we could be. I love the global church; we are the beloved body of Christ. His bride. His treasure.

Yet we settle for so little, when God wants to lead us to much more – even in this life before we reach Heaven and all its glory.

My Honest Heart Struggle

I made it my mission to go through “Meeting the Thessalonians” before this course was set to begin, which I mostly was able to. I can honestly say, week 4 was without any doubt one of the most difficult weeks. While I had weeks of surprising affliction that made it hard to reach for my Bible and notebook, this week has challenged me greatly based on the content in 1 Thessalonians 4.

It touched me at my core, as a single woman. Some excitement. Erm, much frustration. Plenty of moments, where I was reminded of where I want to be as part of the Church.

Join Me!

I invite you in joining me for the reading of God’s Word, where we will hear God speak in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

As a single woman, I am bombarded with temptation – often. I am not alone in this struggle, though. I know, many readers are right there with me.

This passage of Scripture is important for all believers, regardless of our relationship status.

As we take the time to focus our attention on our Lord Jesus Christ, He will work in our midst. While we may face many temptations and struggles in this area, we are not alone. Girls and Guys, you are not alone. I am looking forward to the chance of going through this passage of Scripture together.

This week’s blogging might look drastically differently than the past three weeks have been. Because this passage of Scripture is of such great importance to me, I want to try and pop in whenever I can – to share my thoughts on a particular verse or share a quote from a Bible commentary. This week, in terms of blog posts, might look crazy different than this past week. Or, it might look exactly the same. Only the Good Lord knows!

We simply have to wait and see what God decides to do, because this is His blog.

I may have many passionate things to say, and He may have to offer a strong, yet gentile, reminder of “No Stacey, you cannot write that. It is not useful to build up others in the Church.” (I actually have a good set of moments like this. I, too, am a work in process. . .)

Whatever happens on the blog or your personal study this week, keep digging into God’s Word! I am excited to see what God shows us. Here is the reading plan for this week.

Until next time,

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Thessalonians

Week 3: Alone with God (Wrap-Up)

As I read and remember 1 Thessalonians 3, this woman’s prayer to God is “Lord, I can’t do this!” Okay Lord, show us what you got.

Difficulties

1 Thessalonians 3 can be a difficult read. We are finding ourselves in various seasons of life. While some of us have these kind of friends, I am reminded that others do not. Whichever season of life you are facing, God will encourage your heart. His chosen method may differ, but God will strengthen your heart and cause your faith in our Savior Jesus to increase.

Paul’s Shoes

Let’s put ourselves in Paul’s shoes: Paul faced persecution from preaching the Gospel. He preached the Gospel to the Thessalonians, alongside his brothers Timothy and Silas. While Paul and Silas remained, Timothy went to see how the Thessalonians were getting along. The Thessalonians were new to the Christian faith and suffered, too.

Alone with God

Before “the brothers” could minister to an entire community of individuals who did not know Christ, they had to have their relationship with Jesus in order. In our own lives, we have to learn to be alone with Jesus.

Part of the suffering we may face is finding ourselves alone.

If we will allow it to, this is the place of seeing the value of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Our companionship.

Desperately crying out to God one-on-one is what is needed, more than anything.  Being alone with Jesus, during suffering, is what will build our faith and encourage us beyond measure. Jesus faced suffering, much suffering, so we can be reunited with our great God! Let’s remember this truth, as we face – perhaps more of a lonely period than predicted.

Being alone with Jesus Christ, during suffering, might be needed to lay the framework for our relationship with Jesus.

Today, let’s choose to remember that being alone with Jesus is a good thing (because it is).

Desperately Needing Jesus

While we could quote Scripture for why others ought to be present, we need to stay in Jesus’ presence even more. We can even be tempted to wonder where others’ are, but it might be the wrong focus. Jesus went through so much, so that we can actually be alone with God. Let’s celebrate this truth, that we get to be alone with God!

Where will we allow our focus to be today?

Because of Jesus Christ, we have been reunited with God. The Father paved the way, and saved us! As a result, we have been reconciled to God. God has given us the tremendous gift of His presence. During our times of suffering, this is the time to set our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ – as the most important relationship of our entire lives.

Remember these words –

The Lord said to Moses (Lev. 6:1).

He wants to talk with you, too, especially during your suffering. Perhaps even, give you a word of encourage to speak to another.

Until next time,

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BookLook

“The Privilege of Worship” (BookLook)

Worship Wars

In “The Privilege of Worship,” Stewart Holloway addresses worship in a new vibrant way. We all know the “worship wars” that can happen within our churches and relationships. We spend far more time arguing or sharing our puffed-up opinion about how we want to worship, than we do simply worshiping. And the result of such actions, is destruction rather than peace and brokenness rather than the wholeness Jesus gives to us. There is no beauty in “worship wars”. I have seen its effect on a personal level, and it reminds me of the need to focus on worshipping God (not myself or someone else). What if we worshiped God in all His holiness and splendor, rather than arguing about the way we worship?

Help Wanted: Jesus!

As Holloway stated, many Christians are missing out on the privilege of worship. We get more excited about a football game, than we do about worshipping our Savior. We should be more excited about Jesus Christ and the opportunity given to worship Him. This is why revival is the only word to kindly express our need as the Church.

For many of us, our worship needs a revival. We need to remember what worship is honestly about. These days, we aren’t treating worship with the reverence it deserves. We need to remember the design of worship. Through worship, we get the opportunity to “communion with God” as Holloway states as he describes worship. God has given us a way (worship) to meet with Him and pour all that is building up in our hearts.

Worship is the beautiful communion and celebration between us and God.

Thoughts on “The Privilege of Worship”

As I read Holloway’s book and reflect on its key principles, I am able to gain a clearer picture of worship and its importance in my life. However we worship, it needs to be the center of our lives. Holloway shows his heart for worship in “The Privilege of Worship,” and God will change our own hearts as we read this book. Our hearts will become excited about worshipping the Lord our God. We will have a more intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We will see peace flow through our church lives, as we give ourselves to God, His Church, and choose to not participate in worship wars.

There are many good things God will give to us, as we give ourselves to Him and commit to worshipping Him.

This book has been a blessing for me to read. While I am not done reading or using it in my Christian life, I do think it is a good book for any Christian to read. We all need to remember the amazing privilege we have been given, in Christ, to worship. (Psstt: The book is only $3.99 for the Kindle edition)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Thessalonians

Week 3: Five Friday (1 Thessalonians 3)

Originally, I was turned onto this mode of carrying out the “Five Minute Friday,” by a dear friend. Marie faithfully carries out this Friday series, on her own blog. The idea is to offer five bold points, that you may read within five minutes.

Five Truths On. . . 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

(1) Because of their aching hearts, Paul sent someone to go and check on the Thessalonians. Even if they had social media back then, I don’t think it could ever do the heartfelt thing that they set out to do. Physically, they sent Timothy to be with their friends to see how they were doing. Timothy went on the motive of love and risked everything. They didn’t just “like” their status, but went to them and had honest conversations which could have involved confession, glory stories of God’s work, and much encouragement.

(2) Suffering are a part of every Christian’s life. In 3:3-4, we learn how the missionaries prepared the Thessalonians for what they would face. They were well prepared for the expected suffering. God used the brethren to help prepare them as well as encouraging them to endure. Their new life meant they wouldn’t undergo suffering without the support of the body of Christ.

… But of course you know that such troubles are a part of God’s plan for us Christians.  Even while we were still with you we warned you ahead of time that suffering would soon come—and it did (TLB).

(3) The ministers proved themselves, as they showed concern for the Thessalonians. We live in a time, where it is easy to forget about others. Even in their suffering, these ministers reached out to see how their beloved friends were doing in their faith and in their new lives founded by Christ Jesus. This shows the depth of their love for Jesus and others.

(4) Knowing the truth about their friends’ faith brought joy and comfort to the imprisoned missionaries. Once we finally know how others are, it makes room for comfort and an abundance of joy that moves our hearts nearer to God. Their faith will encourage ours, even if we seem like these great people of faith on the outside. God only knows the measure of our need to hear how God is working in others’ lives. It offers us courage and hope to see how He will move in ours!

(5) Hearing about others’ faith in Christ ought to drive us to worship our Savior that much more. The unknown of a friend’s belief in Christ will drive us to our knees, to pray desperately on their behalf. If desperation precedes joy, the worship is all the more lively and intimate.  It’s a much needed time of remembering God’s goodness and that this is the God who walks with us.

How can we thank God enough for you and for the joy and delight you have given us in our praying for you? For night and day we pray on and on for you, asking God to let us see you again, to fill up any little cracks there may yet be in your faith (9-10).

Ambitions, Impact

Impact #2

My last impact entry was about 2 months ago. A lot has happened in that time. Health scare, which was relieved by a less serious health problem. Good news! (Bad news is: POTS is the reason for worsening symptoms. All before Spring.)

Feeling – Lately, I have felt a myraid of things. Home Sick. Loneliness. Frustration. (Dis)Contentment. Peace. Joy. Laughter. Mmmm, variety of emotions. Good, Bad, and in between. POTS has been rough, but I am still here. So, that is good news. I am not hooked up to a hospital bed with monitors. I am finding joy in unlikely places of chronic illness.

While all days aren’t joy-infused, I have the hope of my Savior Jesus Christ to remind me who I am. . . in spite of illness. Looking forward to Heaven, but trying to make the most of my time on earth to do something worthwhile.

Studying – Since my last impact, I have nearly finished studying 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Last week, I began the book of James. I am really enjoying it. One of today’s verse hit home for me, and is found at the end of this blog post. I have been reading and studying using The Living Bible found on Bible Gateway, which is a paraphrase like the Message. I am absolutely loving it! It is soo nice to have the privilege to open up the Bible in a new translation, using different wording, but having the same meaning. The Word of God is coming alive!

Reading – I am not quite sure that I am reading anything right now, since I have gotten out of the habit of reading actual books. Desiring God and reading the Bible in chronological order (that things happened) is what I am reading. Our church is reading the Bible together in a specific schedule. We have gone through Job, Genesis, Exodus, and are in Leviticus. Even with the audio Bible, my reading track record isn’t perfection but who says it has to be?

Listening To –

Celebrating – Many things.

  • Jesus is the top celebration. He loves me, and stays with me no matter what!
  • Doctors who care about their patients.
  • Good music that speaks God’s truths
  • Seeing how God can revive my broken spirit.

Loving – the gift of streaming biblical teachings, for anyone to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the biblical truths we need to know.

Praying – for my health, family, and a new blog series idea.

Holding Onto – Jesus! I am holding onto Jesus. Jesus is the One who is holding me, through all of life’s storms.

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God… (Ps. 56:3-4)

Other Scriptures – James 1:9 (found below)

A Christian who doesn’t amount to much in this world should be glad, for he is great in the Lord’s sight (James 1:9).