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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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).

Godly Living, Thessalonians

Week 3: 1 Thessalonians 3:7

Welcome, my friends, to week 3 of our study! I am so glad you are here. Thank you for taking a few moments out of your day to read today’s blog entry in your email or possibly on the website. You will not regret taking this time to invest in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He is the source of all hope and comfort.

The Scripture –

While I am limited in sharing at this moment due to circumstances, I want to be able to share with you our new weekly memory verse.

In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive (1 Thess. 3:7, MSG).

The Truth Revealed –

As I face my own troubles, I can relate a bit with Paul. Honestly, the great “longing exchange” (where the longing for a close friend is mutual) is a tremendous comfort in hard times. When you are in desperate need and alone, quality companionship is one of the top desires one troubled friend could have.

When we are going through hard times, we just need someone to be there for us. . . someone who will lead us straight to Jesus Christ. It’s the exact medicine we need.

We learn a few things about Paul and the Thessalonians –

  • Paul’s Heart: Longed for the Thessalonians, and bombarded with troubles.
  • The Thessalonians’ Heart: Longed for Paul, and continually sought Christ. . . resulting in much spiritual growth even during persecution.
  • Resulting in much comfort, especially for Paul in his time of need.

Hearing others’ stories of faith in Christ makes everything much better. While the circumstances may not change, our heart are uplifted versus drowning. Our perspective changes – because we receive comfort from friends. . . friends who treat our friendship in a godly way. Encouraging us to keep pressing into Jesus, praying over our circumstances, and helping us to hold onto our faith in Jesus and His Good News.

Biblical Friendship

While we may not choose our times of suffering, God can use this time to be encouraged (or encourage others) by others’ faith and show us the kind of friends we have (or are).

The Thessalonians and Paul had biblical friendships. They sought the Lord Jesus to be honored in their lives. They wanted to help encourage one another, pray together, and continue to live out their faith in Christ.

Biblical friendships are hard to find, but are what makes the lasting change in our spiritual lives.

Jonathan and David are a classic example of biblical friendship (see 1 Samuel 23:15-18). They loved each other in a godly friendship; Jonathan made sure to be there when David needed him the most (click here to listen to a sermon on the topic). Likewise, the Thessalonians would have send word back conveying how much they care for Paul and miss him.

Biblical friendships make the difference in our Christian walk, and an important tool in our transformation.

“[Thessalonians’] steadfastness was a great source of comfort to [Paul] in his trials. . . In the inevitable trials of the ministerial office there is no source of comfort more rich and pure than this (Albert Barnes Commentary).”

Thessalonians

Week 2: Wrap Up

What was special about this week’s message? I invite you to comment below, and share with me (and other readers) about how God spoke to you in this week’s Bible study on 1 Thessalonians

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7-20

… We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did (vv. 7-8, MSG).

Jesus’ Deep Love

Jesus Christ loves all of humanity. He saw and felt the agony of our lost relationship due to our disobedience. Sin separates us from God, and Jesus went to incredible lengths to bring us back into a right standing relationship with the Father, where we can stand in His presence, enjoy sweet intimacy with God, and have our prayers heard! Jesus Christ took our sins, died on our cross, and rose again. Because of Jesus Christ, we can be restored and have our God-shaped hole in our spirits – filled! Will we accept Jesus Christ and let Him love us?

If we are following Jesus Christ, it is because someone had the courage to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with us. Praise God!! We know the mighty power and love of our Risen Lord, but need to share the Good News with others – so they can come to know the love of our Savior and how He can radically change their lives for the better.

This kind of boldness comes only from being with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

What Scripture Says:

We can show others His love, by the way we treat them. Scripture teaches us a few things, in regards to treating others as a means to share Jesus with others.

  • Love others the way you love others (Matthew 22:39).
  • Do good to all people, especially those in God’s family (Galatians 6:10).
  • Be wise in the way you interact with non-believers (Colossians 4:5-6).

Learning How to Treat Others

Relating to others has never come easily for me. Even if it is out-of-my-element, God is calling His sons and daughters to go into the world and share the Gospel and ourselves with others.

Before we can do so, we have to learn how to treat others. We need to learn how to love well, starting with how we love (and treat) ourselves.

This is where leaning into Jesus really counts, because He is the One showing me to love. While He shows us how to love, it has to begin by realizing the love He has personally for each of us. This is the most important relationship we have, with Jesus Christ. So, I need to nurture this special relationship. Christ ought to be my motivation in how I treat others, for these acts of kindness can last for eternity.

Jesus, You are our Hope! You are why we can have the strength to change the way we treat others. Thank You, Lord!

Thessalonians

Week 1: Learning About His Love

How is everyone doing with this week’s study and memory verse? Our memory verse for the week is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:4, which says –

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you…

The Spiritual Election

We need to know deep in our spirits that election, which has already taken place. God has chosen us. There is no other’s vote who counts more than God’s. God has specifically chosen you, to become His own son or daughter, through the sacrifice and salvation found in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We recently went through a significant presidential election. One filled with emotions and arguments. This is not the sort of election that has taken place in Heaven, concerning us. God specifically and lovingly chose us. He has loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), and this is why we have been chosen. Being chosen has absolutely nothing to do with our appearance, talents, health, or how far we have come in our lives. We are chosen specifically, because God loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him!

Being chosen by God is fully dependent upon who He is. He desires to spend time with us, who are uniquely made by Him. He is our good good Father, and honestly wants to be with us more than anything else!

Loved Anyway

It’s hard for me to envision in my mind that God has seen all of humanity at their best and worst, yet He has still chosen me.  Especially on days like today, where my struggles are real, I cannot imagine the process of being chosen. As hard as it is to believe, because I wouldn’t choose me on a day like today, God has purposely chosen me and dwells with me in my moments of trouble.

He has chosen us. He wants to just love us and be there for us. If we could grasp this truth, our entire perspective would change. As we grasp this truth, we begin to look at our relationship with Jesus differently and become increasingly more transformed than the day before.

This kind of love is what led the prodigal son home. The Father’s love is incomparable to anything else we could ever experience. We are fully welcomed into our Lord’s presence, because of what Jesus Christ has done. We have been ushered into our heavenly Father’s presence, from the moment we begin to follow Jesus Christ.

We might liken this moment to being invited to a party, but it is far different than anything we could ever experience. We are invited to sit at the table with the very guest of honor Himself – Jesus Christ. We are fully welcomed, involved in heartfelt conversation, and given the tremendous privilege to enjoy Him and His presence.

We need to realize that… God’s relationship with us is the highest thing on His “to do” list!

The Ultimate Love

This is the ultimate kind of love, where we will be welcomed, entertained, to be fond of, and to be dearly loved. Also, to be well pleased and contented with. This means: we will always have God’s full attention. He is not going to get restless in His relationship with us, and move onto the next one. God is fully invested in our lives, and desires to be with us more than anything else!

Because of His enormous kind of love, God has chosen us. We have been hand-picked by God to have our relationship with Him restored, through His precious Son Jesus Christ!

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