Thessalonians

Week 7: Friday Five (2 Thess. 1)

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 2 Thessalonians 1

(1) As we continue to follow Jesus Christ, we are kept safe (1:1). This is perhaps one of the greatest treasures I have found. As a woman, I crave protection. So to know that my Jesus, my King, is protecting me and keeping me safe – is comforting beyond words! It makes me okay with the difficult days, when I stop long enough to realize I am being protected and kept safe by the King of Kings!

. . . To: The church of Thessalonica—kept safe in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1, TLB).

(2) We are given rich blessings, which are found through our relationship with Jesus (1:2). In my digital Bible, it is translated a bit differently which helps to understand the Bible more clearly. Because of God the Father and our Lord Jesus, we have been given rich blessings and peace-filled hearts and minds (1:2b, TLB).

Does it get any better? In the world we live in, peace – filled hearts and minds are one of the greatest gifts we can be given. In a day where our minds and hearts run like they are on a treadmill all night long, the peace Jesus gives is enduring and ever-loving!

(3) We have the opportunity to do three specific things based on the knowledge of those God has placed in our path, who continue to be an encouragement to our faith (1:3-4). We can pray for them, share with others about lessons we are learning through their example, and give thanks.

Each of these things are growing points for me. I believe they are for each of us. We live in a “me first” world, which causes us to forget or neglect others, their faith, and the privilege of praying for them or sharing things we learn through their example.

(4) God can use our sufferings to make us ready for His Kingdom (1:5-6). This set of verses will cause us to give James 1 a second chance, where we are urged to count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV).

We need to trust that God will use our sufferings for His ultimate good. He is preparing us for something greater. His Kingdom is worthy of our suffering (see Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:18).

(5) As we face suffering, God will provide us with quality rest through Jesus’ second coming (1:7, 10). As we come into His Kingdom, we will forever know God as He honestly is – with no holding back. 

One day, we will stand in His presence and will never again be distracted by the circumstances we are facing or the things of this world. We will stand in His presence in utter awe and overwhelmed with joy. We will be fully satisfied in the Lord.

Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus

Good Gifts {{Week 8}}

Most of us are given good examples of how God can love. While this is not true for everyone, I think God gives each of us some sort of example of how loving and caring God can be. In humanity, we are given but a glimpse. We all fall short of His glory of heavenly defined love. Today, let’s talk about the love of our gracious God!

The Scriptures – Matthew 7:9-11; Psalm 84:11

Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask (Matthew 7:9-11, CEV).

Our Lord and our God, you are like the sun and also like a shield. You treat us with kindness and with honor, never denying any good thing to those who live right (Psalm 84:11).

Devotion

For me I have a mom who raised me on her own, but she is continually giving good gifts. She shows me a glimpse of His love and readiness – often. Tonight, I was feeling utterly sick but determined to go to church. My mom graciously stopped everything she was doing, to take me to church. This is my glimpse.

God gives us good gifts. Unbelievable gifts. Have you read these words in Ephesians 3:20?

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us. . . (AMP)

I don’t know what you are going through, today, my friend. But I promise you, God is ready to do some mind-blowing things in your midst. His Word teaches us about the kind of gifts God gives. He gives us the gifts we need. He doesn’t see our need for one thing, and give us a useless gift. God is much better than that! God gives us exactly what we need at the moment we need it. He invented loved, so He knows how to give it.

For myself, I need to come and recognize God as my Eternal Father who is always doing a good work in my life. He promises to not abandon me, no matter what circumstances arise in my life. No matter how sick I get, God is always going to be there for me. No matter what happens, He will be there for me. The same can be true for each of us.

From the moment we begin to trust in Jesus Christ, as our Savior, we are never ever left alone. We are finally home, when we begin to tune into Jesus. He is the best Companion and Gift Giver there is! And, He keeps His Word. His love is true, regardless of emotions and circumstances. His love endures forever, just as Psalm 136 teaches us!

Lord God, You promise to give me gifts – good gifts – and I need You to help me to see the gifts You are giving me. Far too often I look for the physical gifts of blessings, causing me to miss too much of Your good work. Thank You for Your blessings. Help my heart to grasp the amazing love and good gifts You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

See Philippians 1:6; Deuteronomy 31:6; Romans 8:31; Exodus 14:14; 1 John 3:1

~ Stacey

Devotion

Kept For Jesus {Jude 1:1-2}

Today, I begun my Jude study. As I read it this morning, something caught my attention. Something too good to not share. It is too refreshing for all who need this encouragement.

Let’s open up our Bible to Jude 1:1-2, and see what I am talking about –

“This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.”

The Mountains We Face

I don’t know what you are facing today. I don’t know how hard of a day or week you have had. Or what mountains are your yard to climb, in order to stay on the right path?

God is leading us on a path, that will help us realize the amazing life we have dreamt of.

All I know is what the Scripture shares with us.

We are kept for Jesus. Jesus Christ, our eternal living hope, is who we are waiting for. Jesus Christ is the One who will act on our behalf. He will take us by the hand lovingly, and lead us onto the path that has long term blessings for us. It might not be the easy path we hope for, but it is the One that is filled with the greatest treasures.

With each step, God is blessing us as we walk on His path.

I am not saying it is going to be easy. I know how disheartening life be at times. Yet, God’s truth remains. Even as I face a weighed down heart and life situations that cause extra heart ache, I know God will continue to provide. He will give me the strength to climb each step of the mountain. And when I get to the top, I will be able to see all of the treasures on this God-given path. With each step, more treasures arrive and make their presence known. But, it means taking the hard steps and trusting God.

We need to remember the One who is holding us.

Kept

I am intrigued by this idea of being kept for Jesus. As one who is often excluded, we see that God desperately longs for us. Otherwise, why would we be kept for Him? Jesus is the King of Kings, and can have anyone He wants. Why choose me?

Just before we learn that we are kept for Jesus, we learn the why. It boils down to the very love of our great God.

God loves you and me.

He loves us.

This is why Jesus Christ came.

As we learn that we are kept for Jesus, what are doing to remind ourselves of this important truth? We have been chosen. We have been loved on by the Father God. We have been kept for Jesus and held closely through life’s storms. How can you and I walk in this truth on a daily basis? How would it change the way we live our lives?

 

 

Spiritual Disciplines

Choosing Jesus: The Sabbath Truth

The Sabbath Truth

Our willingness to stop and participate in Sabbath, is a choice. It doesn’t depend on how much of my check-list I have accomplished by Thursday or Friday afternoon. The choice of celebrating Sabbath, is the same choice we make on Christmas – when we anxiously await the opportunity to open the gifts given to us by those we love.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, Sabbath is an absolute gift from our God and Creator. One to be adored by all creation.

The Truth

I don’t think we can fully understand the gift rest is. We have been given by God the opportunity to take one day of the week, and simply rest in our Creator.

Through opening the gift of Sabbath, we can

  • enjoy intimacy with our Creator
  • take time to spend with those we love
  • experience renewal on a physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental level

We don’t fight the benefits that accompany rest. We fight the compulsion to see how stretched thin we can become, as we live as though we have no limits.

Sabbath is the time to remember our Creator has no limitations, and He alone has provided all we need.

Sabbath is the gift to simply rest, and enjoy His Presence – knowing He will provide. We don’t have to fret that we are “running out of time” to get things done, because He is the Author of time.

As we take these moments to celebrate all God is and seek Him on an intimate level, we can rest assured He will provide.

Why

You and your family are to remember the Sabbath Day; set it apart, and keep it holy. You have six days to do all your work,  but the seventh day is to be different; it is the Sabbath of the Eternal your God. Keep it holy by not doing any work—not you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, or any outsiders living among you. – Exodus 20:8-10, VOICE

We are called by God to remember Sabbath, because of its rich blessings given to us. God knows us far better than we could ever know ourselves. We need to rest. We cannot function without adequate rest. By not resting, we hurt only ourselves (and those we love).

God has this wonderful gift to give us – the gift of rest. What is stopping us from enjoying His rest? Is what we have on a comparable scale to what God has in His hand to offer us, through Sabbath?

Benefits

There are a few benefits of keeping Sabbath.

It is personal. We have to make the decision to keep Sabbath. Otherwise, all the benefits slip through the cracks… and we won’t experience any of it. It is an earnest heartfelt decision.

We can experience God’s Presence. His holiness. His goodness. We want more in our lives. In order to “get more,” we need to take this time to be with One who is all we need!

Let it be set apart. Get out of your routine, and just be with your Savior Jesus! That’s all we have to do. He is beckoning us to “come away with Me.” There is no expectation. All we have to do is, being willing to come. God is more than willing to spend all of your Sabbath weekend to just be with you. One-on-one. You are all He seeks.

God wants to give us the vacation we deeply seek. We just keep refusing it… Our weeks turns into months, where we have decided… I am just too busy to rest. I have X, Y, and Z still on my to-do list. Do yourself a favor. Enter God’s rest. Let yourself rest in His Presence, because God has said “It is good. It is more than okay!”

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28, NIV).

Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).’

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His (Hebrews 4:9-10, NKJV).

Questions

Through the gift of Sabbath, let’s bask in His Presence and Sacrifice through the death, resurrection, and eternal life found in His Son Jesus Christ. That is our starting place for Sabbath. He is why we can rest. Joyfully, putting away our incomplete lists of tasks to be done.

How can we enter a deeper communion (intimacy) with our Savior this Sabbath?

Activities

Set aside one day to choose and worship God, while resting. It doesn’t have to be planned out. It is YOU choosing to meet with your Creator. In Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, they offer some helpful ideas for carrying out your day of Sabbath. I want to highlight a few…

  1. Have a Sabbath box of distracting items that don’t add to your Sabbath (cell phones, etc).
  2. Begin the night before, to recognize the day as a spiritual act of worship.
  3. Experience thanksgiving for the opportunity to rest your whole being, in Christ.
Allergies, Chronic Illness, The Overcomer Life

What the Doctor Said – Part 1

About a month ago, I saw a new cardiologist. He gave some tips, did some rearranging of meds, and all-in-all a visit worthy of being vulnerable to see – yet another – doctor. This doctor is a cardiologist, who is likely the most well educated physician on dysautonomia. At least, for our “neck of the woods”.

The Result of Such a Encouraging Visit…

He is running a couple tests. One of which is to check my adrenal sufficiency (or insufficiency). I haven’t ever had a doctor do this specific test, for my adrenal sufficiency, so obviously very thankful for it. He gave one piece of advice that took me by surprise – “eliminate (or limit) caffeine”. Up until this point, I had already begun to limit my intake of soda (don’t give me too much credit – I had switched to tea). Now, would be the opportunity to breed something new in my life. With caffeine being limited/removed/no-longer-my-best-friend, new possibilities emerged.

The New Thing…

For the past several months, I have thought about giving Whole30 or another clean way of eating – a try. But with where my health was, I obviously wasn’t about to try. Then, God began tucking on my heart a few Sunday’s ago about something.

Whole 30, low-histamine style.

Why this particular eating plan?

God can easily instruct His followers to do things where they have absolutely no idea why they need to do something. Let me explain something: This was not that kind of experience.

One thing I prayed was – “God, let me know if this is honestly You. Because if this is not of You, I am not doing it…” And, then more evidence began to pile up as I researched this diet. The key indicator was the peace God gave to me. It lined up with what Scripture teaches, will happen as a result of God’s leading us. His peace. But, it required me to “lean not on my own understanding” (see Prov. 3:5-6).

This was a very direct – “This is what I am calling you to do my daughter, and you are going to have to just trust Me.”

The Low-Histamine, Thing…

For anyone who has spent any time with me more than once, you know I have food restrictions (they actually weren’t that bad, now that I think about it. Ha Ha). You eat this glorious smelling food, and I bring something “safe” to eat. Safe foods is just a part of my life. I have different food allergies that cause me to caution myself, and not run toward foods like others do. Because I have these food allergies, when I seen the words “histamine intolerance” – I had to check it out. For myself.

And, the pieces just immediately fit. By fitting, I mean, I had the majority of the symptoms.

To learn more on how the symptoms fit, what histamine intolerance is, my experience as I begin this brand new way of eating, and what God is doing in the midst of it all – you are gonna have to just stay tuned!

Until next time, my friends.

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