Thessalonians

Week 7: 2 Thessalonians 1:11

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith (2 Thess. 1:11, NIV).

It always stops me in my tracks, when I read “By His power, He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” Many of us have unmet desires we are waiting on. God can give us these desires, but it is up to God if they are fulfilled and when that fulfillment happens.

Let’s focus on the Lord, and give Him our heart’s desires!

Truth be told, it is about surrendering our desires to God and keeping our focus on Him. Our focus needs to be on drawing nearer to our King Jesus, not the dreams.

In the waiting and wondering period, we are learning to trust that God is working on our behalf. As we draw nearer, God is changing us from the inside – out. Look at what Philippians 2:13 teaches us – For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (NLT).

The right kind of desires are given to us by God, and fulfilled by God in His timing!

Keep coming back to Jesus – our Redeemer. When we keep coming back to Jesus as our Redeemer, we will not be disappointed. We will be reminded of the abundant hope we have been given. Jesus Christ came for you and me.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Tim. 1:15).

Called by God

While the God of the Universe gives us other desires, He gave us the ultimate desire for Him. God is the One who calls; what we are called to is God’s own kingdom and glory (Reformation Study Bible). We have been moved from a place of condemnation because of our sins (see John 3:16-17) and ushered into the presence of God (see Hebrews 4:14-16). It is a complete change in our destination.

Not only has He chosen to save us, we can enjoy His sweet presence – today!

Cleansed by Jesus

Through Jesus Christ, we have been saved and made new. His love for us is what made the difference in our lives. Jesus Christ is what matters in our lives, which is why we celebrate our Redeemer. He came for us, and is away. He is worthy of our praise and the One who makes us worthy.

Because of Jesus Christ, we can stand in His presence and enjoy our heavenly Father. We have been reconciled to God and He will make us worthy and cause us to grow in all areas of our lives. Now, that’s worthy celebrating!

Both past election and present growth are crucial. They are already children of God; they are to live lives governed by this reality. Thereby, Jesus’ name will be glorified and they in turn will be glorified in him. All of this is accomplished through grace (Asbury Commentary).

Thessalonians

Week 1: Friday Five (1 Thess. 1:1-2:6)

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 1:1-2:6. . .

(1)  Our prayer lives are to be the strongest aspect of the Christian life (see 1:2-3). One of the more noteworthy aspects of this section of Scripture is their prayer lives. These were men who knew the significance of the need to praise and pray to the Father. If we want to grow as believers in Jesus Christ, we would be wise to take cues from their example –

We always thank God for all of you. We keep on praying for you. We remember you when we pray to our God and Father. Your work is produced by your faith. Your service is the result of your love. Your strength to continue comes from your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1:2-3, NIRV).

(2) God dearly loves us, and has chosen to call us His own (1:4). The most important form of love comes from our heavenly Father. We have been hand-picked by Him and passionately loved. Because of the way God loves us, we know that we will never have to walk alone. God, our Creator, is the One who walks with us – even carrying us, as we face difficult days in our lives. We need to keep our eyes focused on the One who loves us more than any other ever could!

(3) Our faith rests in our Lord Jesus Christ, and is transformative (see 1:6, 9-10). The Thessalonians’ lives were changed from the moment they first heard the Gospel and chose to believe. They put all their heart, soul, and mind into what they believed to be true about Jesus. They never half-heartedly believed, but the way they trusted Jesus showed up in every aspect of their lives.

. . . They tell about how you turned away from statues of gods. And you turned to serve the living and true God. They tell about how you are waiting for his Son to come from heaven. God raised him from the dead. He is Jesus. He saves us from God’s anger, and his anger is sure to come (1:9b-10).

(4) Our actions will change, in light of faith (see 1:10). As we gaze at the way the Thessalonians’ lives were changed by their beliefs in Christ, we can be encouraged that our lives can experience the same kind of transformation. As we place our faith in Jesus Christ, and no other, our lives can be radically changed.

(5) While our goal is to please God, not people, our faith-filled lives causes us to become examples of what it looks like to follow Jesus Christ (see 1:7-8, 2:4-6). Before we can become examples ourselves, we must be taught. God has given us Christ-centered people in whom we can see how they lived out their faith. Paul called people to imitate him, as he imitated Christ. He taught with his words, but as well as his very life.

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1, NIV).

As we follow our Lord Jesus in faith, we are given many others who show us how to trust Jesus as the Lord of our lives. These people help us learn what it means to have faith in Jesus and allow it to alter the choices we make. As we grow, we are gifted the opportunity to entrust others with what we have been taught. It is a continual gift to others in the church.

 

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!

Signature

Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus

Doing Right During Persecution {{Week 3}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:10 and 25:34

 You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom (Matthew 5:10).

Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world (Matthew 25:34).’

Devotion

God’s Promise

God gives us a serious promise, here. But, it is one we struggle to read – let alone hold onto with all we got. We are taught of the goodness of God, in the face of difficulties that arise from seeking and sharing Christ. Even though we will suffer persecution, God promises to continue taking care of us.

God covers us with a precious promise, that He will bring good out of our persecution. Keep clinging to Christ. (Click-to-Tweet)

God’s Power

There will be times when we are treated differently than others, because we have given our entire lives to Jesus Christ. It is in this place, we discover God and the depths of God’s power and our faith.

The Promise…

Yet in the midst of all these things, God has chosen to call us blessed. This word means “happy” and “fortunate”. We need to not forget this truth. We need to hold onto it. We need to keep believing God and His Son Jesus Christ and listen to what He is saying to us in today’s study.

God has chosen us to be a part of His heavenly Kingdom. How are you seeking His Kingdom? (Click-to-Tweet)

God has chosen us, to be a part of His Kingdom. Persecution is the birth pains of chasing after the goodness and glory of our great God – forsaking everything else to cling to Christ!

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10, NIV).

As we learn in Matthew 25:34, the things we do today will show which kingdom we belong to. Doing right, regardless, is just part of being a son or daughter of the King of Kings. Our identity is found in Him, and reflected in our decision to continue to do what is right – even when it is not easy.

For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure (Deuteronomy 7:6, NLT).

Lord, I need to remember why persecution comes for Your children. I want to be Your daughter who stays steadfast in her pursuit of You and how You shape her identity. Help me to keep doing what is right, not in culture’s eyes, not in my sphere of influence’s eyes (family, friends, associates, etc), but in Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Walking Into The Light (Ephesians)

Identity Meets Living His Truth {{Week 5}}

Please note, friends: I have been dealing with some knocked-down health days. So, this is the last of my scheduled posts. I hope to get back on track asap, but bear with me. We are on week 5. So thankful for our Ephesians journey, to keep our spirits encouraged this Summer!

~ Stacey

Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus: A Nine Week Scripture Writing Experience (This is the link for the new study (on Mt. 4-7) – which will begin in Sept/Oct. As an Amazon affiliate, Gracefully Overcoming receives a small earning when you use this link for any Amazon purchase.)

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This week, God has really been stirring my heart about my identity. In Ephesians 2:1-10, we learn about our change in identity. I encourage you to read along and join me, as I discuss things God is teaching me through Walking Into The Light Bible study on the book of Ephesians.

We are on the last few days of the fifth week. It is crazy to think that the study is, almost over!

The Truth of Our Identity

There is something our hearts and minds need to realize –

Our identity in Jesus is a precious thing.

Our identity is far more than just our name. Our identity determines the path we will take in life. What we believe about ourselves, determines the path we take. This makes our identity in Jesus Christ, one of the most important things we could ever grasp. While life situations will always try to dominate our identity, there is a better identity God is just begging us to grab ahold of.

The God of the Universe has chosen you!

While so many things try to be our identity, there is only one place to find our real identity.

And, His name is Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ wants us to realize why He came.

Jesus wants us to realize that – while others have rejected us, He has chosen us. While others have let us down, He never will. While others have intentionally tried to hurt us, He is the One who is forever working on our behalf and showing that He has good favor on us.

Realizing Our Identity

If our identity is firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, we will delight in Him, His Word, and enjoy all the best benefits of being a child of the Most High God!

As I study today’s lesson (see Eph. 5:16-18), I am reminded just how important it is – to know my identity in Christ. See, when our identity rests in Christ. Something wonderful happens. It makes it easy (or easier) to follow the standards God has set for us. Realizing our identity changes our perspective and everything else that goes along with it.

When we grasp our identity is in Christ, we will stop trying to earn others’ approval or letting other things hold us back in our Christian life. This is why it is such a struggle to proclaim our identity is in Him.

If we could grasp our identity is in Christ, it would literally change everything!

Ephesians 5:16-18 is Significant

Our days do matter. 

But, somehow, I think – we all have a bit of trouble with this one.

How about you – do you find yourself struggling to make the most of the opportunities given to you each day? Do you struggle with acting thoughtlessly? If so, this passage is for you too.

There is something miraculous about our identity in Jesus Christ. There has been a complete shift in our identity. But, until we grasp this identity, we will come to our wit-ends when we read passages like this one.

Ladies and Gents, we have to begin the process of bringing ourselves face-to-face with our holy God, acknowledging our sin, come to know the salvation provided for us by Jesus Christ’s love sacrifice, and realize how He has forever changed our identity – for the better!

How can we step into God’s Word, soaking up His truths as His sons and daughters?