Thessalonians

Week 8: 2 Thess. 2:15 {Stand Firm, My Friends}

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15, NIV). 

I have this week’s memory verse posted in several places of our home. It has continued to serve me with the needed reminder to stand firm and hold fast to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Even though I finished week 8 many weeks ago, I haven’t been able to take it down.

It has provided necessary encouragement, throughout the difficult days, when giving up seems tempting.

Stand firm literally means to keep one standing. In order to stand our ground, we must remember the hope we have found in Jesus Christ. We cannot allow circumstances to cause us to waiver either to the left or right, if God has called us to a specific thing. Let’s trust Him and obey Him in that specific thing.

In order to persist, we need to remember Jesus Christ’s word – which has lovingly been given to us. While in the Bible we are taught many things about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the life He is lovingly calling us too, this is where the Holy Spirit steps in. In many different scenarios I cannot tell you what God is calling you to do, but God definitely is able to do exceedingly more than you could ever ask Him to do.

He promises us wisdom when we ask for it, gives us the resolve to stand strong, and helps us to continue on. A message we all, including me, need to hear – because we can get weary at times. God is calling us to stand strong in our faith. It is impossible to do this, when we are not allowing ourselves the necessary time spent in His presence and reading our Bible.

Keep listening for His voice, as you persevere and seek Him above all things.

This is definitely one truth we need to hold close to our heart, as we seek to live out the truths we learn in the Thessalonians.

See Psalm 46:1; Proverbs 3:5-6; Eph. 3:20; James 1:5

Characteristics of God, Compassion, Godly Living

The Man I Met {You Can Meet Him Too}

Today, I am met with a man. A man who probably isn’t that much different from me. In Luke 5, we meet a man who is covered with leprosy. The disease has ran its course, and reached its capacity.

. . . And, he is sicker than he has ever been.

The Emotions

 It so happened that, as Jesus was in one particular town, there was a man whose body was riddled with a virulent skin disease. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face. ‘Lord,’ he begged, ‘if you want, you can make me clean.’ – Luke 5:12

Illness brings heavy emotions, difficulty thinking, and crazy sleeping patterns, which admittedly is on top of the “typical” symptoms of our health issue.

While emotions can be beautiful and exhilarating, it can be a heavy burden to carry as well.

The emotions might be worse than the actual medical condition. It sticks to our side like glue, and reminds us of what we do not have. It reminds us of the past we cannot go back to, where we once had our family/friends and a place to call home.

. . . This is what this leper faced, and the reality for many of us on a daily basis. 

The life we once knew is – dissolved. Our new life is confusing. And, rarely understood by those nearest to us. They know not the debilitating emotions we struggle with. Even if it is suffocating, others often do not see the enormous burden we carry.

. . . But there is One who knows exactly what we face, as He is the only One who can carry us through this mess!

The Jesus I Know

I appreciate this man who is known only by his debilitating condition, because he knew the struggle, experienced the heavy emotions, and went running to King Jesus! He ran until he reached Jesus, because he knew Jesus is the answer.

. . . Jesus loved him {and us} and delights in taking care of us {just as He delighted in caring for this broken man}.

This Jesus is the same one who holds my heart. Jesus came, went to the cross, died and rose again to be with me. So, I may have peace with my Father.

My heart is safely held by Jesus, even on my worst day.

. . . He is my Protector, Comforter, and Friend.


This man encountered Jesus, and was changed.

Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘I do want to,’ he said. ‘Be clean.’ And the skin disease disappeared immediately. – Luke 5:13

Honestly, this is enough to bring me to my knees. The man ran to Jesus, and was wholly welcomed as he was. We are, too.


Our Invitation

Just as Jesus welcomed this man, we are welcomed and invited to come running to Him right now. We don’t have to wait until x, y, and z resolves itself. We can come to Jesus right now.

. . . Jesus invites us to come to Him. Weariness, heavy circumstances, and all, we are invited to simply come to Him.

Thessalonians

Week 6: Friday Five (1 Thess 5:9-28)

This is our last week of meeting the Thessalonians through Paul’s first letter to them. We will be moving on to 2 Thessalonians. Are you ready? It will be a beautiful time of continuing to meet and learn alongside the Thessalonians!

(1) Through Christ’s death, we can now live with Him. No longer will we face separation from our heavenly Father. Whether we live or die, we are His forever and will stand in His presence. We have been justified by the grace of God, as we choose to accept His free, yet costly, gift of salvation through Jesus’ death and amazing resurrection!

“Jesus died for us so that we can live together with him. It is not important if we are alive or dead when Jesus comes (1 Thess. 5:10, ERV).”

(2) We are commanded to encourage one another, as we wait for Jesus’ return! I can see why this command is so important. As we walk through this life, we cannot go without the accountability, comfort, and urging of our faithful friends who help us to continue trusting in Jesus Christ – our living God! We are blessed to stand in Christian community, and this Scripture reminds us that it is still much needed.

“Therefore comfort one another, and edify one another, even as you also do (vv. 11, MKJV).”

(3) Consider how you treat others. We are reminded that we can’t hate people, simply because they hate us. This is not how Jesus “raised us”. Our heavenly Father wants us to do good unto others, even if they aren’t showing any kind of goodness towards us. Let’s remember this, as we wrestle with learning to love others as Christ has loved us.

“Don’t be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else (vv. 15, CEV).”

(4) Keep thanking God for whatever happens. Through the course of our lives, we will see good and bad. While we may hate the bad seasons of our lives, it is part of living here on earth. Celebrate the goodness of our risen Lord. Raise your hands with thanksgiving that this life is not the end. We have our Redeemer’s miraculous resurrection power working for us!

“Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do (vv. 18).”

(5) Yield to the will of God. As we choose to trust in Jesus, we will enter a “sanctification process”. What this means is: God is going to continue working in you, as Philippians 1:6 teaches us. He is going to give us peace, but make us holy as well. Allow God to work in you, through how you respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Keep submitting to Him.

“I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this (vv. 23-24).”

Emotional Health, Introversion/Highly Sensitive

Desperate for Jesus

Today, I am reminded that I have allowed my tendency of running away to affect how I pray about and handle my emotions and grief. I have allowed these things to go deeper into my spirit and even unintentionally cultivate my own emotional storage place – just for untouched emotions and grief.

If we were honest, we could say we all have one. But, how are we willfully beginning to “spring clean” in our hearts by the power of Jesus Christ – our great Redeemer?

While emotions and grieving come from living as a human in a fallen world, these are things God wants to help us process. He wants to help us to experience His peace, as we move through the darkest valleys of our lives.

I am reminded of the Mark 5 man who had many needs, and became desperate for Jesus. He knew there was only One who could help him. And, this man’s testimony is one I always need to hear.

Desperately Seeking

We have countless biblical examples of people who became sick of their circumstances and became desperate for Jesus. That’s where we need to be. At that very moment of becoming desperate for Jesus and turning to Him, their lives changed for eternity.

. . . And I doubt they ever looked back – except to say, “Look what Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, has done for me!”

I am finding myself desperate and coming to Jesus. I am letting go of this pretending nature that I am somehow fine with the way my health has acted these past several months.

After my cry of desperation, I am met with peace. The kind that only Jesus can provide. While He promises us that life will be hard, just as it was for Him, we are also reminded that He goes with us. He promises to be our Comforter (see Jn 14:16, 26; 16:33).

God’s Comfort

During today’s infusion, I was able to just sit and read the words of Isaiah 40:1-9.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, . . . she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. . . You who bring good news. . . lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say . . . , “Here is your God!” (Isa. 40:1-2, 9; NIV)

God calls out for His people to be comforted! God wants us to know that He is coming back and making all things new. He is offering to us forgiveness of our sins, through His Son Jesus Christ – the Messiah!

Through Jesus Christ, we all can find our way back to God! My friends, let us rejoice in this. . . as we desperately run to Jesus!

As we run to Jesus, we will see God do such a renewal in our lives. He will make us new in many ways, as we bask in our new relationship with Him. Relationships restored. Shear joy and peace. Overwhelmed by His goodness. Completely satisfied in Him.

Lord Jesus, please fix us. We are all falling apart, and in desperate need of You!

Walking with you,

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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).