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).”

Week 6: 1 Thess. 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus – 1 Thess. 5:16-18

This past week, God has been doing amazing miracles left and right. While I hold these miracles sacred, I can say this: It is things that have been a long time needed. These days, Jesus is showing me what it looks like to pray, have community with Him, pursue reconciliation, and how to have the faith to remove distractions from my midst.

Rejoicing.

Praying.

Giving thanks.

. . . on a continual basis and in all circumstance.

Memorizing and  Meditating Upon Scripture

As we memorize this Scripture, let’s take it to heart. I hope as you study, you take time to know the truth and learning how to put it into your life (I need to, as well). If we read the Bible as though it is a secular book, we will miss Jesus’ resurrection power!  As we study, let’s be willing to ask ourselves –

 

How do I take God at His Word, and allow Him to bring me healing as I submit all areas of my life to Him?

Today’s Scripture

. . . shows us how to live a godly life. This Scripture teaches us how to have the kind of attitude that makes us run toward Jesus. If we applied this Scripture to our lives, we would make drastic choices. We would notice distractions and remove them by His power, giving Him our daily habits.

Coming Away

Becoming prayerful, joyful, and thankful are three commands all rolled into one, as we think about what it means to come away with King Jesus. If we try to do these things on our own, they will seem impossible.(For me too!)

While our attitudes are called to reflect Jesus’, I know most of us struggle with our attitude. Just as we have to watch the tone of our voice with our community of friends, we have to watch the tone of our hearts.

Jesus wants to help us to get rid of the dirty parts of our hearts. The tone of our hearts, our attitude, can turn into something beautiful beyond words when we allow Jesus to come in.

Jesus is knocking at my door. He wants to come into my life, and commune with me. Jesus wants to hang out with me on a personal level. He doesn’t just want to see or talk with me on a Sunday morning, although He certainly takes joy in those Sunday mornings.

Jesus wants to spend today with us. He wants us to come away with Him. The intimacy we seek with our favorite person, is the kind of thing Jesus wants to have with us on a growing scale. He is our community, and loves to commune with us.

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. – John 15:4a, The Message

“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.

 

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).

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).”