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.

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).

I Need Thee Every Hour {{Week 9}}

Tonight my heart is heavy, but in prayer. As you all probably know, this week is a fairly big week for those in the States between presidential election and terrorist threats. I have to remember God is still on the throne! And, we all need Jesus. We all need God to be on our side. This happens through one way – trusting Jesus Christ to be King of our lives!

While we are all unworthy of God’s overflowing love and grace, this is the gift we have received in abundance. This is the Good News we need to hear over and over again.

 In the Bible, we are reminded of one who we could deem as “unworthy” of the Gospel – yet God saved him while he was on his way to attack the Church. Apostle Paul was indeed a terrorist (see Acts 8:3, 9:1-31). But, he was a terrorist whose heart was changed as the Holy Spirit worked in his life. I am reminded of the amazing power of God tonight!

This is the Good News of Jesus Christ that we live and breathe for. Jesus can save us and completely change the direction of our lives for all eternity and the here-and-now. Jesus went to the cross and rose again on our behalf. To bring us to God in a right standing relationship and to give us brand new life.

How are you seeking this brand new life
God wants to give you, through His Son Jesus?

The Scriptures – Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:6; Psalm 16:11

“Enter God’s kingdom through the narrow gate. The gate is large and the road is wide that leads to ruin. Many people go that way. But the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to life. Only a few people find it (Matthew 7:13-14, NIRV).”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).”

“You always show me the path of life. You will fill me with joy when I am with you. You will make me happy forever at your right hand (Psalm 16:11).”

Life is found in Jesus Christ, and Him alone. There is no other way to God the Father. Jesus is the only way. Our good works will never be enough to erase all (or any for that matter) of our evil deeds and disobedience to God.

… But, Jesus promises to be more than enough.
He is the Way to God.
He is the Way to life and joy, too!

While we have become enemies of God by our actions and disobedience to God, we can be given His glorious life and joy too. If we will choose to accept His Son Jesus Christ into our lives. Jesus went to the cross on our behalf, to give us new life through His resurrection. Our new lives must begin with Jesus Christ. Jesus has many promises He wants to fulfill in our lives. And unlike this world, Jesus does what He promises to do. All we have to do is come!

How can you enjoy Jesus more this week?

Lord Jesus, teach me that You are the Source of life! Help me to hold tightly to You. You are the King of the world! Be also the King of my heart and life. Amen.

See Matthew 10:28-31

Worship God with Salt {{Week 4}}

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 5:13 and Leviticus 2:13

Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage (Matthew 5:13; MSG).

You must also put salt on all your grain offerings. Salt stands for your agreement with God that will last forever; do not leave it out of your grain offering. You must add salt to all your offerings (Leviticus 2:13, NCV).

Our job is simple – to tell others about Jesus. We can get caught up in so much doing, but this is where life is found. This is what we need to be about, as Christians who have chosen to follow Jesus.

The most important task we have, as believers, is to tell others about Jesus. Whenever we can, share how God is working in your life.

We can’t allow the lines to get blurred. Others see godliness through us. Every time we offer up the courage to tell someone about Christ, respond gently to another, or choose Jesus’ self control over your ability to hurt another with your words, you are worshiping God and God flavors enter the world. The world will illuminate, because others will get another glimpse of God. And when we do these things, this is offering ourselves to the King of Kings!

The tender mercies of God is the only reason why we can have such an important part in His Kingdom. The mercy of God has not only transferred us from death to life, but that is such a vital part. It is just the beginning, though. God has so much more in store for us, as His people loved by God, as we seek His face. We do this, through reading our Bibles, praying, and spending time in community with other Christ followers.

God has much in store for us, as His people loved by Himself. Reading our Bibles, praying, and spending time in community with other believers, is what gets us into the storehouse.

The mercies of God has also declared we can change the entire world, through the passion of Christ, His Gospel, and His power.

Lord, I love the truth of today’s message. Your mercy is so great, thank You! It is, in the light of Your mercies that I can join Your good work and offer myself – so others might see You and come to know You for themselves. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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.