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.

Thessalonians

Week 1: Wrap Up

What was special about this week’s message? I invite you to comment below, and share with me (and other readers) about how God spoke to you in this week’s Bible study on 1 Thessalonians

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:6

“You became followers of us and the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit. Therefore you were examples to all who believe in Macedonia and Achaia… (1:6-7a, MEV)”

This is the message that stands out, to me. One of the reasons I love the Thessalonians is – because their faith was enveloped in strength. They heard the Gospel message, and kept it close even in affliction. This showed the entire world that their faith was not an empty act, but as genuine as our faith could be.

Further in the New Testament, we are reminded that afflictions help us to refine our faith. In times of great trials, we are reminded of our dependence upon God just as David was. David wrote many worship-filled songs, from the depths of the pit that trials can often be described as. Yet even in the midst of great agony, David chose to allow it to be a tool of worship. The same can be true for our own lives. In 1 Peter 1, we are reminded that afflictions are the . . . groundwork, I guess you could say, for a deeper faith in Christ.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith… may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ… [T]he outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (see 1 Peter 1:6-9).”

Just before we are told that trials must come and even serve a purpose, we are reminded of a great promise. 1 Peter 1:5 is one of the verses in this chapter of Scripture that I hold tightly to.

“Through faith, God’s power is standing watch, protecting you for a salvation that you will see completely at the end of things (1 Peter 1:5, VOICE).”

In the NIRV, the first part of this verse reads like this: “Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power…” Our faith is important. We have to believe that God is keeping us safe, even through the fiery trials, and that He is bringing us closer to the great salvation He has promised us! I love the picture this verse offers to me. I crave protection, and that is what God is offering to me (to us) as I continue to deliberately put my trust in Him!

Looking back on your life’s trials, I invite you to join me in deliberately seeking how God has made that part of your growing faith journey. I know, the road is hard. For me, I can see how God has stretched my faith and pruned out some of the fleshly things I once clung to. I have grown more intimate in my relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

While my faith in Jesus isn’t where I hope it will be, it is shown as genuine and experiences growth in trusting Christ through those same trials I despise. This is the work of God, through the Holy Spirit. God is working through the good and bad.

Ambitions, Impact

Impact #1

im·pact

  1. to fix firmly by or as if by packing or wedging
  2. to press together

The Introduction (I Should Probably Give. . .)

I love visiting blogs, where the writer shares their lives. I have seen on, at least, one blog – where the gal will write in – with specific things in mind. So, I thought I would give it a try. I am calling it, impact. This is the name of this part of my blog, for one simple reason.

Many things impact our lives, which lead us to impact others by what we say and do.

Our goal in life, ought to be Jesus. Let’s run to Jesus and the abundant life He wants to give us, shall we?

The Questions –

Feeling – It has been a trying week, but I am seeing God’s handiwork. I am pretty joyful (overall, not without my sorrow-filled moments), considering standing brings out debilitating symptoms (and sometimes a little too close to blacking out).

…ehem…

Actually, I have even woken up many times with specific praise songs laid upon my heart. The Holy Spirit has caused my spirit to start singing the lyrics to specific songs, throughout the day (or during the night). For me, it shows I am pursuing Christ (and He is working in my heart)- even in the middle of my storm. Humming songs in silence isn’t my common practice, but it shows God’s working and causing my faith to become stronger.

Studying – I have been studying Psalms 98 and Luke 19:37-40. This is such a powerful set of Scriptures to get our hands on. God is doing incredible, out-of-this-world, things in our lives, and we need to praise Him. We need to break out our musical instruments and voices, to sing our hearts out with an abundance of joy – that God gives to us.

Reading –

Listening To – Last few weeks, I have been enjoying “Everything” by Lifehouse (Find the “Everything” skit on YouTube, if you get a chance). Then, there is the whole “Party Like a Princess” by Jamie Grace. That one I am really enjoying celebrating too.

Celebrating – Today, I am celebrating who God is. God is providing me with the encouragement, strength, and ministering that I need. Even while I face health struggles, God is my Constant and shows me that He is the One fighting for me! (Exodus 14:14; Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7; Romans 8:31).

Loving – These days, I am loving silence. While I enjoy entertainment in form of iTunes, Netflix, and movies, I love the option of shutting it off to read a book or just talk with the Lord. I am learning to be okay with silence (even crave it). Silence helps me draw nearer to the Lord and feel His presence.

Silence ushers me into God’s Presence, through the Holy Spirit.

Which reminds me that… I am whole, completely full, and lacking nothing.

So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority (Col. 2:10, NLT).

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing (Ps. 23:1, NIV).

Praying – Right now, I am praying for my family and our needs to be met. I am praying for God to work a miracle on our behalf.

Holding Onto – Knowing God is fighting for me (see 1 Peter 1:5).

Through faith, God’s power is standing watch, protecting you (1 Peter 1:5a; VOICE).

Other Scriptures – Psalm 23; 2 Corinthians 10-13

Testimony

Tuesday Link-Up: Our Testimonies

Friends,

I want to welcome you to week 2 of our link – up (click here for last week’s). Each week, my goal is for us to come together and share how God is working and moving into our lives.

Because the truth is – God is constantly on the move and working out all things. Even the hard things, God is working everything out. We need stories to cling to. How has God come to your aid? How has Jesus been your refuge this week? How can you see God moving this week, in a way that was beyond needed.

I want you to share… I want to hear from you on how you are learning to gracefully (or maybe ungracefully) overcoming.

Maybe, it’s experience you had this week.

A conversation.

Or, a time of encouragement or Bible study you want to share.

I invite you all to join me this week, as we share our testimonies and how God is moving in our lives!

Single Living

Single Living: The Truth About God’s Will and Sex

Defining the Will of God

The Greek word, thelema, used for “will” in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 means: “of the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ”. When we read about God’s exclusion of something, do we automatically think that something good will come from abstaining? In terms of sex, is God truly desiring to bless us? It depends who we will listen to. Whose voice is the one we listen to? Is it culture? Our sinful and old self? Or do we allow all other voices to be crowded out, by keeping God’s Word as the loudest voice of all?

Back to our definition of God’s will: To bless – God tells us “no”, because He wants to bless us. As His children, He will lead us not on the easy path, but the one most worthwhile. Instead of self-destruction by giving into sexual impurities, God wants to add to the good gifts He has given us. Sex is described like this in a message by John Piper:

Not all sexual desire is lust. God made sexual desire. It has its good place and it can, in fact, become an act of worship in the temple of marriage. But lust is sexual desire gone wrong.

Furthermore, what happens when lust wins over our trust in God and our God-given self control?

The lusted-after woman or man in your head, or on the screen, or on the street, is dishonored — not treated as a sacred, precious, eternal person made in the image of God… [to disregard God] is to disregard the promises and warnings of having or losing the beauties of Christ. So lust is a sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God…

The Struggle for Purity

Scripture backs up the struggle against sexual purity. In 2 Timothy 3 talks about the last days, and describes the world we live in quite well:

People will love only themselves… [They] will have no self-control… They will do foolish things without thinking and will be so proud of themselves. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure. They will go on pretending to be devoted to God, but they will refuse to let that “devotion” change the way they live. Stay away from these people! (see verses 1-5)

Surrendering to God

We must put God at the enter of it. It’s not only abstaining, but giving God the reins. Allowing the Holy Spirit to direct our path, and place within us the spiritual fruit of self-control.

Sex is worth waiting for. Not only is it worth waiting for, it is worth not letting it take our minds captive (see 2 Cor. 10:5). God is worth obeying. Seek His will. His will is worth it. Not only is His will worth it, God is worth it. He will not deprive us, but show us there is a better way when we take His path versus our own or this world’s.

To seek His standards is better to follow the trends of the world and what it may have to offer.

Reflection Questions

  1. What area of sexual impurity do we need to give to God?
  2. How have we treated the will of God? Do we see it as a blessing or curse?
  3. Prayerfully consider His plan displayed through His Word, and any changes you need to make (see Ps. 101:3)