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

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Week 5: Friday Five (1 Thess. 4:15-5:8)

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.

While I am still super behind on things (blog and otherwise), I would like to welcome you (Yes, you) to this week’s Five Friday! Even though it will be Saturday, by the time this set of thoughts go out into the world, this is our Friday series. You can click here to read this week’s section of Scripture. And here to see where we will be exploring next week.

Five Truths On. . . 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:8

(1) Jesus Christ is coming back for His people! (see 1 Thess. 4:15-17) The Scripture is clear: We will see Him face-to-face. Those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, will be overwhelmed with joy and worship as He comes for them!

Yes, the Lord God is coming with mighty power; he will rule with awesome strength. See, his reward is with him, to each as he has done (Isa. 40:10, TLB).

(2) When Jesus comes for us, we will remain with Him forever (see 1 Thess. 4:17b).  John 15:1-8 reminds us why we remain with Jesus. When we remain with Christ, we are given the gift of profound intimacy with Him. Our forever gift that this world cannot compete with.

A relationship with Jesus Christ is what we have, and worth living for! He is  our lifeline, hope, and salvation.

(3) While others may claim to know when Jesus’ return will happen, the only One who knows is the Father (see 1 Thess. 5:1-2).

But no one knows the date and hour when the end will be—not even the angels. No, nor even God’s Son. Only the Father knows. . . So be prepared, for you don’t know what day your Lord is coming (Matt. 24:36, 42).

(4) As Scripture states (see 1 Thess. 5:2-3), we must be ready for the coming of Christ. As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we need to not only prepare ourselves – but do whatever we can to help others to return to Him. Preparation is such an important topic, as we think about the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in John 14:1-6. He has promised to go and prepare a place for us in Heaven.

How are we living today, in light of the truth and hope that Jesus is coming back? What are we doing to prepare and live for eternity?

(5) Living as sons and daughters of God who profess Jesus Christ as Lord, is how we can prepare ourselves and the world for His coming (see 1 Thess. 5:5-8). The truth is – Jesus is coming back. This is not a fearful thing, rather it is a glorious and joyous thing. We can celebrate what Jesus is doing (and will complete) on our behalf, and share our joy with the world. Let’s not forget to whom we belong, and allow Him to transform our lives!

“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 2: 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 2:7-20

… We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did (vv. 7-8, MSG).

Jesus’ Deep Love

Jesus Christ loves all of humanity. He saw and felt the agony of our lost relationship due to our disobedience. Sin separates us from God, and Jesus went to incredible lengths to bring us back into a right standing relationship with the Father, where we can stand in His presence, enjoy sweet intimacy with God, and have our prayers heard! Jesus Christ took our sins, died on our cross, and rose again. Because of Jesus Christ, we can be restored and have our God-shaped hole in our spirits – filled! Will we accept Jesus Christ and let Him love us?

If we are following Jesus Christ, it is because someone had the courage to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with us. Praise God!! We know the mighty power and love of our Risen Lord, but need to share the Good News with others – so they can come to know the love of our Savior and how He can radically change their lives for the better.

This kind of boldness comes only from being with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

What Scripture Says:

We can show others His love, by the way we treat them. Scripture teaches us a few things, in regards to treating others as a means to share Jesus with others.

  • Love others the way you love others (Matthew 22:39).
  • Do good to all people, especially those in God’s family (Galatians 6:10).
  • Be wise in the way you interact with non-believers (Colossians 4:5-6).

Learning How to Treat Others

Relating to others has never come easily for me. Even if it is out-of-my-element, God is calling His sons and daughters to go into the world and share the Gospel and ourselves with others.

Before we can do so, we have to learn how to treat others. We need to learn how to love well, starting with how we love (and treat) ourselves.

This is where leaning into Jesus really counts, because He is the One showing me to love. While He shows us how to love, it has to begin by realizing the love He has personally for each of us. This is the most important relationship we have, with Jesus Christ. So, I need to nurture this special relationship. Christ ought to be my motivation in how I treat others, for these acts of kindness can last for eternity.

Jesus, You are our Hope! You are why we can have the strength to change the way we treat others. Thank You, Lord!