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).

Ambitions, Impact

Impact #2

My last impact entry was about 2 months ago. A lot has happened in that time. Health scare, which was relieved by a less serious health problem. Good news! (Bad news is: POTS is the reason for worsening symptoms. All before Spring.)

Feeling – Lately, I have felt a myraid of things. Home Sick. Loneliness. Frustration. (Dis)Contentment. Peace. Joy. Laughter. Mmmm, variety of emotions. Good, Bad, and in between. POTS has been rough, but I am still here. So, that is good news. I am not hooked up to a hospital bed with monitors. I am finding joy in unlikely places of chronic illness.

While all days aren’t joy-infused, I have the hope of my Savior Jesus Christ to remind me who I am. . . in spite of illness. Looking forward to Heaven, but trying to make the most of my time on earth to do something worthwhile.

Studying – Since my last impact, I have nearly finished studying 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Last week, I began the book of James. I am really enjoying it. One of today’s verse hit home for me, and is found at the end of this blog post. I have been reading and studying using The Living Bible found on Bible Gateway, which is a paraphrase like the Message. I am absolutely loving it! It is soo nice to have the privilege to open up the Bible in a new translation, using different wording, but having the same meaning. The Word of God is coming alive!

Reading – I am not quite sure that I am reading anything right now, since I have gotten out of the habit of reading actual books. Desiring God and reading the Bible in chronological order (that things happened) is what I am reading. Our church is reading the Bible together in a specific schedule. We have gone through Job, Genesis, Exodus, and are in Leviticus. Even with the audio Bible, my reading track record isn’t perfection but who says it has to be?

Listening To –

Celebrating – Many things.

  • Jesus is the top celebration. He loves me, and stays with me no matter what!
  • Doctors who care about their patients.
  • Good music that speaks God’s truths
  • Seeing how God can revive my broken spirit.

Loving – the gift of streaming biblical teachings, for anyone to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the biblical truths we need to know.

Praying – for my health, family, and a new blog series idea.

Holding Onto – Jesus! I am holding onto Jesus. Jesus is the One who is holding me, through all of life’s storms.

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God… (Ps. 56:3-4)

Other Scriptures – James 1:9 (found below)

A Christian who doesn’t amount to much in this world should be glad, for he is great in the Lord’s sight (James 1:9).

Thessalonians

Let the Thessalonians’ Journey BEGIN!

Hey friends,

We kick off our Thessalonians study in the morning. Normally, we will begin the week by focusing on our memory verse. I had a blog post in the works about our memory verse, but here’s the thing: it’s not done yet (Saturday was a horrendously bad POTS day, which oddly enough was supposed to be my writing day).

I have to remember days like these will occur, when sickness or something else arise that put a slight pause on some of the blog posts. But, we are here. We are committing ourselves to Jesus Christ and His Word! As these days come, it is an imperative opportunity to lay our plans aside and see the plans Jesus Christ, our King, is going to carry out. To see what the God of the Universe is going to accomplish in that situation.

In these moments of unmet plans, we are able to stop everything and remember His presence. Not only is His presence available to us, we can fully come to Him and just cry out to Him.

In these moments, we realize the power of prayer and just allowing Jesus to hold us – when everything seems to be on hold (or nearing falling apart). But, we aren’t giving up. Let’s use this study and whatever arises in our lives as opportunities to get closer to Jesus Christ.

… So, my goal is to have the memory verse post to you all by Wednesday.

So, let’s just focus on our memory verse.

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you (1 Thessalonians 1:4, NIV).

Grab an index card or piece of paper. And, write out our Bible verse in your preferred translation. The translation I use varies. I think my Thessalonian index cards are TNIV. I adore using the Voice or New Living Translation (NLT), but often go for my main Bible – which is TNIV.

Whatever Bible translation you use and love, use it. I use a variety of Bible translations for clarity, and find it really helps me to engage more intently in Bible study when I use my favorite Bible translation. Some people use King James Version (KJV). While I am not a KJV reader myself, I adore the Modern King James Version I have on my ESword app for my phone. Really, I do. It’s awesome. Not only can I use it away from WiFi, it is filled with God honoring commentary and a few different Bible translations . . . as well as the much loved Strong’s Concordance to help me understand what the individual words mean in their original language. It is literally my favorite Bible app (but I also utilize Bible Gateway and YouVersion, if I have WiFi).

One of the biggest things I could say, as we all prepare to start our Thessalonians study is: Plan the study and memory verse into your day. Don’t allow it to become an afterthought. Because when we do, why hellooooo it’s Wednesday and you still haven’t broke out your memory verse cards yet (more on memorizing Scripture and my honest struggle in a couple days).

My hope for us in treking through the Thessalonians is to just meet with Jesus. We need to carve out space in our lives to just center our lives around who God truly is, His power, and His glorious presence. Knowing God, through His Son Jesus Christ, should literally change our lives, and this week we get the abundant joy of seeing how meeting Jesus completely changed the Thessalonians’ lives. They were transformed not for a moment, but a lifetime!

Until next time,

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Chronic Illness, The Overcomer Life

Sunday Confession

I really do love church. The people, ermm not always (just sum it up to::: highly sensitive introvert, who lacks the ability to pour out emotional energy to be there for people when she can barely be there for herself). The music, yes. The nursery where I service, absolutely.

… But, sometimes, I struggle with my “want to”.

As someone with POTS, it can be utterly terrifying to go anywhere. And church is no different. It can be difficult to go and know if I will be able to stay. Lately, my symptoms have been worsening and I have the lowest attention span. There are often a bombardment of thoughts accompanying the questions – “Am I well enough to go to church? Or, how bad is it?”

Most people have to find their “want to,” in order to exercise. Me too, but my life has many areas where I have to find my desire to riskily make decisions.

The risk is what it comes down to. This morning, I had to weigh the risk. Was the pinnacle of symptoms worth the few minutes I would spend at church – especially knowing I was not in any kind of mood to jollily go socializing and encourage the world (my personality… if you see me at church, you know this one) before Sunday school?

You know, I believe it was worth the decision and symptoms (in the grand scheme of eternity, anyway). Contrary to the struggle to find my “want to,” I actually do want to go to the church and be with God’s people. This is simply (and it is not simple) just part of the process that it takes – in order to get me from my house to the church. There are internal talks, prayers, and questions going on, while I make the decision. I may feel “a little” uneasy in my decision, but at least I made the decision.

The hardest part of it all is – making the decision, and coping with the aftermath wondering if I somehow made the wrong one. I hate it when we have to leave early, because POTS is trying to kill me. Today was definitely one of those days. But, the highlight of my church day today was – sitting in the nursery, underneath our speaker that allows me to hear our musicians practice singing before service, and working on the Bible Reading Challenge. I loved just being there.

I hate the fear and questions I have to face, but I love the blessings I get to pick up along the way – that I would have missed otherwise. That’s what make the decisions hard. I don’t want to miss anything. It’s there that I need to remember that I am…

  • loved by God – whether I go to church biweekly, weekly, monthly, etc. He knows I am plugging into my relationship with Him.
  • called His own. I am even called His daughter, because of Jesus Christ!
  • still me, I am still me, despite illness.

Until next time,

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“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17).”

Chronic Illness, Five Minute Friday, The Overcomer Life

FMF – Joy

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Welcome to this week’s edition of Five Minute Friday! This week’s theme is “joy”. FMF is a weekly online gathering of writers where we write for five unedited minutes. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, please visit Kate’s blog for more details…

After two decent health days, I am back to any motion of standing trying to bring me down like a deck of cards (which apparently means I rather skip dinner than stand again…). It’s been weeks of feeling like this. Nonstop almost, or so it seems. I could scream. I could verbally share my frustrations with the world, or even manipulate my facebook account into sending out word weapons in effort to share my true thoughts on the subject (of standing).

… But, it will not bring me joy.

Joy isn’t a feeling.

It has to be a heart felt response to – yes- our lives, but more than that. Joy is something God is capable of giving us – even when we feel like we are in a place that is quite rough.

Joy is deliberate.

It is found in my mindset, and where those thoughts wander.

It is found in what I choose to do with my time, mind, and energy level – while I sit in captivity and do anything but stand.

. . .

I started writing out the Word of God. As a chronically ill person, I have quantities of time available. But, that’s not my identity. My identity is wrapped up in my Savior, not these moments where I sit on my bed wondering what to do with myself for the rest of the day… God is where the joy is found.

I have been trying to write out the Word of God, in these moments. It’s a new habit I am forming. It allows me to get to know my Abba Father on a much more intimate level. This is where the joy is found.

While standing is not anything joyful, God is present in the storm. God is the One strengthening my body as I rise, and giving my heart the courage to stand.

God is the One giving me courage and joy, in midst of heartache.

While our trials don’t last forever (imagine that!), my God does. Scripture is clear. God endures forever. It is found in Scripture many many times. Just as God endures forever, so does every single one of His attributes – including joy. This is what He gives, He lovingly offers to those who have believed in His Son Jesus Christ and been called into His beautiful family!

During today’s Scripture writing, I came across this verse in 1 Corinthians 1:9.

“God is faithful! God has chosen you to share life with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord!”

I absolutely love this verse. Jesus is my forever companion, and that is where my joy is found!

Jesus is my full-time Companion who walks with me during the storm, and brings with Him joy to be available to me.

I really enjoyed Andrew’s guest post on Five Minute Friday. Be sure to check out his post.

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