Thessalonians

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!

Thessalonians

Week 2: Friday Five (1 Thess. 2:7-20)

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 2:7-20. . .

(1) Through these men’s example, we are reminded that we can share the Gospel of God and even our own lives as a means to witness to an unbelieving world (vv. 8). We see in this week’s memory verse that these men did not only share the Gospel of God. While they could have, they did some even more impactful by sharing their lives – allowing their lives to show off the power of God.

(2) We need to live out our lives in a way that pleases God (vv. 12). God will send others into our lives who will “plead… encourage… and urge…” us in our Christian walk. They will continue to lead us on in our faith journey. There is this one Proverb that says it best:

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another (Prov. 27:17; NASB).

(3) We can follow in these men’s footsteps, by thanking God for how those in our midst have responded to the Gospel (vv. 13). These men got down on their knees and thanked God for how the Thessalonians responded to the Gospel of God. They knew who was the reason for the Thessalonians coming to Jesus Christ. It is by God’s grace, and His grace alone, that we have been saved.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:3-5a, NIV).

(4) We, too, will suffer for our belief in Jesus Christ (vv. 14). The believing community of Thessalonica suffered persecution for what they believed. It is as Scripture teaches us that others will despise us, because of Jesus Christ. When the world rejects Christ, they will also reject – even injure/kill those who worship Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives. But the God we serve is sooo faithful to us, even when others come against us!

If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it loves its own. But I have chosen you out of the world, so you don’t belong to it. That is why the world hates you (John 15:18-19, NCV).

(5) We can love and treat others we mentor in a likeminded way. The men of God diligently chose how they would care for the Thessalonians. They loved and treated them like treasured family. This is, in part, to why the Thessalonians were their pride and joy. The men poured much into this community of believers. They were not people they knew for only a moment, but knew well!

Thessalonians

Week 1: Learning About His Love

How is everyone doing with this week’s study and memory verse? Our memory verse for the week is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:4, which says –

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you…

The Spiritual Election

We need to know deep in our spirits that election, which has already taken place. God has chosen us. There is no other’s vote who counts more than God’s. God has specifically chosen you, to become His own son or daughter, through the sacrifice and salvation found in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We recently went through a significant presidential election. One filled with emotions and arguments. This is not the sort of election that has taken place in Heaven, concerning us. God specifically and lovingly chose us. He has loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), and this is why we have been chosen. Being chosen has absolutely nothing to do with our appearance, talents, health, or how far we have come in our lives. We are chosen specifically, because God loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him!

Being chosen by God is fully dependent upon who He is. He desires to spend time with us, who are uniquely made by Him. He is our good good Father, and honestly wants to be with us more than anything else!

Loved Anyway

It’s hard for me to envision in my mind that God has seen all of humanity at their best and worst, yet He has still chosen me.  Especially on days like today, where my struggles are real, I cannot imagine the process of being chosen. As hard as it is to believe, because I wouldn’t choose me on a day like today, God has purposely chosen me and dwells with me in my moments of trouble.

He has chosen us. He wants to just love us and be there for us. If we could grasp this truth, our entire perspective would change. As we grasp this truth, we begin to look at our relationship with Jesus differently and become increasingly more transformed than the day before.

This kind of love is what led the prodigal son home. The Father’s love is incomparable to anything else we could ever experience. We are fully welcomed into our Lord’s presence, because of what Jesus Christ has done. We have been ushered into our heavenly Father’s presence, from the moment we begin to follow Jesus Christ.

We might liken this moment to being invited to a party, but it is far different than anything we could ever experience. We are invited to sit at the table with the very guest of honor Himself – Jesus Christ. We are fully welcomed, involved in heartfelt conversation, and given the tremendous privilege to enjoy Him and His presence.

We need to realize that… God’s relationship with us is the highest thing on His “to do” list!

The Ultimate Love

This is the ultimate kind of love, where we will be welcomed, entertained, to be fond of, and to be dearly loved. Also, to be well pleased and contented with. This means: we will always have God’s full attention. He is not going to get restless in His relationship with us, and move onto the next one. God is fully invested in our lives, and desires to be with us more than anything else!

Because of His enormous kind of love, God has chosen us. We have been hand-picked by God to have our relationship with Him restored, through His precious Son Jesus Christ!

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Truth in Trials

God Cares {Truth in Trials}

Each of us face a diverse set of circumstances.

There are times, where we can feel like we are all alone.

There are days, when we aren’t sure how much strength we have left.

There are even honest days, where we feel disappointment and misplace the true reason for our hope.

We may all have days where we find ourselves in these very places, but there is a key truth we need to grasp. God is deeply concerned for each of us.

The Often Forgotten Truth

In the lives that each of us lead, it is so easy to miss this truth. It is easy to forget or misplace this spiritual truth, especially so when it seems like there is a lack of concern for our well-being.

Even when we find ourselves there, God profoundly cares for you and me. And, He never stops caring for us either!

Scripture reminds us that God is compassionate and caring for us. Throughout the Gospels, we are given a specific picture of how God acts on that concern.

Before the Gospels even really get started, we are taught about the depth of God’s compassion and concern for us in John 1:14 where God decided to dwell with humanity by coming to earth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son (Jesus Christ), who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Remembering God’s Concern

Even when it seems like we are walking through our ever-present storm alone, let us remember that God is deeply concerned for us. We are not stranded on our own, but He loves us and His heart aches for us. He longs to be with us, and help us with whatever it is we are going through.

I am not talking about some low level or humanistic concern that has limits, but the world-turning-and-going-to-the-cross (and God powered) kind of concern. This is what God has for us. This intense longing and concern about whatever it is we are going through.

This is what God feels for each of us, and He is beckoning us to come to Him and allow Him to be our shoulder to cry on. He wants to help us carry our burdens, even when we feel like it is us against the world.

The Scriptures

I want to share a few Scriptures today, that highlight this truth.

Exodus 3:7-8a
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…”

Matthew 9:35-36
 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Also, consider the truths we find in Psalms 91 and Psalm 23. He wonderfully cares for us, enabling our place of safety to be found in Him. God is concerned, and promises to be our resting place. Even, inviting those of us who are weary to find rest in Him (as we are taught in Matthew 11:28-30).

I ran across two articles that help us to continue digesting this special, spiritual truth. He Cares and A God Who Cares seem like both may be helpful reads to us, as we learn that God honestly does care for us.

Not only does He care for us, it is not limited to a short amount of time. God cares infinitely more for us, than we could ever imagine. God is on our side, and His heart aches for us. We can continue running to Him, especially as we face troublesome days. All because He cares for you and me. His concern for us is of great depth and unmeasurable. That is how much God cares for us.

Until next time,

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Tyndale

Befriend (Tyndale)

befriendScott Sauls has come out with a new book, and I am very pleased to bring it to you today in review.

In his book, Sauls opens up about the truth regarding friendship and even ourselves. While we all crave friendship on different levels, we were all made for relationships. Authentic relationships.

In Befriend, we are given direction and insight on how to pursue real friendships with others.

Sauls makes his case for befriending. In relationships, there are specific types. Many of us are familiar with one sided friendships. While we ache for a friendship resembling something that David and Jonathan of the Bible shared, we face a difficult reality. We find it difficult to have authentic friendships, where we can be vulnerable and build a common connection of two lives shared. I know, this struggle quite well.

Real friendships, for many of us, seems just too far out of reach. In the world we live in, surface level friendships seems to be what is made available to us. It seems to be the norm in the world of Facebook, to settle for inauthentic friendships. Let’s become unsettled, friends, and remember the gift of authentic friendships. In this book, we are reminded of the abundant beauty found only in real friendships. In real friendships, we find belonging and a support system.

We all want to belong. Even in today’s world, we can find the tools necessary to turn our relationships into something more.

This book hits home for me. I have written about my ache for real friendships before. I am loving this book. It has been exactly what I have needed to read. While I am not finished reading the book, I can definitely say I would (and do) recommend grabbing a copy to read for yourselves. Not only does it talk about authentic relationships that seem far away, I find a friend in Sauls. As soon as I began reading his book, I just felt like it was exactly what I needed to read. Sauls offers much needed advice.

Befriend reminds us the better friendships must include vulnerability and love.

There are twenty essays collected in Befriend. Not only are the chapters short and relevant, Sauls hits a different aspect of real friendships too, giving us a fuller picture of friendships.

Be sure to pick up your copy of “Befriend” today!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale’s book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive 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.