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).

Godly Living, Thessalonians

Week 3: 1 Thessalonians 3:7

Welcome, my friends, to week 3 of our study! I am so glad you are here. Thank you for taking a few moments out of your day to read today’s blog entry in your email or possibly on the website. You will not regret taking this time to invest in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He is the source of all hope and comfort.

The Scripture –

While I am limited in sharing at this moment due to circumstances, I want to be able to share with you our new weekly memory verse.

In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive (1 Thess. 3:7, MSG).

The Truth Revealed –

As I face my own troubles, I can relate a bit with Paul. Honestly, the great “longing exchange” (where the longing for a close friend is mutual) is a tremendous comfort in hard times. When you are in desperate need and alone, quality companionship is one of the top desires one troubled friend could have.

When we are going through hard times, we just need someone to be there for us. . . someone who will lead us straight to Jesus Christ. It’s the exact medicine we need.

We learn a few things about Paul and the Thessalonians –

  • Paul’s Heart: Longed for the Thessalonians, and bombarded with troubles.
  • The Thessalonians’ Heart: Longed for Paul, and continually sought Christ. . . resulting in much spiritual growth even during persecution.
  • Resulting in much comfort, especially for Paul in his time of need.

Hearing others’ stories of faith in Christ makes everything much better. While the circumstances may not change, our heart are uplifted versus drowning. Our perspective changes – because we receive comfort from friends. . . friends who treat our friendship in a godly way. Encouraging us to keep pressing into Jesus, praying over our circumstances, and helping us to hold onto our faith in Jesus and His Good News.

Biblical Friendship

While we may not choose our times of suffering, God can use this time to be encouraged (or encourage others) by others’ faith and show us the kind of friends we have (or are).

The Thessalonians and Paul had biblical friendships. They sought the Lord Jesus to be honored in their lives. They wanted to help encourage one another, pray together, and continue to live out their faith in Christ.

Biblical friendships are hard to find, but are what makes the lasting change in our spiritual lives.

Jonathan and David are a classic example of biblical friendship (see 1 Samuel 23:15-18). They loved each other in a godly friendship; Jonathan made sure to be there when David needed him the most (click here to listen to a sermon on the topic). Likewise, the Thessalonians would have send word back conveying how much they care for Paul and miss him.

Biblical friendships make the difference in our Christian walk, and an important tool in our transformation.

“[Thessalonians’] steadfastness was a great source of comfort to [Paul] in his trials. . . In the inevitable trials of the ministerial office there is no source of comfort more rich and pure than this (Albert Barnes Commentary).”

The Overcomer Life

Allowing Gratitude to be Present

Life has a way of becoming increasingly interesting these days. With Summer over and now we are almost in Winter, I am still waiting/looking for the better days – as far as my health is concerned. I have my days that are marked by their difference, in comparison to where I was last year. This year is looking quite different. The bad days make it different, but there is good present as well. It just takes a while and serious focus, to note the good.

Gratitude is what allows us to turn our moments of sorrow into times of dancing and joy – even in the midst of suffering.

The good, being – seeing how God’s work continues on. I am looking to work on my blog over the coming weeks/months, as I feel able to. We are getting ready to kick off our new study. It will begin in January, so I am working toward fixing what will be the journal (which will be available for purchase on Amazon) for the particular study. It will be a bit less demanding, to help me to stay caught up on it (but very similar to what we have been doing). But, I am really looking forward to it. It will be such a wonderful time of digging into God’s Word together – as a community of believers. More to come on the study soon.

The bad – well, that is hitting kind of close to home. You don’t expect family members to be in a place, where their doctor suspects they have your number 1 health enemy. In fact, you hope they won’t ever be in that position. Then, it happens. Loved ones become sick with the same illness that plagues us. It’s hard to look at it any other way, than joking. It’s not really the kind of things to joke around about, but it helps the soul to not feel the sorrow over the difficulties you know – that your loved ones will face.

Yet, you remember that all you can do is keep them in prayer, be there for them, speak encouragement over them, and deliberately look for the good in your life. Find the really good things you can rejoice over!

Finding the Good

With chronic illness, you take the bad with the good. Is there honestly good found in chronic illness? I think so. I think, it can produce good. But, it isn’t going to be automatically on our minds – before the bad is. You have to be deliberate in seeking out the good.

We have to be deliberate in seeking out the things we can be grateful for!

The R E A L L Y  Good Stuff

(1) While my health may fail me on any given day, my God still reigns. Even on the most difficult days, God is still God, faithful, strong enough, and ever loving!

See Ps. 73:26

(2) We can be there, comfort, and remind others they aren’t alone in their struggles. Also, we can be a voice that fights for our family members. God has used my health journey, to help those around me who develop similar symptoms and I can offer help of some sort.

See 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Phil. 4:4

(3) God has chosen to go before me. He has fixed our broken relationship, by the way of the cross and His Resurrection. He understands my weaknesses, and helps me – so I can come boldly to Him!

See Heb. 4:14-16

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Alive

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Minute Friday!
This week’s theme is “alive. To learn more about Five Minute Friday,
please visit Kate’s
blog for more details… Each week, a community
of bloggers come together with the common goal is to spend
five unedited minutes to write on a topic.

Tonight is Good Friday – the day where we celebrate the truth that Jesus was crucified as our sin offering. It fits so perfectly with this week’s theme of what alive means – to me.

Sin Offering

Jesus is our sin offering! Listen to what the author of Hebrews was instructed to write by God – the Author of life itself!

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications,with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Heb. 5:7-9).

The Truth

Through the blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, I am made alive. I have His hope and power running through my veins. Even on the days where I feel like I just can’t cope, I am reminded of the blood that was shed for me.

Made Alive

Jesus Christ went to the cross, for our sake. The more I write, for our sake, the deeper this truth begins to hit home. Jesus went to the cross for us. He has made us alive. As it says in Ephesians 2, we once were dead in our trespasses but now are made alive in Christ.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved… (vv. 1-5)”

More than anything, I wish I could put into words what this exchange has meant for my life.

Jesus Christ took my sins, burdens, suffering, and condemnation. He took it all away, so that I can find peace with God – my Creator. It is a gift that knows no words. There are not enough words in the English dictionary to describe the amazing, indescribable gift that we find in Jesus Christ – through His death and resurrection.

New Life

Because Jesus rose again on the third day, we too can rise to new life. Though our lives seem tattered and broken, we can experience wholeness and brand new life. It is in Christ that we are made complete. Whole. No longer broken. No longer chained to a spiritual death. But, we have life. We have access to the Father we cannot live without! We find wholeness and soul satisfaction!

In Christ, we are given eternal life and mercy. In Christ, we find all we need!

He carried us, and now we are made alive.

“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed (1 Pet. 2:24).”

What a tremendous, indescribable gift!

Truth in Trials

Trials Tuesday: Endurance (James 1:2-5)

Trial Tuesday - Endurance 11.10.15

Last week, we began to unravel this truth that…

God can work good in our trials.

Reread James 1:2-5

What is God teaching you through this passage of Scripture?

Let me share some key things going on in this passage of Scripture. Before we talk about enduring and spiritual maturity, we need to talk about the one thing in this passage that ties it all together.

God’s Wisdom

God’s wisdom is the key to enduring trials and coming out of them successfully.

Like a diamond, God is refining us in the process. As He refines us, we need to seek His wisdom and focus on our relationship with Him. He is what makes the difference between painful (profitless) trials and good-coming-out-of-our-trials.

In verse 5, we are reminded that God is open to giving us His out-of-this-world wisdom if we will simply come and ask.

Endurance

Testing our faith reveals endurance (consistency).

How have trials taught you consistency in placing your trust in Jesus Christ?

One of the “jobs” of trials is to remind us that we cannot survive without Jesus Christ. We need our Maker. I love this definition of endurance, where we are reminded that one who endures – “is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.” This quote leaves me with a related question.

Would I live out my God-given purpose, if I did not have trials?

Lacking Nothing

This concept of “lacking nothing,” means…

When the testing is through, we will be one step closer to being perfect and complete in Christ – “without fault”.

The truth is – all of us need Jesus to finish the work He has started. In Philippians 1:6, we are reminded that this is what He will continue to do: He will finish what He has started. We will lack absolutely nothing, with Jesus guiding us through our lives.

God is helping us in our adversity to lack absolutely nothing. This is an important component to grabbing ahold of Jeremiah 29:11 in our lives. God has a plan, but often His plan involves growing pains. Teleios, the Greek word for this kind of “perfection,” actually means “full grown.”

In this light, trials can help “make us” – so to speak. I don’t enjoy trials in the least bit, but the growth experienced makes it worth the messy ride.

In our trials, we still have a hope that has been in place every single day of our lives. We are given hope through Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior through His death and resurrection!

Some good questions to ask on this spiritual growth include – “In your trials, how have…”

  1. you noticed God is bringing you closer to the likeness of Christ and further away from the person you were before coming to Jesus?
  2. you felt like you were lacking? Bring it to God right now. Arm yourself with Scriptures that speak truth to your circumstances.
  3. the trials brought you closer to experiencing growth?
  4. you experienced God’s strengthening you through His Word?

Activity

Write out Romans 5:35, and focus on those things this week.

**All definitions were found using the Strong’s Concordance.**
http://www.biblestudytools.com/interlinear-bible/