Thessalonians

Week 4: Prepare For An Energetic Week!

Few things get to me like this topic, as far the church life goes. Welcome, I am your “equally messed up” tour guide. I cannot help but read 1 Thessalonians 4, and be reminded of the ways the Church is… far from where we could be. I love the global church; we are the beloved body of Christ. His bride. His treasure.

Yet we settle for so little, when God wants to lead us to much more – even in this life before we reach Heaven and all its glory.

My Honest Heart Struggle

I made it my mission to go through “Meeting the Thessalonians” before this course was set to begin, which I mostly was able to. I can honestly say, week 4 was without any doubt one of the most difficult weeks. While I had weeks of surprising affliction that made it hard to reach for my Bible and notebook, this week has challenged me greatly based on the content in 1 Thessalonians 4.

It touched me at my core, as a single woman. Some excitement. Erm, much frustration. Plenty of moments, where I was reminded of where I want to be as part of the Church.

Join Me!

I invite you in joining me for the reading of God’s Word, where we will hear God speak in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

As a single woman, I am bombarded with temptation – often. I am not alone in this struggle, though. I know, many readers are right there with me.

This passage of Scripture is important for all believers, regardless of our relationship status.

As we take the time to focus our attention on our Lord Jesus Christ, He will work in our midst. While we may face many temptations and struggles in this area, we are not alone. Girls and Guys, you are not alone. I am looking forward to the chance of going through this passage of Scripture together.

This week’s blogging might look drastically differently than the past three weeks have been. Because this passage of Scripture is of such great importance to me, I want to try and pop in whenever I can – to share my thoughts on a particular verse or share a quote from a Bible commentary. This week, in terms of blog posts, might look crazy different than this past week. Or, it might look exactly the same. Only the Good Lord knows!

We simply have to wait and see what God decides to do, because this is His blog.

I may have many passionate things to say, and He may have to offer a strong, yet gentile, reminder of “No Stacey, you cannot write that. It is not useful to build up others in the Church.” (I actually have a good set of moments like this. I, too, am a work in process. . .)

Whatever happens on the blog or your personal study this week, keep digging into God’s Word! I am excited to see what God shows us. Here is the reading plan for this week.

Until next time,

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BookLook

“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.

 

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).

Thessalonians

Week 1: Friday Five (1 Thess. 1:1-2:6)

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 1:1-2:6. . .

(1)  Our prayer lives are to be the strongest aspect of the Christian life (see 1:2-3). One of the more noteworthy aspects of this section of Scripture is their prayer lives. These were men who knew the significance of the need to praise and pray to the Father. If we want to grow as believers in Jesus Christ, we would be wise to take cues from their example –

We always thank God for all of you. We keep on praying for you. We remember you when we pray to our God and Father. Your work is produced by your faith. Your service is the result of your love. Your strength to continue comes from your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1:2-3, NIRV).

(2) God dearly loves us, and has chosen to call us His own (1:4). The most important form of love comes from our heavenly Father. We have been hand-picked by Him and passionately loved. Because of the way God loves us, we know that we will never have to walk alone. God, our Creator, is the One who walks with us – even carrying us, as we face difficult days in our lives. We need to keep our eyes focused on the One who loves us more than any other ever could!

(3) Our faith rests in our Lord Jesus Christ, and is transformative (see 1:6, 9-10). The Thessalonians’ lives were changed from the moment they first heard the Gospel and chose to believe. They put all their heart, soul, and mind into what they believed to be true about Jesus. They never half-heartedly believed, but the way they trusted Jesus showed up in every aspect of their lives.

. . . They tell about how you turned away from statues of gods. And you turned to serve the living and true God. They tell about how you are waiting for his Son to come from heaven. God raised him from the dead. He is Jesus. He saves us from God’s anger, and his anger is sure to come (1:9b-10).

(4) Our actions will change, in light of faith (see 1:10). As we gaze at the way the Thessalonians’ lives were changed by their beliefs in Christ, we can be encouraged that our lives can experience the same kind of transformation. As we place our faith in Jesus Christ, and no other, our lives can be radically changed.

(5) While our goal is to please God, not people, our faith-filled lives causes us to become examples of what it looks like to follow Jesus Christ (see 1:7-8, 2:4-6). Before we can become examples ourselves, we must be taught. God has given us Christ-centered people in whom we can see how they lived out their faith. Paul called people to imitate him, as he imitated Christ. He taught with his words, but as well as his very life.

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1, NIV).

As we follow our Lord Jesus in faith, we are given many others who show us how to trust Jesus as the Lord of our lives. These people help us learn what it means to have faith in Jesus and allow it to alter the choices we make. As we grow, we are gifted the opportunity to entrust others with what we have been taught. It is a continual gift to others in the church.

 

Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus

I Need Thee Every Hour {{Week 9}}

Tonight my heart is heavy, but in prayer. As you all probably know, this week is a fairly big week for those in the States between presidential election and terrorist threats. I have to remember God is still on the throne! And, we all need Jesus. We all need God to be on our side. This happens through one way – trusting Jesus Christ to be King of our lives!

While we are all unworthy of God’s overflowing love and grace, this is the gift we have received in abundance. This is the Good News we need to hear over and over again.

 In the Bible, we are reminded of one who we could deem as “unworthy” of the Gospel – yet God saved him while he was on his way to attack the Church. Apostle Paul was indeed a terrorist (see Acts 8:3, 9:1-31). But, he was a terrorist whose heart was changed as the Holy Spirit worked in his life. I am reminded of the amazing power of God tonight!

This is the Good News of Jesus Christ that we live and breathe for. Jesus can save us and completely change the direction of our lives for all eternity and the here-and-now. Jesus went to the cross and rose again on our behalf. To bring us to God in a right standing relationship and to give us brand new life.

How are you seeking this brand new life
God wants to give you, through His Son Jesus?

The Scriptures – Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:6; Psalm 16:11

“Enter God’s kingdom through the narrow gate. The gate is large and the road is wide that leads to ruin. Many people go that way. But the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to life. Only a few people find it (Matthew 7:13-14, NIRV).”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).”

“You always show me the path of life. You will fill me with joy when I am with you. You will make me happy forever at your right hand (Psalm 16:11).”

Life is found in Jesus Christ, and Him alone. There is no other way to God the Father. Jesus is the only way. Our good works will never be enough to erase all (or any for that matter) of our evil deeds and disobedience to God.

… But, Jesus promises to be more than enough.
He is the Way to God.
He is the Way to life and joy, too!

While we have become enemies of God by our actions and disobedience to God, we can be given His glorious life and joy too. If we will choose to accept His Son Jesus Christ into our lives. Jesus went to the cross on our behalf, to give us new life through His resurrection. Our new lives must begin with Jesus Christ. Jesus has many promises He wants to fulfill in our lives. And unlike this world, Jesus does what He promises to do. All we have to do is come!

How can you enjoy Jesus more this week?

Lord Jesus, teach me that You are the Source of life! Help me to hold tightly to You. You are the King of the world! Be also the King of my heart and life. Amen.

See Matthew 10:28-31