Thessalonians

Week 8: 2 Thess. 2:15 {Stand Firm, My Friends}

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15, NIV). 

I have this week’s memory verse posted in several places of our home. It has continued to serve me with the needed reminder to stand firm and hold fast to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Even though I finished week 8 many weeks ago, I haven’t been able to take it down.

It has provided necessary encouragement, throughout the difficult days, when giving up seems tempting.

Stand firm literally means to keep one standing. In order to stand our ground, we must remember the hope we have found in Jesus Christ. We cannot allow circumstances to cause us to waiver either to the left or right, if God has called us to a specific thing. Let’s trust Him and obey Him in that specific thing.

In order to persist, we need to remember Jesus Christ’s word – which has lovingly been given to us. While in the Bible we are taught many things about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the life He is lovingly calling us too, this is where the Holy Spirit steps in. In many different scenarios I cannot tell you what God is calling you to do, but God definitely is able to do exceedingly more than you could ever ask Him to do.

He promises us wisdom when we ask for it, gives us the resolve to stand strong, and helps us to continue on. A message we all, including me, need to hear – because we can get weary at times. God is calling us to stand strong in our faith. It is impossible to do this, when we are not allowing ourselves the necessary time spent in His presence and reading our Bible.

Keep listening for His voice, as you persevere and seek Him above all things.

This is definitely one truth we need to hold close to our heart, as we seek to live out the truths we learn in the Thessalonians.

See Psalm 46:1; Proverbs 3:5-6; Eph. 3:20; James 1:5

Thessalonians

Week 7: Friday Five (2 Thess. 1)

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 2 Thessalonians 1

(1) As we continue to follow Jesus Christ, we are kept safe (1:1). This is perhaps one of the greatest treasures I have found. As a woman, I crave protection. So to know that my Jesus, my King, is protecting me and keeping me safe – is comforting beyond words! It makes me okay with the difficult days, when I stop long enough to realize I am being protected and kept safe by the King of Kings!

. . . To: The church of Thessalonica—kept safe in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1, TLB).

(2) We are given rich blessings, which are found through our relationship with Jesus (1:2). In my digital Bible, it is translated a bit differently which helps to understand the Bible more clearly. Because of God the Father and our Lord Jesus, we have been given rich blessings and peace-filled hearts and minds (1:2b, TLB).

Does it get any better? In the world we live in, peace – filled hearts and minds are one of the greatest gifts we can be given. In a day where our minds and hearts run like they are on a treadmill all night long, the peace Jesus gives is enduring and ever-loving!

(3) We have the opportunity to do three specific things based on the knowledge of those God has placed in our path, who continue to be an encouragement to our faith (1:3-4). We can pray for them, share with others about lessons we are learning through their example, and give thanks.

Each of these things are growing points for me. I believe they are for each of us. We live in a “me first” world, which causes us to forget or neglect others, their faith, and the privilege of praying for them or sharing things we learn through their example.

(4) God can use our sufferings to make us ready for His Kingdom (1:5-6). This set of verses will cause us to give James 1 a second chance, where we are urged to count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV).

We need to trust that God will use our sufferings for His ultimate good. He is preparing us for something greater. His Kingdom is worthy of our suffering (see Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:18).

(5) As we face suffering, God will provide us with quality rest through Jesus’ second coming (1:7, 10). As we come into His Kingdom, we will forever know God as He honestly is – with no holding back. 

One day, we will stand in His presence and will never again be distracted by the circumstances we are facing or the things of this world. We will stand in His presence in utter awe and overwhelmed with joy. We will be fully satisfied in the Lord.

Thessalonians

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!

Thessalonians

Week 5: 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Hey friends!

While it has been a few rough days, I wanted to try and remind us of our goals for this week.

  1. To read and study 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:8 (click for reading schedule).
  2. To take time to get away and enjoy this week’s memory verse.

As you begin this week’s study of 1 Thessalonians, remember to just go at your own pace and focus on your relationship with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. We have been beautifully redeemed, and it is all about our relationship with Him!

Memory Verse in Context

The goal of memorizing Scripture is simple: to recite aloud, meditate on from our perspective, and allow the verse to become stored in our hearts. The results of such an action is applying it to our lives like we would apply medicine to a wound. Healing is the result, as we are changed by God’s Word.

6 So, then, let’s not go to sleep, like the others, but let’s keep awake and stay sober.  7 People who sleep, you see, sleep at night. People who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But we daytime people should be self-controlled, clothing ourselves with the breastplate of faith and love, and with the helmet of the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8, NTE). . .

Some Thoughts

Most of the time, we can find it difficult to stand firm in our faith and making sure we are living as children of light (following Jesus). This is why we need the truth of 1 Thessalonians 5:6. We need to remember to stand firm, because it is crucial for our relationship with God through Jesus Christ – our Beloved Savior!

Drawing near to God and standing firm are the things growing our faith, so we need to examine ourselves. When we stand firm, we will draw near to God; And when we draw near to God, we will stand firm.

As we remember about these two desperately needed spiritual disciplines, I am reminded that God has set us apart for Him and His glory. Throughout Scriptures, we are reminded to stand firm. However it is easy to slip up and forget about our set apart lifestyle, when surrounded by temptation. It’s easy to believe the lie that we can fit in with the world, while calling ourselves a child of God. This is also why our time with God crucial.

Many today call themselves a “Christian,” while living for the world and its sinful pleasures rather than drawing near to God and running to His goodness. The lines have been blurred for what has been taught to us as black and white. How can this be, my brethren?

As we draw near to God through prayer and Bible study, we learn the truth and God shows us how to stand firm. We don’t have to give into the things of this world and/or make excuses for it. God wants to show us how to have an immovable faith. We just have to keep drawing near and hold our ground in keeping Jesus first. God wants to show us how to live as people who believe to Him and operate by faith.

Vigilance is not a zealous attempt to read “the signs of the times.” Rather, it is a life lived in faithfulness. . . The alert Christian will be fully armed with faith, love, and the hope of salvation (Asbury Commentary).

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!