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 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 4: The Ultimate Goal – Part 1

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God (1 Thess. 4:3-5, NIV)

A lot of what gets us in trouble is – we go looking for that captivating love in all the wrong places. We will look for it, even in sexuality. We chase the One Thing that will make us feel loved and full, rather than rejected and unbelievably empty. But often times, we forget that… God is the One who takes away the emptiness, and causes our hearts to leap with satisfaction as we dwell in His Word and Presence.

Finding Wholeness in God and His Word

Before we can worry about anything else, we need to come to a place where we meet Jesus Christ for ourselves. He is the One who wants to make us whole and keep us satisfied.

In God’s Word, we meet boundaries, or commands, because. . . God wants to keep us safe from harm and close to Him. He is the One who has lovingly pursued us, and invites us to seek Him for ourselves.

We can find rest and satisfaction, when we stop searching elsewhere for the treasures we can find in Him.

God’s Word is Significant!

As we read these words, let us remember that God’s Word is significant.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).”

If we want to be made complete by God and equipped for whatever God is calling us toward, we have to be willing to listen to Him.

Understanding God’s Authority

Understanding God’s authority is something we have to do, before we can hear what is coming next in 1 Thessalonians –

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus (vv. 1-2, ESV).

Before we are given our command, we are reminded that God is the ultimate authority in our lives. He is more important than our parents or the president of our homeland. Now this doesn’t mean we ignore those placed in authority over us (parents, president, etc), but it does mean we need to respect and obey the Lord our great God!

Understanding God’s authority of our lives is likely a bigger issue than “hearing” what God has told us to do. If we don’t trust someone’s authority, it affects how we take their commands. Growing in submission to God, means knowing and accepting God’s authority in our lives.

If we are unable to trust who God is, how can we effectively listen for His Voice and honor what He has instructed us to do?

While I have much more to say on this passage of Scripture, I have just one last thing to say for tonight…

Until next time,

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Updates

ONE Week Away – Meeting the Thessalonians

Friends, Our study is only one week away! I am excited to share this journey with you all! The study of “Meeting the Thessalonians” has been such a rich time of worship, that has led me closer to God. Honestly, God has used this study to prepare my heart and mind for the season He is allowing me to enter into. I am eternally thankful for this time of study, and that I have been able to daily commit myself to taking the time to scripture write 1 Thessalonians. As I conclude my last week of 1 Thessalonians for this study, I am thankful for this time of preparation for our study together.

God knew it was exactly what I needed. So now, I invite you, dear friend, to join me in “Meeting the Thessalonians”. This is where God is going to meet us and speak tenderly to our hearts – no matter what we are facing in our daily lives. No matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in.

Honestly, life has been tough for me lately. There was even a millisecond of hesitation of switching the study date. Fear not journal lovers (if there are any of you out there), we are pressing on and going to begin our study in one week!

While there is a lot of things I am currently facing, I also have a lot of things on my heart and mind that I believe God is leading me to share with my fellow bloggers and readers. But this study isn’t solely for me, it is for you too. God has a specific word He wants to share with you personally! God wants to meet you right where you are, even if your life seems like mine – a big mess.

Even in the mess, God wants to show us Himself. He wants to reveal Himself to us, even in times like now where life is far from perfect. These are the exact moments, where we need to draw nearer to Him. We need to experience the faithfulness and presence of our great God!

With all that said, I hope you will consider joining me for our study. “Meeting the Thessalonians” is our nine week Bible study. There will be something for each of us to read, during the weekdays. We will meet back here, during the week to grow and learn together.

As a way to prepare ourselves for this study, I advise grabbing the journal. If you can afford it, please consider purchasing the official “Meeting the Thessalonians” journal. It helps to support this blog, plus all new format to help us gain a better quiet time. The new format will be utilized in all upcoming studies. I wasn’t able to afford the journal this time around, but I am looking forward to getting one of the future ones. They look really good, and helpful to move me in the right direction in growing spiritually.

Whether you use the journal or a notebook, you will have all you need to enter into this study with confidence that you will abound in your faith and relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ!

We begin January 29, 2017. Get ready, my friends, for you are going to love all that God will show you during this time of spiritual worship!

You can find the Thessalonians reading plan, by clicking here.

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The Overcomer Life

Slow Down // Trusting Him

These days, I am learning the benefit of slowly studying God’s Word. Verse – by – Verse. Slowly digesting the good news God wants to share with us. Slowing down allows us to take it all in. Including its delight and joy, too.

This is the way we study right here on Gracefully Overcoming, so we can get the most out of our time in the Word. It begun with the book of Ephesians this past summer, and recently we studied Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus in a like manner. Absolute joy! These studies are helping me grow spiritually in abounding ways. I am ready for what awaits us in January (even though I am still hammering down the details)!

Slowing down to meaningfully engage in God’s Word is becoming so important to me. I want to exchange rushing and long reading plans (which work for many people, but my overwhelmed soul needs a slower pace), for the delight, love, nourishment, and healing found in Jesus’ short messages. So, I can become a doer of His Word.

I have been considering the studies I want to pursue for 2017. There are many good things we can study, my friends. We simply need to remember to let it be a vehicle taking us right into His presence. At times, we seem prone to busyness like a bad cold- even in our quiet times with Jesus. To enjoy His presence, let yourself slow down. Escape the urge to stay busy. Becoming more of a Mary than a Martha.

Take God’s Word one small bite at a time. Deliberately, taking our time to graze and delight in the Lord. So, we can get the most out of our time and relationship with God and His powerful Word. This is the place, where real life transformation happens!


Today, I want for us to look at a specific concept. We call it, “trust”. God commands us to place our trust in Him. We need to slow it down, and learn to develop this kind of trust in the Lord.

How are we putting our trust in the Lord, for the choices we make today?

In the Bible, we are taught to trust. Throughout God’s entire Word, there is one word that can be used to define our relationship with God. It is just this, trust. We are taught to trust God.

In Proverbs 3:5-6, we are reminded that trusting God is of greater value to us than any level of understanding we could ever have.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Psalm 37:3-7a talks about trusting the Lord, too. But, this specific passage, Proverbs 3:5-6, is the one God has laid upon my heart. It is the one I am trying to remember, as I make difficult choices. I want to learn what it means to trust God, so He can be the one in charge of my life.

Take-Away: Trusting God is a deliberate action. Consider your own acts of trusting God, and bring it to Him in prayer.

~ Stacey