(1 Thessalonians 1-3)

1Thessalonians 2:12 ESV we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

My son entered a competition to show cows this year. For a while he had been out almost every afternoon at a friend’s house walking a cow. He’d learned all sorts of tricks and maneuvers to get the cow to go where it is supposed to go and do what it was supposed to do. Yet when the day of the show arrived, he got nervous and he wasn’t sure he could pull it off. I pulled him to the side and encouraged him to get in there and give it his best that every day he’d been walking and training the cow, he was also being trained on how to show a cow. Once the show got going he calmed down and did great… I wish I could have had the same talk with the cow. Someone forgot to tell her that she was a show cow and that she’d been training for this for months.

Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he was like a father to them. He was always exhorting, encouraging and charging them to glorify God in how they lived their life. They had been saved from a pagan lifestyle of idolatry. They started following Christ and put their old live in the rear view mirror. Like all of us, that didn’t stop them from having a little self doubt from time to time. There was a temptation to quit or give up, but Paul pressed them to walk worthy of God…. They needed to be reminded of who they were and whose they were.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a new creation. You aren’t your old self anymore. You don’t have to stay in a pattern of sinful habits. You don’t need to make excuses or rationalize that you can’t change or this is just the way you are. You have been called to walk worthy of God and you are able to do that because of the work of God in your life. We all need reminded of that from time to time and we need folks in our corner exhorting, encouraging and challenging us. Who does that for you? Who do you do that for?

Father, thank you for the promise that if we are in you, we are a new creation. By your grace today, let us walk and talk as new creations. I pray that we would walk in the victory that you have provided. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Last Year’s Post

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

Day 65: 1 Thessalonians 4-5 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 Thessalonians 4-5 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers to maintain sexual purity as their calling in Christ. It is amazing how often the scripture speaks to a Christian sexual ethic and yet there are several in the church even who dismiss it or try to insist the scriptures teach something else. Paul reminds not only the Thessalonians, but those reading now as well, that we were called to holiness (4:7). We’ll be covering this issue this week at Little Escambia as we continue studying the Ten Commandments and study the command to not commit adultery.

Weeks before I was diagnosed with an infection inside of my heart I was inclined to believe that I was dying. I can’t explain why I thought or felt that way, only to say that I was very fatigued and sick. When I felt that way, I kept going back to I Thessalonians 5:9-10 and it brought me immense comfort in the middle of my physical trials.  Paul’s words here are comforting to the Thessalonian believers (4:18) in a similar way, as they had asked about those who had already died in Christ (4:13).

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is the bread and butter of a daily walk with Christ. I can quite skeptical sometimes and I needed this reminder to “rejoice always” (5:16). God is always at work, even when I can’t see it and that is worth rejoicing over. We are to always be praying (5:17). I am continuing to develop a habit of praying for people as I see them and talk with them and engaging the Lord in Prayer all through the day. We are to give thanks in all things (5:18). I don’t know about you, but I constantly need this reminder. As I’ve said before, I can be quite the skeptic and negative in my head. One practice that has really helped me in the last few years is to reflect back about what I have to be thankful for and thank the Lord at the end of each day.

FATHER, We pray that we would live holy lives set apart to you. Help us to maintain ethical standards that you put forth in your word. I pray that we would believe that you know what is best and that we would stand firm in your word when the world attempts to convince us to abandon truth. We rejoice always, knowing that we have been given more in Christ than we can possibly celebrate. Teach us to pray without ceasing that ever thought would be taken captive and you would be exaulted even in our thoughts. Thanks you for the abundance of gifts big and small that are ours in Christ. Help us to find gratitude and be grateful even in the most trying times of life. Thank you for the grace to lead your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

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Day 64: 1 Thessalonians 1-3 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 Thessalonians 1-3 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

We find Paul caring for, and praying for, this church often (1:2-3, 2:13).  They had ministered to him after he had been run out of Phillipi ( 2:2) and they received the Word of God with zeal (2:13). Paul and his traveling companions weren’t able to stay there long and had wanted to come back and see the progress of the Thessalonian church (2:17-18). They had later encountered persecution and Paul was anxious to see how the young church was doing. He sent Timothy to check on the Thessalonian saints and encourage them. When Timothy returned back to Paul he had a great report to share about the progress of their faith (3:1-10).  

In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, the Apostle Paul writes, “We were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become dear to us.”

I am reminded of the love and warmth that is shared between pastor and the flock. I have been blessed to serve three different congregations over the past 22 years. There comes a point as a pastor that the line between obligation and love is blurred.  There are moments, especially early on in ministry where I have labored to visit the sick, counsel the hurting, and minister among the broken, because it was an obligation (first to God and second to the people who had confirmed God’s call).  Then there came the moment when I showed up to the hospital for someone, not because it was an obligation (part of the job), but because of the genuine love and care for them. The sense of obligation has been replaced with a genuine love.

You can tell as you read though 1 Thessalonians that the Apostle Paul has a genuine affection for the people of this church.  He longs for their good. He wants to observe their faith firsthand and he writes to answer their questions and encourage them. A genuine love for God will always overflow into a love for his people.

FATHER, Thank you for the church. We are grateful for our brothers and sisters in Christ and how their walk with you encourages us. We are thankful that we get the benefit of ministering to one another, not just out of an obligation, but out of a sense of love. We rejoice to hear when others are doing well in the faith. Thank you for the grace of minister with a church that loves you and loves others well. Thank you for the grace of shepherding your flock. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

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