Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gems from the Book of Thessalonians

I just realized I had written this back in 2014 and hadn't published it so that's why it's going up today :) Enjoy these gems! ♡

This first week after gathering about 100 ladies together through 4 Bible study groups, my challenge to them was to read through the book of Thessalonians for their homework and to choose a verse or two or a number of them, that spoke to them. I've been thinking about the verses that jump out at me and that have come to mean a lot to me from journeying through this study over the summer. I've often listened to this book over CD while driving in my car and of course every time a different verse speaks to me. That's what I love about God's Word...it's alive and active and no matter how many times you hear the same verse, it can speak to you differently each time, depending on the circumstances of your life/day at that moment you're hearing or reading it. :) So I'd like to share with you a few of the different verses/passages that have jumped out at, grabbed me, spoken to me at different times.

"We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Thess. 1:1
I imagine writing this to all the women who've been in Bible study with me over the years, who I've spoken to at different ladies retreats and conferences, who have attended church with me...and this is how I want to be addressed as well....to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

"2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ." 
AMEN! This is how I feel towards women who've been a part of my life through Bible study, etc. and also some men who are passionate followers of God too...and this is also how I want to be known as. ♥

"We know, dear brothers and sisters,[b] that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people."
I'm not getting very far yet :)  but I LOVE the fact that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people!! That's me! That's you! As followers of Christ, you have been chosen and are loved greatly!!

"6 So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you."
No matter what our circumstances are, to receive the message of the Gospel with JOY in spite of the suffering it may bring us....THAT is the place I want to be at! I pray you do too!!

"You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters,[a] that our visit to you was not a failure. You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition."  1 Thess 2:1-2
When we speak to others about Christ, it's such a blessing to know that our visit with them was not a failure! Even though Paul and Silas were treated badly at Philippi and suffered there, they still had courage from God to declare His Good News to the Thessalonians boldy in spite of the opposition. Oh Lord that's the courage I so desire....no matter how critical people are, please give me boldness and courage to share Your Word no matter what!  Such an encouraging passage of Scripture!

"For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts."  chapter 2
I too am a messenger approved by God, entrusted by God, called by God, equipped by God. My purpose is to please God not people. That's often easier said than done. Knowing that it's Him who examines the motives of my heart keeps me from staying on a deceitful or manipulative path for too long and I love how His Spirit nudges me to repentance from a wrong attitude or motive and bring me back to the right path with Him. ♥

"We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too."
I love you too much to not share the Gospel with you! ♥ I heard it said just the other day that friends don't let friends go to Hell. Some may see it as a drastic statement but it's true. How much do we care? So often we're/I'm too afraid of offending someone so I don't say anything, but is that the right thing to do? Paul loved others so much that he was constantly bold in sharing God's Good News with others, and sharing his own life with them too. That's again how I want to be. :)

"11 And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. 12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory."
There are times when my children and even my hubby, or other people around me, feel I'm being to forceful or pressuring too much. I try not to but the thought of them not being passionate for living for God frightens me to no end. And when I meet women/people everyday, I feel the same way. Oh how I desire every person I meet to be in a passionate committed relationship with Jesus Christ! 

"19 After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! 20 Yes, you are our pride and joy."
Again, it gives me such joy to share with others about the reward it gives me to journey through a Bible study with others and to see the growth and passion in them in following the Lord. To tell God what joy your desire to follow Him brings to me and the prayers that are answered...well there's just nothing like it! I love Bible study and I love every woman who God brings to me through it! ♥

"12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows."
Love is what conquers all things, does it not? I've been on a journey to love in a greater way and when I've reached the point where I don't think I can love anymore, God gives me more love. I could not do it on my own. With His love flowing into me, I can't help but pour it out to others. But there's definitely times when the enemy tries to hinder that and pushes my all too human tendencies to quench that love and to keep me from loving others by showing me all their faults and flaws and wanting me to focus on those instead of on God's love. God forgive me. Oh He is so gracious and forgiving and merciful and loving! ♥

"13 May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen."   1 Thess 3:13
This is my prayer for every woman that crosses my path through Bible study or retreats or conferences...and for my children too. ♥

"Finally, dear brothers and sisters,[a] we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God..."  1 Thess 4:1
This is the only way to live and I wish more people got it!! At times I feel such an urgency in my heart/mind to try to make people get it...but I know I can't. I have to rely on the Holy Spirit to change people's hearts. I am simply a tool to plant the seeds and to pray for people. God knows where a person's heart is at and what it will take for them to change, I don't. But living in a way that pleases God is the most fulfilling life to live.

"God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body[b] and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways."  chapter 4
Our world is running rampant with sexual sin in every conceivable way possible. With social media, TV, movies, videos...our minds are becoming more and more desensitized and more acceptable. Lord PLEASE help us to see the error of all these ways and to seek purity in every aspect of our sexual lives. Protect our children! May we seek purity with everything we've got! How things were in Paul's day with all the sexual immorality, it is no different today...the only difference is we have far more access to it through social media than we ever have before.

"13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died[f] so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.[g] 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died[h] will rise from their graves.17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words."   chapter 4
I think these are some of my favorite verses in the whole Bible! What HOPE! The most ultimate hope that we could ever have! Oh thank You Jesus!!  Some day I'M GONNA FLYYYYYY!! Whoohoo! ♥

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