Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15

Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15)

Paul is writing to the Thessalonian church and in these verses here is finishing up the letter.  Like most of his letters to the various churches he helped to plant, he would finish his letters by encouraging and exhorting them to continue to do good and to follow Jesus.  Here is no exception.  Paul gave some practical applications to what he had shared with them throughout the letter and encouraged them to keep on being faithful.

He wanted the believers to encourage and give recognition to those who were leading them, their pastors and elders.  It is a tough job to minister and tend the flock and Paul wanted the people to acknowledge that and care for those in charge.  He wanted the believers to be at peace and to be agents of that to the world.  He wanted them to exhort, to comfort, to help, to be patient, and to pursue good.

We live very much in a time where it seems the discouraged aren’t being comforted, that the weak aren’t being helped, that there is no patience with people, that evil is being repaid with evil.  That should not be so with followers of Jesus.  We are called to love one another,especially fellow Christians.  We are called to be the light of the world, to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.  We are to be different in a way that stands out and points people to Jesus.

It is hard sometimes…a lot of the times to keep pursuing what is good.  It is hard when there is discouragement everywhere.  When God is mocked or hated and His people despised.  However, we are called to be faithful in continuing to do good, to seek justice and mercy, to show grace to one another, to love one another, to call out sin and to repent.  Let us keep doing just that.  Let us lean on Christ and keep pursuing good and being faithful to the calling that God has for us.

 

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Thursday Quote Day: G.K. Chesterton

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features another quote from writer and theologian G.K. Chesterton:

“Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness.”  (G.K. Chesterton)

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 24

“The earth and everything in it,
the world and its inhabitants,
belong to the Lord;
for He laid its foundation on the seas
and established it on the rivers.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in His holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not set his mind on what is false,
and who has not sworn deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord,
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek Him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.Selah

Lift up your heads, you gates!
Rise up, ancient doors!
Then the King of glory will come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates!
Rise up, ancient doors!
Then the King of glory will come in.
Who is He, this King of glory?
The Lord of Hosts,
He is the King of glory.Selah”

This psalm that David wrote poses one of the most important questions to be asked “Who is He, this King of glory?”  This is a question that we must all ask.  Who is God?  He is the King of glory.  he is the one that is strong and mighty.  He is the one who is mighty in battle.  He is the one who brings salvation.  He is the one who rules over the Earth and its inhabitants.

The Lord is worthy of honor and glory because of who He is and what He’s done.  He is the King of glory.  There are a lot of things that try to vie for our worship and praise but He is the only one worthy to receive it.  This week let us fix our eyes on Him.  Let us give thanks and honor Him.  And let us share the good news of all that He is done with those around us.

Updated 2017 Book List

Here is the updated book list for this year:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed The Movies by Mark Clark

Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of the Monsters by Brian Solomon

Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier

What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 40

“I waited patiently for the Lord,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
He brought me up from a desolate pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

How happy is the man
who has put his trust in the Lord
and has not turned to the proud
or to those who run after lies!
Lord my God, You have done many things—
Your wonderful works and Your plans for us;
none can compare with You.
If I were to report and speak of them,
they are more than can be told.

You do not delight in sacrifice and offering;
You open my ears to listen.
You do not ask for a whole burnt offering or a sin offering.
Then I said, “See, I have come;
it is written about me in the volume of the scroll.
I delight to do Your will, my God;
Your instruction lives within me.”

I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
see, I do not keep my mouth closed—
as You know, Lord.
I did not hide Your righteousness in my heart;
I spoke about Your faithfulness and salvation;
I did not conceal Your constant love and truth
from the great assembly.

Lord, do not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your constant love and truth will always guard me.
For troubles without number have surrounded me;
my sins have overtaken me; I am unable to see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my courage leaves me.
Lord, be pleased to deliver me;
hurry to help me, Lord.

Let those who seek to take my life
be disgraced and confounded.
Let those who wish me harm
be driven back and humiliated.
Let those who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
be horrified because of their shame.

Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
let those who love Your salvation continually say,
“The Lord is great!”
I am afflicted and needy;
the Lord thinks of me.
You are my helper and my deliverer;
my God, do not delay.”  (Psalm 40)

In the midst of such suffering and pain that we are experiencing during these troubled times, it is important to remember that this is nothing new.  The world has dealt with tremendous pain and sorrow because of this being a fallen world.  David knew of this pain during his life.  Yet he trusted in the Lord to help deliver him.

David knew that that Lord was trustworthy.  He knew that the Lord would bring hope and salvation.  So he waited for the Lord to deliver.  Waiting is hard especially when the hurt is so great.  Yet we are called to wait on the Lord and put our trust in Him.  The good thing is that trust is not unfulfilled.  God is faithful.

This week, let us hope and trust in the Lord, even in the roughest and toughest of circumstances.  Let us wait on Him and trust He will deliver.

Thursday Quote Day: Charles Spurgeon

Here is another quote from pastor and theologian Charles Spurgeon:

“There is a time appointed for weakness and sickness, when we shall have to glorify God by suffering, and not by earnest activity…The path of trouble is the way home.  Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!” (Charles Spurgeon)