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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Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

At the end of his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul shared some simple encouragements to them.  Some of them are the words that are in these verses.  They are pretty simple yet greatly profound.

As believers, we are to rejoice, pray and give thanks.  We’re to do those things always, without ceasing and in all circumstances.  We’re able do these because of Jesus.  He’s the one that gives us reasons to rejoice always.  He’s the one who gives us access to the Father to pray without ceasing.  He’s the one who blesses us so much that makes us so thankful through all circumstances.

This week, let us rejoice, let us pray and let us give thanks.  We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to rejoice and we get to share that with our Heavenly Father.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Believers have hope.  We have hope because of Jesus.  Jesus died and rose again.  We have the hope to look forward to that death is not the end.  We can grieve but we can grieve with hope.

Paul wanted to encourage the Thessalonians with these words.  We also can be encouraged by these words.  This week, encourage one another with the good news of Jesus.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

“Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13)

This passage was a prayer that Paul shared with the Thessalonians.  Paul would pray this regularly on behalf of the Thessalonian church.  The prayer had three points.  First, Paul prayed that God would allow him and Silas and Timothy to return to visit the Thessalonians.  That God would “direct our way to you”.  He had been hindered up to this point in writing the letter to return so he prayed that God would open a way and lead them back.

Second, Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would “increase and abound in love for one another and for all”.  They were known for their faithfulness and love for God and for others.  Paul wanted them to continue to grow in that and abound in it so that they can continue to do it.

Third, Paul prayed that God would “establish your hearts blameless”.  God is only one who is able to forgive us our sins (through the work of Jesus on the cross).  When we repent and confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness as John wrote in 1 John.  Paul cared about the Thessalonians and wanted them to be following Jesus faithfully.

This week, let us pray this prayer for our community and those around us.  Let us show the love of Christ to those around us.  And let us be faithful to follow Jesus with everything we have.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

“For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.  You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.  For you know how, like a father with his children,  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.”  (1 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Paul loved the Thessalonians.  The brief time he was in the city, he worked hard and loved on the people there.  They bore witness to the work that Paul and Silas did in sharing the Good News and making disciples.  And he wanted them to follow in his footsteps.  He cared for them like a father to his children.

Let us this week care for those around us like that.  Let us work hard and love on the people around us.  Let us share the Good News and be about making disciples and encouraging others to do the same.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10

“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.  For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10)

The Thessalonian church made an impact.  They received the Gospel from Paul and accepted it.  Not only did they accept it, they shared it as well.  They became “an example” as Paul mentions in his letter to all the believers in the region.  People throughout Macedonia and Achaia knew of the work and the faith that the Thessalonians had.  They were faithful in the Gospel.  They were strong believers in Jesus Christ.  They were persevering through persecution.

This week, let us be like the Thessalonians.  Let us love others with the love of Christ.  Let us go out and share all that Jesus has done for us.  At let us persevere in serving and loving God with all we are.