Category Archives: I Thessalonians

Where does my help come from?

“We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.”  1 Thessalonians 2:2.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Matthew 28, and 1 Thessalonians 1-3.

Paul had plenty of reasons NOT to share the Good News with people.

I do not suffer for my faith.  Why not?  I keep my faith to myself.  I don’t take my faith to places where there would be opposition.

Paul wasn’t like either of those.  He had suffered and yet he persisted in bringing the Gospel to the hostile.

How was Paul able to do this?  Let me hoist this phrase out of today’s verse: “but with the help of our God.”  There’s the key and there is no other.

Paul knew that he needed God’s help and he sought it regularly.  That’s where I, and possibly some readers, differ from Paul; our reliance on God isn’t what it needs to be.

We want to be courageous for Him.  We want others to at least hear the news, but we are likely to be filled with our own limited strength.  We are then limited in what we can do for Him!

My life must be one of seeking Him and finding Him.  Of knowing that in Him I can do what He wants.

“Lord, too often I serve myself and not You.  Forgive me for that folly.  I need You full-time.  Open me to You.  I give free rein to Your Holy Spirit in my life.  Take me over.  Forgive me for concentrating on what I can’t do rather than what I can do with Your help.  I need You now, Father.”

If I am filled with God I will be able to share the Gospel.

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How to live…….for believers

“And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia.  Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”  1 Thessalonians 4: 10-12.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 25-27, and 1 Thessalonians 4.

Plenty of good advice for believers from Paul in today’s chosen verses.

Each believer can examine their life in relation to these verses.  Some of us would say of one part, “That’s not my issue,” while for others might feel conviction.

Note that I write this blog from where I see myself spiritually and I am impacted by the phrase, “lead a quiet life.”  I have had life-long confidence issues.  A need to get things right.  A need to receive sincere praise for work done.  It is an ungodly drive for sure and it is not far from surfacing at any time.  The leading a quiet life phrase tells me to live for God’s “well done’s,” not those of humans.  God sees me in action.  God catches what I’m up to and my motivation.

I need to become uncomfortable when I’m seeking commendation.  I need to be uncomfortable when I receive commendation UNLESS I turn it back to God.

“Lord, forgive me for missing You in my lifestyle.  My ultimate drive must be to please You.  Forgive me for trying to draw praise from humans.  My goal must be to pursue praise from You.  Guide me in that direction, I beg.  I love You, Father.”

Paul gives some very clear lifestyle pointers for believers in today’s text.  We must be driven to get our life into His order!

+8 finally

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What does Satan do?

“For we wanted to come to you – certainly I, Paul, did, again and again – but Satan blocked our way.”  1 Thessalonians 1:18.

“Now Satan entered the scene and seduced David into taking a census of Israel.”  1 Chronicles 21:1 (Message).

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21, Psalm 30, and 1 Thessalonians 2.

What’s Satan like?

You get a pretty good picture in today’s chosen verses.

Note that Satan is working on two of the Bible’s best known characters: Paul and David.

It should not surprise us that we run into Satan in our own lives.

Another point is that Satan got his way with both Paul and David.  We are going to fail God.  Things are not always going to go the way we thought that they should.

The “easy” spiritual answer after reading these two verses is that both characters could have been Godlier.  Then Satan would have been cast aside.  Probably true in David’s case.  He was even advised by Joab not to go ahead with a census but he plowed ahead anyhow.

Paul, on the other hand, had other options as to where he could minister.  I believe that he wrote Thessalonians because he couldn’t physically go there.  God’s plan, no doubt.

My relationship must be tight to God so that I will know what He wants me to do and not do.  I cannot rely on my own intuition to get it right.  God’s Ways are elusive to the casual follower.

“Father, I need You every second.  Guide me, I beg.  Open doors.  Close doors.  I need not figure why.  I just want to be where You want me to be doing what You want me to do.  Direct me in that direction, I beg.  Thank You, Father.”

Do not ever underestimate Satan.

+9 steady but still high

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His help needed

“but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.” 1 Thessalonians 2:2

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Matthew 28 & 1 Thessalonians 1-3.

Paul is quick to identify the source of his action.

Anything I try apart from God is doomed to failure one way or the other. It’s like going out on a limb. Get far enough out there and something not so good will happen.

My life must be led in total tightness with God. How hard that is for me to do.

I long to please Him yet I cave in to the distractions of this world.

My faith is so weak that little is needed to throw me off track spiritually.

My thoughts get busy and crowded. I come away hours later and wonder what happened. I know what happened! I removed myself from Him and lurched to my own ways.

It is a sad commentary on my life. I need Him every second.

If I am not saturated with Him I will not be able to stand for Him anywhere. I cannot radiate Him in my midst.

This has been going on for too long. I want desperately to move beyond the reading/thinking level. I want to rightly represent God wherever I am.

Why am I at a loss for His Words in the midst of those I love.? Some of them need God. Where are my words to turn them to Him? Could it be that God is trying to protect me from making a fatal verbal mistake? O Lord, help me!

“Father, I need You running me. I want You running me. I surrender to You. Take me over. Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Do you need Him?

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Looking out for others

Sunrise May 14th on the Merrimack River

Sunrise May 14th on the Merrimack River

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – 1 Chronicles 22-24 & 1 Thessalonians 3)

What comes out of my mouth is the overflow of my heart. If I am speaking evil then my heart is evil etc…

Today’s verse is advocating a filling to overflowing of love. Why? Because if I reach the overflow level than those in my midst will catch the overflow.

Too often my love within me is so limited that I am forced to conjure up love for those in my midst. It comes across as convoluted and rightly so.

Think of the experience of Peter after Jesus was captured. He ended up in a place where he was recognized but didn’t want to be recognized. Instead of “overflow” he resorted to “underflow” to escape possible trouble. Peter had the physical characteristics of a follower but not the internal characteristics. There was no overflow from a Godly heart so he abandoned Jesus verbally.

I must be filled with God. I must get away from fabricating goodness. The goodness must be within me from loving God so that I naturally overflow with that love. How easy it would be if I could live that way!

Godly loving of others centers on caring for their best interests. A lot of caring involves words. They had better be Godly.

“Father, my good intentions are never enough to get Your Love across to others. I must be filled to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit. Nothing less will work. Forgive me for trying to show love apart from You. That love is always flawed. Enable me to overflow with You in my midst, I beg.”

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Good Godly habits

“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – 2 Samuel 21-23 & 1 Thessalonians 1)

Giving thanks and interceding. Two important Godly habits.

How often do I reflect on the wonderful people that God has brought into my life? I have been helped in so many ways by folks. Some have listened to me. Some have advised me. Some have corrected me. God had/has them in my life for His purposes. How thankful to Him should I be!

When I think of others I often think of their needs. In some ways it defines our relationship.   If I regularly remember them in prayer I will be much more interested in how they are doing.

I believe that God’s way of getting my attention is through my thoughts. If I am thinking about something then I need to take action. Maybe I need to bind Satan. Maybe I need to call someone. Maybe I need to stop doing something. Things come into my mind for a purpose because God is trying to get my attention and I can’t ignore them.

“Lord, You are great. I am weak and so slow to learn Your ways. I easily say that I want to please You in everything I do. In actuality I do too many things apart from You. Forgive me for my waywardness. I need You full-time. Create in me a clean heart.”

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Always pray

n29“pray continually,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – 1 Thessalonians 4-5 & 2 Thessalonians 1-3)

I must always be praying.

How is that possible?  “Praying always,” is a difficult concept if I assume that I must be kneeling or bowing my head as well as closing my eyes to do it.

There is no one-way to praying.  Praying is communicating with God.  I am in a conversation with Him.  I could be speaking or I could be listening wherever I happen to be.

I enjoy praying out loud when I am driving alone someplace.  I’ll ask God for safety (I call it “road wisdom”) for myself and others traveling.  I pray that I will be Godly in the setting I’m heading to.  Obviously there are no kneeling or closed eyes!

If I am close to God then I will do a much better job of praying continually.  In that mode I am conscious of God being in my midst so conversation with Him flows easily.

A worrisome time for me is when I suddenly realize that I have loosened my relationship to God.  Hours have gone by and I have forgotten Him.  In the cartoon series, Tom and Jerry, Tom the cat is continually getting out on places where there is nothing under him.  Tom seems to stay suspended for a second or two before plunging into a bad spot.  When I stop connecting to God, I likely will soon get into trouble.

“Lord, I need You every second.  I need a relationship with You that enables me to pray continually.  I want Your Holy Spirit to occupy every part of me.  I am desperately needy.  I dare not function without You leading the way.  Forgive me for my waywardness.  I love You, Father!”

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Satan exists

n28“…but Satan blocked our way.” 1 Thessalonians 2:18

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – Matthew 28 & 1 Thessalonians 1-3)

Paul wants to visit the Thessalonians but hasn’t been able to. Satan is the cause for the delay, according to Paul.

There is plenty of Scripture declaring that evil exists. There is plenty of evidence that evil exists.

There are times when God causes to happen what happens. Other times it is Satan. How do I know the difference? Satan’s influence is ungodly. He wants me doing what will displease God. He wants me to ignore God. On the other hand, God’s influence is Godly. It will jive with Scripture.

My relationship with God must be tight. I must be with Him 24/7 in one form or another. I cannot drift away from Him. If I am close to Him then I will be better able to discern when Satan is creating issues.

“Thank You, Father, for loving me. I need You. Help me to know what You want me to do. Help me to discern. I want my life to rightly represent You. I love You, Lord.”

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What will happen to me when I die?

“And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer.  First off, you must no carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word.  Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

(Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading – 1 Chronicles 25-27 & 1 Thessalonians 4)

Isn’t this terrific news!

My eternity will be with God because I believe that Jesus died for my heaven-separating sins and have given my life to Him.

How sad the line in verse 14, “the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”  Death is certainly frightening for those who don’t know what is beyond for them.  They need to know that our forever-after is either with God or apart from Him.  I’m talking heaven or hell!

To go to a funeral for a believer stirs a mixture of emotions.  It certainly is painful to have a believer removed from my midst but it is also a time of joy because the believer has begun their after-life with God.

“Father, thank You for the assurances found in these verses in Thessalonians.  I do have hope in You.  I will have an after-life with You.  Fill me with the joy of my salvation!”

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Encourage

“We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials.”  1 Thessalonians 3:2

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – 1 Chronicles 22-24 & 1 Thessalonians 3)

Part of doing God’s will is encouraging other believers.

Believers certainly aren’t immune to difficulties.

I need to remember that I belong to the almighty God.  I am not connected to someone Who has limits.

When others face overwhelming issues, they need to know that their God is bigger than their issues.  That their God will be with them and comfort them.  And also that I will be available to help in any way I can help.

“Lord, fill me with You.   I want the overflow of You in me to be what becomes known to the world.  I dare not chart a course of my own.  Help me to see others with Your Eyes.  Give me Godly sympathy for those warranting it around me.  I want to please You in everything I do.  Help me, I beg!”

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