How Is Faith Strengthened?

HOW IS FAITH STRENGTHENED?

We sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith.  I Thess. 3:2

Perhaps we can build a visual for how Timothy strengthened their faith.  In doing so, we will have an understanding of how others might strengthen us and most importantly, how we can build up those around us. Continue reading “How Is Faith Strengthened?”

Giving Up My Life

GIVING UP MY LIFE

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation?  Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?  I Thess. 2:19

Think of what Paul knew when he wrote this.  He did not know that this letter would ever be read by anyone outside of his generation.  He did not know that it would even reach the Thessalonians, so uncertain were the times. He did not know that He would be revered by millions across the centuries.  He could not have anticipated that his perseverance in hardship would inspire so many to trust Christ in their hard times.  All he knew was what He experienced at the moment.  Just like us.  He was being hunted down like an animal, yet in spite of such acts of hatred against him, he continued to sacrifice everything just to see another person profess Jesus as Lord of their life. Continue reading “Giving Up My Life”

Soul Tie Or Spirit Tie?

SOUL TIE OR SPIRIT TIE?

We, brethren, have been bereft of you for a short while – in person, not in spirit – were al the more eager with great desire to see your face.  I Thess. 2:17

            Paul was in Corinth when he wrote this to the believers in Thessalonica, but though they were geographically separated, they were together in spirit.  He felt it.  The Holy Spirit, in him, was connected to the Holy Spirit, in them.

            Spirit ties are healthy, conceived by God.  The common denominator in their unity is the Holy Spirit who binds people together.  This very phenomenon is what makes for a great marriage, an enduring and strong friendship, and a harmonious home.  God desires that all of us fatten our Spirit, that place where His Spirit speaks to us, so that one Spirit-filled believer can connect to another Spirit-filled believer.  The result is a bond that spans distance and time.  It will take them into eternity where their relationship will continue where it left off on earth.   Continue reading “Soul Tie Or Spirit Tie?”

Hostility

HOSTILITY

They killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out.  They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men.  I Thess. 2:15

In my earlier years, I struggled to understand the hostility shown to Jesus and his prophets.  Someone coming from heaven to deliver people from Satan’s kingdom should be popular.  A man who offers Himself up as the perfect Lamb should cause people to weep with joy that their sins could finally be forgiven.   Everyone should run to Him.  How could this loving miracle worker end up on a cross? Continue reading “Hostility”

I’m Not Alone

I’M NOT ALONE!

For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews.  I Thess. 2:14

I love to watch movies, especially those that portray the best of the human spirit.  Long drawn out sagas are my favorite, even though they are often the target of much teasing by my husband, Ron.  He swears that it’s more fun to watch grass grow.  Nonetheless, I am encouraged to see a few of the main characters work through their challenges and deepen their relationships.  Why?  Because it reminds me that I’m not alone. Continue reading “I’m Not Alone”

Confusing The Message With The Messenger

CONFUSING THE MESSAGE WITH THE MESSENGER

We constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its working you who believe. I Thess. 2:13

Do you test the spirits of the messages you hear?  We are, each of us, Bible students who have been personally called to contend for the faith.  Sound theology falls into the hands of God’s children to defend and protect.  Yet, we can coast and sit like sponges under charismatic platform personalities and rarely question the words that are preached. Continue reading “Confusing The Message With The Messenger”

A Needed Combination

A NEEDED COMBINATION

You know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His kingdom and glory.  I Thess. 2:11-12

            Eugene Peterson paraphrases this beautifully.  “With each of you we were like a father with his child, holding your hand, whispering encouragement, showing you step-by-step how to live well before God, who called us into his own kingdom, into this delightful life.”  He characterizes the kind of mentor each of us needs. Continue reading “A Needed Combination”