April 1, 2009: 2 Thess. 1
Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may by glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We MUST walk worthy of God for trials will come; how we live our lives here and now is extremely important.
Soon after writing the first letter to the people of Thessalonica, there are misunderstandings about Paul's teaching. See if you can figure this out in Paul's "corrections" in 2 Thessalonians.
TRAVELER'S LOG: I WILL GO THROUGH THE FIRE IF YOU WANT ME TO...
To use salvation as a "get out of hell free" card is a bad idea. This life and the way that we live it, totally and completely matters. I am not saying that you can lose your salvation, that is secure, but God does talk about rewards that are reserved in heaven for us. God's word also talks about losing rewards based on the way that we have lived our lives. Scary? Well yes and no. God's grace is so huge that He covered ALL SINS at the cross and I will still mess up but God and His grace are much bigger than my greatest mess-up. On the other hand, I should live my life in such a way that I would be pleased for the God of the universe to watch what I do (because He does anyways, and we just forget).
I can really see this in my own life. When I was younger, I really did not have any problem lying about the bad things that I did. My conscience was completely unaware of what I was doing. God changed my heart and made me see that lying goes directly against God. I was convicted to the point that I confessed every lie that I had ever committed to my parents. I was 6 and the nightly confessionals to my parents might have gotten old to them but to me it was monumental because from that point on, God has been changing my life and causing me to see what is not of Him so that I may be renewed more and more into Christ likeness.
Here is a good question: What are the things in my life that are keeping me from pursuing Jesus with my whole heart? The scary and awesome truth is that God will reveal it to you. The Bible says that God is a jealous God, and He does not want your affections to be for anything other than Him. This life truly matters, and God has well equipped us through His word to "fight the good fight." (2 Tim 6-8)
1. What does it mean to glorify God?
2. What in my life is not glorifying to God?
3. What should I do to change the areas of my life that do not glorify God?
4. What does this passage teach me about God?
Encouragement from the Stands
Monday, April 6th, 2009
ďTherefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.Ē
-1 Thessalonians 5:11
This weekend Michigan State Universityís menís basketball team pulled off an upset of the UCONN Huskies to advance to tonightís NCAA national championship game against North Carolina. Now, I donít know if you saw the game or not, but it certainly seemed to me that there was a lot of green in the stands in support of the Spartans. With the Final Four being held in Detroit, which is only about 90 miles from MSUís campus, it would be safe to say that the Spartans were at a great advantage. And I have no doubt that it helped them keep momentum as they went on to victory on Saturday night.
Encouragement is a powerful thing. It is incredible what a simple pat on the back or cheer from the stands can empower an athlete to do. As competitors, Iím sure weíve all experienced this. Thatís why higher-ranking teams are given home-field advantage. With a better record, you can earn the right to be encouraged as you take the field.
As Christians, we need to be intentional about encouraging our ďteam.Ē Life is tough. The Bible says that this world will have troubles, and we all know thatís true. But thatís one of the reasons that God directs us in His Word to encourage each other and to bear one anotherís burdens. He knows that we will have troubles, and He knows just how much more bearable those challenges will be when we have people in our corner to support us and cheer us on.
We all have people in our lives who can use extra encouragement, and we need to be strategic in allowing the Lord to let us provide it for them. We canít abandon our teammates to defeat simply because we didnít take the time or the effort to speak words of truth and life to them. It would be like Michigan State fans getting up to visit the concession stands at critical points in the game.
Today, be an encourager and cheer on your Christian brothers and sisters. You never know what victory could be brought on by your support and love.
1. Think of three people in your life who need to be encouraged. How can you provide that encouragement to them?
2. Beyond simply offering a word of support, how can you encourage them spiritually?
1 Thessalonians 5:14
Hebrews 3:13; 10:25
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jill Ewert is the editor of FCA's Sharing the Victory magazine and the Huddle Leader for the Kansas City FCA Endurance Huddle.