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Category Archives: 1 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Dear God, I need more faith today. I need more peace. I have something big happening at work today. I feel pressure for it to go well, and I am just going over and over it again in my head. But as I’ve prayed about this, you’ve told me that I need to change my perspective a little.

I’m being vague. Let me be direct. We have our most important fundraising event of the year for our nonprofit tonight. My temptation is to make this a time of trying to get as much money from the attendees as I can. But you reminded me of something recently. Our organization has a vision statement that says that ministering to our donors and volunteers is as important as ministering to our clients. Well, tonight, we will have about 260 people in a room and they need to feel a sense of your presence and love as much as the 59-year-old man who was in my office yesterday needed a sense of your presence. The outcomes for the attendees are as important as the outcomes for our clients. Really, the financial outcome for the Center is secondary. This is a chance to bless people.

Father, keep my head in this space all day. Help me to live these verses of being joyful, thankful, and continuously prayerful.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2019 in 1 Thessalonians

 

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1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Dear God, yesterday day was a rough first day back. I went into the day with one set of expectations and then that got thrown completely off within the first two minutes of being in the office—literally. Honestly, though, the problem was me. I had a complicated problem to solve right off the bat and some of my natural weaknesses made it difficult for me to handle. I prayed to you in real time and I sought out your guidance, but it was still really hard for me. I’m really sorry I have this weakness. In the end, I did what I had to do, but I know that the situation for the patient still needs your attention and provision. There’s more to be done there than I can do.

I’m not sure what all that has to do with today’s verse except it’s what was on my mind as I started praying. Maybe I just need a little encouragement from you that I did okay and was diligent to try to handle a delicate situation carefully. And I do want to pray for the patient involved. You know the need. You know the situation better than I do. Please help him and his family.

Father, I also want to pray for scream other people I know who are suffering. There’s the little girl of a friend from Facebook who is really sick. There’s my friend in the hospital, my other friend just out of the hospital, my friend who is old and at home and not doing well, the woman going through a divorce, my coworkers who are either sick or have sick relatives…the list is almost endless. Please be with these people and more. Encourage them with your Spirit and through your people. Help us to all come around each other so that you might bring your power and comfort to all of us.

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2018 in 1 Thessalonians

 

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

Dear God, I confess that I really don’t know what to do with the second coming stuff. Something about it really seems to encourage some people. I tend to find it to be more of a distraction. I guess my attitude is, hey, I’m running a marathon down here and someone is trying to tell me there’s a chance that the finish line MIGHT be just around the corner. Well, how does that help me now? I just want to keep plugging away.

Granted, the marathon I’m running is pretty easy compared to the races others must run. Even as I type this, I’m literally lying on the beach on vacation. So maybe these are encouraging words to someone whose race is harder than mine.

And really, don’t we kind of believe that the dead in Christ are already with you? Didn’t Moses appear at the Transfiguration? Don’t we run for the cloud of witnesses. Don’t we tell stories of those who die briefly having seen a glimpse of the afterlife? Is this where time meets timelessness?

See? It’s all a distraction. I could chase these questions all of the way to a logical end and the answers won’t get me any closer to accomplishing the tasks you have given to me.

Father, the last sentence says that we are to encourage each other with these words. Help me to be an encourager. Help me to strengthen others and to be strengthened through them. Help me to know what’s important and demands my thoughtful meditation and what is a distraction. And if I’m wrong about this particular issue and it is more important than I think it is, reveal it to me and teach me that too.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2018 in 1 Thessalonians

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Dear God, I feel like I’m better about praying more often and be thankful in all circumstances, but I’m not foolish enough to think I’ve arrived. I know I have a long way to go. But what would a life look like that had arrived (or be really close to arriving) in this area?

I think one of the problems we face as a modern church is that we don’t pray enough. So many people go through the Christian motions of doing the Sunday thing. And they might offer up the occasional mealtime prayer. But how many actually follow through when they say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” or, “I’ll be praying for you.” We just don’t pray to you enough. We don’t get enough scripture. And I’m in that group too. But at least I can see my life on a continuum and feel that I’m better than I used to be.

Father, there’s been a rash of deaths lately. And I’ve also got some friends with relatives in perilous situations. I pray for each of them individually in my heart right now. I pray that the pain of the loss will yield your fruit in their lives. Don’t let it be wasted. Heal relationships. Glorify yourself. In their lives. In the case of the woman who is in critical condition, be with her body. If she is suffering at all, please relieve it. Help her family to feel your presence. And if my prayers can make a difference in her healing then I offer up to you that I would like to see you glorified through her complete healing and the restoration of her mind and body.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2018 in 1 Thessalonians

 

Do We Have To Truly Suffer to Unite And Engage?

Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-5

Dear God, I wonder what it was really like for the Thessalonians to get this encouragement from Paul in the midst of their persecution. I also think it’s of note that in the midst of their persecution he describes their faith as flourishing and their love for one another as growing.

I hear Christians in our country claim that we are being persecuted by nonbelievers in our society. I can’t help but wonder if that were really true, wouldn’t that mean our solidarity with each other and our faith would be growing? Instead, we seem to be in a cycle right now that includes anger and a spirit of fighting back. Perhaps we aren’t truly being persecuted, but maybe it’s the opposite. Could it be that we are the ones trying to do the persecuting?

Another slant to this is our own community. We have a myriad of social issues in our small town, but somehow it feels like the church is being crockpotted into lethargy. We are the frog in the pot on a slow path to boiling. Would it really take outright persecution to finally get the church fully engaged in the problems instead of passionately doing it proactively (and I use the word “passionately” intentionally because what we are currently doing is often half-hearted)? And what about me? I have some concerns about what’s going on, I articulate them to others, and I even get involved in some committees to explore them, but am I really out there pursuing you and passionately taking you into my community through addressing these issues?

Father, I feel like I need a spiritual B12 shot. I’m spending time with you, but there’s no sense of urgency to my activity. I would hate to think they I have to be really pressed to get to that sense of urgency. Help me to find a path to a little more intensity, and if it can be without any specific suffering, but just through my love for and worship of you I would welcome that—but not my will but your will be done.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2018 in 1 Thessalonians

 

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

Dear God, I wonder what it was like to stay away from sexual sin in Paul’s time versus now. I just spent a few days in New Orleans, and there was certainly no shortage of ways to sin sexually that would have been available 2,000 years ago, but that’s because I was in New Orleans. And maybe Thessalonica had similar opportunities. But what about small towns. Yes, I know our little town had a whorehouse 150 years ago, but now we have something so much worse and easier to keep private. Pornography. Especially pornography available through the Internet. 

Then there is the ability to secretly order women and even young girls (or even boys) on the Internet. The more I learn about human trafficking the more I see just how dark our hearts can be, and it all starts with us allow my ourselves to give into a little “lustful passion.”

Father, help me to keep myself pure and love everyone I can. Help me to be part of a solution for our society and not a helpless observer. Help me to know what that path is. Help me to know how to parent my children in this world. Please protect them. It’s all so overwhelming, I simply have no idea where to start. I guess I will just ask that you start with me. 

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen 

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in 1 Thessalonians