September 21/2Thessalonians 1

Since Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians the persecution that they were facing for being Christ followers increased in intensity. Some of the believers began to believe that they were going through the tribulation. Then a letter arrived that claimed to be written by Paul that said the Day of the Lord had already come. The letter was false. But all these things created confusion and conflict in the Church and so with this in view Paul writes this second letter.

Verses 1-2 > Paul reminds them that they belong to God the Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a good reminder to us when we are going through miserable times. We know that our Father loves us. We know this because the sent Jesus while we were still his enemies to take our punishment, die in our place and forgive our sins. In his love God will control what he allows in to our lives. God is good and whatever he allows will work out for our good. Will there be suffering in our lives? Yes. Are we any better than Jesus who suffered for us? Jesus said we are blessed when we are persecute for righteousness sake. He also said that in this world we will suffer tough times but to take heart because he has overcome the world. The world may be able to touch our bodies but it can’t touch our soul.

God knows you better than you do and he knows what you can handle and what you need. Trust him. As C. S. Lewis said, “God’s not safe but he is good.” God will extend to us the grace and the peace that we need to whether the storms of life. This is what Paul wanted the Thessalonians to hear and what he want us to hear.

Psalm 145:17 (NLT) — 17 The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness.

Verses 3-4 > Paul encourages them by praising them. Everyone of us needs to hear about what we are doing well. There are times when we just don’t see it in ourselves or feel real spiritual and it takes someone else to tell us that we are doing well. Praise has a way of taking the edge off a tough situation. Do you know anyone who needs a ‘pick me up’ right now?

I believe that Paul was also planting seeds of praise in them so that even in the midst of this terrible time they would begin to praise the Lord. Remember we can do this because we know that God is love and God is good and he knows what is good for us. Paul knew about the power of praise. Remember that that is what he and Silas did in the prison in Philippi and the Lord used their praise to deliver them. see Acts 16. Praise is exactly what the enemy doesn’t want to hear. I think praise sounds like fingernails scratching a blackboard to the Devil and his demons. Praise is a good way to bring God on the scene. Praise shows that God’s grace and peace has really been extended to us.

Psalm 22:3 (NCV) — 3 You sit as the Holy One. The praises of Israel are your throne.

Psalm 50:23 (NLT) — 23 But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”

Paul wanted the Thessalonians to see the God hadn’t abandoned them. The proof was that their faith was flourishing and their love was growing! Another thing > people and churches grow stronger and thrive better in tough times than in easy times. Easy is not the right fertilizer for spiritual growth!

Verses 5-10 > We show that we are saved and truly part of the kingdom of God by putting on the armor of God, picking up the sword and standing and fighting and not wallowing in self pity!

Ephesians 6:10–13 (NLT) — 10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

God will eventually make things right. If not in this life then in the next; which by the way is a much longer time than this life on earth. Remember we walk by faith not by sight or we live by believing not by seeing.

There was this story of two farmers, one a believer and the other an atheist. When harvest season came, the atheist taunted his believing neighbor because apparently God had not blessed him too much. The atheist’s family had not been sick, his fields were rich with harvest, and he was sure to make a lot of money.
“I thought you said it paid to believe in God and be a Christian,” said the atheist.
“It does pay,” replied the Christian. “But God doesn’t always pay His people in September.”

2 Thessalonians 1:11–12 (NLT) — 11 So [HILLTOP] we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 12 Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Be Inspired Hilltop!

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Mark Gundersen says:

    We are told through God’s power we will do great things that bring glory to God and by extension to us. It is sobering to remember that what we do impacts others apriciation of God