September 23/2Thessalonians 3

Verses 1-2 > Because Paul knows the Lord he is always exhorting people to pray. The power isn’t in the length of the prayer, or the posture of the pray-er, but in the one we pray to. Paul knows that our Lord is able to accomplish far more than we could ever ask or think so he encourages us to keep praying.

He asks that we pray that the word of the Lord will be received, welcomed and honored wherever it is taught, preached or talked about. Artillery fire was always used to soften up the enemy so that the ground troops could go in and defeat them more easily. I believe prayer is like artillery fire. It softens the hearts of people so that they will be more apt to receive the message of Jesus that we bring. People can reject our message but they can’t reject a prayer that is aimed at their hearts. Hence it is always best to pray before doing anything for the Lord!

Prayer is a great way to form a shield of protection around someone. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith wouldn’t fail him and that when he repented of denying Jesus that he would then help to strengthen others in their faith. see Luke 22:32. That prayer protected Peter. His faith, although it wavered, did not fail and he did repent and come back to Jesus and the rest is history. I know that I am living for the Lord today because I had a father who also prayed that my faith would not fail when he had discovered that I had wandered away from the faith for a time.

Maybe some of you reading this have the same testimony of someone praying that your faith would not fail.

Verses 3-5 > Here Paul speaks of what you can specifically pray for yourself and others. Pray that the Lord will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. Pray that you will be obedient to do the things that the word of God commands you to do. Remember Jesus said if you love me obey my commands. see John 14. Pray that the Lord will lead you into a full understanding of his love. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you to express God’s love. Pray that you will have patience with yourself and all people. Pray that you will have endurance so that you do not grow weary and give up as you live this life for the Lord.

Those of you that are reading this blog would you pray those above prayers for Cleo and I and Pastor Jeremy and Sarah? Would you do it regularly? Thank you. I will do it for all of you.

Verses 6-7 > If we hang out with and have close fellowship with those who couldn’t care less about the word of God there is a good chance that we will begin to imitate them instead of our Lord. We are quick to notice these things in our children but do we notice them in ourselves? Mom and dad always seemed to notice when I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. The wrong crowd can come in the form of music, movies, the internet, magazines etc.

Verses 8-10 > Paul would not be a popular man today with his ‘no work no eat’ message. We have countless thousands of people today on welfare that could work but that don’t work and when you look at their profiles you know that they are eating!

Here is what a person wrote on the L. A. Times editorial page a few years ago concerning work:There has been a lot of criticism lately of people who do not want to work; especially when they are collecting welfare. Now most people prefer to work and that’s fine for them. But others may prefer to sit in the park or go to the beach or observe the wonders of nature. Those who dislike working should not be penalized by depriving us of the benefits of all society. There’s plenty for all of us. Everyone does not feel the same way about working. Some people actually have built in feelings about work that could make it very unpleasant for them when they are required to work. These feelings could be looked upon as a handicap. We do not punish others with handicaps instead our society provides for them and we should do the same for those who have a natural dislike for work. Why can’t we all just live and let live with each other just living in our own style.

This person is saying that laziness be categorized as a disability! Wow! What is really sad is that a lot of our society has bought into this.

In September of last year I preached a message entitled: How Does God want me to Work? In it I stated that God wants me to work with Energy, Enthusiasm, Whole Heartedly, and with Excellence. He wants me to work that way for the following two reasons:

  1. I’m working for Jesus!

Colossians 3:23–24 (NLT) — 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

Example: If I hide in this room you can’t see me but I am still in the room.

Jesus is hidden in our work place. He said he would never leave us or forsake us. He lives inside of us. We are his ambassadors we represent him wherever we go.

When I build a house I am doing it for Jesus. When I flip a burger, sweep the garage, change a diaper, babysit my little sister, teach math, preach a sermon, wash a toilet, greeter in a store, stock shelves, mow the grass, bake cakes etc. I am doing it for Jesus. It changes my whole perspective on work.

  1. I’m taking care of Jesus!

Jesus is not only hidden in the workplace he is hidden our neighbors.

Matthew 25:39–40 (NLT) — 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Acts 9:4–5 (NLT) — 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” 5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!

The farmer and the others feeding the “hungry” are feeding Jesus. The mother dressing her baby is clothing Jesus. The nursing home attendant is taking care of Jesus. Whoever our neighbors are in the workplace we are to see Jesus in them and take care of them by doing excellent work. Jesus accepts what we do for others as if we had done it for Him. So when we love and serve our neighbors; there is no meaningless insignificant good work because we are loving and serving Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 3:16,18 (NLT) — 16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Be Inspired Hilltop!

 

Comments

  1. Mark Gundersen says:

    If you tranferred this letter to now we hear about the people who are lazy regarding work but have enough energy to watch Judge Judy and Doctor Phil and then go around town and spread gossip and tell others how to live their lives. Paul’s advice for handling them us good. First you pointedly do not listen to their gossip and words of “correction”, and secondly warn them, in a loving manner, of the consequences of their actions and lifestyle. In some countries they have the right idea that if you want to live on the government’s dime then you can sweep the streets or provide some other public service.