Honoring the Message of God

Honoring the Message of God

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 Thessalonians 3:1

This is an interesting prayer request for Paul. We have all prayed that the word of God would spread rapidly, but be honored too?

BibleHub defines honor in this way: It always implies the recognition or acknowledgment of inherent admirable qualities.

Many reading this can remember a time when even among non-believers, the word of God was respected. They may not believe it or follow it, but they respected it. When they went into a church building, they were reverent. Movies from the 1960 and earlier were respectful.

But something’s changed in American culture over the last 40 or 50 years.

What was it? There’s very little respect for the Word of God in modern secular settings. Hollywood trashes Christians and the Bible left and right and no one bats an eye about it.

You could say society is turning more evil and godless and you’d probably be right. But why? Why complete disrespect?

I could posit a number of valid reasons.

Everyone reading this could add one or two more reasons. The issue is complicated to address in a short devotional.

But in the end, does part of the blame fall on Christians?

My goal certainly isn’t to lay a guilt trip on the believers reading this and worshiping God. The world is heavy enough without all that baggage.

I’m merely trying to find the answers myself. We may find there are a hundred answers to the question, but they still need solutions to address them.

Don’t misunderstand: God is still working in hearts and lives in this great land and around the world. Christianity is still a major influence on the sciences, medicine, hospitals, orphanages, homeless, nursing homes, and in the marketplace, and it’s another reason to praise God.

Yes, paganism and atheism is alive and well, but the living Word of God is more powerful than the forces of evil around us.

Daily, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

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Eternal Encouragement

Eternal Encouragement

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

As I’ve mentioned multiple times throughout this and the previous book, Paul provides us with model prayers and blessings to pray over others. When you’re able to memorize and pray these prayers over people, they are blessed. You bless them; they bless you, and you both bless God.

I mean, who doesn’t want eternal encouragement and good hope? Everyone wants those intangibles of life. In fact, everyone needs those things. We as believers already have them but we need to be reminded that we have them. Why? Because we forget. We forget a lot of things actually. That’s why we need reminders.

And this is your reminder that you as a believer in Jesus Christ have eternal encouragement. One day this life will be but a faded memory and you will be welcomed home – to your true home. It could be today. It could be tomorrow, or it could be 30 years from now, but you will be treated to a life significantly better than what you are experiencing now.

This is our hope, our good hope.

Encourage one another with these words.

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Stand Firm

Stand Firm

13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15

Throughout the New Testament, Paul exhorts fellow believers to stand firm and hold fast. Life is treacherous and full of pitfalls, distractions, and obstacles. This even truer after you become a believer, because if the evil one can distract you from doing what you know is right and godly, he wins small battles. Obviously we win the war, but those small battles are important too. They’re important because they are winnable. With the Holy Spirit as our protector and defender, how could we fail? But we do. And we do so often.

So, Paul’s exhortation is to stand firm and hold fast.

We have the truth on our side.

We have peace.

We have joy in God.

And we have the Holy Spirit coaxing us and comforting us.

Many are saying that the next few years for believers in the West will be bumpy. Hold fast.

Keep the important things important.

Cast off weights that weight you down.

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Life On Your Terms

Life On Your Terms

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2

If this text is any type of proof, Christians are easily deceived about end times. I’m not exactly sure why that is. Perhaps, we just want to go to heave quicker. Or maybe we like it when, as the Bible says, preachers tickle our ears. With the internet and cable television, the prophecies of end times scenarios proliferate and spread fast. Of course it doesn’t help that news travels at blinding speeds now and the entire world is shut down because of a microscopic virus.

One thing leads to another and before you know it, conspiracy theories abound and the Lord will be returning before the end of the week, according to the latest. I am exaggerating but not by much. The latest was He’d return on or right before Inauguration Day. Many hopes were dashed.

And it’s all a huge distraction.

People get uptight. They fret over something that may never happen. They even make plans for when the end of the world comes. The Prepper industry is enormous. Gun sales are through the roof for the umpteenth year in a row.

Social media picks it up and it’ll spread like wildfire.

Paul told us not to be unsettled or alarmed.

Buy your prepper gear as you see fit and your guns and ammo, but don’t obsess.

And then, live your life on your terms.

Play your game, and not someone else’s.
Learn a hobby.
Teach a skill to someone else.
Memorize a few verses.
Read a book.
Pray for your pastor and his family.
Have coffee with a friend.

As His return approaches, the noises will get louder and louder. Pay them no heed.

Life your life.

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Being Glorified in Christ

Being Glorified in Christ

12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:12

This is a common prayer of Paul’s but what caught my attention were those four little words in the middle, “and you in him.” We know that Christ should be magnified and glorified when we shine for Christ, but the other way around? BibleHub has a relevant comment about that: Christ is glorified in believers, when by their holiness they promote his cause and reflect his glory; and believers are glorified in Christ, when they receive out of his infinite fulness.

So when we accept or appropriate His goodness and gifts, we are glorified in Christ. In other words, He gives those gifts for a reason, so we can lead better lives in Christ. He wants us to use what He freely gives us.

With that knowledge, how can we apply that to our lives today?

For me it would be to recognize that he wants us to use the “tools” and gifts He gives us. He freely gives us many things, but if we don’t know they’re for our betterment (and His glory), then what’s the point?

Isn’t it fascinating that we can learn and apply new and different concepts of God in our lives every day?

Continue ReadingBeing Glorified in Christ