Praying for Ministry Workers

Praying for Ministry Workers

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

As a spiritual caregiver himself, Paul knew the importance of taking care of those who worked hard in the ministry.

Most of the time, people don’t realize the long hours, heartaches, frustration, cares, and joys of their pastors. They see them once or twice a week in the pulpit and think they have it made in the shade! But most pastors understand the responsibility they undertake when accepting a pastorate. They are a shepherd to their people. And they are under spiritual attacks that you and I know nothing about. The enemy would love to destroy these men of God and tear apart their families any way he can.

If you haven’t prayed for your pastors lately, now would be a great time to do it. Drop them an email or text them letting them know you’re praying. Make it a habit to pray for them daily if only for a few minutes. They appreciate it more than you know.

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Our Redemption is Nigh

Our Redemption is Nigh

8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

Two days ago I discussed waking each morning wondering if perhaps today the Lord Jesus could return. It still holds true two days later. And it will hold true 2000 days or weeks or months later, if the Lord should tarry.

However, until that day, though, know that we carry with us protective gear for our battle. The helmet as the hope of salvation reassures us that the battle is worth fighting to the end and that giving up is useless because He goes before us. It’s easy to become discouraged and downtrodden because life is hard for each of us. The battles I face are different than your battles. Yes, they are different but they’re difficult too. While I would think your battles are easy and mine are difficult, you probably think the opposite. That’s why we look forward to that day of His return.

Of course faith and love as our breastplate protect us from hateful and hurtful things our enemies (and sometimes our friends say). It also gives us courage to keep pressing on each day, one small deed at a time, out of love for our God and Savior. We don’t know why we’re facing the battles we face, but we continue in faith, knowing that God definitely knows what He’s doing in our lives.

Readers, be encouraged by these words. You and I are not alone in this battle. He has gone before us and we also can rely on friends and family to get us through difficult times.

Cheer up for your redemption is nigh.

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Light and Darkness

Light and Darkness

4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-7

Night and day, day and night. Light and darkness. Asleep and awake. Paul uses this imagery to great effect. On the one hand, he told them to be ready because Jesus could come at any time, but following that he basically says you should already be prepared for that day because of who you are.

It’s easy to be unprepared and distracted in our culture. So, while we’re in the light, it’s easy to enjoy that light and just bask in it. There are quite a few things working against us, but we have to know that our enemy will use culture and anything he can to keep us distracted from finishing the race well.

Anything.

Once the enemy gets us distracted, he’ll do what he can to keep us that way.

That’s why it’s important to have friends you can call on to help keep you focused, to help you set and keep your priorities. And of course, just to talk.

Give that person you’re thinking about now a ring. You’ll be glad you did.

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It Could be Today, Yes it Could

It Could be Today, Yes it Could

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading all over the internet that the election of Joe Biden is a precursor to the rapture of Christians, based on text from the Book of Revelation and a pre-tribulation viewpoint. I haven’t seen such giddiness since, well, it’s been a long time.

While it is logically true that we are closer to the Lord’s return than we have ever been, these verses have always given me pause before I acted on predictions or current events. I’m not denying that it would be great if He did return, because it would be, but the Lord wants us to be watchful and prepared.

Could He come this week? Absolutely. Will He? No one knows.

Recall the slogan of the TV evangelist, Jack Van Impe (who passed away a year ago today): Perhaps Today!The logo pin was those words under a trumpet. That little pin symbolized quite a bit.

On the other hand, shouldn’t we be expecting His coming? 100%

But it shouldn’t be because of a politician you may not like. It should be because, well, He’s coming soon.

If you rose in the morning with “Yes, it could be today” on your mind, how would that affect the rest of your day? Sure, if the Lord returned, you’d miss out on the speech you’d have to give or that test you’d have to take, but that eager expectation would propel you through each day.

Then, as you lay your head on the pillow, thinking, “What about tomorrow? Could He return tomorrow?” I’m certain the dreams you had would be much better than what you’re having now.

Always expecting, always anticipating His return.

It could be today, yes it could.

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The Great Hope

The Great Hope

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13

As many of you know and as I wrote last month, my father in law passed away. A death in the family get you thinking about life, family, what’s important, the after life, priorities.

I’ve seen many Christians hold Celebration of Life memorial services for the deceased, and they are wonderful to behold. For those who of us accustomed to standard memorial services, it can be a shock. While our small memorial service for Larry wasn’t a trumpets blasting, Glory Hallelujah Celebration of Life, it wasn’t a dirge either.

I am reminded of D.L. Moody who said, “When you hear that Dwight L. Moody is dead, don’t you believe a word of it for at that time I will be more alive than I’ve ever been.”

What is the source of that mindset and those celebrations?

Hope.

They have the hope that one day “we will meet the Lord in the air, and so we will be with the Lord forever.”

We live in strange times.

Some are deathly afraid of the Covid-19 and many others are on the other side of the spectrum, mocking the leaders who foisted this crisis on the masses. Don’t get me wrong, the virus is dangerous, though not as dangerous as the media has overhyped. The point I’m getting to here is hope. I don’t think I’ve ever been concerned one iota about catching the virus, even though I’ve been around people who’ve had it and many others who have been exposed to it. I am probably too cavalier about it but I have hope. If I get it and passed away – according to the statistics and my demographics, an extremely unlikely event – then I know where I’m going.

But I see the other side of the issue too and the extreme measures people take to avoid it are just odd. Do these people not have hope? Perhaps not. Are they overthinking it? Perhaps so.

But the main takeaway here is hope.

We have hope that the world knows nothing about. It is this hope that compels us to live a godly life in Christ, for we all know that we are merely passing through this world.

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