“Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” ~ 2 Thess. 3:13
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul is encouraging believers to hold fast to the traditions that was taught to them by his message or letters (2 Thess. 2:15). His final directions to the believers in Thessalonica was to watch how they were living. Paul had first touched on this in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 where he says, “We encourage you to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.” In the months that spanned in between the letters, those who were living irresponsibly had not yet changed how they were living. He says in his second letter, “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). Though at first this can seem harsh, Paul is not talking about someone who is physically not able to work. In the Thessalonian church, some able-bodied believers were not working for their own food. Instead, they were relying on the church for their food, thus taking away from those who may have actually needed the food because they couldn’t work. They were also using their free time to interfere with the work of others.
So how does this passage relate to us today? We all have a responsibility to contribute to our community of believers. If you are not regularly meeting with church or body of believers, the first step is to find a church and get involved! Then, we have to evaluate our attitude, actions, and speech about the church. Unlike the irresponsible believers in Thessalonica, we should adopt the attitude in our church of givers not takers. Do we view the church as a place that we go to for a service once or twice a week? Or do we view the church as a community that we are currently building up? If we believe the church is meant to serve us, our attitude will be that of a taker, a selfish attitude that focuses on ‘What does this place do for me?’ A giving attitude focuses on what we can do to help to strengthen the church. Our attitude is directly related to our actions. A taker attitude will be critical, hands-off, and selfish, whereas a giving attitude will be encouraging, supportive, and selfless. A giving attitude will try to build up members of the church through encouraging words, financial support, and tithes of time and resources. When we are focused on giving to the church, our speech will also be focused on building up rather than tearing down. A taker attitude will lead to speech that criticizes without ever contributing solutions. A giver attitude will use wise words so that their speech helps to glorify God.
The way that we work and contribute to the community of believers is a testimony to the world of our faith. We have to focus on how we can give to glorify God. And when it seems too much, we can remember Paul’s words, “Brothers, don’t grow weary in doing good.”
~ Cayce Fletcher
2 Thessalonians 2
Family Camp is now over. What a powerful week! Six people were baptized over four evenings at Camp. Many were baptized before camp and my grand niece and others will be baptized after camp. These campers are prepared to shine!
Application: In 2 Thessalonians 2, verse 3 & 4, the great man of sin rises. The world is becoming darker and more accepting of him when he comes. Let your bring light shine to overcome this darkness! Attend camp, FUEL, church and all things spiritual to be the light God has called you to be!
2 Thessalonians 1
Christians are called to live a life glorifying to God. Sometimes, Christians assume that the Christian life is going to be easy. This idea is very incorrect because 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 clearly speaks of how Paul, Silvanus and Timothy endured hardships during their walk with God. They endured persecution for the cause of Christ.
Application: Don’t expect the Christian life to be easy, and painless. God will allow trials and hardships to occur to test our faith and dependence on God.
1 Thessalonians 5
This is one of my favorite scriptures. Esther has learned to love her enemies (v 15).
As friends, Esther and I have fallen in love with verse 16, 17 & 18. We have both learned to pray more and more through the day and to give thanks in everything.
Memorize verse 16, 17 & 18 and use them at least a dozen times a day. Pray even about the smallest requests and be thankful for everything in every circumstance.
Esther & Paul
1 Thessalonians 4
The fourth chapter of 1st Thessalonians speaks of sanctification, how we are made clean and pure by Jesus. Having been sanctified we have great hope.
Application: All Christians should memorize 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Friends for eternity (such as Paul, Silas, Timothy, Paul M, Esther, Jerry, etc…) have great comfort in the resurrection.
Paul & Esther
1 Thessalonians 3
The big three are faith, hope and love. Chapter three is all about growing stronger in faith. (vs. 7). Esther and I have been watching all the very small things God has been doing through each day to show His love to us. Things such as sending rain after the baptism tonight instead of during. Things such as God’s gentle spirit blowing the door shut to the tabernacle as we write this devotional. Things such as the enormous peace in the stone chapel as we prayed very early in the morning.
Application: As Christians, we can endure all persecution, and still have faith God loves us as we obtain perfect peace with both God and other friends.
-Paul & Esther
1 Thessalonians 2
In the second chapter (v 18) the friends are blocked by the enemy. Esther and I, as we prepared for Camp Mack, found all sorts of odd things happening as people did and said strange things to try to hurt our mission.
Application: Sometimes, the stronger the opposition, the more you know you are doing God’s Will. No matter what happens, God gives great peace to friends in Christ.
-Paul & Esther
1 Thessalonians 1
The first verse of 1 Thessalonians tells us what this wonderful letter is all about: Friends: Paul, Silas, and Timothy had become extremely close spiritual friends. These three spiritual friends prayed together, worked together, and became very close to the people in Thessalonica. The first chapter should be read with the concept of two or three gathered in the name of Jesus praying and loving others in a particular area or church. I have made many friends much the same as Silas and Timothy were to Paul. Thessalonians is all about fabulous friendship in this life and the life to come (v.10).
Application: Everyone has to choose which friends they should have. If we seek God and ask Him for guidance, God will lead us to the right people to be around. Just as Paul, Silas and Timothy constantly sought God’s Word and His guidance, they were able to connect because God rewarded each of their daily dedication to God. We as individuals need to be in constant prayer and God will lead us in choosing friends. I also encourage you to love your friends just like God loves us.
Paul Moore – and his friend Esther
One of the most important parts of being a human is making empathetic connections. I would describe an empathetic connection as finding a basis of similarity so you can start to build a relationship. These connections are crucially important to the Christian faith. As Christians we are to be ambassadors for Christ, helping people understand and live out the Gospel so they may be in the Kingdom of God. Often, I waste opportunities to do this very thing. But Paul has an easy way of reminding us by using a couple of object lessons in
Colossians 4:2-6 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; Praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
Our empathetic connections we make with others are drastically important for when we share the Gospel. I would say Paul is using the illustration of a door and salt to describe how we are to handle people who we are supposed to share the gospel with. The door represents hospitality, welcome, and family. In other words, treat others as if you were inviting them into your home. Allow them to be comfortable. Remember we as Christians are not called to comfort, but to carry our cross (even though it’s hard sometimes). Treat them just like Jesus would have treated you. The salt represents preparedness (that which I am unqualified to talk about but here I go anyway) Salt was used as a preservative in the time Paul wrote this, therefore he is referring to our speech having been thought out and planned. Just like someone who wants to cook a steak but doesn’t know what seasoning they will cook it with, Paul calls us to be patient.
Be kind to those who are ignorant of the Gospel and those who might not live a lifestyle you don’t accept. The only way you will be able to effectively share the Gospel is through a relationship that shows them Christ’s love before they are changed.
It is not always easy getting along with people in the church. When I first became a Christian, I thought after that point it might all become easier and I was just along for the ride at that point. However, God has challenged me to grow and to even get along with people I never thought I could. Has that ever happened to you? It appears Jesus joins all of us together no matter the strife that does and will happen.
Paul recognizes this in Colossians 3:14-15
“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body: and be thankful.
What Paul said here is that Love is what “Holds us Together”. That is because of Christ’s rule in our hearts. But we must allow Him to rule. Today I want you to think of the people you never got along with until some Church or camp activity and thank God for them. Maybe even let them know too!