“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
2nd Thessalonians 3
This letter starts out asking for prayer that the word of the Lord spread rapidly and be honored. My favorite verse of this chapter is verse 3: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” You may go through trials, but God is always with you. In the end He will prevail; we will be with him and other believers for eternity.
The 2nd part of this chapter tells us that we need to be busy…Not busybodies. It tells us not to be idle and to stay away from those who are. We are to never tire of doing what is right. I know that is difficult at times. Sometimes we don’t want to wait the 20 seconds to hold the door open; we are in a hurry to do something else or we just don’t want to help. This set of verses tell us to live according to the teachings and continue our hard work.
It has been a pleasure writing the devotionals this week. Thank you Marcia for all the work you put into this every day! I would like to close the same way Paul does in verse 16 and 18: “16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”
2nd Thessalonians 2
This chapter talks about the coming of the Lord Jesus. It tells us not to be alarmed by others saying that the day of the Lord has already come. We are not to be deceived. This chapter mentions several things that need to happen before Jesus returns.
- Rebellion occurs
- The man of lawlessness will be revealed; he will set himself up in God’s temple and proclaim he is God.
When the lawless one is revealed, the Lord Jesus will overthrow him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him. Satan will display counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders to try to deceive us all. We need to be ready. We need to anchor ourselves in the word of God, watching for these things. Stand strong in your faith and do not be deceived. I am going to end this devotional with verses 16-17:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Tomorrow we will talk about 2nd Thessalonians 3.
2nd Thessalonians 1
2nd Thessalonians is another letter from Paul. He speaks about thanking God that their faith and love is growing. They were being persecuted and had many trials, yet they persevered. They held on to their faith and did not turn away from God.
This passage also speaks about those who do not have a relationship with God. Verse 8 says: “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” We need to make sure we are sharing God’s love and Jesus’s death to others. But wait you say, I am not a pastor or youth leader, how do I share that? You share that by living a life that is pleasing to God. Lead by example; you never know who is watching you. Speak up about what God has done in your life. Don’t be afraid of what people will think; think of what God will think. Honor Him in all you do.
Tomorrow we will look at 2nd Thessalonians 2.
The Day of the Lord is Coming!
1St Thessalonians 5
Chapter 5 speaks about the day of the Lord coming like a thief in the night. People will speak of peace and safety but destruction will come on suddenly. The cool thing is that we are not in darkness; we know the end is coming. We know what the end is and who wins. Jesus died for us. He died so we could live. We need to make sure we are encouraging each other with these words. We all go through hard times, but we need to remember that no matter how hard it is now, the kingdom will be awesome!
The 2nd part of chapter 5 gives us some final instructions on how to treat people. We need to be respectful, encouraging, patient, kind, and give warnings when needed. Verse 16-18 says:
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I never truly understood verse 17 until I had children. I always wondered how someone could pray continually. Now I know, prayer does not have to be in a closet by yourself; it can be anywhere, anytime. We are told to test everything, hold on to good, and avoid every kind of evil. We need to share this with all of our brothers and sisters, and as mentioned before, pray for one another.
Tomorrow we will go over 2 Thessalonians 1.
1st Thessalonians 4
This is one of my favorite chapters. I will explain why shortly; first, I want to point out that this chapter talks about living to please God. Verse 1 not only asks, but urges us in the Lord Jesus to please God more and more. It says to control our bodies in a way that is holy and honorable. We are told to love each other. It seems like I have heard that before? How about in Mark 12:30-31 New International Version (NIV) where it says:
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
If we follow those commandments, we will please God. And if it is mentioned more than once, it must be important.
Now the reason this is one of my favorite chapters is because it speaks about the sleep of the dead. It says that one day Jesus will return and those who have fallen asleep have hope. We have HOPE! Hope of what you ask? Hope of meeting the Lord in the air and being with Him and God FOREVER! Verse 18 says to encourage each other with these words. So I tell you encourage each other that we will be able to live for eternity with not only other believers but also God and Jesus.
Tomorrow we will talk about the last chapter of 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5.
1 Thessalonians 3
Paul was very concerned for the Thessalonians. He was so concerned they were going to lose their faith he sent Timothy to them. He wanted Timothy to strengthen and encourage them. He had told the Thessalonians that they would be persecuted. He was afraid they would be tempted and walk away from God.
Timothy reported back that the Thessalonians had not walked away from God. In fact Paul was encouraged by their faith and love. We can encourage one another with our faith and not even realize it. You never know who is watching you. When we have something hard going on in our life and we tackle it with God we can uplift people and not even realize it. So as you go about your day, encourage one another with your faith and love.
Tomorrow we will look at 1 Thessalonians 4.
1 Thessalonians 2
This passage starts out with Paul saying that they (Paul, Silas and Timothy) had previously suffered and been insulted. Christians are being insulted every day, in everything we do. Verse 2 also goes on to say that they, with the help of their God, dared to tell about His gospel despite the strong opposition. How often are we given the chance to speak boldly in the name of Christ? When we do get the chance, how often do we take it? Or do we turn around and run?
They took the opportunity to talk about God because they wanted to have God’s approval not man’s. They encouraged, comforted, and urged them to live lives worthy of God. They were torn from the Thessalonians and wanted desperately to return but they were continually stopped by Satan.
Satan is continually trying to stop us from the good that we do for God. He is always trying to get us to turn away. The problem for him is that we know how this all ends. God WINS!!! I know that the world is full of evil and forces are trying to pull us from God in many ways. DON’T let Satan win. When you are faced with something and you don’t know what to do and you think you are alone (this is one of Satan’s tricks) remember you have friends all over that love you, will listen and help you. That is one of the wonderful things about FUEL (and Family Camp, State Camps and all the other ones I don’t know about). You have friends that believe like you do and will stand up with you. Stand strong in your faith, share it with others and continue to bring more people to the kingdom. When Jesus returns, he and God will win; death and sin will be no more. We will get to be together forever with them and each other.
1st Thessalonians 1
I love Thessalonians. It may have something to do with Larry the Cucumber not being able to pronounce it, but that is a whole different topic.
1st Thessalonians 1 is a letter Paul is writing to the church of the Thessalonians. I love the greeting of this letter, Grace and Peace to you. Everybody needs a little Grace and Peace. We should be extending this to everyone we greet. Paul goes on to say in verse 2 that they thank God for them (the Thessalonians) and that they pray for them. In today’s world we need to be praying for each other. Who can you pray for today?
It is mentioned that the Thessalonians had severe suffering yet they welcomed the message of the Gospel with joy. They became a model to other believers…their faith was known everywhere. We need to make sure we are modeling our Love for God in ALL we do–our school, our jobs, our homes. It is not something we should only take out for Sunday mornings and special events. Our love for God needs to be showcased in every aspect of our lives; everything we do. The Thessalonians also turned to God from idols. Where do you turn when you have a moment? I am not saying that all things are idols, but do you put “things” before Him? God should be at the front of our lives. If He is, then everything else will fall into place. It is not easy, it wasn’t easy for the Thessalonians, but they did it and they are awaiting the return of Jesus, just as we are. Please God, send your son soon!
We are thankful for the opportunity to do devotions with you this week! We look forward to looking at 1st Thessalonians 2 tomorrow.
(A little intro from us: We have been married for 18.5 years and have 3 kids (one is a foster son). We have been able to be a part of Family Camp for 11 years, our daughter LOVES FUEL and our sons are looking forward to it in 2019)