1 Thessalonians 3 & 4
1 Thessalonians 3 (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 4 (NLT)
What I learned today...
v. 3-5, 7-8: "...and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know what we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come-and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless." "So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord."
It is important for me to remain strong in faith in the Lord, even when I'm struggling and suffering. I never really thought about this before, but it's not only for me... I could be an encouragement for others in this also.
v. 10: "Night and day we pray earnestly for you..."
This goes along with some things posted yesterday about praying. It's important to recognize "night and day" as well as "earnestly."
v. 12: "And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows."
This verse doesn't boast of minimal love... overflowing love is on an entirely different level. My commentary book referenced John 13:35... "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." This kind of ups the ante and brings a whole new importance to the act of love. I desperately want others to see Jesus through me, and it's extremely clear here that one way to do this is through showing overflowing love to others.
v. 8: "Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you."
The thought of rejecting God puts more fear in me than just the thought of disobeying Him. This is a great reminder of the seriousness of disobeying God!
v. 10: "Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more."
The Thessalonians were known for their faith and the love they showed for Christ and for others (Ch. 1-3), but Paul encourages them to love even more. We can never love too much!
v. 14-18: "For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words."
The last verse really caught my attention. I believe that all of this will happen, and I very much look forward to it.. it's something that is engrained in my heart... but do I encourage others with it? Possibly, but definitely not enough. It's something that brings so much joy to my heart, and I wish for everyone else to experience it also, but I'm not doing my part in sharing that joy.