1 Thessalonians 5:8 Be Sober

“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.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8

Paul starts talking about the time when Jesus is to return to bring everyone who believes in Him to heaven. Some of the people were concerned about that time, because they did not know when it would happen and did not want to miss it. He points out that every believer is not a child of the light and are to live in the light. Here he states that they should be sober.

Bad things happen in the dark. It is in the dark that a person hits his toe on a piece of furniture. It is in the dark that most crimes happen. It is also in the dark when people tend to get drunk on alcohol.

Believers are to live in the light and be sober. The light is the light of Jesus and God’s Word. The Bible tells a person how to live correctly for God.

Being sober is being in the right mind. When people get drunk on alcohol, they start to do things that they would not normally do. They will act in ways that are bad, making very bad choices. They will say things that later they regret when told about them. They will not even remember many things that they did.

You are to live your life focused on Jesus. Not being in the darkness and doing things that are wrong. Putting on faith and love will protect your heart from wrong. The faith is that Jesus has saved you. The love is the love for Jesus and for others. When you have both of these, you will not want to do any wrong to anyone or to God.

You are also to have the hope of salvation that Jesus is providing. You will know that you are being saved. You will know that one day you will be by Jesus side in heaven for all of eternity.

Are you sober today? Are you living for Jesus or for the world?

Wake up and live for Jesus. It will be worth it all.

I pray today that you will live in the light of Jesus; that you will be sober in your life and make the right choices for God; that God will fill you with His love for Jesus and others; that you will have faith in Jesus; that you will know the hope of His salvation for you; and that you will be His light in this world.

Advertisements

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Future Hope

“After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17

The time of Paul was very close after the time of Jesus leaving the earth. The early church had believed the words of Jesus that He would return soon. Some were concerned about those who died. Paul says that when Jesus returns all the dead shall be raised. After that everyone who is still alive and serving Him shall be received with them to live forever with Jesus in heaven.

Everyone loves to look forward to something good that is going to happen. Seniors in school, whether high school or college, look forward to graduating soon. Those in the military look forward to getting out when their time in service is up. Workers, who have worked the same job for many years, look forward to retiring as it gets closer.

Having these things to look forward to gives people hope and strength to keep going forward. The challenges that they face in getting to that point suddenly have more meaning and value.

As a believer, you have a future hope that is greater than any graduation or retirement on this earth. You have the hope of eternity with Jesus and His Father in heaven, the Ones who made it possible. You have the hope of perfect life and health. No more sorrow, pain, sickness, or suffering will be in your future.

Along with all this great stuff, you will also be able to be with all those who have died before Jesus returns. All your loved ones in your family line who followed Jesus before you and died will be there. All the people who helped lead you to Jesus and have passed on, will be there.

This should give you great hope and joy today. Know and understand the future you have. Encourage yourself and others with these words. You have a bright future ahead if you stay with Jesus through everything.

I pray today that God will give you a vision of your future; that you will know the salvation Jesus offers you; that you will be encouraged to live for Jesus today; that you will not fear the future; and that God will draw many to Jesus through you.

1 Thessalonians 4:1 Live To Please God

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1

Paul commended the people of the Thessalonian church that they were living in a way to please God. He then encourages them to do this more and more. They were not to stop striving to please God.

There are people out there that when they look at all of the ways that God wants a person to live and the perfection He is looking for, they don’t want to even try to live for God. Many will start out living for God and striving to please Him, only to give up later.

People often give up, because it is, in reality, impossible to become perfect for God…on their own. They look at all of their faults and say they cannot do it, which is true, on their own. It is only when they rest in Jesus, trust in the power of Jesus, that they can become more like Jesus.

It is in the aiming for, striving to please God, that God finds pleasure. If you are aiming for perfection, just to be perfect, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. Your goal in life should be to please God.

Are you being a witness for Jesus?

Are you loving others? Including your enemies?

Are you serving others? Including your enemies?

Are you forgiving everyone?

Are you spending time with God?

Are you turning away from sin?

These and many other things are ways to please God. You may already be doing many or all of these things. That is great! Now Paul is saying do it more and more.

Keep working at pleasing God. Do everything as though you are doing it to and for God. Seek His Holy Spirit to give yo the strength and wisdom in what to do and how to do it. Living like this in the end will get you the “well done good and faithful servant”.

I pray today that God will reveal what He wants you to do; that your actions will please God; that your thoughts will be pleasing to God; that your heart will strive to please God; and that God will draw many to Jesus through you.

1 Thessalonians 3:4 Ready For Persecution?

“In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:4

Paul had expected to be persecuted. He knew that it was coming and had told the people it would happen. Most likely some of those people could not see that coming. They were probably praying that it would not happen as Paul was thinking and saying.

Evidently Paul had a vision or insight from God about his idea that he would be persecuted, since it actually occurred. Now he is reminding the people that he said it would happen and it did.

Why would he want to remind them of what he said? It may have been that he knew of the words of Jesus that every believer would also be persecuted. He may also wanted to point out that yes he was persecuted, but it turned out for the good. He had not been defeated by the enemy.

If you have not been persecuted for believing in Jesus yet, there will come a day that you will be. You must know that it is coming. When persecution against you starts, do not be surprised or alarmed.

Jesus said that as they had done to Him, they would also do to all of His followers. He walked that path. Later Paul walked that path. Throughout history many have walked the path of persecution. Your time will come also.

For some it meant death, for others just a lot of suffering. Each person has a different path of persecution that they will go through.

Know that God is with you through it all. Lean on Him for the strength and encouragement. Jesus had won the battle and He will help you win the battle also.

Keep your eyes on Jesus with the hope of eternal life some day. All these light and momentary struggles will be nothing compared to eternity with God. Be encouraged that God will bring you through any troubles you are having.

Pray for those being persecuted and pray that you will also be ready for it when it comes.

I pray today that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit; that God’s presence and strength will be with you in a real way; that you will not fear what the enemy may do; that you will not be surprised by any attacks; and that God will use you to draw many to Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 2:14 Who Do You Imitate?

“For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews” 1 Thessalonians 2:14

The church in the city of Thessalonica was not a part of Israel. They did not have to directly deal with the Jewish beliefs fighting against Jesus. The churches of Judea, however, had to deal with the Jews who still followed the Mosaic Law. Those Jews were against Jesus and would persecute the believers of Jesus. Even though the Thessalonian church did not have to be concerned with persecution from the Jews, they did have other persecution from their own people.

The churches in Judea did not back down when they were persecuted. They stayed strong in the Lord Jesus and held onto their beliefs in Him. In this same way the church in Thessalonica were doing the same thing.

In the same way there are churches, some in America and many around the world, that are going through extreme persecution. Family and friends of believers are persecuting the believers for following Jesus. In many countries it is an honor to kill one’s family member if they start to follow Jesus. There has always been some ridicule for following Jesus in America, but it is getting stronger and more violent.

The challenge is who are you imitating? Do you give in like many do in America and do or say what the world wants to hear?

Are you trying to be politically correct in what you say? Or are you speaking what God wants in His love?

As you are getting ridiculed, not beaten or imprisoned, for your belief in Jesus, there are believers around the world getting killed without mercy for their belief in Jesus.

Be willing to stand strong and true for Jesus. Imitate those who have gone on before you in following Jesus, even to the point of death. Imitate those today who are suffering for being a follower of Jesus. Do not allow the world to back you down. Greater is He who is in you, than he that is in the world.

I pray today that God will strengthen you in any persecution you may go through; that God’s presence will be with you in trials; that you will not give in to the pressure to deny God; and that you will imitate those who stand strong and true for Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 2:5 No Mask

“You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness.” 1 Thessalonians 2:5

In the workplace people are often seen trying to make the boss feel really good with their words. They will speak very highly of the boss and give him much praise. Or in a teen-age relationship, one will give lots of praise and honor to the other. Both are trying to get the favor of the person they are praising.

Although it is not wrong to give a person some praise that he or she is worthy of, flattery takes it to a different level. Flattery is excessive praise. It is lifting a person up higher than they really are. It is making the person feel extra special. The purpose behind making that person feel that way, however, is selfish. It is to get something from them.

Salesmen are known for this. Whether selling a car or a house, they will make a person feel like they are the best person on the earth and deserve that item being sold. Or workers in the workplace giving flattery to the boss, lifting him up extremely high.

In doing these things like this, they are putting on a mask. They are making themselves look like they really care about the person, when in fact they are just greedy and want to make a sale or get a position.

Paul says that he was not guilty of being like that. In the church, there are many who use flattery to draw people into the church. Others put on a mask, making themselves look like a great Christian believer, when in reality they don’t have a relationship with Jesus. This is falsehood.

As a believer you must be true in your words and actions. Do not exaggerate what you are saying. Speak the truth.

If you claim to be Christian, do you spend time in prayer with God? Do you spend time reading His Word?

Or are you just speaking the words and putting on a mask to look good? Are you just being greedy?

Take off the mask and live the true life of a believer in Jesus. Put off any falsehood. Allow God’s Word to draw people, not your fancy words of flattery.

I pray today that God will reveal any masks you may have on; that you will use only God’s Word to draw people to Jesus; that you will live a true Christian life; and that you will serve God with all of your life.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 What Motivates You?

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3

People do different things for many different reasons. Some will go to the gym to exercise on a regular basis because they want to look great, while others are trying to be in good shape so that they may stay healthy. Graduates of high school often push through the challenges of college to earn a degree so that they may get a better paying job. There are many other things that people do because of some type of motivation to get them done.

Motivation to do something can come in satisfaction, contentment, power, prestige, honor, or other ways. Depending on the person, what works as a motivation for one person, will not be enough for another.

Paul was looking at the Thessalonians and saw what they were doing. All of their actions were motivated by something else. Their work was motivated by faith. They knew that they were saved by faith, not by their works, so they wanted to do good works for God.

They worked hard because of love. This love was the love God had for them and it was the love they had for God and others.

They endured the hardships of the work and labor because of the hope that they had in Jesus Christ. They knew that in the end they would inherit eternal life with God in heaven. They knew that God would work in and through them to do great things.

Doing difficult things can be very difficult and hard at times. To keep doing them is even harder yet.

Look to what Jesus had gone through to bring you the salvation you are able to enjoy. He endured leaving heaven, dying on the cross, and being rejected by God for a time. This was all done through faith in His Father, the love to and of His Father, and the hope of His Father.

What motivates you today? What are you being motivated to do today?

Are you living your life for Jesus and for others? Or are you living it for yourself?

I pray today that you will know the love of Jesus; that you will be filled with faith in Jesus; that you will have the hope Jesus gives; that you will work to do the work of God; and that God will use you to draw many to Jesus.